The General Election: “The nightmare before Christmas during and for …”

This is a long rambling post, my first here since the disaster of the general election that saw the now hard right Tories voted into power by a huge majority, including “safe seats” in the North East. The North East would you believe; have they forgotten the minors strike?! That I am shocked would be an understatement, so much so that I needed some time away from social media but cannot get back into doing much until I have had my say. For many it is a distant memory blurred by the seasonal festivities but as the new year arrives the reality becomes even more daunting.

Basically I continue to be enraged by the election result.

I like many people are devastated by the outcome of the election, it has had a profound effect on my mental well being as is indeed the case for many people. I have found it difficult to get back online in any active way, and indeed felt rather like hibernating so to speak, staying home away from people who may have voted into power the most vile, immorally bankrupt government in my lifetime! Time has passed but in the great scheme of things a small amount, and of course the dire consequences of the Tories winning the election has a resounding effect on all our lives – those who are not among the wealthy elite – for years to come. Yes even you who voted Tory.

It is difficult to put into words quite what it feels like to now live in a country where a hard right racist government continues in power with an overwhelming majority, which gives them cart blanch to do what the hell they like. Something I never thought would happen here in the UK.

Why? Why did so many people vote for such an utterly unethical government, the furthest to the right that there has ever been?

It in reality had nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn as leader despite what the biased right wing media would have you believe, though if you read the main stream media you may well get this impression. Then why? Why did people vote for such a hard right party, particularly working class people who traditionally voted Labour? Of course there were idiot people who did not like Corbyn and one has to ask why the hell not; sadly it says more about those who did not like him and what he stood for than then the man himself. What is not to like… he is compassionate, caring , a pacifist, a vegetarian, and a committed anti-racist. Ask yourself if you voted Tory why you voted for a racist party, for inequality and for injustice, for poverty and homelessness, for cuts to our NHS and privatisation, for cuts to schools and so on? Why did you vote for a party of callous sociopaths who care nothing for the average person? Corbyn wanted a fair deal for all citizens, not just the privileged few. Maybe not all his manifesto policies were doable but his heart was in the right place and he would have done his damnedest to fulfill his electoral promises, such as get all the homeless off the streets by Christmas. Now this Christmas, thousands of homeless people woke up on the cold empty streets of many cities again.

This was our one chance to have a better life for everyone, a better society and a significant step towards a better world as common sense and decency has to start somewhere; as the world descends into chaos of right wing fascism with all its evils, which many died to stop during WW2.

Tory voters: you blew it, you took this chance from millions of people struggling to survive and I mean literally survive. If you had to sleep in the streets in the bitter cold, insecure, vulnerable, with no food, nowhere to wash or even to use the toilet, would you have voted Tory? If your child had to go to school hungry and cold without a winter coat would you have voted Tory? If you were disabled or chronically sick and you had your benefits cut, or got no benefits at all? If were told you were fit for work when you could hardly get out of bed or you had your only means of mobility taken away or you had to wait longer for vital treatment because of NHS cut backs all the while struggling in poverty and isolation, would you have voted Tory? If you were so poor that you had to rely on a food bank to feed your family, would you have voted Tory?

Sadly and as pathetic as it may seem Brexit appears to be the main reason why people voted for the Tories (or the Brexit Party of course), but why? What the hell has Brexit to do with the average person? Nothing, absolutely nothing of any advantage that’s for sure. Ask anyone who voted Tory or voted Brexit to name one real benefit for the ordinary person in the street for leaving the EU. That is if you can bring yourself to do so right now – I and many others are simply too shocked, traumatized – yes not an exaggeration – by the stupidity, the callousness of those who voted to keep the Tories in power to do so.

Unfortunately for many the desperation to leave the EU was never about the economy or sovereignty often used to justify Brexit. The article cited below was written last year, it is still relevant as in my opinion regarding the main reason many voted for Brexit and are desperate to get it done is racism, xenophobia and migration and this has not changed.

Brexit for many people pure and simply was about “wanting their country back”, not wanting immigrants; plain blatant racism. It appears to me that for the ever increasing number of xenophobes and racists this was the deciding factor in voting to leave and consequently voting for the Tories, even when there are so many indications that doing so will harm many of our citizens including those who voted for them. It’s more about bigots and racists stopping foreigners from entering the UK than much else for which these deluded people have sacrificed the greatest achievement here in the UK, the NHS, and abandon the millions of people now living in poverty.

The following article discusses this issue

The Truth About Brexit and Xenophobia
The push to leave the European Union was never about anything but immigration

“Theresa May has fallen back on claiming that her deal will give the U.K. control over its borders, which is “what the British people voted for,” she says. The rest of what she says is waffle, empty verbiage, or just untrue. We have now finally reached the truth about Brexit: It is about our borders, nothing else. “Control over borders” is just a euphemism for controlling immigration. And “controlling immigration” is just a euphemism for xenophobia and racism.
Brexit is about stopping foreigners from coming here.”

“And before you write in to complain, you who voted Brexit but are genuinely not racist or xenophobic, I know. You had good reasons, other reasons, about the economy, laws, sovereignty. So, yes, you are not a racist. But you were misled. It was never about those things. In the end, the U.K. would always have been better off in the EU. It contributed to those laws and always had sovereignty. It was only about the borders, and it was about stopping Conservatives from switching to UKIP.”

Read More:
https://medium.com/s/story/https-medium-com-tswriting-the-truth-about-brexit-e3e5bcdadfbe

If you think Brexit will benefit the average person in the street you are sadly mistaken.

Of the many Brexit cons, few are greater than the idea that this is a fight for the people.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-elite-boris-johnson-eu-referendum-nigel-farage-hate-crime-a8531241.html

Did you vote for five more years of hell?

It is sad and sickening to know that so many people by voting Tory condemned us to five more years of hell, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens

The sick and disabled

The sick and disabled who have had their benefits scrapped, trapping 4 million vulnerable people into poverty while 170,070 disabled people died waiting for decisions on their PIP.  In just one year alone 50,000 sick and disabled people where hit by £30 Tory cuts. In addition many sick and disabled people have had their mobility cars taken away from them.

In the following article disabled activists speak out about the misery of so many years of suffering and cutbacks to disabled people

Tory conference: Disabled activists shame the Tories on the cost of heartless austerity 

They are a disaster. There is something wrong with people who think this is OK.

Read more:
http://www.disabilitynorth.org.uk/tory-conference-disabled-activists-shame-tories-on-cost-of-heartless-austerity/

Nothing is going to change, from day one the Tories have targeted sick and disabled people

Tories use first day back to attack the disabled

“DWP removes option for claimants to choose whether work assessment outcomes are reported to GPs

December 17, 2019

The new Tory government has wasted no time in targeting Britain’s most vulnerable, using its first day in Parliament to backtrack on disability rights.

Yesterday morning the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) removed the option for disability claimants to choose whether the outcome of work assessments is shared with their GP.

It means that the DWP can send letters to doctors telling them not to sign patients’ sick notes if they have been found “fit for work” by the notorious work capability assessments (WCA).”

Read more:
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/tories-use-first-day-back-to-attack-the-disabled/

Below is the Twitter feed of WOW voices with personal stories regarding the impact of Tory austerity for sick and disabled people.

“Read accounts written by disabled people, carers and health professionals on how austerity and cuts have affected them.”

These stories are heart breaking, if you voted Tory, read them and know that you condoned this grave injustice to sick and disabled people by voting Tory on December 12th. Shame on you!

The Homeless

In England alone an estimated 8,000 people live rough on the streets.

There are around 350,000 homeless people – I rather suspect there are many more –  many of whom are sleeping in cold damp streets wrapped only in a filthy sleeping bag, wearing the same unclean clothes, sitting huddled and depressed, cold and hungry. In England alone an estimated 8,000 people live rough on the streets. This shocking figure is likely to rise to 15,000 by 2026 if nothing changes  – which it won’t under the Tories. Their chance for a decent and fulfilling life taken away from them as a result of Tory austerity and the general right wing mentality of a society that condones the accumulation of great wealth by the few at great cost to the many.

If you voted Tory, you voted for this grave violation of people’s human rights, their dignity, their well being and often their very lives.

An estimated 726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018.

“A record number of homeless people died last year, in the biggest increase in deaths since reporting began, amid warnings fatalities are likely to be even higher in 2019.”

