Blog Tag: Advocacy

A petition for bees and more

Posted by Peter MUIR

New research indicates that neurotoxic pesticides known as “neonics” are not only wiping out the world’s bees, but also killing off butterflies, fish, and birds, threatening to wipe out “the heart of a functioning ecosystem”. The study says neonics can be 5,000 to 10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT, and according to some scientists, it is a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment.

dead-beeBayer, one of the largest producers of neonics, has been under enormous pressure to reign in the killer pesticide. Instead, Bayer has launched a lawsuit at the EU in an attempt to overturn neonic regulations.

The Story of Stuff organization has organized a petition to tell Bayer to stop making the neonics causing mass destruction of our ecosystem and wiping out the food chain.  You can click here to sign the petition – but I would suggest being informed about the issue before doing so.  Also consider – is signing a petition enough to be classified as ‘taking action’? And what role does advocacy take to bring about social change?

Join Amnesty International

Posted by Peter MUIR

Amnesty International works to promote human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.   Their office in Hong Kong is looking for volunteers to help with their cause.  You could get involved with their local activities that include campaigns to stop torture, support China human rights, safeguard freedom of expression, abolish the death penalty, stop violence against women, gender and sexual rights, and migrants rights.

Take an active role in addressing these global issues – click here to sign up to get involved in the Hong Kong branch of Amnesty International
Join Amnesty

The Ice Bucket Challenge – narcissism masked as altruism?

Posted by Peter MUIR

The popularity of the ice bucket challenge has attracted 1.7 million contributors and raised millions almost $80 million for the ALS Association.  No doubting that the funds will be well used, however consider these words from US TV presenter Martha Stewart, who described the Ice Bucket Challenge as a “viral internet sensation that calls for a person to dump a bucket of icy water on his/her head, then extend the challenge to someone else.”

So is the focus on the action itself and the celebrities who get involved, rather than the cause? One author marks it as another form of “hashtag activism,” where instead of actually doing something, you can just pretend like you’re doing something by posting things all over your Facebook.   Her article highlights other forms of hashtag activism such as #Haiti,  #Kony2012, The Red Equal Sign, and #BringBackOurGirls.  What do you think – are there any positives in hashtag activism?

This Australian news presenter has another perspective that hopefully has you thinking before joining a social-media movement.

White Ribbon Event

Posted by Peter MUIR

This Wednesday 14 May, Discovery College will be holding a ‘White Ribbon Event’ in conjunction with 22 other schools around the world!!
This day will show our support and outrage over the kidnapping of 250+ Nigerian school girls by extremists recently.  White ribbons will be handed out during the morning, snack and the first part of lunch.   During the lunch hour at 2pm, we will get a BIG photo of everyone wearing the ribbon.  If you want to be even more involved please email the organiser, Year 10 student kira.gregory@dc.edu.hk.

Plastic Free Seas Project

Posted by admin

Local NGO Plastic Free Seas is looking for students who are passionate about the environment and are willing to commit to their efforts.

A key part of this (potential) CAS project is to conduct a scientific experiment.  The experiment will research the effect of long-term exposure in sea water on various plastic (waste) items.   The idea would be to take a sample of different types of plastic items (bags, cups, straws, cutlery, toys, packaging) made from biodegradable, recycled, degradable, ‘normal’, foamed, PET, LDPE, HDPE, PS,  and bio plastic, take baseline data, and then put the plastics in a sturdy cage.  The cage will then be anchored at a suitable point that has a constant water flow and minimal expose to direct sunlight.  The items will then be observed at various stages over a long period of time.

plasticfreeseaslogoIn addition to the experiment, the project will involve other tasks to support the aims of Plastic Free Seas, a Hong Kong-based NGO aiming to reduce plastic litter in our marine environment.   This will include promoting events and news in social media, assisting with updating websites, recording other data, and assisting in events initiated by Plastic Free Seas.

This opportunity is open to a very small group of Diploma students who are willing to commit over an extended period of time.  Email/see Mr Muir if you are interested

Plastic Free Seas Youth Conference

Posted by admin

plasticfreeseaslogoWe are looking for four students from Years 10-12 to design a submission for the Plastic Free Seas Youth Conference.  This conference will host 100 students from over 25 local and international Hong Kong secondary schools, and will be held at the Science & Technology Park in Shatin from November 21st -23rd 2013.

Keen to Represent DC?

Those DC students selected need to devise a proposal on a plastic reduction related project and submit this prior to the conference.  Proposals can be either in digital format, essay form or a piece of art and will need to be submitted by October 11th, 2013.  Those four students selected will need to have a dedicated interest in environmental actions.

To get involved, you need to form a group of four students from Year 10 or 11.  The get together to develop your plan, and submit your plan using this form.   We will then select one group to represent the school, with the criteria being:

  1. How innovative your plan is
  2. How easy your plan is to implement
  3. How realistic your plan is
  4. How effective your plan will be

The winning group will be announced after the October break.

The Conference

This proposal will then be presented during the conference.  In addition to this, acclaimed international and local speakers as well as a HK Government representative have been invited to present to conference participants on a broad range of topics associated with plastic pollution, personal motivation, campaign building and public engagement.

The goal of the conference is for students to gain a good understanding of the wide-reaching effects of plastic pollution, to be empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to organize and execute a project within their school or community and be ambassadors within their school for raising awareness on plastic waste issues.

During the conference students will identify an environmental need within their school or community and formulate an action project for this.  Throughout the conference they will learn from experts how to plan and execute their project for maximum effect and will be supported with their goals.

