Monthly Archives: September 2014

Food Drive for World Food Day

Posted by Peter MUIR

The World Food Day Year 8 Committee is holding a food drive as a part of World Food Day (October 16).  The food collected will be distributed to the Feeding Hong Kong organisation , who will then pass it on to those in Hong Kong who have issues with accessing enough food on a daily basis.
hkhungerstatsPlease being in your donations of non-perishable food items to this worthy cause and leave them in the collection point outside of the security guard office by the school front entrance.  Donations will be collected until the 16th of October.  Click here for a list of food items to donate

March Against the Incinerator

Posted by Peter MUIR

A number of NGOs and schools are collaborating in organising this Saturday’s ‘March Against the Incinerator’.   On 3rd October,  LegCo will vote whether to use up $200 billion of HK taxpayers money to build one of the biggest incinerators in the world – not far away from DB in the pristine environs of Shek Kwu Chau.  This march is being organisied to help change the minds of LegCo.

For more details about the planned incinerator – click here.

The march will take place on 27 Sept to March from Victoria Park to Legislative Council Building at Tamar (Admiralty).   For more details, check out the orgnisers Facebook page.

HKJFL Football Referees Course

Posted by Peter MUIR

Youth Referee Course Oct 2014

If a City can do it, can DC?

Posted by Peter MUIR

This news from The Story of Stuff about the plastic bottle ban in the city of San Francisco is a bit outdated.  Regardless, it highlights how advocacy can lead to change.  It also makes me think – if the city of that size can do, why can’t Discovery College? Or all ESF schools?

SF bottled water victory

The Issue: Bottled water is one of the biggest, least necessary, wastestreams that we currently create. San Francisco debated historic legislation that would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, and invest in public water resources.

Their Response: Hundreds of our Story Community members wrote in to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, voicing support for the water bottle ban, and helping to pass the legislation.

The Story: With our friends at Corporate Accountability International leading the way in pushing the issue, San Francisco became the biggest and most visible city to debate regulations on the sale of bottled water. The historic legislation would ban the sale of bottled water on city property, as well as make important investments in public water resources to ensure access to fresh, clean water. Bottled water companies knew the importance of the move: San Francisco was one of the first cities to regulate plastic bags, and passage of this bill could establish it as model legislation for other communities to follow. Hundreds of members of our Story Community wrote in to support the legislation, which passed in a tough vote to kick off the next fight over unnecessary waste.

San Francisco Examiner: SF becomes first major city to ban sale of plastic water bottles, March 4th 2014

The Power of Petitions Plus Active Advocacy

Posted by Peter MUIR

You may have seen them online, on Facebook or even been sent an email requesting that you sign a petition.  In fact I have posted about petitions that DC students could sign for issues right here in Hong Kong on this blog.  But do they work?  Yes – when well planned and a part of a campaign.  Here is a message from one of the biggest online petition organisations – Avaaz.org about their successes with petitions.

I often get asked by Avaazers, “what happens after I sign a petition?” And the truth is, a HECK of a lot! Every Avaaz campaign springs from a massive global mandate, and then zeroes in on the best way for our voices to win. Here’s just two of our victories from the last few months:

Recently 2 million of us came together to stop the flogging of a 15-year old rape victim in the Maldives. Her sentence has been quashed! Here’s what our team did to win:

Maldives ad

  1. Spoke for hours with the Maldivian Attorney-General and Ministers and emailed the President at his personal account.
  2. Commissioned opinion polls showing massive support for reforms to protect girls. And wrote an Op-Ed in a major national paper.
  3. Persuaded a top Islamic scholar to speak out against flogging.
  4. Threatened to run an ad (right) in tourism publications, affecting the country’s major industry.
  5. Visited the Maldives and the location where the girl was held, pressing officials directly.

Ahmed Shaheed, former Foreign Minister of the Maldives said “The Avaaz contribution was the spearhead of the campaign to overturn the flogging sentence; a petition signed by millions, a country visit, a public opinion survey, and persistent follow-up all proved irresistible.”

Another example: almost 2 million of us rallied to stop the Maasai tribe in Tanzania from being kicked off their land for a hunting reserve. In September, the Prime Minister announced they could stay! The petition provided a powerful basis for what the team did next:

Maasai

  1. Got CNN and the Guardian to visit the Maasai and break the wider story to the world.
  2. Advised Maasai elders on their campaigning strategy.
  3. Flooded Ministers and the President with messages — forcing debate in cabinet and Parliament.
  4. Ran a hard hitting newspaper ad in an influential paper which publicly shamed the government.
  5. Persuaded diplomats worldwide to raise the issue — embarrassing the government.
  6. Financially supported Maasai elders to travel to the capital where they gathered to ‘occupy’ land outside of the Prime Minister’s office for weeks, refusing to leave until he met them.

What is noticeable about these petitions is that they are much more than just a petition – the petition is part of a well-planned advocacy campaign.  What changes could you make through petition?  How could you use a petition as a tool in your advocacy campaign?