Read more:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/01/homeless-deaths-in-2018-rise-at-highest-level-ons

Those living in poverty

In the 5th richest country in the world 14 million people live in poverty including 4 million children, one in three of the population, this number is set to rise: The Big Issue has learned that this number will rise over the next five years as Universal Credit takes hold, increasingly pushing more and more families into poverty.

Read more:
https://www.bigissue.com/latest/child-poverty-in-the-uk-will-hit-a-record-high-in-2019/

Poverty destroys lives and is avoidable, yet here we are with millions of people living in poverty. If you voted for the Tories on December 12th you are responsible, you are complicit, for you have prevented real change from happening in the lives of so many people who like you, like me, like all people deserve better.

Tory voters be sure to read this article, inform yourself of the tragedy of Tory austerity which you have just voted for

Growing Up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids review – the lives stolen by poverty

You could call these tragic stories Dickensian – if the word didn’t imply that things would come right in the end

“Eight-year-old Courtney found her first visit to the food bank quite exciting over all, despite the disappointment of discovering that it didn’t dispense victuals in the same manner as a cashpoint does money. She, her mum and her brother walked the two and a half miles from the flat they have been living in since they fled domestic violence seven months ago, and two and a half miles back sharing the weight of the bags between them (“There is a bus, but if you had bus fare you wouldn’t be going to a food bank”). Her mother carried most of the load, but they all bore their share.

They live in Cambridge, the UK’s most unequal city, where a fifth of the population takes home just 2% of its total income. The family is trying to live on child benefit of £5 a day while they wait for their delayed first universal credit payment. They have maxed out their allowance of top-up fuel vouchers from the Trussell Trust, so as the temperature drops below freezing, Courtney empties 45p-worth of coppers out of the china swan on the window sill to see if it’s enough to put the heating on while they wait for Cash Converters to open the next day so a phone can be pawned. “Baby,” says her mother wearily. “There aren’t enough there.”

Read more:
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/dec/02/growing-up-poor-britains-breadline-kids-review-the-lives-stolen-by-poverty

There are 1.9 million pensioners living in poverty

Here in the UK one of the most wealthy nations on Earth, 1.9 million pensioners (16 percent) are living in poverty. That’s about one in six of our senior citizens. It also has to be said that most of those who do not fall into the poverty category are nonetheless struggling to live on the rather mean pension provided by the state.

Poverty in later life

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/money-matters/rb_apr18_poverty_in_later_life

Note that in addition to older people living in poverty after working age the Tories intend to increase retirement age to 75!!!!

Tory’s plan to raise the state pension age to 75 over the next 16 years:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-raise-state-pension-age-18953679?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar 

Here the latest benefit cut for pensioners which will leave many pensioners with a dependent with £70 less

Government to cut £70 a week from thousands of state pensions
For decades the state pension helped people out if they had someone depending on them – that’s about to end seeing thousands of retired Britons lose £70 a week. Who’s affected:

Read more:
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/government-cut-70-week-thousands-21132951

A massive increase in food banks

Ten years ago there were barely any foodbanks in the UK. Today, there are more than 2,000.

In the last ten years, cuts to benefits and broken systems like Universal Credit have left people struggling to afford food and rent.

State of Hunger

“Over the last five years, the number of emergency food parcels provided to people in crisis by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network has increased by 73%. No charity can replace the dignity of buying your own food. To help end the need for food banks, the Trussell Trust commissioned State of Hunger – the most authoritative piece of independent research into hunger in the UK to date. Here’s what the research reveals…

State of Hunger research found that people who have been referred to a food bank:

Have an average weekly income after housing costs of just £50

Cannot afford to buy the absolute essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean – with 94% facing real destitution

Read more:
https://www.stateofhunger.org/

The climate crisis

It goes without saying that the Tories will take as little positive action as possible to combat the climate crisis and for big polluters it will be business as usual

Brexit Party and Tories worst for climate change policies, Greenpeace analysis shows

Conservative support for polluting industries, such as aviation, oil and gas ‘at odds with their net zero target’, analysis says

Labour is in hot pursuit of the Green Party when it comes to the quality of the environmental policies laid out in its manifesto, but the Conservatives and Brexit Party are lagging far behind, a new ranking of party policies by Greenpeace shows.

Read More:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/election-green-climate-parties-brexit-conservatives-greenpeace-a9220271.html

Read the analysis directly from Greenpeace

“… the Party’s continued support for a number of polluting industries, such as aviation, oil and gas, and massive spending commitments for new road-building are at odds with their net-zero target. In many policy areas where the Conservatives originally progressed a green narrative, such as plastics, agriculture, and nature restoration, their policies in these areas have been significantly outflanked by most of the other main parties.”
https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/labours-plans-for-climate-and-nature-score-twice-as-high-as-the-conservatives-according-to-election-manifesto-ranking/

The NHS

Chronic under-funding of the NHS has left thousands living in pain and poverty, waiting for healthcare and hit by benefit sanctions

The cuts and under-funding of the NHS which has caused many deaths and delayed vital operations and increased waiting time in A&E difficulties in getting appointments with GPs and other health care professional. Cuts to mental health services.

Read about the disastrous cuts and changes to our NHS during the last decade under a Tory government

These brutal cuts to the NHS will haunt the Conservatives
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/25/boris-johnson-conservatives-nhs-funding

You can read more about what the Tories have done and will likely continue to do to the NHS on this pre election post:

https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/dont-vote-tory-the-nhs/

Cuts to school funding

Check out this link to see what cuts are likely now the misguided majority have voted the Tories back into power:
https://schoolcuts.org.uk/take-action/

Don’t overlook this link with Information about how years of Tory cut backs have effected your child’s school: https://schoolcuts.org.uk/schools/?coords=54,-3&zoom=6

School Cuts search tool shows starkly how Tories ‘will hit’ your child’s class
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/school-cuts-search-tool-shows-21033256

Islamophobia

The Tories in particular Boris Johnson have openly expressed their racist and anti Islamic views. Racism has sadly entered mainstream politics here in the UK, igniting the racist tendencies of many people who feel that this gives them license to express openly their blatant racism.

The article below takes you through ten years of Tory racism

“From the hostile environment to Windrush and relentless Muslim-bashing, the Conservative record in government shows how comfortable the party is with racism.”

Read more:
The Tories’ Ten Years of Racism

https://tribunemag.co.uk/2019/11/the-tories-ten-years-of-racism

Racism has no place in any civilized society, it should have no place in the UK. Many people deny being racist but if you voted Tory you voted for a party whose polices permeate with racism and persistent Islamophobia

 

The benefit cuts

Frankly I don’t know where to begin

For the past ten years the Tories have decimated the welfare state with cuts to benefits, including a benefit freeze which now prior to the election they say they will remove by 2020 – I will believe that when or if it happens.

The sole purpose of benefit reforms is to remove as many people as possible off benefits including severely ill and disabled people

The government are so determined to strip as many people as possible of their benefits that they have spent 40 million pounds of tax payers money fighting appeals, most of which they lost.

Austerity over the last decade has resulted in misery, poverty, destitution and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Austerity has been so shocking that it has resulted in three UN reports.

You can read more about the Tories vicious cuts to benefits in this pre election post:

https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2019/12/07/dont-vote-tory-benefit-cuts/

The badger cull

The cull/killing of these helpless animals is described by the Badger Trust as the “largest destruction of a protected species in living memory”

While the Tory manifesto does not mention the cull, they nonetheless have given the go-ahead for culling to be continued and widened. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-authorisation-for-badger-control-in-2019

Labour on the other hand pledged in its manifesto to end the badger cull: “We would work instead on non-lethal interventions to reduce the incidence of disease in cattle.” Also Labour has a separate 50-point animal welfare manifesto separate from its main policy one.

Concerning other issues relating to animals welfare:

While the Tories promise to end “excessively long journeys for slaughter and fattening”, such suggests a ban on live export implicitly but not explicitly. Labour was more explicit and promised to ban live exports for slaughter and fattening.

So it looks like much cruelty to animals is likely, including the once protected badgers, to continue and who knows maybe even the return of fox hunting, after all what is to stop them now from doing whatever the hell they like with such a vast majority? While the the Conservatives  have not included a free vote on the issue of fox hunting in their manifesto, I for one simply do not trust them.

You can read more detail concerning animals rights from the manifestos of the main political parties during the election

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/general-election-animal-rights-parties-badger-cull-hunting-fox-pets-policies-a9241361.html

This article explains the Tories intentions to criminalize gypsies and protect illegal fox hunting by the introduction of plans to make trespass illegal:

“…animal protection supporters have also slated the trespass crackdown, accusing the Conservatives of appeasing hunt supporters.

