11 June 2016 – News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

WITADA Top 1011 June 2016
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s Top 10 our ‘must see’ story features a recent speech by Michelle Obama. As well this week we look at a new documentary about Syria, why we aren’t as ethical in our shopping as we might like, sexual violence issues around the globe, the argument for a universal income, and lots lots more!


1. We recently featured a speech from President Barak Obama as our ‘must see’ story and this week we’re featuring Michelle Obama’s speech to a graduating class of the City College of New York. You can watch the actual speech here. Maybe one day we’ll have a repeat of the Clinton-sharing-Presidency idea and Michelle Obama might one day be President of the United States!!


2. The New Yorker, in collaboration with ‘Field of Vision’ has released the documentary ‘The Journey’ produced by filmmaker Matthew Cassel. It depicts the journey of Aboud Shalhoub, a Syrian jeweller as he attempts to flee his country via Turkey. The documentary is in several parts and well worth watching.


3. Most of us already know that so far this year we have not done a good job of caring for those who have been displaced by war and civil conflict. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has stated that so far this year some 2510 lives have been lost from shipwrecks and capsizing as opposed to 1855 for this same time last year. And Amnesty International has just released a new report into the numbers of displaced people in Afghanistan – ‘My Children Will Die This Winter: Afghan’s broken promise to the displaced’. In the report they state that in 2013 there were 500,000 displaced people and in 2016 the number has more than doubled to 1.2 million.


4. The University of Tasmania has asked people what stops them from being an ethical shopper. It seems that many people, 30% of Australian consumers, say that they will buy ethical products but in reality it’s only about 3%.


5. The issue of sexual violence has been dominant in the media this week with the highly publicised Stanford case. The victim of the sexual assualt made an amazing statement about her experience that is well worth the read, if you haven’t already. Social media played a very active role in the public attention and perception of the case and The Conversation has a look at the ways the social media can give voice to victims. Also as a result of this publicity TEDX has provided a playlist of some really important TED Talks about this issue – ‘Sexual Violence is a Global Issue’. And finally (for now) on this issue, there is some good news, with Brazil and Argentina uniting in their protests against a culture of sexual violence in their countries.


6. That old issue of a universal income has risen it’s head again with Swiss voters recently deciding against a proposal to grant every Swiss person a basic income. There is an interesting TED talk by Rutger Bregman exploring these issues and the New Internationalist also has a recent article suggesting that the time has come to introduce a basic income. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be an area for debate in the upcoming Australian Federal election!


7. And speaking of the Australian Federal election (2 July), Amnesty International has a list of 10 things candidates should do to make human rights a priority at this election including giving Indigenous kids a fair go, doing our bit to help people find refuge, letting Australian people marry who they love, taking a stand against the death penalty, working to end violence against women – and quite a bit more. Wouldn’t that be lovely?! Also, the ABC has a feature story about how young people think the country should be run – there’s some pretty good ideas here. Maybe we should just hand it all over to them!!


8. There is a water crisis in Canada but its impact is restricted to First Nation families. Human Rights Watch argues that “the water on which many First Nations communities in Canada, on lands known as reserves, depend is contaminated, hard to access, or toxic due to faulty treatment systems”. Their recently released report, ‘Make it Safe: Canada’s Obligation to End the First Nations Water Crisis’ is an important read with implications for Australia’s treatment of Indigenous people too.


9. Portugal has been able to keep the lights on across the country for four days just from sourcing renewable energy alone. This includes solar, wind and hydro power. And this comes on the back of Germany announcing that it had powered the majority of its energy needs using clean energy for a whole day.


10. And here’s some more good ‘energy’ news to leave you with this week. It seems that Norway is the first country in the world to make a definite plan to ban the sale of petrol powered cars. And it’s going to happen in 2025. Good on you Norway!


Great to have your company this week. Don’t forget to let us know whether you like our regular posts and to share them with your friends! See you all next week.