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Monday, January 30, 2012

ASK SHARAD PAWAR TO PROTECT OUR FISH RESERVES



ASK SHARAD PAWAR TO PROTECT OUR FISH RESERVES
We need to act before our seas are damaged beyond repair and the fish stock is over.
Illegal fishing practices are exhausting our fish stock and degrading our marine environment. This is threatening the livelihood of fishing communities as well.
The agriculture ministry, in charge of fisheries, can put an end to this. The agriculture minister Sharad Pawar needs to regulate industrial fishing in our seas.
You should ask agriculture minister Sharad Pawar to manage India’s fishing reserves sustainably because livelihoods depend on them.
http://www.greenpeace.in/take-action/save-our-oceans/esperanza-in-india.php
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza will be in India to keep an eye on the destructive and illegal fishing practices in our oceans. You can be on this voyage. All you need to do is get more and more of your friends to sign this petition.
How do you get on to the ship? One of the top five people, who get the highest number of friends to sign this petition, get to go on the Esperanza.
More people will help put pressure on Minister Sharad Pawar to act. At the same time it will help you get on-board the Esperanza. Sign the petition and ask your friends to sign it as well.
http://www.greenpeace.in/take-action/save-our-oceans/esperanza-in-india.php
Fishing doesn't have to be a dirty word. Do it sustainably.
Thanks a billion!

Picture of Areeba Hamid
Areeba Hamid
Oceans Campaigner
Greenpeace India

PS: Greenpeace is an independent organisation funded by individuals like you. To strengthen this campaign we need to build a broad support in a very short time. You can make a contribution as low as Rs 200 to help this work. Click here to chip in.
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Please send all feedback to ocampaig@greenpeace.org Greenpeace India, #60 Wellington Street, Richmond Town, Bangalore 560025

Sunday, January 29, 2012

iPhone suicides


Change.org
Tell Apple: Immediately improve working conditions at factories that make iPhones and iPads
Sign the Petition
According to the New York Times, workers at a factory in Shenzhen, China, owned by Foxconn (a company that manufactures iPhones, iPads and other devices for Apple) regularly work sixteen-hour, seven-day work weeks.
They stand until their legs swell and they can’t walk, and they perform repetitive motions on the production line for so long that some permanently lose the use of their hands. To cut costs, managers make workers use cheap chemicals that cause neurological damage. There has been a rash of suicides at the Foxconn plant, and 300 workers recently threatened to jump off the roof over a safety and pay dispute.
In short, as one former Apple executive told the New York Times"Most people would be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from."
Mark Shields, a self-described member of the "cult of Mac," started a petition on Change.org demanding Apple exert its influence on its suppliers to improve working conditions for the factory workers that make iPhones, iPads and other Apple products. Click here to sign Mark’s petition right now.
Apple knows it can play an important role in ensuring safe and fair working conditions for the workers at its suppliers, like Foxconn. In 2005, the company released a supplier code of conduct, and it performs hundreds of audits each year in China and around the world to confirm its suppliers are meeting the code’s expectations.
But that’s where Apple’s commitment falters: the number of supplier violations has held steady year to year and Apple hasn’t consistently publicly stated which suppliers have problems or dropped offending suppliers.
The bottom line, Apple executives admit, is that they’re not being forced to change.
One current executive told the New York Times that there’s a trade-off: "You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories," he said, or you can "make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards. And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China."
That means public pressure is the only thing that can force Apple to ensure its suppliers treat workers humanely. If enough people sign Mark’s petition -- and tell Apple they care more about human beings than they do about how fast the company can produce the next generation iPhone -- the company could be convinced to make real change for the workers at Foxconn and other factories.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Amanda and the Change.org team

P.S. Every week, thousands of people start petitions about issues they care about on Change.org. Here are some that need your support now:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An outpouring of support.





  
   
  
The U.S. Supreme Court was lit up in one of hundreds of protests nationwide on the anniversary of the Citizens United decision.



Call your Representative at 202-225-3121 and urge her or him to co-sponsor the People’s Rights Amendment (H J Res 88).
What a week it’s been! Over the past several days, an estimated 10,000 people have shown up in person to participate in more than 300 events nationwide, calling for an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to over-rule the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. 

And that’s not all.  Check out these other amazing milestones from the past week:
  • 1,000 businesses joined our call for an Amendment to overturn Citizens United, and we publicized this along with our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council.
  • Our co-founder, Jeff Clements, and Congressman Jim McGovern, the original sponsor of the bi-partisan People’s Rights Amendment, had an Op-Ed published in the Boston Globe.  The full text is below.
  • The People’s Rights Amendment, which will end corporate personhood as well as overturn Citizens United, now has 19 co-sponsors in Congress.  (See below for the list.)
  • We welcomed thousands of new members to our campaign.
If you haven’t already, we urge you to call your Representative in Congress, at 202-225-3121, and urge her or him to co-sponsor the People’s Rights Amendment (H.J. Res 88).*  

Thanks so much for being part of this historic campaign to restore American democracy to We, the People.