Penny Little, a monitor of the Grafton Hunt in Northamptonshire and founder of a wildlife rescue centre in Oxfordshire, said: “They [the Conservatives] are sneaking in a move that could leave illegal hunting completely unscrutinised, and allow it to continue without even the present, very slight, risk of prosecution.

“There are many monitor and sabs [saboteurs] Facebook pages that show the reality of what is happening every day in our countryside. The violence, obstruction and intimidation meted out by hunts and their supporters can clearly be seen, as well as multiple examples of foxes, deer and hares being illegally hunted.”

Read more:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/general-election-boris-johnson-trespass-law-gypsies-travellers-fox-hunting-manifesto-a9227511.html

Note in the above article: don’t over look the way these trespass laws will effect Gypsies, yet another example of Tory racism

Related links

First they came for the gypsies, disabled, migrants and unions

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/12/19/first-they-came-for-the-gypsies-disabled-migrants-and-unions/

Here is what a decade of Tory rule did to just one city

Pictures that have defined nearly a decade of Tory rule in Merseyside
https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/pictures-defined-nearly-decade-tory-17441238

I have to ask why? Why didn’t people vote for Corbyn and the Labour party, after all their election promises would have made life much better for most people. Unfortunately in most cases this is not what politics are about, at least not Tory politics which favour the wealthy elite.

Why did people give up the opportunity for a better life for all of us. Was it ignorance, gullibility,  selfishness, racism, greed …

It is sad that Brexit may have been the defining issue and Labour’s stance on the matter with a further referendum was not popular.

Brexit is a project by the elites, for the elites – the rest of us were never meant to benefit from it

Of the many Brexit cons, few are greater than the idea that this is a fight for the people

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-elite-boris-johnson-eu-referendum-nigel-farage-hate-crime-a8531241.html

Why do people want Brexit?  Yes it may be for the reason cited in the above article but frankly I think racism and xenophobia had a lot to do with it. Plus the crazy notion that somehow Brexit would benefit us all rather than the reality of the situation that Brexit was meant to benefit the wealthy elite.

The Conservatives never have been and never will be the party for the working class. Boris Johnson himself described the working class as “drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless and hopeless”

Johnson has already betrayed the working people who voted for him:

It took Boris Johnson less than a week to betray all the working class voters who backed him
https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/12/17/it-took-boris-johnson-less-than-a-week-to-betray-all-the-working-class-voters-who-backed-him/

Don’t be depressed about the Tories, fight back!

The anti-Tory resistance has begun. No prize for guessing the city that’s leading the way.

Land Ownership – Who Owns Your Home?

The following blog post I completed a couple of years ago, it has been updated but most of the information with some minor corrections is still applicable. Apologies for odd formatting, try as I might I can’t correct it.

In this environment of increasing inequality when the social divide between the haves and the have-nots increases alarmingly you may find the following quite eye opening.

Here are some interesting facts about land ownership in the UK. Facts which may well surprise you concerning land distribution.

Land ownership facts:
* The UK has 60 million acres of land in total.
* 70% of the land is owned by 1% of the population.
* Just 6,000 or so landowners — mostly aristocrats, but also large institutions and the Crown — own about 40 million acres, two thirds of the UK.
* Britain’s top 20 landowning families have bought or inherited an area big enough to swallow up the entire counties of Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire, with more to spare.
* Big landowners measure their holdings by the square mile; the average Briton living in a privately owned property has to exist on 340 square yards.
* Each home pays £550/ann. on average in council tax while each landowning home receives £12,169/ann. in subsidies. The poor subsidising the super rich. In Ireland where land redistribution occurred, there is no council tax.

* A building plot, the land, now constitutes between half to two- thirds of the cost of a new house.

Source of information:
How Land Affects The Average Person:

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/watercity/LandArticle.html  I have included this link as it is the source of the statistics above, however I am not entirely in agreement with all of ideas expressed therein, particularly concerning the use of green belt land for house building.

Please note: These are old statistics above concerning council tax which is now around £1000 plus annually for band A, – prices vary according to each council.

According to the following article some of the most affluent areas pay less council tax than people living in poorer areas.

“Multimillion-pound homes across London areas, including Belgravia, Pimlico and Fulham, attract among the lowest council tax rates in the country, as our ranking of locations by price shows. Westminster is the cheapest local authority, having levied low rates since the Eighties, and charges £678 a year for a “Band D””
Council tax: how does your bill compare?:
More information about land ownership
“Just 0.3% of the population – 160,000 families – own two thirds of the country. Less than 1% of the population owns 70% of the land, running Britain a close second to Brazil for the title of the country with the most unequal land distribution on Earth.”
This is a very interesting article and told me things I did not know for example,  as a result of  historical events, the Queen owns all the land in the entire UK:
William’s 22nd great-granddaughter, who today sits on the throne, is still the legal owner of the whole of England. Even your house, if you’ve been able to afford one, is technically hers. You’re a tenant, and the price of your tenancy is your loyalty to the crown.
I didn’t know that and I doubt if many other people do.

Time for change towards a more modern society, time to ditch this unfair nonsense initiated in times past. Not only is it idiotic it is a social injustice that has no place in a modern society. The UK is a socially regressive country beyond our imagination. I once thought that this was among the most fair and free countries in the world, at least within the framework of the times in which we live or should I say lived. Rather than progressing towards a fairer distribution of wealth we are regressing backwards. People think that socialism or communism is not desirable because they will own nothing. Well we own nothing now!  You are just a tenet!  You own nothing with the exception of your personal property unless you are in debt of course than you own nothing! While the monarch’s ownership of our property may seem a technically it exists nonetheless.

 

Related links

The south downs owned by private landowners:
https://whoownsengland.org/2018/02/16/who-owns-the-south-downs/

Also note that 95% of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is owned by private landowners.

National Park Authority owns less than four per cent of land in the Lake District. The rest is owned by organisations such as the National Trust, United Utilities, Forestry Commission and other private landowners.

Who owns England Grouse moors:
https://whoownsengland.org/2016/10/28/who-owns-englands-grouse-moors/

Who owns England is a fascinating blog, visit the home page for more eye-opening facts
https://whoownsengland.org/

Can We Really Make a Difference?

Graphic Credit: http://www.picturequotes.com/there-are-no-passengers-on-spaceship-earth-we-are-all-crew-quote-927

“Donald Trump’s presidency is bad for black Americans, bad for Muslim Americans, bad for Mexican Americans, bad for any woman in America, bad for anyone who needs healthcare in America and bad for any working person in America.”

“His foreign policy will undoubtedly be bad for the rest of the world. We all have an interest in making this the shortest ever US presidency.”
John Rees quoted in the Morning Star

The world is in turmoil, the rise of right-wing political agendas, rampant racism, bigotry, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitism, anti-migrants, anti-refugees, homophobia, sexism … I have I missed anything, it seems that everyone hates everyone else. Many people feel lonely and isolated. Most of us want a better world though it might not seem that way. We feel lost not knowing what to do. Petitions seem ignored. Letters and e-mail to government officials may receive a polite response but are rarely acted upon. Demonstrations are a sensation for a day or two than fade away and become just a memory.  We get on with what lives we struggle to make for ourselves, our children and those we care about while the onslaught of social injustice goes on. Achievements in human rights and equality swept under the carpet, freedoms won after hard campaigns disappear into the annals of history.

And it not just about humans either, the fight to procure rights for animals, improve welfare have become more difficult to achieve and we are taking steps backwards, particularly in the USA where animal welfare is threatened by Trump’s presidency. The environment: all the gains to secure environmental protections to save the planet for future generations and the other creatures with whom we share this world are under threat. As is the abandonment and active undoing of all the efforts to thwart climate change in recent years.

It not only the big issues that effect the majority it is the small issues also, which are of course important to those they affect. It seems Trump seeks to undo every positive, fair, and just social progress made during Obama’s time in office. In his pettiness Trump even seeks to over turn Obama guidelines on transgender toilets. Absolutely pathetic, backward thinking and shows that Trump’s commitment to protect LGBT rights was just empty promise.

No doubt about it, the world is undergoing drastic change and none of it for the better and without the consensus of the majority.

What we can do? Can we really make a difference?

Do all the petitions, letters/e-mails/ phone calls to government representatives and others really bring about change? What about demonstrations, how effective are these? How about Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media?

