It has to work both ways.


Found this gem that pretty much sums up my frustrated feelings at present. It’s sad that so many movements that began as a platform for good have degenerated to the level of the things they opposed (Avazz is a classic, but by no means only, example) many petitions circulating lately seem to spew hate, and social media posts often remind of kids hissy fits.
I used to do a lot of chairing meetings and one of the most useful things I was taught is that meetings where everyone agrees are generally not very constructive. Much healthier are the more difficult to chair ones where opinions are strongly varied, as they will evaluate better all sides of an issue and generally break new and constructive ground – if only you can keep it from becoming personal.
I think a sign of maturity is being able to see another’s point of view, learn from it, (we never have the full picture) and, bearing it in mind, make good well rounded decisions. Unfortunately this art seems to be going out of style particularly among the newly labeled “smug liberals”. (Sadly the “goodies” seem to be becoming the “baddies”).
A friend explained how this may come about due to search engines etc. which tend to select things on the web that match your profile. Thus for example things like Brexit and Trump can be unbelievable to those receiving only media posts agreeing with their opposing views, without realizing it, they are living in a media bubble. Thus they think the whole world agrees with them when in reality the majority turn out not to.
We can all learn a lot from each other, but in order to do so we need to keep our minds open to the fact things may not always be as they seem to us, there is always another side to the picture.

I’m not really a kill joy, honest!



I like to have fun as much as the rest, and have been known for some pretty zany antics (I rest my case on my affinity with teenagers and young people. Lol!) However, I find more and more a need to “draw the line” about some things. My latest being the encouragement to read/watch horror books/movies given to primary/secondary children by their teachers (and it seems UK national curriculums).

It began when I discovered a slip in my grandson’s bag saying, if his parents didn’t want him to watch the PG movie “A series of unfortunate events” please return the slip signed by tomorrow.

My hackles rose at that, because for sure it should be the other way round. Parents should be asked permission for them to watch, not given a last minute option to opt out – guaranteeing their child a very embarrassing time should they choose to do so.

Waving my “parental rights” banners I asked my younger daughter her opinion on the movie as I hadn’t seen it. She confirmed it was a bit weird and questionable.

My grandson said, “that one’s not so bad,” and proceeded to show me clips from  the movie “Correlina”   a book on his reading project that some of his friends had begun, then not wanted to read due to the gruesome text and pictures (I must add these two are the class “cool guys” not milksops).

I asked his mum about the book and she said she’d heard and told him not to read it. Seeing the content I was shocked. Why are schools promoting these things? No wonder so many kids turn out weird! My 17 year old granddaughter (who definitely comes under the “cool liberal” category) added that it’s worse in secondary school and 15/16 year olds are frequently shown 18+ horror and due to the curriculum have no choice to opt out.

When my kids were doing Eng. Lit. O levels I questioned why they chose such depressing books, (there’s so much good stuff!) but it seems it’s far worse now. Me, being me, a tactful letter went off to the head yesterday (tact works better than rant lol!) asking an explanation. (I noted she hastily phoned the parents before showing the movie – that point at least went home).

The book I suspect to be on a national reading list, but again, me being me, I’m considering doing some post-Christmas research as to what books are on these lists and maybe starting a few petitions that we choose more edifying material for our kids. Surely we want to give them the very best in put we can?

Thoughts on “Make Love not War” get together Dusseldorf Germany


from July 2014

Song Bird Songs

love not war

It won’t make a difference, nor the endless stream of petitions we sign. Even if a minor concession or victory is gained it’s as a drop in the ocean and the tide is coming in! We can only make it clear we personally want no part in this destruction.

No, I’m not a pessimist quite the opposite, but my heart cannot stand to look at another picture of a maimed or disfigured child. Only faith keeps hope alive.

I think Gayle Urwin (one of my favourite people) summed it up best when questioned whether he believed in the “end time”. He simply asked, whatever perspective you looked from, ecological, social, scientific etc. were things improving and getting better or rapidly getting worse. He didn’t need to say more.

Watching the news the question is no longer “can we turn this thing around?” as it was when I was young, more…

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Some Good News! (For a change)


(Received this message this morning. I felt so inspired that I wanted to pass it on. Sometimes things seem overwhelming but folks really do seem to be banding together to fight the forces that seek to ruin our world.)

Dear Avaazers,

Lately, we’re not just winning, we’re winning BIG.

These are not small time victories, but the biggest stuff, the save the world stuff – on climate change, Monsanto, our oceans, the internet, democracy, and more! There’s a lot that’s depressing in the world today, but scroll down and see what our future could look like if we just stick together…

After the March — Real Progress on Climate Change!! From Europe, the US, and China!

Progress on climate change
One of our 2,600 climate marches!

We desperately needed Europe to kick off a global round of ambitious climate commitments at a recent summit in Brussels, so I felt deflated when I was told by insiders there was “no way” the EU would stand up to big oil and coal to cut carbon emissions by “at least” 40% by 2030. But we didn’t back down, and they did it!