UNICEF Young Envoys programme

Posted by Peter MUIR

Be a UNICEF Young Envoy!
Join over 950 young envoys to promote children’s rights

UNICEF Young Envoys Programme, launched in 1996, provides a great depth of children’s rights, leadership, communication and organizational skills training to young people every year. Over the years, students from over 130 secondary schools have been nurtured to become child rights advocates.

Selected candidates of the Programme will also be given an opportunity to visit UNICEF’s field work in developing countries, where they can experience the living conditions of deprived children and learn the challenges they are facing.
Apply now if you’re…
• 12 to 18 years old (as in June 2015)
• full-time student
• experienced in community service / voluntary work
• good at communication (including Cantonese, English & Putonghua)
• outgoing, positive and independent

Hungry for Change

Posted by Peter MUIR

Hungry for changeThe Justice Centre Hong Kong have launched a new campaign called Hungry for Change which provides students an opportunity to take action for a meaningful cause.

What is it?
Hungry for Change is a new campaign in Hong Kong, which seeks to bring about change to the way refugees must access food here. It challenges the public to eat like a refugee for three days and petitions the Hong Kong Government to allow refugees to eat in dignity. The campaign will run Tuesday-Thursday October 14-16, culminating on World Food Day (Thursday October 16).

Refugees and Food
We all have to eat. It’s a basic human need for everyone, no matter where we come from. But for refugees in Hong Kong, it’s an especially hard need to fulfill.  Refugee men, women and children flee from some of the world’s worst human rights abuses and experience things that you and I could never imagine. They often arrive in Hong Kong with nothing but the clothes on their back and, not allowed to work, they have no income of their own to help them survive.

So how do they eat? The Hong Kong Government provides them with pre-packaged bags of food, which refugees pick up every five to ten days from a shop often far from where they live. The food is said to be worth HK$40 per day, supposed to cover three meals each day and last for up to ten days. But, when we price-compare the food they receive with food for sale in supermarkets, we see that the food they get is worth much less. Often it runs out before the next pick up; sometimes it is expired; always it is limited in choice and quantity.

But it does not have to be this way, for in a city of plenty like Hong Kong, no one should have to live like this.

So, what can you do?
With Hungry for Change, you can join us in taking positive action to change this by doing a few simple and effective things. You can:

  • Take the HK$40-a-day food challenge in solidarity with Hong Kong’s refugees, to walk a few days in their shoes and help bring life to their experiences.
  • Get sponsored through this challenge and donate the money to provide food for refugees at Justice Centre Hong Kong and to support our advocacy work on refugee issues
  • Sign the petition to ask the Hong Kong Government to let refugees eat in dignity by giving them small amounts of cash to buy their own food.
  • Spread the word and use the power of social media to get friends and family involved.

We would like some senior DC students to drive this campaign at DC, and get as many people as possible to take up the challenge to support Hong Kong’s refugees. Because change only happens when we take action together. Email Mr Muir if you are interested in driving this campaign (for Yr 11 or Yr12 students only)

Be the Change. Be Hungry for Change

DB Green Ambassadors

Posted by Peter MUIR

DB GreenAre you a keen to see an increase in environmental action in DB, and specifically by DC students? Then sign up to become the DC DB Green Ambassador!  This position is only open to two students in year 9 or above, and will involve promoting DB Green and the work that they do to the DC community, recruiting DC students, parents and teachers to get involved in DB Green events, collaborate with DB green in their plans, and take initiative to introduce new DB Green activities.   If you are interested, please email Mr Muir ASAP

ESF Environmental forum – looking for leaders

Posted by Peter MUIR

The ESF Student Environment Forum, is looking for a maximum of four students to represent DC in the ESF student environmental forum.   This is a fantastic opportunity for students to get involved in directing ESF schools to becoming more environmentally friendly, and would provide those involved with great experience in this inter-school initiative.

Those chosen to represent DC will be expected to be active participants at once per term meetings to achieve the committee’s goals and facilitate ESF-wide strategy.

We would like to have one student from our middle school and one senior school student to represent DC.  Naturally, those who apply would need to be enthusiastic about environmental sustainability.

Last year, members of the forum were able to make several changes within ESF, including a pledge from all ESF schools to go plastic free, changing school policy to to use recycled paper and other recycled paper products and more.  If you are interested, please email Mr Muir ASAP.

Climate summit – a call to take action

Posted by Peter MUIR

polarbeariceLast week, it was announced that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record highs. “Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting,” said the World Meteorological Organisation.

Actions to draw the attention of politicians and others to concerns about climate change are being taken in many countries in advance of the climate summit in New York beginning on 23 September.

Click here for information about this summit.

There are 2919 marches and other actions taking place over the coming few days in many countries. For details click here – it includes of the People’s climate march in Connaught Place, Central., this Sunday 21st Sept at 1pm.

The campaigning organisation Avaaz is mounting an enormous worldwide petition on the subject. It aims to reach 3 million signatures: “A 100% clean energy future is the only solution to save our planet from unimaginable climate devastation. Join us now to make our call massive before world leaders meet for an emergency summit — we only have days left ”

Why not get people in DC and DB aware of this action – start developing awareness in DC tomorrow!

Background information:

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)

IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable (The Guardian)