If nothing else social media keeps us informed: the significance of what is unfolding in the world today would have been far less apparent a couple of decades ago. The strength of feeling and solidarity on social media is supportive and the information disseminated extremely useful in the quest to bring about change. Even Trump’s compulsions to Tweet gives us first hand an insight into this person that would otherwise not be available.

So yes! most certainly we can bring about change, after all said and done everyone who cast his or her vote in the USA elections and indeed any elections including the disastrous Brixit referendum here in the UK made a difference, not a good one of course in the above examples, but a difference nonetheless. Now it is up to us, if each of us is capable of making a negative difference we can certainly make a positive one even if in only a very small way, and as with votes every action counts. Maybe if more democrats came out to vote for Hillary Clinton, Trump would not be president. If more people had familiarised themselves on all the issues in an election or a referendum instead of voting on one issue and a negative one at that, such as immigration or blatant racism, than Trump may never have been elected and we might still be a member of the EU.

While it may all seem overwhelming and we can feel powerless against the onslaught I consider that the following actions make a difference, maybe not in the immediate future or in the way we would expect, but every action however small helps to bring about change.

Can demonstrations make a difference

If you are in doubt for instance of the effectiveness of demonstrations consider the following examples:

Gandhi’s Salt March across India in 1930 was instrumental in bringing about Independence from British Rule. The Salt March was was a notable example of resistance, and one which was non-violent, that had a significant impact.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28th Auguest 1963 , was another example of a peaceful demonstration that brought about change. It was one of the largest Political rallies for human rights in American history. More than 200,000 people participated in the March for Jobs and Freedom in the USA’S capital.   During this event, Martin Luther King delivered his famous speech ‘‘I Have a Dream’’ .

“The march is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and preceded the Selma Voting Rights Movement which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Continue Reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington_for_Jobs_and_Freedom

The article below cites ten further examples of demonstrations that had a huge impact and brought about significant changes worldwide.

Ten demonstrations that changed the world
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world – the article gives interesting information about the following demonstrations :

The right to vote  6 May, 1867  Clerkenwell to Hyde Park, London

‘Women’s Sunday’  21 June 1908  Embankment to Hyde Park, London

Toppling the Tsar  23 February 1917  St Petersburg

Breaking British rule  17 March 1919  Cairo

For more details concerning the above and six other demonstrations that changed the world please click the link below
http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/17835-ten-demonstrations-that-changed-the-world

So yes demonstrations can make a difference and often without recourse to violence.

How about petitions?

Here is a recent example of the success of a petition as permission to breed rabbits is denied:

“So when Spalding, U.K., resident Christine W. learned that someone had made an application to build a facility to breed pet rabbits and guinea pigs close to her home, she immediately created a petition in protest. At first she feared that the farm would be used for vivisection and started a petition against that. Then she discovered that this was a farm for pets, and so she created a second petition about why breeding pet rabbits is bad for animal welfare.

Fantastic News For Rabbits!

“The petition garnered over 84,000 signatures, and Christine submitted it to the South Holland District Council’s office. The council included the Care2 petition in their report, which denied planning permission for the farm.”
http://www.care2.com/causes/success-permission-to-breed-rabbits-denied-2.html

Here is a list of successful Change Org petitions 

Below are just two examples:

End the sale of eggs from caged hens in Morrison’s and Asda – “Over 185,000 helped Lucy convince Asda and Morrison’s to stop selling the eggs after she won with Tesco”

https://www.change.org/p/sean-clarke-david-potts-end-the-sale-of-eggs-from-caged-hens-in-morrisons-and-asda

Fund 12 Years of Education for Girls Around the World

“…the Global Partnership for Education has announced that it plans to expand its focus to support a full 12 years of primary and secondary education for the poorest girls around the globe.”
https://www.change.org/p/stand-withmalala-for-girls-education

Read more victories as a result of thousands of people signing Change org petitions

“Every day, Change.org members win people-powered campaigns for social change”
https://www.change.org/en-GB/victories

Also

People power: 10 online petitions that changed Australia in 2015

The UK on-line campaigning organisation 38Degrees lists 244 Successful Campaigns

Social Media

Social media has enormous potential to galvanise action and is the best way to disseminate information fast. News spreads quickly and often news of events and campaigns about which most of us prior to the internet would have been ignorant.

Concerning animal welfare and animal rights, before the internet unless you were a member of an activist group you would most likely not know about the vast number of atrocities which are perpetrated on animals let alone take action to stop them.

The link below will take you to a few examples of how social media has been instrumental in bringing about a positive result concerning the abuse and mistreatment of animals

How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare
Read four stories about how social media has helped improve life for animals
http://www.business2community.com/social-media/social-media-comes-together-animal-welfare-0699762#QOszlDFrPV3kZ7E1.99

Below are hints and tips how to use Facebook for exposing the cruelty of factory farming and promoting vegan eating.

Mercy For Animals: How to Dominate Facebook
http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dominate-facebook  – Some of the advice could be adapted for blogs and other social media platforms

Lets not forget the Gadhimi festival now banned as a result of global outrage galvanised by social media.

Animal rights campaigners will recall the struggle to being to an end the barbaric Gadhimi Festival of animal slaughter where, demonstrations,  petitions and social media all played a role in its cessation.

Gadhimai Festival Slaughter Is Banned In Nepal, Saving Millions Of Animals

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/07/28/gadhimai-festival-animal-sacrifice-banned_n_7886638.html

Ways to make a difference – 

There are just so many groups campaigning to being about change it is of course not possible to list them all. The small selection below concerns ideas to bring about change including but not exclusively the current situation concerning the election of Donald Trump as this is an immediate threat to us all worldwide including animals and the very earth itself.

There are a lot of ideas below for action you may take, no one could take them all most certainly I have not. But different people are better suited to different types of actions. For instance not all of us are able to demonstrate but may be able to sign a petition, post a tweet, send an e-mail and so on.

Petitions. A good place to find Petitions relating Trump and so many other issues is Care 2 a community of 38 million people standing together for good.

Two petitions you might like to sign today.

Stop Keystone XL Once and For All

President Donald Trump is trying to overturn one of the biggest environmental victories of the past 5 years by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

“KXL would be an environmental nightmare on a global scale, allowing unprecedented development of dirty Canadian tar sands, and exacerbating global warming pollution.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/823/975/075/stop-keystone-xl-once-and-for-all/

Browse Care2 petitions :http://www.care2.com/

 

Keep informed

“There is a link between inflammatory statements by politicians and racist attacks and hate crimes on the street. There has been a rise in such crimes in Britain, following the EU referendum and a similar pattern has emerged in the US. Now is the time for people of goodwill to unite and stand up to racism.”
Diane Abbott quoted in Stand Up to Racism

Download the free e-book

The Anti-Inauguration: A Free Ebook

Featuring Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Anand Gopal, and Owen Jones on resisting Trump’s agenda and building the future we need.

“Just a few hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a thousand people joined Jacobin, Verso Books, and Haymarket Books at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, for “The Anti-Inauguration,” a night of discussion on how Donald Trump came to win the election, how we can resist him, and what kind of future we should be fighting for.” 

Read more and download the book

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/anti-inauguration-verso-haymarket-naomi-klein-keeanga-yamahtta-taylor-jeremy-scahill/

Speak out

10 Ways To Make Positive Change In The World

Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/10-ways-to-make-positive-change-in-the-world/ – This information focuses on general ways to make an all round difference.

The next link targets Trump’s presidency and suggested action you can take if you live in the USA to bring about change to the current situation.

11 Simple Ways to Change the World That Won’t Totally Overwhelm You

“We have four long years of President Trump ahead of us. For anyone who is concerned about the nomination of a far-right conservative to the Supreme Court or the embattled travel ban, four years feels like a lifetime.

What’s the best way to address a huge, unwieldy project? Break it into bite-size pieces.”

Ideas include Flippable –  a campaign to “flip” Republican-controlled states by zeroing in on local races where a Democrat has the potential to win an upcoming election.

Daily Action ” is an easy way to engage with your elected officials. It works like this: Text the word dailyto 228466, provide your zip code, and then voilà, you will receive a text message every weekday with a link to a prerecorded audio piece about a political issue relevant to the area where you live. After listening to the audio, it will then reroute you to a phone call to your elected official’s office, during which you can, as Daily Action puts it, “conscientiously object” to whatever urgent matter is at hand.”