Here’s how we got from “no way” to a big win:

  • Drove the largest climate mobilisation in history with 675,000 people in the streets in 162 countries!
  • Got the UN Secretary General, 18 cabinet ministers, and countless politicians to join the march.
  • Delivered a 2.2 million strong petition calling for 100% clean energy to world leaders including French President Hollande.
  • Held advocacy meetings with the climate and energy ministers of France, Germany, Brazil and the UK.
  • Lobbied Poland, a key blocker on climate action, with an ad campaign that got news coverage throughout Poland and phone calls from Polish Avaazers.
  • Commissioned opinion polls in Germany, France, Poland and the UK right before the decision.
The climate march was a game changer
30,000 marchers in Melbourne!

The climate march was a game changer, cited by president after president in their UN summit speeches. While hundreds of organisations contributed to the march and the win in Europe, our role was crucial. The BBC said: “The marches brought more people on to the streets than ever before, partly thanks to the organizational power of the e-campaign group Avaaz.” And Germany’s Environment minister said: “I would like to thank the millions of people who have joined Avaaz…Without public support it will be impossible to stop climate change.”

US President Obama also responded to the climate march, saying: “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them.” Following the momentum building win in Europe, Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week – Obama promised reasonable-sized cuts in emissions, and China promised cuts as well, for the first time ever! The momentum we desperately needed has begun…

After big oil and coal, what’s the next worst soulless corporate lobby? Yep, Monsanto. And that’s the next big victory that our community has helped win.

Monsanto’s mega-plant blocked!!

Monsanto's mega-plant killed!
Protesting Monsanto’s seed factory.

When Monsanto tried to extend its grip over the global food chain with a massive new seed factory in Argentina, Avaaz members stood side by side with a local movement and stopped Latin America’s largest GM seed plant from being built this year.

Monsanto is a $60 billion mega-corporation that plays dirty. Here’s how we helped stop them:

  • Launched a 1 million strong petition and flooded the inboxes of decision makers with thousands of messages.
  • Worked with top lawyers on a briefing that showed Monsanto’s Environmental Assessment was illegal, making a splash in the media.
  • Released a poll showing that 2/3rds of town residents opposed the plant.
  • Supported local residents to build their power and a winning strategy.

Local grassroots leader Celina Molina said: “After more than a million Avaaz members stood with the people of Malvinas Argentinas, we won an important battle in the fight against Monsanto! From gaining access to documents previously denied to us by the authorities to running a game changing opinion poll, Avaaz was important for preventing the largest transgenic seed plant from being built in our backyard.”

Plus Big Wins on Saving our Oceans, the Internet, and Democracy

Big Wins on Saving our Oceans
Open Vote in Brazil
‘Nothing to hide!’ protest, Brasilia.

Thanks to several thousand Avaazers who donate monthly to sustain our small team, we can work on several issues at once. Here are some other big wins in recent weeks:

The Largest Marine Sanctuary in the World Created! – To support this critical reserve, over 1 million of us called on the US government, we commissioned an opinion poll in Hawaii, and more. And in the end, President Obama stood up to the big fishing lobbies and protected an area of the Pacific almost the size of South Africa!

Internet Neutrality Protected in Europe and the US!1.1 million of us lobbied the EU parliament to protect the free and open internet with strong rules on net neutrality. And against all the efforts of the big telecoms companies, we helped get the win! In the US, Obama just followed suit and took a strong position to protect net neutrality that “stunned” the telecoms companies.

Brazilian Congress Ends Secret Voting! – After several months of steady campaigning with call-ins, activist stunts, media attention and more, Avaazers in Brazil (now 7 million strong!) pressed the Congress to almost completely end the shady practice of “secret voting.” It’s a huge victory for one of the world’s largest democracies.

And More on the Way….

These are the battles won, but they take months or years. Dozens of others are in the works. Here’s some progress updates:

And more on the way...
ABP: divest from the occupation.
  • Ebola VolunteersOver 2,500 skilled Avaazers have applied to volunteer to risk their lives to go to West Africa to help stop this deadly disease in its tracks. A stunning example of courage and humanity. Many have been processed by our partner organisations and are beginning to travel to the front lines of the crisis.
  • Ebola fundraiser – Our community has raised over $2.2 million for relief organizations at the front lines!
  • Save the Bees – We delivered our 3.4 million strong petition to a US government commission studying whether to ban the pesticides that are killing the bees.
  • Palestine – After the horror in Gaza earlier this year, we’re pulling out all the stops to get some of the world’s largest pension funds and corporations to divest from businesses that support the Israeli military occupation and illegal colonization of Palestine. We’re getting close to winning, which could be a game changer for the conflict, and hopes for peace…
  • and much, much more…

I just came from a meeting of the Avaaz team, and some of us cried (ahem, maybe including me) at what a pure joy it is to serve our mission and this community, and just how much potential, together, we have to make a difference in the world.

The climate march and the Ebola volunteers campaign, as well as everyone donating, are examples of how Avaazers are stepping up to an even greater level of commitment to this vessel we share. And with each step we take, our power grows.

There’s a lot of fear and greed and ignorance in our world, but we are steadily bringing love and hope and smart, effective strategies to make a difference. And in every way, we’re just at the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible. Let’s keep building this vessel, and investing our time and hope more deeply in it, because something like this is precious, and the world needs us more than ever.

With love and huge appreciation for this movement,

Ricken, with Nell, Pascal, Marie, Laila, Andrea and the whole Avaaz team.