18 November 2017 – News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

18 November 2017
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place.


In this week’s Top 10 we celebrate marriage equality, and look at food wastage, activism and kindness!


1. It was a happy day in Australia on Wednesday this week as the results of the postal vote on marriage equality were announced. Over 79.5% of the population voted and of them, 61.6% said YES! Here’s some snaps of the celebrations around the country as the announcement was made.


2. And it’s more good news – this time from the UN climate summit in Germany where 19 nations have committed to phasing out coal – and doing it quickly! The Guardian reports that this signals “the end of the dirtiest fossil fuel that currently provides 40% of global electricity”.


3. There are ongoing fears for the future of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as the rate of deforestation in Queensland increases. This important article from The Guardian is worth a read.


4. In 2014 the Obama administration instituted a ban on the importation of body parts from African elephants that were killed for sport. Now the Trump administration has overturned that ban encouraging more game hunters to kill these vulnerable animals. Stay tuned for petitions and other things you can do to protest.


5. Although it’s good news, potentially, for LGBTIQ people (and everyone else who believes in fairness and justice) in Australia, the news is not so great in some other parts of the world. In China conversion therapy is still offered for gay and lesbian people in public and private hospitals. Human Rights Watch have just released a new report, ‘Have You Considered Your Parents’ Happiness?’: Conversion Therapy Against LGBT People in China’.


6. Interested in poverty throughout the world? It’s well know that more women live in poverty than men however the complexities of that are less well know. Now UN Women and the World Bank have just released a new report analysing household survey data for 89 countries “by sex, age, household composition and other relevant variables to better understand the profile of the poor”.


7. 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year. Why? Well Tristram Stuart tells us in his wonderful TED talk on the Global Food Waste Scandal. But the main reasons – cosmetic, consumer’s expectations of the volume of food available, our attitudes to food (more than we really need!). This is a really great TED talk and there is a mini one too if you don’t have time for the full one!


8. This is an interesting article on activism and the idea that traditional ways of agitating for change are no longer effective. Several key activists are interviewed – Micah White organised the Occupy Wall Street movement, Sarah Corbett who runs the Craftivist Collective, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. Their conclusions – “If, by seeing things, people are impelled to take action themselves, and they are helped to find out how to take that action themselves, then change can result.So, the future of effective, meaningful activism looks likely to be less aggressive, less about personal experience and more about targeted and defined objectives.
Technology will enhance its effectiveness, but physical commitment and effort will be needed to underpin its success.”


9. Great things are still happening in Canada! Biko Beauttah is a transgender woman who arrived in Toronto as a refugee from Kenya 11 years ago. Now she’s hosting a job fair focusing on transgender and gender nonconforming people and their role in the workforce. Lots of big employers like the Canadian Armed Forces, Indigo and the Toronto-Dominion Bank have put their hands up to participate.


10. The Wall of Kindness in Beirut was set up by a group of concerned, and kind, community members (who want to remain anonymous). It provides a place for people to leave clothing and other items that people may need. Many children who work the streets, and are Syrian refugees, have benefited greatly. “It is a testament to our faith in human kindness. This is by the people for the people.”


Thanks for checking out our Top 10 this week. See you next week.