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October 01st, 2018

Tell EPA ‘NO!’ to replacing Clean Power Plan

type:NGO, Petition
by:Yair Oded

In a bid to ease the Obama era restrictions on coal emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency has recently announced the abolishment of the Clean Power Plan and its replacement with what they titled the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. In essence, the new policy enables states to determine their own cap on greenhouse gas emissions, to the sheer delight of oil industry entities and politicians who benefit from their endorsements. The expected rise of CO2 emissions due to the new policy is sure to have a dire impact on both the environment and the health of millions across America (and ultimately around the world).  

The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to mobilizing individuals and communities against climate change, has recently launched a petition calling to abandon the EPA’s new policy and restore the standards set by Obama’s Clean Power Plan. “Add your name to fight back against the Dirty Power Scam – and demand that EPA puts people before polluters.” the petition reads.

Led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and CEO and President Ken Berlin, The Climate Reality Project currently operate in over 100 countries, where they are represented by over 14,000 leaders mobilizing communities. Across the U.S., the organization has over 80 activists chapters advocating for clean energy policies.Visit their website to learn more about their mission and work, sign the petition, learn what you can do to take action, or donate to their cause.
September 29th, 2018
Promote the right of all older people to lead dignified, healthy and secure lives.
type:Campaign, NGO
by:Murat Suner

Did you know how fast the world's population is aging? By 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10.

HelpAge International, a global network of organisations, set out to promote the right of all older people to lead dignified, healthy, and secure lives.

Their value-based position puts the experience of older women and men at the center of their work.

The organisation works with older women and men in low and middle-income countries, promotes better services and policies concerning their needs, and advocates for changes in the behaviours and attitudes of individuals and societies towards old-age.

The world HelpAge wants is one where every older woman and man, everywhere, can say:

"I have the income I need"; "I enjoy the best possible health and quality of life"; "I am safe and secure, free from discrimination and abuse", "My voice is heard".

Join or support their campaign by sharing their valuable work on the occasion of UN International Day of Older Persons October 1st, 2018. 

Image: (c) Sarah Hertzog/HelpAge
September 28th, 2018
Help the youth lead the fight against climate change!
type:Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

“We’re taking control of our future. Climate Change is our generation’s biggest challenge. Let’s take action.”

This is the slogan of Alliance for Climate Change (ACC), a non-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the youth about the science of climate change and encouraging them to take action. The organization provides extensive and engaging education programs and multimedia tools that acquaint the students with the facts and science behind climate change in a manner that ties them directly to the issues at hand, yet do so in a way that encourages a sense of “justice and optimism”. They also provide teachers with lesson-plans which provide guidance on how to incorporate climate change issues into the curriculum.

In addition to imparting knowledge and increasing awareness, the organization empowers students and teachers to take action and instructs them on how become ambassadors of change. The type of engagement and action promoted by ACC ranges from simple steps that are easy to incorporate into people’s daily routine to large scale mobilization of students and volunteer teams. Through various workshops and training programs, ACC give students the tool to become climate change leaders enact change in their local communities.  

Thus far, ACC have educated nearly 3 million students across the U.S. about climate change, facilitated 1 million student led climate change actions, and trained roughly 4,000 students to become climate change leaders.

Too often the narrative about climate change portrays the issue as a calamity that befalls us and which only world leaders and industry tycoons can tackle. That is not to detract from the responsibility of those in power to mobilize a large scale, policy backed, comprehensive shift in how they approach and handle human induced climate change issues. Yet, groups such as ACC and their work remind us that we, the dwellers of the earth, play a major role in both causing and fighting climate change. By educating the younger generation about the facts surrounding issue and the impact their daily habits have on the environment, ACC fosters a generation of conscious individuals who lead climate change action from within their communities.

Visit their website for more information on their programs, and to learn how you can become a climate change leader.
afghan surfing
September 11th, 2018
Support the documentary "Unsurfed Afghanistan"
type:Crowd Funding, Donation
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

"Unsurfed Afghanistan" is a documentary film that follows Afridun Amu in his quest to bring joy to his homeland- Afghanistan. Afri, a trained jurist, has spent much of his life searching the world’s coastlines for surf spots. This film accompanies him to his home country with just the same goal. Afghanistan, however, has no access to the sea. How, then, was Afri going to achieve his goal of bringing surfing as a joyful sports to landlocked Afghanistan?

With the help of experienced river-surfers, the team around Afri spotted locations no surfboard has ever touched. Through risky, agitated streams underneath a calm whitish looking river surface, broken roads, temperature swings, and cultural differences, Afri captures footage that unveils an almost mystical side of Afghanistan and its people. 