For more excellent activism suggestions:
http://www.glamour.com/story/these-11-apps-make-it-super-easy-to-make-a-difference

Want to make a difference in the world, but you’re just not sure how? Here’s what you can do:
http://www.dochas.ie/our-work/european-year-for-development-2015/want-make-difference-world-youre-just-not-sure-how-heres-what-you-can-do

Support the Human Rights Campaign is “The largest national (USA) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.”

Visit their take action page
http://www.hrc.org/take-action

Here are ideas for actions you can take, some of which could be adapted to fit any cause.
http://act.hrc.org/ea-campaign/action.retrievestaticpage.do?ea_static_page_id=5614

Action Against Trump

The following is a list of resources that either recommend or discuss concrete actions citizens can take against President Donald Trump.

http://www.actionagainsttrump.com/

Weekly actions against Trump
http://www.weekly-resistance.online/

The last concerns a mass march here in the UK.

PLEDGE TO MARCH AGAINST TRUMP’S VISIT TO BRITAIN

Donald Trump’s presidency is turning out to be every bit as dangerous and divisive as we feared. The rhetoric of his campaign, and his early executive orders, have sparked a wave of fear and hatred. Those who are often already marginalised and discriminated against – particularly Muslims – have been particular targets for Trump.

Read More and make the pledge to attend a mass march against Trump to “oppose this state visit to the UK and commit ourselves to one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, to make very clear to our government, and to the world, this is not in our name.”

https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/

Contacting government officials and other influential people

For instance writing to politicians in your country if it is a national matter or the respective politicians regarding international issues.Don’t be hesitant when writing to politicians of other nations. I have written to politicians in Australia, China, Canada, Nepal,  and of course here in the UK. Also the Dali Lama concerning self immolation in Tibet. Ministers of the Nepalese government concerning the Gadhimi festival.  CEOs of various corporations mostly food producers about animal welfare.  Also retailers including Aldi’s about the sale of reindeer meat, Tesco about the workfare scheme, I even sent my points card back as a form of protest. I have written to  the American Psychiatric Association concerning the DSM. Universities about animal testing. Write to anyone who is associated with whatever you are campaigning for or against. It’s best to always be polite.

Yes you get replies.  I recall a reply from a Canadian government official concerning the seal hunt, he did not agree with me and explained his position which I did not agree with but at least what I wrote provoked him to reply. The same with Aldi who replied concerning reindeer meat, again not favourable but who knows such communications might make someone think. Retailers often reply, I had lots of letters and e-mail in reponse to my communications concerning the many campaigns to ask retailers to stop the sale of Angora and many retailers have stop selling this product of cruelty as a result of a PETA led campaign which at the time of writing continues today. Postal letters get the best response, e-mail being the next. My MP responds to everything. Even if the person cannot agree you just never know maybe you have at least made him or her think.

I hope to include information about anti Trumps actions in future blog posts

Related Links

Anti Muslim:

If you think ani muslim hate is confined to the US think again

It’s not just Trump’s US. Anti-Muslim hate threatens Europe too
Joe Mulhall

The Islamophobic ideologues at the heart of the new US administration have allies on this side of the Atlantic. We must all fight the spread of their divisive lies

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/trump-us-anti-muslim-hate-europe

Do Political Protests Actually Change Anything?

https://www.bustle.com/p/do-political-protests-actually-change-anything-29952

Please Help Save The Lives of Defenceless Hibernating Bears, Wolves and their Families.

“We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity. “
Rachel Carson

670081-1487423425-wide

If you have time for nothing else please at least sign the petition and for US citizens please also write to your senators – information about how to do so can be found further down the page

Can you really believe this, there are people who enjoy killing hibernating bears and their cubs and wolves raising their pups in dens? Even more shocking, the House of Representatives has just voted for a resolution which will allow them to do so. If the resolution becomes law, hunters will be allowed to enter the dens of these defenceless animals and their families and kill them. Unfortunately 225 voted in favour of the resolution with 193 against.

For the majority of decent caring people this is shocking.

Please help save the lives of these defenceless creatures who will die for the pleasure of a tiny sadistic minority who delight in killing helpless animals.

Take Action

Petition

Please sign and share the following petition.

Keep the Ban on Hunting Hibernating Bear & Wolf Families!

“The House of Representatives just voted to allow hunters to kill bears hibernating with their young. If their decision passes into law, hunters will be allowed to enter dens where bears are hibernating and kill their entire families. They would also be allowed to shoot and kill wolf families, including their pups.

Slaughtering entire families of hibernating bears is cowardly and inhumane. Bears pose no danger to humans or livestock when they’re sleeping through the winter. Culling wolf families is a short-sighted plan that will push their numbers toward extinction again.

There is still hope to protect bears and wolves from this barbaric slaughter. Please sign the petition to urge United States Senators to vote against this resolution!”

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/670/081/728/hunting-hibernating-animals-should-stay-illegal/?z00m=28894310  – Anyone world-wide may sign this petition.

US citizens please contact your senators and ask them to vote against this resolution Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this.

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

The resolution is now before the Senate, where it must be passed and sent to President Trump for signature before it can take effect. So please write with your objections as soon as possible.

Be sure to read the article cited in the petition if you have not already done so:

People Want To Shoot Hibernating Bear Families — And The Government Just Voted To Let Them

“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America.”

Mother bears hibernating with their cubs and wolves raising pups in their dens may no longer be protected from a hunter’s rifle.

The lives of countless bear and wolf families are hanging in the balance today because the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to overturn a ban on cruel hunting tactics that previously protected animals on some of the most treasured wildlife refuges in America.

On 76 million acres of federal refuges in Alaska, hunters will be permitted to enter dens where vulnerable bear families are hibernating and kill them if the resolution becomes law. They will also be able to shoot entire wolf families raising young pups if the Senate and President agree with the vote.

“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said on Thursday. “If the Senate and President concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

Please continue reading, this is a very informative article concerning further implications such as

“The overturning of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ban would also allow hunters to lure animals with food and shoot them at point-blank range.”

https://www.thedodo.com/us-house-alaska-bear-wolf-2268102226.html

Watch the video which is also included in the above article of a bear and her cubs.

Bears just like this mother and her family will be mercilessly killed if this bill is passed. 

It seems to me that any and every positive advancement during Obama’s time in office is to be systematically destroyed seriously setting back society’s ethical progress.

Now we know don’t we that the overwhelming majority of US citizens would not want this to be allowed by law: “a 2016 poll of Alaska voters showed that most agreed that these practices should be banned”. The fact that the House of representatives voted to allow this is therefore not democratic as it defies the wishes of the majority. They know this of course but instead prefer to favour the abhorrent wishes of a tiny section of society who should not be encouraged to carry out such shocking acts of violence against animals.

Here in the UK we have a similar problem with the Tories hell-bent on repealing the fox hunting bill despite the fact that they know that the majority of UK citizens are opposed to fox hunting.

How can we ever make any ethical progress and make the world a better more civilised place to live for all creatures when one government imposes a ban to protect animals from cruelty than another – usually right-wing – over turns it. Yes the majority who voted in support of the resolution where republicans, only 10 republicans voted against, and five Democrats who voted with the Republican majority.

What kind of society are we living in when any government allows it citizens to wantonly kill helpless animals.The fact that this is even being consider is disturbing.  It is bad enough that hunting is allowed to continue but this is even worse than hunting. What sane person enjoys killing sleeping animals?

I am shocked that this is even being considered. I find it quite disturbing that there are people among us who find pleasure in killing defenceless animals, no wonder there is so much violence in this world. If you can kill a helpless animal, any animal, you are one step closer to killing a human being. Animals have a right to their lives as do you and I, when, as supposedly the most intelligent advanced species, are we ever going to respect that right.

Related Links

U.S. House sanctions killing hibernating bears, wolf pups in their dens on federal refuges in Alaska.

Read More:
http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html

“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is–whether its victim is human or animal–we cannot expect things to be much better in this world…”
Rachel Carson

Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventure, and for hides and furs is a phenomena which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging is such acts of brutality.
The Dalai Lama

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
Thomas Edison

Quotes from
http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/animal-quotes.htm

Palm Oil: Help Save Orangutans and Other Animals From Extinction

Help save Orangutans and other animals from extinction as a result of the irresponsible cultivation of palm oil.

palm-oil-plantation

I am sure you are aware of the environmental damage as a result of the cultivation of palm oil, in particular the loss of habitat for many animals including Orangutans who in countries such as Sumatra are under threat of extinction as their forest home is being felled and turned into oil palm plantations on a massive scale.

