NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE is where Readers and Friends can add the passion of their own concerns 

 

AUTUMN 2020 INCLUDES ….  

 

There are many examples of individual’s positive WAKE-UP words and actions.

Here’s examples reaching us from national and international sources.

 

 Growing Health and Wellbeing in British prisons – Since 2019, Bonnie Welch has been working with staff at HMP Bristol on a ‘Greener Prisons’ project, linking education with horticulture and gardening.

Plastics pushed in Africa a lobby group has been pushing a US-Kenya trade deal to expand the plastic and chemical industry across Africa.

Young artists –  United Nations High Commission for Refugees asked youth to draw in solidarity with refugees and the pandemic -animating the chosen 7 out of 2,000 drawings.

Agricultural training begins in Madagascar – report from Health and Harmony of a new seedling nursery as part of sustainability for the villagers.

Who trained over 200 activists in just 2 weeks ? In People and Planet’s big summer event, Power Shift, we trained over 400 student organisers across 31 events in just 2 weeks !

Huang-Yung-Fu – the 96 year old painter who saved his village – one person CAN make a difference no matter what age ….. even at 96 !

 

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Growing health and wellbeing in British prisons

Since the start of 2019, Bonnie Welch has been working with staff at HMP Bristol on a ‘Greener Prisons’ project, linking education with horticulture and gardening.

In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that spending time in green spaces can benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has backed the expansion of ‘social prescribing’ – a growing NHS movement – which includes recommending activities such as gardening and outdoor sports as alternatives to medicine. In Japan, the practice of ‘forest bathing’ is believed to prevent illnesses including cancer, depression, anxiety and stress. Food growing and gardening have also been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing.

For many of the 79,600 inmates in prisons across the UK, mental health is a serious problem. A report by the House of Commons calls the record high numbers of self-inflicted deaths and incidents of self-harm ‘a damning indictment of the current state of mental health of those in prison and the prison environment overall,’ and says improving mental health ‘is an essential step to reducing re-offending and ensuring that those who are released from prison can rebuild their lives in the community.’

READ MORE HERE – Sustainable Food Trust

 

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Oil-backed trade group lobbying Trump administration to push plastics across Africa

A lobby group representing oil and chemical companies, including Shell, Exxon, Total, DuPont and Dow, has been pushing the Trump administration during the pandemic to use a US-Kenya trade deal to expand the plastic and chemical industry across Africa.

Documents obtained by Unearthed show the same lobby group – and the US recycling industry – also lobbied against changes to an international agreement that puts new limits on plastic waste entering low- and middle-income countries.

Several of the companies in the American Chemistry Council (ACC) – including Shell, Exxon and Total but not BP – were the founders of a $1bn initiative that pledges to create “a world free of plastic waste”.

In public letters to top officials at the US Trade Representative and US International Trade Commission, the ACC writes: “Kenya could serve in the future as a hub for supplying U.S.-made chemicals and plastics to other markets in Africa through this trade agreement.”

The letters also call for the lifting of limits on the waste trade, a move which experts say amounts to an attempt to legally circumvent the new rules on plastic waste, rules which – the documents reveal – the firms had also vigorously opposed.

Kenyan environmentalists said the proposals would mean that “Kenya will become a dump site for plastic waste”.

Oil-backed trade group is lobbying the Trump administration to push plastics across Africa

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Young artists drew a world where kindness defeats COVID-19 – We animated it !

Faida in Rwanda submitted this drawing, called ‘Rain of Love’, for UNHCR’s Youth with Refugees Art Contest.

UNHCR asked youth to draw in solidarity with refugees amid the pandemic. We received 2,000 drawings from 100 countries, chose seven and brought them to life as animations.

SEE THE ANIMATIONS HERE  – Young artists drew world kindness defeats covid19

 

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The ASRI conservation team constructed a new seedling nursery in the village of Pangkalan Jihing!

This village is approximately 4.5 hours from the ASRI Medical Center in Sukadana. Patients in the area can store the seedlings they will use as non-cash payment for healthcare services in the new nursery while waiting for ASRI staff to collect them. The nursery is also a place for former loggers participating in Chainsaw Buyback to store the 500 seedlings they will collect in exchange for economic assistance through our COVID-19 Stimulus Fund.

 

 

The new nursery can hold 150,000 seedlings. After its construction, patients and community members contributed an initial 985 seedlings – enough to pay for dozens of clinic appointments!

 

 

 

 

READ MORE HERE – Health in Harmony  – rainforests and communities

 

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Who trained over 400 activists in just 2 weeks ?


We did! In our big summer event, Power Shift, we trained over 400 student organisers across 31 events in just 2 weeks!

We did it all online, we did it all at 0 cost to participants, and we did it for students all across the UK, Ireland, and the rest of the world too.

It’s been a challenge converting such a holistic and intense physical event into a digital space, but the safety and comfort of our network is always our number one priority, and it enabled us to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by a digital event.

READ HERE ABOUT  – People and Planet

 

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Huang Yung-Fu, the 96-year-old painter who saved his village

 

His history, moreover, is quite particular. Huang Yung-fu is a man of Chinese origin, a veteran of the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945), which later turned into the Second World War. He was born outside Guangzhou, China, and in 1937, he left home as a 15-year-old boy to fight the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese War.  After World War Two, Huang joined the fight against Mao Zedong’s Communist government as the Chinese Civil War raged on back home. But when the Nationalist Party was defeated in 1949 and Zedong created the People’s Republic of China, Huang and two million other troops and their families followed its Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, as he fled to Taiwan. Along with him, in this area, there were about 1200 other families, who animated the place with an intense social life.

As time passed, however, the younger ones began to emigrate, and the elderly to die. Unmarried and with no family in Taiwan, Huang had nowhere to go and so, he remained until he was the last resident left.

Plausibly, the Taiwanese government asked the man to change housing, but the idea of abandoning the only place he could call “home” tormented him, so the soldier picked up a paintbrush. First came the little bird in his bungalow. Then some cats, people and aeroplanes. Soon, his colourful creations began to spill outside and onto the village’s abandoned buildings and streets, that were now uninhabited, giving a first form to a work that in the following 10 years would become something monumental. Today, 10 years later, “Rainbow Grandpa”, as it is known on the web, is a celebrity.

One night in 2010 as Huang toiled away under the moonlight, the student from nearby Ling Tung University stumbled upon the ageing artist and learned of his solitary battle to stave off the government’s bulldozers one brush stroke at a time. After snapping a few images of Huang’s concrete canvas, the student started a fundraising campaign to purchase as much paint for Huang as possible and launched a petition to protest the settlement’s demolition.

“People were amazed at this artist’s passion and touched by students trying to help an old man,” said Andrea Yi-Shan Yang, chief secretary of Taichung’s Cultural Affairs Bureau. “As news of ‘Grandpa Rainbow’ spread, it soon became a national issue. He had our entire society’s attention and compassion.”

 

Today the village has become a monumental work of street art, visited every year by thousands of people, with the Taiwanese government committing itself to keeping alive the work of Huang Yung-fu, avoiding razing a small piece of Taiwan history.

 

 

SEE HERE  – HUANG YUNG-FU’S VILLAGE PAINTINGS 

 

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