Sincerely,

- John

John Bonifaz, Executive Director
Free Speech For People
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

* That is, unless your Rep. has already co-sponsored it.  Here’s the list of those who have:

Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC),  Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Gene Greene (D-TX), RaĂșl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), John Olver (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

** The picture in the box above is reprinted from The Other 98%.

P.S.: Here’s the text of the Boston Globe Op-Ed by Jeff Clements and Congressman McGovern.
‘We the People’ can overturn Citizens United

The Boston Globe

EDITORIAL by JIM MCGOVERN AND JEFF CLEMENTS
January 21, 2012

THE FIRST three words of the preamble of our Constitution are “We the People.’’

Two years ago today the US Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission upended that promising vision. Corporations — which do not have mouths, minds, or consciences — won a “free speech’’ right to spend unlimited money to influence elections.

The court cast aside a century of law intended to prevent the biggest, richest corporations from controlling our elections and government. We now see a flood of uncontrolled and undisclosed special-interest money flowing into our electoral system, drowning out the voices of average Americans and deepening cynicism and hopelessness about our politics.

While shocking, Citizens United was not a fluke. Unelected courts have increasingly allowed the radical "corporate speaker" theory that lies behind Citizen United to trump the judgment of the people and their elected representatives, and to damage the public interest far beyond elections.

We see the consequences around us, from jobs and wages to health care and the environment.

A federal judge in Washington recently used corporate speech rights to block the Food and Drug Administration from requiring tobacco companies to place graphic warning labels on cigarette packages.

A federal court sided with Monsanto and other corporations in their efforts against state laws requiring labeling of milk, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products that come from cows injected with a genetically modified bovine drug that is banned in most democracies in the world.

Utility corporations have used courts to strike down conservation and other energy laws. Wall Street corporations demand the invalidation of shareholder democracy laws. Corporate-owned universities file litigation because they claim graduation and job-placement standards violate corporate rights.

Corporations are not people. They are artificial entities that we the people create under state laws. They do not breathe. They do not have children. They do not go to war. Yet they now have far more say than we the people.

We cannot afford to let Citizens United go unchallenged. We need the People’s Rights Amendment to renew our republican democracy and the integrity of our Bill of Rights.

There are only two ways a Supreme Court ruling can be overturned. The court can do so in a new case, or the people can do so by ratifying a Constitutional amendment, as we have done at least six times before. Given the corporate-friendly approach of the current Roberts court, we can’t wait for the Supreme Court to correct Citizens United.

The People’s Rights Amendment is the best solution. It answers basic question raised by Citizens United: Are we a government of free and equal people or a government of the most powerful, most wealthy corporations?

The People’s Rights Amendment makes clear that the words "people" and "person" in our Constitution mean human beings, not economic entities with special privileges created by state law. This clarifies the authority of Congress and the states to regulate "corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state" as the people see fit. The amendment is crafted to protect the people’s rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, free exercise of religion, freedom of association, and all other rights.

We need a serious, thoughtful debate in this country on the role of corporations in our lives. The People’s Rights Amendment will spur that debate and, once ratified, will ensure, in Lincoln’s words, that "government of, for, and by the people shall not perish from the Earth."
  
   
 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This album saves lives




Amnesty International
 
50 years in the making. Worth every minute.
 
50 years ago, Bob Dylan started his professional career by picking up his guitar and playing at a coffee house in Greenwich Village.

That same year, British lawyer Peter Benenson launched a campaign to stand up for those imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. That campaign grew into a human rights movement, Amnesty International.

Through the decades, musicians have been among Amnesty's most inspiring and passionate allies in the fight against injustice. That's why I am proud to announce the release of a very special album -- Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.

Listen to Chimes of Freedom.

When we started asking musicians to contribute to the album, we weren't sure what to expect -- but the outpouring of generosity from the music community speaks for itself: more than 80 artists donated 76 songs, almost all released for sale for the very first time.

Chimes of Freedom has been called "genre-busting" by The New York Times. It's a diverse, inventive album that features musicians who care deeply about human rights.
"Music for a good cause. What more beautiful thing could you be a part of?" - Neil Finn with the Pajama Club (Performs "She Belongs to Me")
From the civil rights marches of the 1960s to Occupy Wall Street, music has always played a big part in social movements. Music can touch people's hearts and awaken our social conscience.
"I think musicians from around the world realize the value of freedom of expression." - Kris Kristofferson (Performs "Quinn the Eskimo")
Whether focused on human rights or the human heart, Dylan's songs have consistently spoken to the need for dignity and freedom -- the same ideals that inspire and drive our work at Amnesty International. So even though we chose Dylan for our 50th, you could also say that he chose us.
"Bob puts his arms all around humanity, around the world, around the universe in those songs." - Outernational (Performs "When the Ship Comes In")
Chimes of Freedom is dedicated to people worldwide who are unjustly imprisoned or threatened for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. Buying this album will help protect human rights around the world.
"We all have a role to play. I cannot do it alone." - Angelique Kidjo (Performs "Lay, Lady, Lay")
Performers range from Miley Cyrus, 19, to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, who, at 92, performs Dylan's poignant "Forever Young" with a children's chorus.