Below you will find more information and a number of suggested actions you can take. Please take as many as possible.

Firstly please sign and share the following petitions. All are simple requiring few details and just a click to sign.

Petition: Tell IOI to start protecting rainforests.

The first is an urgent petition from Green Peace who say the following about one palm oil company :

Indonesia: right now. Picture huge fires in swathes of beautiful rainforest. Imagine people and animals struggling to see, struggling to breathe, as a thick haze spreads.

During last year’s fires we forced big brands like Colgate to take rainforest destruction seriously – so we know that change is truly possible.

Together we’re going to win again – we’re going to show this palm oil predator, IOI, that the world has had enough. Are you in?

All the while, one palm oil company – called IOI – shrugs its shoulders and refuses to act, despite years of bulldozing rainforest and letting it burn.

IOI is a faceless palm oil company that keeps a low-profile (they have 86 followers on Twitter!) because they count on people being totally uninterested in their bad behaviour to get away with it. IOI thrives on secrecy and it’s up to us to expose it. If thousands of us add our names to this petition, IOI will know that thousands of pairs of eyes are watching them and they won’t be able to hide their forest crimes any more.

This petition is only the beginning; it’s part of a whole range of things we’re doing together across the world to challenge this company. Our investigators are already digging into IOI’s suppliers – finding yet more evidence of the company’s wrongdoing.

The industry is already turning against IOI. Last year half a million of us from a whole host of countries exposed big brands with an embarrassing palm oil league table and a whopping worldwide petition. As a direct result dozens of brands stopped buying from IOI. But now we need to stop this company’s shocking practices for good.

Fires are burning again in Indonesia and we cannot wait for IOI to change on their own. Please sign the petition now.

Petition to Tell IOI to start protecting rainforests.
https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/ioi?source=em&subsource=20160919foem01&utm_source=gpeace&utm_medium=em&utm_campaign=20160919foem01
  

More action to take and help support activists :
Click here to watch the action and send a message to IOI online

Petition From the Rain Forest Site

Save Our Planet By Putting An End To Unsustainable Palm Oil

“The habitats of iconic endangered species like tigers, orangutans, and rhinoceros are going up in flames, and being replaced with palm tree plantations.

Palm tree oil is one of the hottest commodities on the planet — it’s inexpensive, trans fat-free, and can be found in roughly fifty percent of all market products, according to Rainforest Action Network. But our excessive use of palm oil has come with a significant cost: the homes and lives of the most beautiful creatures on the planet.”

Please read more and sign and share the petition to tell the Indonesian government it’s time to end this madness. Ask President Joko Widodo and his environment & forestry minister Siti Nurbaya Baker to end these crimes against nature.

http://therainforestsite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/trs/petition/Indonesian-Fires?  –You will find more suggestions further down for actions you can take concerning palm oil and its disastrous effects on wildlife.

Petition: Orangutans – victims of “sustainable” palm oil

The wholesale destruction of rainforests on Borneo for the palm oil plantations of Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) is threatening the survival of orangutans. BGA is a member of the RSPO – the organization issuing the label for supposedly “sustainable” palm oil. Please call for a stop to deforestation and an end to palm oil imports NOW!

Please read more and sign and share this petition

Please call for a stop to the destruction of Borneo’s rainforests and the unbridled expansion of oil palm plantations.

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/914/orangutans-victims-of-sustainable-palm-oil

More information and other actions you can take

How This Baby Orangutan Feels About the Fact Their Population Might Be Extinct in 15 Years


orang1

“Listen up, people. See this super adorable baby orangutan? See his cute lil’ pout? And that hair? That hair! Blowing in wind. All innocent and cute. Well, if we humans don’t do something about deforestation and palm oil in the next fifteen years, this cutie and her family will no longer exist.”

Continue Reading:
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/how-orangutan-feels-about-extinction/  – includes actions you can take to help save orangutans

Sumatran Orangutans – on the edge of extinction

“The orangutans’ forest home is being felled and turned into oil palm plantations on a massive scale, logging continues even within national parks, and road networks divide the remaining forests into isolated fragments. Human-orangutan conflict is now frequent in farmlands, as orangutans raid crops in search of enough food for survival.”

Continue reading, includes Actions you can take to help Orangutans
http://www.orangutans-sos.org/orangutans/crisis?gclid=CPeIhvWMmssCFXMz0wod3LUIOw

Orangutan Project

“Indonesia is home to some of the most rich and biodiverse rainforest in the world.

It contains over 80 endemic species and some of the world’s most unique and iconic endangered wildlife such as the orangutan, elephant and tiger. “

Continue reading  also suggested actions such as Join the Palm Oil Resistance Movement
http://www.orangutan.org.au/palm-oil

Be sure to check out this page with information about buying palm oil free products:
https://www.orangutan.org.au/about-orangutans/palm-oil/buy-palm-oil-free/

While palm oil is an ingredient of so many things you consume or use it can seem like a daunting task to cross it off your shopping list but try to avoid if an alternative exists or the product is not vital or failing that buy from manufacturers that use a sustainable source – more about sustainable palm oil further down. I think it may put people off if it is suggested to avoid palm oil entirely which may be virtually impossible and as such may make it seem like the situation is hopeless.

Help to stop the destruction of habitat for the cultivation of palm oil by writing to manufacturers and food producers

Take Action

Where a product lists palm oil as one of its ingredients why not write to the manufacturer stating your objections and ask them to use another type of oil or use palm oil from a sustainable source

Here is an example of a letter to Sainsbury’s which sell products produced by palm oil from sustainable sources and also palm oil from unstainable sources,  – in other words grown on land from cleared rain forests, sources that result in deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and extinction.

Sample Letter it is better if you edit and use your own words if possible.

Hi

I have been buying your products for many years, and it has been a while since I checked out the ingredients.

However recently as a result of worldwide concern over the use of palm oil I decided to once again look at the ingredients and was shocked to find that in many cases these ingredients include palm oil.

Is your palm oil from a sustainable source?

If it is it might be an idea to indicate this on the packet, if it isn’t please consider switching to a sustainable source or using another type of oil.

I am sure you are aware of the environmental damage as a result of the cultivation of palm oil in particular the loss of habitat for many animals including Orangutans who in countries such as Indonesia are under threat of extinction as their forest home is being felled and turned into oil palm plantations on a massive scale: http://www.orangutan.org.au/palm-oil

I will only buy products if the palm oil comes from a sustainable forest.

Kind Regards

The more of us who write to retailers the better, let them know that you do not what palm oil in any of your products, public opinion can carry a lot of weight.

The contact details of all retailers are available on their websites. Don’t forget to check with less well known retailers and don’t assume that if a product is vegan or vegetarian that this means that the palm oil that they invariably use is from a sustainable source. 

You can read more about sustainable palm oil here:
http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php  – as you will read there are still problems with sustainable forest. The best solution would be not to grow palm oil at all.

However this is unlikely to happen in the forseeable future. Please therefore consider the following:

Should we boycott palm oil?

Palm oil is here to stay for the indefinite future. The vast majority is consumed in countries in Asia and the Middle East where rainforest conservation is a low priority and consumer demand for sustainable products is negligible. If the American, European and Australian NGOs fighting to save the rainforests call for a boycott, then the companies that use palm will have no incentive to purchase it from sustainable sources. After all, why would companies spend more money on sustainable palm if the people who care about sustainability aren’t buying it? That is why many NGOs argue that demanding and buying responsible palm oil will, over time, protect the remaining forests more than boycotting it will.

Continue reading:
http://theirturn.net/2015/04/02/sustainable-palm-oil/

Try to avoid palm oil or buy from sustainable resources only

Simply check the ingredients list

Here are a couple of lists of palm oil alternatives which many or may not be available in your country. When it doubt check with the manufacturer.

Borneo Orangutan Survival Austraila
http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.  – scroll down for a list of palm oil free or CSPO  (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) products

Rain Forest Foundation UK
http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/what-you-can-do/others-ways-to-support-us/be-an-ethical-shopper/ – has a pdf downloadable product guide you can keep with you

 

Thought Provoking Quote:When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all.

 

when the prefect order prevails....

