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amazonwatch
May 20th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

The Amazon basin, which spans across over 35 percent of the South American continent, is under attack by governments, corporations, and drug cartels that exploit its natural reserves for their personal benefit.

This results both in brutal human and land rights violations of indigenous populations that inhabit the forests, as well as in the acceleration of global warming, seeing as the Amazon constitutes a critical CO2 absorber and climate regulator.

Thus far, roughly 20 percent of the Amazon has already been deforested, and if deforestation and mining campaigns continue at their current pace, more than 50 percent of the basin could be lost or drastically damaged by 2020.

Environmental defenders - including journalists, activists, and local community members and leaders - face constant attacks across Latin America, as a confluence of governmental, corporate, and organized-crime forces try to shut them up.

Founded in 1996, Amazon Watch is a non-governmental organization working to protect the rainforest and defend the rights of indigenous populations living in the Amazon.

Amazon Watch collaborate with local indigenous and environmental organizations in their campaigns to promote human rights, corporate accountability, climate justice, and the conservation of the Amazon.

One of Amazon’s Watch main areas of focus is halting the destruction of the Amazon by partnering with local groups that challenged deforestation and mining projects of governments and corporations. Since their foundation, Amazon Watch have helped protect millions of acres of rainforest every year.

Another major objective of the organization is to promote “indigenous-led alternative solutions to climate change, natural resources extraction, and industrial development.” Amazon Watch endeavor to empower the leadership of local tribes, particularly the women amongst them, and enable them to independently advance their own eco-friendly development solutions in their native lands.

Additionally, Amazon Watch make it a priority in their work to promote climate justice by acknowledging and uplifting communities that so far experience the brunt of climate change (indigenous people and people of color), support activists who risks their lives, as well as hold bad actors accountable and bring them to justice.

To learn more about Amazon Watch’s work, obtain information about upcoming events, and pledge a donation, please visit their website.

Image credit: Amazon Watch

amazonwatch.org
rpc
May 20th, 2019
type:Donation, Protest, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Join Reclaim Pride Coalition’s alternative pride march in NYC this June

For years, pride marches across the globe have been tainted by corporate greed and government-pinkwashing, New York City’s legendary parade included.

As an alternative to the mainstream march, a grassroots organization called Reclaim Pride Coalition (RPC) will be conducting their own pride parade in NYC this coming June at the same time as the city’s official 2019 parade.

As officially announced by RPC last Tuesday, the parade will take place on June 30; the group will gather at Sheridan Square in the West Village at 9:30 AM, and march up 6th Ave. all the way up to Central Park, where they will hold a rally.

Unlike World Pride 2019, RPC’s Queer Liberation March will accept no corporate donations, include no corporate floats, and will be free from any police presence—in direct protest against NYPD’s frequent oppression of members of the LGBTQ community.

Speaking on behalf of RPC last Tuesday, activist Colin P. Ashley stated, “The current Pride parade is a corporate party that addresses none [of the issues the queer community faces]. We met repeatedly with them to return the march to the people, but they couldn’t see it. So we’re taking responsibility ourselves. And we’ve been thrilled by the reactions of unanimous support we’ve received by everyone we’ve reached out to.”

For more details about the march, please visit RPC’s website, where you could also pledge a donation and learn about their volunteer opportunities.

RPC meet every Wednesday at The People’s Forum in NYC (320 West 37th Street, 10018) to discuss the upcoming march as well as other LGBTQ-activism related matters. All are welcome to attend.

Image credit: Reclaim Pride Coalition.

reclaimpridenyc.org
alabama-abortion-women
May 17th, 2019
type:Donation
by:Yair Oded

Last Wednesday, Alabama joined 5 other states in effectively banning abortion, by instituting a ‘heartbeat law’, which prohibits the act of abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected (something that typically happens 6 weeks after conception and before most women are aware of their pregnancy).

While Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa and Mississippi already adopted ‘heartbeat’ laws, fourteen other states are currently attempting to pass similar bills. Currently, Alabama’s law poses the harshest restrictions - as it prohibits abortion once a heartbeat is detected even in cases of rape and incest, and stipulates that doctors who perform it may face up to 99 years in prison.