Afridun Amu established the Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan (WRAA) in 2012. Since, WRAA has hosted the first Afghan National Surf Competition in Portugal and joined the International Surf Association World Games.

Now the film's team needs your support to finish their work in a way that honors the mission. They are in need of funds for the post production in order to get the movie to the film festival circuit.

Please feel encouraged to follow the link on Kickstarter. There you may contribute to this film and help the team make the impossible possible.
September 10th, 2018
Support marriage equality in the Philippines
by:Yair Oded

The status of LGBTQ Filipinos has fluctuated dramatically over the past decade in the overwhelmingly Catholic country. Although pervasive and deeply rooted religious sentiments preclude complete equality of LGBTQ people in the Philippines, public opinion has nonetheless improved on the issue.

A 2013 Pew Research Center report reveals that roughly 70 percenty of Fiipinos believe that LGBTQ people should be accepted in society. In 2017, the House of Representatives passed a historic law which, now pending the approval of the Senate, seeks to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ Filipinos in areas of employment, health care, housing, and other public services.

When it comes to marriage equality, however, the public does not appear to be as supportive, with approximately 61% of the population opposing same-sex marriage.

In June, 2018, deliberations commenced in the Supreme Court regarding a 2015 petition submitted by an openly gay Filipino lawyer named Jesus Falcis, which seeks to alter the Constitution’s Family Code to allow for same sex marriages.

It remains unclear whether the Supreme Court will side with the majority Catholic public, which seems more accepting of a civil union but not of marriage between same-sex couples, or with the growing lobby in the country clamoring for complete equality of LGBTQ people under the law.

A petition launched by Marriage Equality PH is seeking to pressure the Supreme Court in the Philippines to amend the constitution to permit same-sex marriage and join Taiwan in spearheading the transition towards marriage equality and LGBTQ tolerance in Asia.

Sign the petition today and raise your voice in support of LGBTQ Filipinos! Every signature counts!
Students From A Maryland High School Organize Walkout And March On Capitol Demanding Gun Control Action From Congress
September 07th, 2018
Say NO to arming teachers in the U.S.
by:Yair Oded

Gun violence has spiraled out of control across America in the last two decades. Schools have been particularly vulnerable, with dozens of shootings taking place in educational institutions in recent years. So far in 2018, school shootings average at roughly one per week.

However, in responding to the tragic loss of innocent lives at schools, the current administration proposed to increase the proliferation of arms in educational institutions by arming teachers. Essentially, the President of the United States and his aids are seeking to end the cycle of violence by potentially inciting more violence, suggesting that arming school teachers will “instantly” solve the problem.

Such absurd and and dangerous sentiments were echoed by members of the National Rifle Association, who seconded the president and maintained that requiring teachers to bear arms is the most efficient way to guarantee students’ safety.

Everytown For Gun Safety, an organization committed to combating gun violence, has launched a campaign seeking to keep guns out of schools and torpedo the administration’s attempt to arm teachers.

In addition to signing the petition, one could visit Everytown For Gun Safety's website, and find information regarding upcoming events and campaigns, as well as guidelines and instructions on how to get involved locally to tackle gun violence, both in schools and in general.

Image credit: EVERYTOWN For Gun Safety
September 06th, 2018
#BringHerBack to the EU!
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The hastag #BringHerBack is circulating currently on Social Media. It was created by Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Poland. The woman who must be braught back is Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

Lyudmyla has been living in Poland for ten years now, being married to a Pole for five. Since her husband started protesting publicly against the politics of the ruling party PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość - Law and Justice), the difficulties started: the authorities performed numerous audits on Lyudmyla’s Open Dialog Foundation - an NGO defending human rights in post-Soviet states. The government’s motion to place the foundation under receivership was denied by a court and the audits had no outcome.

The next drastic step was to expell the young woman from the country by entering an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS), resulting in immediate deportation from the Schengen zone. The method and circumstances in which it was done, raise serious concerns of infringement of the European treaties by Poland.

A petition against Lyudmyla Kozlovskas ban from the Schengen zone on was first signed by Wałęsa last week. Today it counts 28.800 signatures.

Feel encouraged to support Lyudmyla in her right to return home to the EU, allowing her to reconnect with her family in Poland, as well as continue the work of her human rights foundation on EU territory without the risk of future deportation - help to #BringHerBack!
September 05th, 2018
Separated migrant children still need your help!
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

The court imposed deadline to reunite migrant children and parents separated by the U.S. government’s zero tolerance policy had passed over a month ago. Yet, more than 500 migrant children remain in government-contracted shelters with no prospect of seeing their parents in the foreseeable future (either because the latter have yet to be located, failed to pass background checks, or were already deported).