This is one of a series of posts which includes a quote concerning human rights, animal rights, and the environment which will focus on anything motivating, uplifting or informative concerning these issues. Here is the first which includes an introduction:
Thought Provoking Quote

When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all. Leaders are capable and virtuous. Everyone loves and respects their own parents and children as well as the parents and children of others. The old are cared for, adults have jobs, children are nourished and educated. There is a means of support for all those who are disabled or find themselves alone in the world. Everyone has an appropriate role to play in the family and society. Devotion to public duty leaves no place for idleness. Scheming for ill gain is unknown. Sharing displaces selfishness and materialism.
Confucius

Confucius is China’s most famous and revered teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have influenced the civilization of East Asia. Though he fell from favour during the cultural revolution – at which time Chairman Mao Zedong declared that he Confucius belonged to the feudal age – and the Red Guards destroyed his grave, he is nowadays once again honoured and revered

Read More About this great Philosopher

“Confucius September 28, 551 – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history.

The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity.”

Read more
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius

Oh if only!  Who would not wish to live in the type of society which Confucius envisioned. I don’t agree with every thing that Confusion said and indeed I have not read his philosophy in any detail but the above for the most part describes an ideology for a better world.

Such noble ideals and aspirations seem so far removed from possibility, though they are for the most part the ideal. A real utopia , isn’t that want we all want? Who would not wish to live in such a society were its leaders are virtuous, where love and respect is universal, where all members of society are cared for including the sick, disabled, the elderly and children. Such ideology is far removed from the situation we have today in much of the world. When those who cannot care for themselves are regarded as a burden –  vilified and labeled as scroungers, workshy and skivers as is the case here in the UK – such high ideals seem but a dream. While millions die from want of food, clean water and medication, where both human and non human animals are exploited for the greed of the few such a society is difficult to envision.

While the most able and most wealthy continue to increase their riches and thrive at the cost of the most vulnerable, it seems as though our ethical progression is going backwards rather than forwards.

Thought Provoking Quote: The More Clearly We Can Focus Our Attention…

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Download larger sizes from my Flickr photostream:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/37177488@N06/18293424265/in/dateposted-public/

This is one of a series of posts which includes a quote concerning human rights, animal rights, and the environment which will focus on anything motivating, uplifting or informative concerning these issues. Here is the first which includes an introduction:
Thought Provoking Quote

Today’s Quote is from Rachel Carson

“Perhaps the finest nature writer of the Twentieth Century, Rachel Carson (1907-1964) is remembered more today as the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel than for her studies of ocean life. Her sensational book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers to all natural systems from the misuse of chemical pesticides such as DDT, and questioned the scope and direction of modern science, initiated the contemporary environmental movement.”

Read more:
http://www.rachelcarson.org/

More information
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Carson

More quotes from Rachel Carson:

“The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.”

“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
Read More:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/15332.Rachel_Carson

“How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”

“It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring little has changed despite an increased awareness of the detrimental affect of human activity as the earth that sustains our lives and the lives of all beings becomes more and more contaminated, polluted, poisoned and uninhabitable all because of the insatiable greed of the few and their increasing obsession with profit at the expense of us all.

 

The View From Outer Space – How Would Humans Appear Through Alien Eyes.

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Telescope Kepler-NASA

I often wonder if there are any sentient beings in the universe who have evolved to be naturally compassionate and ethical and who value all life and what they would think of our treatment of one another and the other species with whom we share this world.

Recently a fascinating report emerged concerning the possibility of intelligent life forms at the edge of the Milky Way.

Has Nasa’s Kepler Telescope spotted signs of alien life?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11937177/Has-Nasas-Kepler-Telescope-spotted-signs-of-alien-life.html

Bizarre Space Objects Could Be Sign of Alien Civilization
http://observer.com/2015/10/bizarre-space-objects-could-be-sign-of-alien-civilization/

All very exciting of course. It is unsettling to think that we may be alone in the cold vast universe and such a revelation that we are not would be earth shattering.

I hope that one day we have proof of the existence of extra terrestrial life. I also hope that whatever form this life takes it is an advanced intelligence not just technologically but ethically, in fact the main consideration for me would be their ethical progression which I hope would surpass ours – after all it couldn’t be much worse could it?

Today while sorting through my e-mail I have the usual inundation of requests to take action on behalf of animals, including the human animal. The human species of course is responsible for most of the suffering here on this earth for those weaker than himself, even his own kind and most certainly the other species with whom we share this world. Sometimes it can get depressing, I mean really depressing and the world feels as though it is a realm from some kind of alternate reality, a kind of hell dimension. To my mind the world is a seething mass of suffering of innocent defenceless beings – including other humans – their only crime is that they are weaker than their oppressors, those who determine what happens in the world, those who determine and condone the crime of genocide of millions of living beings both human and non human. Yes I know the word genocide is a word that if used correctly can be applied only to humans but I am going to apply it to animals along with the word holocaust which Charles Patterson suggests is an appropriate word to describe our treatment of non human animals. In his book “Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust” he compares how the Nazis treated their victims with how our modern societies treat animals.  The title is taken from Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer’s now familiar quotation: “In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” The Holocaust and indeed the genocide of the animals is on going and is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future.

I have often ask myself if an intelligent ethically progressive civilisation existed in the universe what would they think of the hell we have created here on earth. How would an observer from another world view the violence, exploitation and suffering that takes place on a massive and relentless scale as a result of actions by the dominant species. Would they wonder why so many people complied and never challenged the status que.  Would they be horrified that while millions of creatures suffered unimaginable torment, tortured and confined in factory farms or subjected to painful experiments, the majority of the dominant species looked the other way whilst claiming they loved animals yet doing nothing, even mindlessly condoning the atrocities by their silence or being thoughtlessly complicit as in the case of the consumption of the dead flesh of other sentient beings who were reared in these inhumane conditions. How would a morally advanced society view these appalling facts: Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans. More than 3,000 animals die every second in slaughterhouses around the world. Though ADAPTT , an ethical vegan organization established in 1996, estimates the numbers to be even higher with More Than 150 Billion Animals Slaughtered Every Year – click this link to see the numbers of animals killed worldwide by the meat, egg, and dairy industries since you opened the webpage. An estimated 115 million animals worldwide are used in laboratory experiments every year. Untold millions of helpless animals are killed each year for “sport” for example in the USA  More than 100 million animals are reported killed by hunters each yea

Would the observer question why those who were opposed to such either didn’t speak out or were so few in number that when they did little changed.Would they wonder why the vast majority where oblivious or indifferent or never questioned the pervasive evil that befell those weaker than themselves. Would they wonder why humans never questioned that meat was not a natural diet or that it was wrong to exploit animals for entertainment including the barbaric pass-time of the so-called “sport” of hunting and shooting. Would they be astonished that some people felt that it was a right of freedom to murder helpless animals for sport or why humans thought it right to murder en masse millions of helpless people in the insane massacre of warfare in the relentless quest for wealth and power under the guise of justice, defence and even peace.

Would a civilisation for whom warfare has been abolished from living memory or for whom such had never been part of their way of life be appalled at the numbers of people who have died during earth’s most recent conflicts let alone the untold millions who have died during these unrelenting periods of mass insanity since humans evolved. Over 60 million people were killed in WW11 about 3% of the 1940 worlds population  80 million of deaths from war-related disease and famine are included, it was the deadliest conflict in history. World War 1 resulted in the deaths of over 38 million casualties with over 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded.  The slaughter continues relentlessly such as for example a result of intervention by the USA 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars – this is among the examples from 37 countries.  Don’t forget of course the involvement of many of the USA’s allies including the UK which is always keen to intervene in conflicts, most notably in the middle east in recent years.

How would a moral alien species view our brutal history of destruction and genocide that continues today unabated. They would surely be horrified by the events of brutality and violence in our past , Genghis Khan, the crusades, the inquisition, slavery,  ethnic cleansing –  the Genocide of the Native Americans Civilizations, the Australian aborigines and so on and on right to the present day with the death toll increasing with the use of ever more destructive weapons with the loss of millions of innocent lives including those of other species who of course get caught up in the insanity. Here is a list that includes many of the atrocities man has perpetrated against his fellow-man.
http://listverse.com/2012/03/02/top-10-worst-moments-in-human-history/

How would they react to see the starving millions in a world of plenty, how would they comprehend the shocking reality that every single day 21,000 people, one every four seconds, die of hunger related courses. Would they be sickend to see emaciated children with withered limbs and swollen bodies who died of hunger with access only to unclean water. How would an ethical race of beings react to the shocking fact that many thousands more died each day from preventable diseases. Such as the children who die in their thousands from the want of available medication, vaccination, or even a simple mosquito net to protect against malaria – every 60 seconds malaria kills a child. Others lose their sight because they cannot access medication or suitable treatment which in some cases costs only about 50 pence, – according to sight savers There are 31.2 million people who are blind when it could have been avoided. While an ethically advanced civilisation might think the work of charities is commendable would they be dismayed that the provision of life’s essential was left to the generosity of the few rather than distributed as a basic human right. After all “While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”
Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah

In a just society there would be no need for charity

It would take some time to record all the atrocities, all the neglect, all the exploitation to animals both human and non human.