We hope that you enjoy Chimes of Freedom as much as we do. Listen to clips and purchase your copy of Chimes of Freedom on the Amnesty website.



Sincerely,

Helen Garrett
Director of Creative Services and Special Projects
Amnesty International USA
   "Even a partial list of contributors is jaw dropping" - The New York Times

Enjoy never-released covers by Adele, Sting, Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket, Patti Smith, Ziggy Marley, Carly Simon, Pete Seeger, Diana Krall, Seal & Jeff Beck, Maroon 5, K'naan, Pete Townshend and more.


 
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© 2012 Amnesty International USA | 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001 | 212.807.8400  



Dr. Seuss silenced





 
Change.org
Let the Lorax speak for the trees: Join 4th graders to ask Universal Studios to include environmental education with the Lorax Movie
Sign the Petition
The students in Mr. Wells’ fourth grade class in Brookline, Massachusetts love The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. They love the story, and they especially love the book’s message that if we don’t start prioritizing the environment, the consequences will be disastrous.
So they were super excited to learn that Universal Studios made The Lorax into a blockbuster animated movie (it comes out in March on Dr. Seuss’ birthday).But when the kids went to the movie’s website, they were crestfallen to see it had no environmental education at all. Nothing about pollution, nothing about trees, just information on how to buy tickets.
“The website is more about making money than helping the planet, and that’s exactly what the book says not to do,” says Georgia, who is 10.
“This movie can show the world we should not take our sky, water, trees, and animals for granted,” the kids say in their petition. “We’re encouraging Universal to make an improved Lorax movie website that Dr. Seuss would be proud of.”
For his part, Mr. Wells is pretty proud of his students already. “As a teacher, I want to help kids know they have a voice and that, like the Lorax, they should speak up and act if there's a problem in their world,” he says.
If Universal executives see that their target audience feels strongly about the inclusion of environmental education in The Lorax website and other promotional materials, they’ll make it happen. Mr. Wells’ class asked that we include their favorite quote from The Lorax in this email: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better, it’s not.”
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Corinne and the Change.org team



2012 Annual Letter From Bill Gates






am writing to share my fourth annual letter about the exciting work our foundation and its partners are doing. Over the last 50 years, the percentage of the population living in poverty has fallen from 40 percent to 15 percent, or just about a billion people. That's proof that modest investments in the poorest make a huge difference. However, tough economic times are making it difficult for countries to choose between foreign aid spending and domestic priorities, and many people believe that money spent on aid is wasted. My annual letter this year is an argument for making the choice to keep on helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency. You can read it at www.gatesfoundation.org/annual-letter/.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. Please let me know what you think. I'd also appreciate if you would forward this out through your own social networks. I'm convinced that when people hear stories of the lives they've helped to improve, they want to do more, not less. So the more people we bring into this conversation the better.
Sincerely,

Bill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation




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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Victory!..Levi Strauss & Co. Takes a Stand for Rainforests and Excludes Asia Pulp & Paper





Rainforest Action Network
Levi Strauss & Co. Takes a Stand for Rainforests and Excludes Asia Pulp & Paper
rainforest unzipped

Today, we have an exciting victory to announce. And we didn’t even have to climb a building to get it.

Rainforest Action Network is known by most for our flashy banner drops and other creative ways of confronting corporations through non-violent direct action. What few people know is that RAN also spends countless hours behind the scenes in delicate negotiations with Fortune 500 companies.

And sometimes, these comparatively mundane boardroom tactics lead to forest protections by some of the most influential companies in the world—like denim giant Levi Strauss & Co.

In the fall of 2009, Levi’s received a letter from RAN asking it to cut any ties with notorious Indonesian rainforest destroyer Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and its affiliates. This was one of a hundred letters in RAN’s campaign to convince global fashion companies to stop buying from APP and choose responsible alternatives like recycled paper instead.

The Levi’s team called us and immediately began working with us to create a comprehensive paper policy that maximized recycled fiber and barred paper suppliers connected to rainforest destruction, like Asia Pulp & Paper.

We are pleased to announce today that Levi Strauss & Co. has implemented its new paper policy in its operations around the globe. This makes Levi’s the latest company in an ever-growing list of major corporate customers to exclude Asia Pulp & Paper for its human rights abuses and blatant rainforest destruction, and to take a stand to protect forests and the rights of communities that depend on them.

Kudos to Levi Strauss & Co. for adding its powerful voice to the growing chorus of companies telling Asia Pulp and Paper, and logging companies like it, that rainforest destruction will not be tolerated. And thanks to all of you who support all of our work—from the thrilling direct actions to the tedious negotiations—we can’t do any of it without you.

Robin
For the forests,
Robin Averbeck
Rainforest Free Paper Campaigner
Twitter: @therightpaper

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Rainforest Action Network
221 Pine Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104 USA
Phone: (415) 398-4404   Fax: (415) 398-2732