Even those who already were reunited with their parents are often held in detention facilities under harsh conditions, and have to cope with the anxiety surrounding their parents’ looming deportation. Parents facing immediate deportation are torn between taking their children with them or leaving them behind to try and fight for their chance for a future in the United States.

It is crucial that the public and media remain attuned to the devastating plight of separated migrant families, and pressure the authorities to drastically improve the treatment they’re afforded, ensure their ability to properly lodge asylum claims, and reunite children with their parents.

In the meantime, there are several ways in which you can help.

The Young Center for Migrant Children Rights  is an organization advocating on behalf of migrant children, including those who are currently separated from their parents. Visit their website to learn more details about the reality and conditions of separated migrant children. They also offer numerous volunteer opportunities (including organized visits to meet with detained migrant children and opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their services), information on how to contact one’s local representatives and pressure them to take action, as well as an option to donate.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is an organization that works tirelessly to reunite migrant families and provide them with proper legal representation as they face the lengthy and intricate immigration proceedings. Visit their website to learn about volunteer opportunities they offer or make a donation if volunteering is not a viable option for you.
September 05th, 2018
End gay conversion therapy in the U.S.
by:Yair Oded

Despite being proved as harmful and destructive, “ex-gay therapy” is, unfortunately, alive and well across the United States. According to a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, at least 22,000 LGBTQ youths in the U.S. will undergo conversion therapy before the age of 18. This type of ‘therapy’, which aims to convert LGBTQ people into straight, has been shown to have catastrophic repercussions, ranging from anxiety and severe depression to suicide.

Alarmed by the prevalence of such dangerous “therapy”, several states have already banned its practice by state-licensed therapists for people under 18. California spearheaded the wave in 2012, and has since been joined by 11 other states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 40 municipal bans are being reviewed and deliberated on by local jurisdictions in states across the country.

Alas, in over 30 states, including liberal New York, ‘ex-gay therapy’ for minors is still practiced and is perfectly legal.

A momentum is currently building to pressure legislators to ban gay conversion therapy, as over 50 bills and resolutions are circulating through 24 states, and public awareness is being increasingly drawn to this pressing issue.

A petition launched by Max Johnson at seeks to utilize this growing momentum and push the remaining 75% of states to outlaw ‘ex-gay therapy’.

Please consider joining the 27 thousand people who have already signed the petition, and raise your voice against gay conversion therapy.  

While such bans and regulations don’t prevent religious or spiritual advisers (who are responsible for the majority of ex-gay therapy cases in the U.S.) from providing such sinister services, it will nonetheless reduce the amount of youths that are subject to conversion therapy, and further erode the tragic misperception that being LGBTQ is something one is ought to be cured from.

Image credit:
September 03rd, 2018
Help fighting racism in Eastern Europe
type:NGO, Project
by:Yair Oded

As waves of migrants and asylum seekers continue to arrive in Europe, racism and xenophobia intensify among local populations whose fears are exacerbated by populist politicians and owing to a lack of knowledge of the root cause of the migration crisis.

In Eastern Europe, the rising hatred towards North African and Middle Eastern migrants ties directly to deep-rooted racist inclinations that afflicted this part of the continent for many decades, arguably due to religious zeal and lack of ethnic diversity.

NEVER AGAIN, a Poland-based ‘anti-racism’ organization made dispelling hatred and promoting tolerance its primary mission. Founded in 1996, the organization operates across Poland, as well as in other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, in an attempt to “ promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society.” NEVER AGAIN’s objectives are raising awareness of racism (among both local populations and internationally), and formulating a strong movement to tackle and eliminate xenophobic sentiments from all spheres of life in Eastern Europe.

The organization’s two primary areas of focus are eradicating racist tendencies among the youth through pro-tolerance education and tackling xenophobia in football stadiums (which proves to be a dire plague across Eastern Europe).

The organization provides periodic reports to both local and international media outlets and journalists regarding trends of racism in Eastern Europe, and organizes fairs, events, football matches, and workshops aimed at promoting tolerance.

Supporting local organizations, such as NEVER AGAIN, that focus on educating the young generation and inspiring them to renounce racism, is an effective way to tame the wave of xenophobia raging across the Western World.

Visit NEVER AGAIN’s website to learn about their ongoing projects and programs, help spread the information they compile on trends and manifestations of racism, and donate to their cause.

Image credit: NEVER AGAIN