31 December 2016 -News, Stories and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place

WITADA Top 1031 December 2016
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 
In this week’s Top 10 we feature stories from some of the issues that have dominated our year and some of our favourite sources as they look back on their work in 2016.


1. We begin our final Top 10 for 2016 with the refugee crisis, one of the most critical issues of this year. Throughout this year we have featured many stories focusing on the refugee crisis and particularly on the appalling off-shore detention policy of the Australian government. While there have been many critiques within Australian media, sometimes it’s useful to look at what other countries are saying and here The New York Times has a feature story about Australia’s detention system, the politics behind it and the story of a Kurdish man, Benham Satah, imprisoned on Manus Island.
And while we’re at it – this is one of our favourite articles on the refugee issue over the past year from The New Internationalist – Who is cashing in on keeping migrants out?
And, check out this hugely moving video from UNHCR, What They Took With Them, featuring some famous people reading out a poem written by Jenifer Toksvig and inspired by primary accounts of refugees. It is tragically moving.
Finally, SBS asks the question, How will Australia treat its refugees in 2017?


2. At the University of Western Australia a record number of Indigenous medical doctors have just graduated – and Vinka Barunga is hoping to return to her remote community to become the first doctor in the Kimberley town of Derby.
And while you’re wandering around the Net on this festive holiday, The Guardian has featured some Indigenous women’s art that is truly spectacular!! And check out Indigenous R&B boy band B2M (which stands for Bathurst to Melville). All the band members hail from the Tiwi Islands and they have just returned from Taipei’s Pulima Indigenous Arts Festival where they received a huge response to their music. Enjoy as you put your feet up to celebrate the New Year!


3. Medecins Sans Frontieres looks back on 2016 in pictures – and they are amazing and inspirational. “Whether you read it in the bravery and determination of MSF’s medical responses in South Sudan or Yemen; see it in the relief and trepidation on the faces of those rescued at sea in the Mediterranean; or feel it in the gentlest moment, between a mother and her daughter amidst heartache and turmoil in Nigeria; an unbeatable spirit of survival and care has prevailed in 2016.”


4. Human Rights Watch have collated their most read stories of 2016 and a snapshot of their most read tweets of 2016.


5. The end of another year is a good time to reflect on the environment and the state of climate change. The Conversation gives a sobering reports on the freakishly warm summers and the impact  on the Arctic including the animals and other critters that live there. And while we’re feeling somber – The Guardian reports that Australia’s emissions are rising and it is now unlikely that our emissions targets will be met in 2030.
The good news from the environment is that some states in Australia have banned single use plastic bags from 2018. Greenpeace is still working hard to encourage other states to do the same – please sign their petition if you have a chance.
Relatedly, Greenpeace has an important campaign to stop plastic pollution in our oceans. Apparently up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year and this story from CNN explores the issue in more detail. There is a pledge that you can sign to show your concern.


6. Amnesty International gives us an important reminder that 2016 wasn’t as bad as we might think with their 33 reasons to be positive about 2016! And in Australia the Amnesty crew have continued this vibe with their human rights wins of 2016. And there are also some powerful images from 2016 that Amnesty International has put together that are well worth a look.


7. You might have missed this story earlier this year so we are including it in our 2016 Top 10. The Guardian published a photo essay to mark the 8th anniversary of the apology to Australia’s stolen generation – ‘You’re Not Given Any Love: the stories of Australia’s stolen generation‘. It includes photos and stories of some of those who were taken as children.


8. UN Women has produced an interesting timeline of developments in international gender equality in 2016 – from Zimbabwe banning child marriage to more gender appropriate emojis, there have been some positive developments worth celebrating this year.


9. And if you’ve missed out on the big news in 2016 from the United Nations you can take 15 or so minutes to watch their video reviewing the major international events in 2016 from the conflict in Syria to climate change.


10. And this week we leave you with some home grown inspiration as we explore how each of us in our own individual way, might take action to make the world a better place. This post from WITADA is part of our series on Let’s Change the World. Sounds like a good idea to me! And keep an eye out for our New Year’s Day post tomorrow.


Thank you all so much for being part of our little project this year. I have loved preparing the Weekly Top 10 throughout 2016. Thank you for your support and kind words and we look forward to bigger things in 2017!