In 2019 alone, roughly 300 different anti-abortion bills have been introduced across the country. And while organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood have been actively challenging such laws in court, it is the hope of some right-wing lawmakers that one (or more) of those cases will make their way up to the Supreme Court, which, given its conservative makeup, may decide to overturn its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the U.S.

What takes place in the U.S. currently is an aggressive war by conservatives on women’s rights, health, liberty, and advancement. Using flimsy scientific evidence, proponents of ‘heartbeat’ bills manipulate the public and promote the oppression of women.

The Yellowhammer Fund is an Alabama-based organization that provides funding for women who wish to access care in one of the state’s three abortion clinics.

Founded in early 2018, the organization assists women facing financial hardships in accessing abortion services, as well as helps them with travel and lodging arrangements.

The Yellowhammer fund is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, and engages in, “collaborations, advocacy, and programming that further the goals of reproductive justice.”

Please consider donating to the organization, and contribute to the effort to empower Alabama’s women.

Image credit: Elijah Nouvelage for The Washington Post/Getty Images. 

yellowhammerfund.org
oxford university by change.org
May 07th, 2019
type:Petition
by:Murat Suner
org:change.org

Under the leadership of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, laws have been introduced which make homosexuality punishable by death.

These laws contravene international human rights standards set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which was ratified by Brunei in 2006.

Although due to international outrage, pressure, and boycott Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah recently extended a moratorium on the death penalty to cover the new legislation – other forms of penalty remain and the laws still violate human rights. 

In 1993 the University of Oxford granted Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah an Honorary Degree of Civil Law by diploma. Unlike the University of Aberdeen and King's College London, the University of Oxford have refused to consider rescinding this honour.

We agree with the initiators of the petition that it is not enough to simply support "international condemnation" of Brunei's new penal code and "back the United Nation's call to stop the code entering into force," as this requires no action by the University itself. 

Click the box below to sign this petition on Change.org.

change.org
headcount
May 06th, 2019
type:Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

HeadCount is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization which encourages participation in democracy through music.

Although across certain demographics numbers are increasing, voting registration remains low throughout the United States. 

In order to tackle this problem and encourage America’s eligible voters to take an active part in shaping their democracy, HeadCount attend music concerts and festivals across the country and stage information booths where people can learn about the importance of voting and register to vote.

Their ultimate goal is to “translate the power of music into real action.”

HeadCount operate through a network of volunteers, which currently stands at 20,000, HeadCount members. Thus far, they have successfully registered roughly 500,000 voters.

Their organization is endorsed and supported by numerous music and festival producers and promoters, as well as prominent musicians.

Visit their website to learn about volunteer opportunities at a music concert or festival near you.

Image credit: HeadCount.org

headcount.org
350
May 03rd, 2019
type:NGO, Petition, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Founded in 2008, 350.org is an international nonprofit organization working to promote the termination of fossil fuel dependency in order to protect communities across the globe from the effects of climate change.

The organization’s three main objectives are to encourage the quick and just transition to renewable, clean energy, halt all new oil, coal, and gas projects from being built, and divesting, desponsoring, and defunding all fossil fuel companies.

A core principle of the organization is to ensure that a transition to a greener world is carried out in a manner that uplifts communities around the world in an equal and fair way. Thus, the majority of their campaigns and initiatives are carried out on the local level.

Using an interactive map, people may learn about events, campaigns, and active branches of 350 in cities and communities across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. 350 help unite people in their local areas in order to pressure leaders and companies, and advocate for adoption of renewable energy and environmentally friendly policies as well as divestment from fossil fuel and polluting practices.

The organization also organize large-scale campaigns and petitions that hold companies and governments accountable for their funding of coal and fossil fuel companies and encourage them to opt for greener practices out of consideration for both human rights and the environment.

So whether you live in Berlin, Germany or Lagos, Nigeria, please visit 350’s website to learn about their chapters and ongoing campaigns in your local community.

Image credit: 350.org

350.org
pp
April 26th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

In 2017, an estimated 36.9 million people lived with HIV globally, including 1.8 million children.

And while in certain communities across the Western world available HIV prevention and treatment services help to curb the pandemic, the virus still wreaks havoc on populations around the world - particularly in low income and highly conservative countries and regions.

One of the main obstacles to fight against HIV/AIDS is the pervasive stigma around the virus and its carriers. In many countries and communities, the disease is associated with drug addiction, prostitution, and homosexuality - all of which are viewed as morally corrupt.