Organisers of the event is Plastic Free Seas, a Hong Kong-based NGO committed to reducing plastic pollution, raising awareness and mobilizing individuals, schools and communities to do what we can to make Hong Kong a more sustainable place to live.

Save the duck – Clean HK air!

Posted by Peter MUIR

SavetheduckThe Clean AIr Network is running a campaign to reduce marine air emissions.  The group is asking cruise lines to voluntarily switch to using fuels with sulphur content of 0.5 per cent or less while at berth.  According to CAN, since the giant rubber duck arrived in Victoria Harbour, it has been suffering miserably from the black smoke belching out from the nearby cruise liners.  The duck has experienced coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and even some difficulties breathing. CAN believes this is due to the fact that the poor creature is stationed in the polluted harbor, amidst many ships, while also being surrounded by nearby buses at the same time.

In order to save the duck and locals alike, CAN is asking that the Government mandate fuel switches at berth and install on-shore power facilities at the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal without delay. CAN also urges the Hong Kong Government to cooperate with the Guangdong Government to establish an emissions control area within the Pearl River Delta waters that would require all ships entering the control zone to use low-sulphur fuel.

Why not work with CAN and run the campaign at DC, informing the DC community about the issue and seeking people to sign the petition?  Take action today!

Earth Hour

Posted by Peter MUIR

Six years ago saw the first Earth Hour event held in Sydney Australia, where 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 businesses participated by turning off lights and electrical devices for one hour.  Earth Hour has grown much in that time, with this year’s event looking to involve over millions of people in over 140 countries.  One part of Earth Hour’s campaign, the “I will if you will” initiative on YouTube has already attracted four million participants and received more than 200,000 commitments from individuals, businesses, organisations and governments, all taking their action for the planet far beyond the hour.

And that is what is required for us to change direction that our Earth is heading – the world is undoubtedly facing some of the most critical environmental challenges in its history.   The only work to find solutions and to act on these problems is if we do it together – together our individual actions add up to make a difference collectively.

What can you do as an individual; what can we do as a school to change our practices.   And how could you make it so that these actions could be a meaningful part of your CAS / C&S programme?

Trawling Ban in effect! A msg from WWF….

Posted by Peter MUIR

Passing on a message from WWF that featured on the DB Green website

Dear Supporter,

I am pleased to inform you that as of 31 December 2012, the territory-wide trawling ban came into full effect. This legislation provides a solid foundation on which to build a sustainable fishery in Hong Kong. This ban, applicable to all forms of trawling in the entirety of Hong Kong waters, was one of our key conservation achievements in 2012 and it was your support that made it happen. Since 2005, WWF has been tirelessly campaigning for a ban on trawling in Hong Kong waters, and has been advocating that the government implement further measures to preserve the city’s near-collapsed marine ecology. This groundbreaking fisheries management measure will safeguard the diversity of marine life and ecological integrity of our marine environment. WWF hopes that the Hong Kong government will continue to provide support to the affected fishers and help them make the switch to other livelihoods like marine eco-tourism. We are also urging the government to implement the concept of Marine Spatial Planning, which will allow Hong Kong to allocate marine resources more efficiently, to balance ecological, social and economic objectives.

These gains aside, we are disappointed to have to inform you that another marine species in Hong Kong – the Chinese white dolphin – is also under threat. Over 1,700 hectares of the sea in western Hong Kong waters has been reclaimed in past decades, causing great disturbance and the direct loss of the habitat of this precious marine mammal. Compounding the problem, this reclamation has also removed the habitat of the fish on which these dolphins feed. WWF is urging the government to ensure that any possible impacts to the dolphins are kept to a minimum by putting in place sufficient environmental protection measures. We firmly believe a balance has to be struck between development and the survival of this unique species. Your support will help us improve the situation for the dolphins. Everyone in Hong Kong enjoys life in the ocean’s embrace, but our marine environment is under great pressure and the sea needs everyone’s support to restore its health and beauty. Your charitable contribution will make a big difference by ensuring the continued success of our marine conservation programs. Show your support by making a donation today. With every donation of HK$500 or above, you will receive a FREE dolphin key ring and a one-year WWF membership.

Yours Faithfully,

Samantha Lee
Senior Conservation Officer, Marine
WWF-Hong Kong

Marine/Country Parks Petion

Posted by Peter MUIR

Being involved in supporting a community cause or effort is a type of service to the community (but just signing or submitting a petition should not be a part of C&S or CAS…).  Below are details about a community driven petition for the Hong Kong government to officially designate some country/marine parks.

The Government is currently seeking input on the 2013 Policy Address, so we have initiated a petition asking for the establishment of four Marine/Country Parks which were previously proposed, but never designated.

Background

In 2001, the South West New Territories Development Strategy Review recommended a mix of development balanced with important conservation measures, to protect critical habitat for a number of marine and land species. In terms of conservation, the strategy recommended creating  SW Lantau Marine Park, Soko Islands Marine Park, South Lamma Country and Marine Park, and Po Toi Country Park. Whilst much of the development in the Strategy Review has been undertaken, the conservation action has not been completed, therefore none of these important conservation areas have been established. Despite this, neither the science, nor the need for creating these parks has changed.

Petition

To address the imbalance that has arisen between development and conservation, in the 2012-2013 Policy Address, we have asked the Chief Executive to commit to establishing these areas as either parks or reserves. Details of the campaign can be found on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/MarineParksHongKong

The online petition can be found at:

https://www.change.org/petitions/we-want-marine-parks-in-the-2013-hong-kong-policy-address