WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 28 February 2015

28 Feb 201528 February 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place.

We begin this edition of our Weekly Top 10 with a ‘green theme’ and explore ideas for upcycling, environmental activism and the year of soils! We also feature some concerning developments in Venezuela and Tim Wilson’s speech from the Human Rights Commission.

1. Simran Sethi is a journalist and educator and is in Australia to take part in WOMAdelaide festival in March. She is interviewed here about her work in sustainable design and the way that this can save the planet. She also discusses her new book – Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love.

2. Continuing the food theme, these beautiful pictures were commissioned by the World Food Program to share images of how people all around the world, many in impoverished countries, share food together. Photos were received from 32 countries and some of the images appear here.

3. Greenpeace has published an introduction to the idea of ‘Upcycling’ and 5 tips for upcycling in your home.

4. As we have previously mentioned, 2015 is the Year of Soils – a more important issue than we might at first realise. In this interview from New Internationalist, Vandana Shiva, a physicist from India, is interviewed about her work in environmental activism. She talks about the influence of the principles of quantum physics in her work, especially the principles of non-separability, potential, indeterminacy and uncertainty. She is particularly passionate about food security and ‘seed freedom’.

5. The United Nations Development Program has a feature article about the Canchayllo community in Peru where efforts to reduce the impact of climate change have had amazing results for the community. ‘The Water Gods’ is a great story with beautiful photography.

6. As you will be aware, land mines have continued to be a pressing issue in Cambodia. In this story, we hear about Prak Chrin from Battambang province who is now planting rice, corn and beans in fields recently cleared of land mines. The demining has taken years to complete with support from many international organisations all committed to “transforming a former battleground into a field of hope for the people there”. Not only are there benefits to the community through increasing opportunities for agriculture, but there are also far fewer casualties from landlines now – in 1996 there were 4,300 casualties recorded; in 2013 this was reduced to 111. But there is much more to do in Cambodia and other countries who continue to undertake the huge task of demining.

7. President Obama gave a speech this week to conclude three days of talk on violent extremism. While there has been praise for his words, there has also been criticism about the “juxtaposition between rhetoric and reality” – essentially the criticism is that the US was “advocating human rights and teaming up with human rights violators”. This issue speaks to the complexities of change within the political sphere.

8. There are serious concerns about human rights abuses in Venezuela after tensions between the government and opposition have escalated. These tensions have been a feature of life in Venezuela since the death of the former leader, Hugo Chavez two years ago. The UN has expressed their concern about the situation and is attempting to facilitate negotiations between the relevant parties.

9. There has been a lot of press this week about the Human Rights Commission. For a slightly different take on these issues in Australia, we are featuring the transcript of Tim Wilson’s speech. He is the sixth Human Rights Commissioner and he delivered this speech at the National Press Club on 18th February. Importantly, he talks about his role in developing the role of Commissioner for sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status issues (SOGII). He also addresses the outcomes of the 2014 Rights and Responsibilities consultation where Australians were surveyed about the human rights issues that mattered most to them.

10. In keeping with our slightly ‘green theme’, we are ending this week with photos of some absolutely beautiful art work by Spencer Byles. He spent a year in the nature making artwork that is part of the environment. A partnership in beauty between the artist and nature – what a way to end the week!

Thanks for popping along to read our Top 10 news and stories to make the world a better place!

Next week our Weekly Top 10 is published on the eve of International Women’s Day so we will be devoting the entire edition to women’s equality and featuring stories about some amazing women.
Look forward to catching up with you all then.