What would an ethical alien species think of the most powerful animal on the planet, namely human beings, the most controlling and self serving creature that ever walked the face of the earth. A powerful species determining and manipulating the lives of myriads of other species to suit his desire, even the very environment itself until seemingly obviously to his destructive agenda he hovers on the brink of extinction in the same way that his actions have brought countless other species to this untimely fate, but nevertheless relentlessly ploughs forwards hell bet on limitless acquisition at the expense of other beings even those of his own kind and the very earth itself as he plunders the ever diminishing resources.

Thanks to human beings the world is in the grip of the sixth extinction event.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.”

Read More:
Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/07/extinction-species-evolve

(The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources estimates that the animal extinction caused by human activity is more than one thousand times higher than the natural extinction rate with some pro-jections suggesting that this figure should actually be more like eleven thousand)

To Conclude:

The toll of human destruction, greed and exploitation is shocking but there are good people in the world.

A reminder that although it may seem that the good guys are outnumbered in this world their are many who care for other people and other animals.

Restore your faith in humanity in 4 minutes flat

Published on Jul 22, 2014

If you’re ever worried about losing faith in humankind, despair not: here is the antidote. Cue happy tears…

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

PLEASE SHARE for the good of humanity.

How to be kind to animals every day: http://animalsaus.org/t

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/faith-in-humanity-restored.php

Related Links

Sight Savers

http://www.sightsavers.org/what-we-do/

Unicef – Goal: Reduce child mortality

http://www.unicef.org/mdg/childmortality.html

Credit

Graphic

NASA Wikimedia
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Telescope_Kepler-NASA.jpeg

 

Fantastic News!!!! Monsanto is to Stand Trial for Crimes Against Humanity and Nature

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“How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”

“It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Monsanto on Trial for Crimes Against Humanity and Nature

“In an announcement made at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, Monsanto will stand trial for ecocide and crimes against humanity and nature.  The trial will take place next year at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands on October 16, 2016 (incidentally and aptly, on World Food Day).  Dozens of international food, agriculture and environmental justice groups, including: Millions against Monsanto, the Organic Consumers Association, Regeneration International and IFOAM Organics International—an umbrella organization of over 800 affiliated organizations in 100 countries, are involved in the legal action

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/monsanto-on-trial-for-crimes-against-humanity-and-nature.html#ixzz3tWkdO7mK

Finally this evil corrupt greedy corporation may be brought to justice for developing and selling deadly chemicals that poison the earth, wild life and of course ourselves and future generations. I hope that finally justice will prevail and this pernicious corporation will be made to pay for its vile crimes against nature. Why has Monsanto been allowed to indiscriminately spread its toxins, its time they were made accountable? Since 1960s with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring we have known about the damage to health and the environment by toxic chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides, yet not only does this contamination of our environment continue more and more toxins are added to the list. Colony Callapse Disorder a condition in which honeybees die, disoriented, far from their hives, a  threat to much of our food supply which must be pollinated by bees, has been linked to the use of pesticides. All in the name of profit for the few at the expense of the many. When will it ever end. When will we make a stand against these greedy self-severing corporations who care nothing for our world or its inhabitants including other species –  including you and I and future generations.

Be sure to read the following:

“Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Monsanto has developed a steady stream of highly toxic products which have permanently damaged the environment and caused illness or death for thousands of people. These products include:

 • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), one of the 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that affect human and animal fertility;

 • 2,4,5 T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a dioxin-containing component of the defoliant, Agent Orange, which was used by the US Army during the Vietnam War and continues to cause birth defects and cancer;

• Lasso, an herbicide that is now banned in Europe;

 • and RoundUp, the most widely used herbicide in the world, and the source of the greatest health and environmental scandal in modern history. This toxic herbicide, designated a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, is used in combination with genetically modified (GM) RoundUp Ready seeds in large-scale monocultures, primarily to produce soybeans, maize and rapeseed for animal feed and biofuels.

Relying on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” adopted by the UN in 2011, an international court of lawyers and judges will assess the potential criminal liability of Monsanto for damages inflicted on human health and the environment. The court will also rely on the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2002, and it will consider whether to reform international criminal law to include crimes against the environment, or ecocide, as a prosecutable criminal offense. The International Criminal Court, established in 2002 in The Hague, has determined that prosecuting ecocide as a criminal offense is the only way to guarantee the rights of humans to a healthy environment and the right of nature to be protected.”

Read More:
https://www.organicconsumers.org/press/global-food-farming-and-environmental-justice-groups-put-monsanto-trial-crimes-against-human

More quotes from Rachel Carson

“All this has come about because of the sudden rise and prodigious growth of an industry for the production of man-made or synthetic chemicals with insecticidal properties. This industry is a child of the Second World War. In the course of developing agents of chemical warfare, some of the chemicals created in the laboratory were found to be lethal to insects. The discovery did not come by chance: insects were widely used to test chemicals as agents of death for man.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
Rachel Carson

Credit

Graphic https://twitter.com/OrganicConsumer

Thought Provoking Video: The Lie we live

This powerful video shows us the awful reality of our existence, how we live our lives and how we treat the other creatures with whom we share this planet and the very earth itself.

The Lie we Live

 

This brilliant video by Spencer Cathcart more or less says what a lot of us already know. There are though many who continue to live their lives either in ignorance or with blind acceptance of the status quo.

Please spread awareness concerning the reality of our existence by sharing this video widely.
Without such awareness nothing will ever change. The Lie we Live echos what many of us know but cannot put into words. We often feel hopeless, powerless, depressed and isolated, this amazing video if nothing else will make you feel less alone.

We can all do something to change the world, every action counts, every action brings about change. I know that if we do not bring about change we the human race are doomed and will not survive.

Take Action

Someone once said:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

And that is the problem is it not. Either as a result of indifference or hopelessness people tend to give up and accept that nothing will ever change and as a consequence do nothing.

Here are a few suggestions

Write letters, sign petitions, demonstrate, boycott. Complain complain complain about injustice no matter where or who, human or non human and the environment.

Stop supporting big corporations that harm us, other animals and the environment. Buy local, fair trade and certified sustainable products. Replace toxic cleaning products that damage the environment and harm animals with natural products. Don’t use pesticides; the ubiquitous use of toxic herbicides and pesticides used not only by farmers but by gardeners and just about everyone else including your local council poisons our environment. These products are sold ad-lib in garden centres and sprayed indiscriminately by home owners as a matter of course with little consideration to the damage they do.

Change Your Diet – Go Vegan

One simple action you can take is change your diet. What you eat can have a far reaching effect. Stop eating meat.

Why go Vegan

For the sake of animals, other people, your health and the environment

Learn more and take the pledge:
https://www.vegansociety.com/try-vegan/why-go-vegan

We need a new society where everyone is equal, where everyone has enough not only for their material needs but to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. A society free from discrimination and exploitation, free from racism, sexism, specism or any other prejudicial distinction. Our only enemies are disease and death, not each other, its time to demand a better world for ourselves, future generations and the other animals with whom we share this planet. Most of the suffering in life is as result of other people, people who cannot see beyond their striving for power and their insatiable greed. We allow such people to destroy our lives, it has to stop. With the aid of the internet we can make a difference in a way hitherto not available to us. This is a unique time in our entire history when many more people by means of the internet have the opportunity to have their say. Regardless of the “right” education or qualification many of us can now speak out more than ever before, and even speaking out on-line helps to bring about change. Without the internet much of what is wrong with this world would not be known to us as a result of media bias and government manipulation. An example of this is right here in the UK concerning the governments’ treatment of sick and disabled people as a result of vicious and punitive welfare reforms which largely goes ignored by the media, yet is so appalling that the UN are investigating human rights violations as a result of these unfair changes to benefits and the affect it is having on the most vulnerable people in our society. As a result of the internet the true extent of the abuse of animals is brought to our attention and as a consequence many atrocities have been stopped as a result of public pressure via the Internet.

Every day take one small action to make this world a better place.

Read the script from the film:
http://theliewelive.blogspot.co.uk/

Related Links – other people’s comments on the video