Regardless of the transmission method, however, individuals living with the virus face abhorrent discrimination in areas ranging from travel, employment, and education to treatment and healthcare.

Such stigmas do not only inflict undue pain and suffering upon HIV positive individuals, but also exacerbate the spread of the virus by discouraging people from familiarizing themselves with prevention methods and getting tested.

On this year’s World AIDS Day, Planned Parenthood launched their #LetsEndStigma campaign, which seeks to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS around the U.S. and across the globe. The campaign expands on Planned Parenthood’s ongoing effort to disseminate education around the virus and halt its spreading through increased knowledge as opposed to fear.

On their campaign website, Planned Parenthood state, “We provide access to prevention education, tools that reduce transmission, HIV testing, and links to care. And we use mobile technologies to educate underserved communities so that all people living with or affected by HIV can live long and happy lives, no matter where they live.”

It may take a while for some governments and institutions across the globe to abandon discriminatory HIV policies and provide quality prevention, testing, and care services. Yet the best way to expedite such institutional change would be to first educate communities and individuals about the reality of the virus.

Dispelling stigma on the local levels will eventually reverberate to the halls of power.

Please visit Planned Parenthood’s #LetsEndStigma page to learn about ways in which you can support their campaign and help spread their message.

Image credit: Planned Parenthood website. 

plannedparenthood.org
10094847976_ea9fc35fca_z
April 25th, 2019
type:Petition
by:Yair Oded

The Amazon forest is under attack.

With leaders such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and oil corporations combining their resources and might to raze forests and maximize profits—the Amazon and its indigenous dwellers are facing mounting threats. This tragedy does not only affect local populations in South and Central America, however, as the destruction of this natural treasure will bear devastating consequences on us all—wherever we are on the planet.

In Ecuador, the government authorized oil drilling in a territory of the Ecuadorian Amazon inhabited by the Waorani indigenous tribe, without their explicit consent. Members of the Waorani tribe then united and filed a lawsuit against the government for what they claim is an illicit encroachment into their territory.

While their case makes its way through the court system, members of the tribe formed the “Waorani Resistance” in collaboration with the Ceibo Alliance, an Ecuadorian indigenous non-profit, and the international organization Amazon Frontlines.

The Waorani Resistance launched an online campaign which details the reasons behind the tribe’s objection to the drilling, the negative effects such actions will bear on the environment, as well as circulated a petition that calls on the government to halt the drilling and protect the Amazon. Thus far, the petition collected over 73,000 signatures.

The Waorani may be those fighting on the frontline, but this battle concerns every human being in the world. As stated by the Resistance members on their website, “Although we live in the Amazon and many of you who read this live far away - together, we can achieve great things for the protection of our forests and our cultures, and the planet we all share.”

Please sign the petition and support the fight to preserve the Amazon.

Image credit: Crustmania via Flickr

amazonfrontlines.org
13941334759_841c831925_z
April 24th, 2019
type:NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

As the estimated 900 million eligible Indian voters cast their ballots in the four-week-long election process, reports mount regarding corruption that may heavily influence the results.

Specifically, efforts by prominent politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to allow big money to influence the campaign process seriously threaten the country’s already shaky democratic institutions.

Under Modi, an increasing number of restrictions were removed to allow dynasties and corporations to funnel money into political campaigns in India, thus increasing the likelihood of corruption and the erosion of public trust in the government.

The undermining of the current elections by money is merely a symptom of the prevalent corruption that has crippled the world’s supposed largest democracy.

Founded in 2004, Transparency International India (TII) is an India based non-governmental organization working to eliminate corruption from the country’s institutions on all levels.

TII conducts workshops, trainings, educational campaigns, and lobbying efforts to promote transparency and accountability by Indian politicians and government institutions.

One of the groups main efforts is to bring awareness of the issue to the masses and encourage citizens from all parts of the country (including both urban and rural areas) to demand access to services, knowledge, and self-governance tools. They place increased focus on the advancement of women and vulnerable communities, who are often hit hardest by the corruption of local institutions.

To read more about their mission, and learn about TII’s various volunteer and interning opportunities, visit their website.

Large-scale rejection of corruption must begin in the education of local communities and their active participation in transparent governance. TII seeks to make this goal a reality.

Image credit: Narendra Modi via Flickr

transparencyindia.org