Each week the What Can We Do? team adds new content to the site – we keep it relevant to make sure you’re informed on the latest!
But because we also know it can be overwhelming with so much information flying around, we’ve collated five new things for you to get involved in this week – whether you do one or all five, you can make a difference.
Climate change is real and this week, we need your help to cool the world down once again.
1. Sign the petition Fire Moria Camp calling for urgent evacuation and radical change, urging for European leaders to act now
Last Tuesday night, an enormous fire destroyed the overcrowded Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. This camp was home to more than 13,000 people - six times its capacity.
The fire left these people without shelter and possessions, amidst this global pandemic. Families have been left to sleep in fields, on roads and even in a cemetery after escaping the fire.
This fire in Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was a disaster waiting to happen. Charities and groups working in these camps have been warning about a crisis such as this for a long time. The European migration policies that trap people in inhumane conditions across the Greek islands must end.
Moria camp was more than an overcrowded and unsafe camp. It had become a symbol of how Europe treats people on the move. For years, we have witnessed the harmful impact of European policies on people’s lives: appalling conditions in camps on the islands, numerous deaths at sea, violence and pushbacks at the borders of Europe.
“There is no question as to the cause of this fire: the years-long orchestration of human suffering and violence produced by European and Greek migration policies are to blame” - Aurélie Ponthieu, MSF advisor on displacement.
Children are without their families. Help Doctors Without Borders (MSF) provide medical aid to refugees in Greece. MSF's paediatric clinic on Lesvos treats children with complex medical conditions. Some are life-threatening, such as asthma, epilepsy and injuries sustained from war. Their mental health specialists regularly see children – some younger than six years old – suffering from depression and anxiety, and others who are self-harming or attempting suicide.
Migrants, refugees and even residents on the Greek island are protesting against the rebuilding of a new camp, where they were living in poor and unhygienic conditions, and are asking for freedom.
What can we do?
Sign the petition Fire Moria Camp: Call for urgent evacuation and radical change calling on European leaders to act now.
You can also join their campaign and write to your MP using their tips, to ask the UK government to provide sanctuary to refugee children, and ensure safe routes to the UK remain open.
Take part in a raffle organised by the Calais Food Collective, which provides food and water for 2000 people every day in northern France. Each ticket costs £2, and you can win prizes such as prints, jewellery and pottery. The raffle will be drawn on Tuesday 15th September.
Support the work of Medecins Sans Frontieres with a donation to help them provide life saving medical aid to displaced refugees.
Donate to Choose Love’s Moria fire emergency response fund to help provide emergency shelter, food, water, supplies and support to those who have lost everything.
Check out our Spotlight on Refugees blog post for many more ways you can help.
2. Do you know what else is burning right now? Vital parts of the Amazonian rainforest, the lungs of our planet, are crumbling to ashes as we breathe
On September 5, an estimated 63,000 fires have already been detected this year (up to August 31), according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
"...it’s abundantly clear that the Brazilian military doesn’t have the expertise or experience required to stop those torching the forest and illegally seizing protected land...
...The military’s deployment glosses over the Brazilian government’s strategy of deliberately undermining the operational capacity of its own environmental agencies in order to open up the Amazon for business...” - Richard Pearshouse, Head of Environment and Crisis at Amnesty International.
The recent fires have caused more than 10 % of the Brazilian wetlands to vanish
What can we do?
Sign the Amnesty International petition 'Say no to cattle illegally grazed in the Amazon' here.
Share the news on social media e.g. Twitter and WhatsApp
Speak up and send an email to the UK Government with the WWF template here to ensure that products imported to the UK aren’t contributing to this deforestation. This WWF form calls on the government to take responsibility for the UKs imports and urges to take crucial ‘measures in the Environment Bill removing deforestation and habitat conversion from the products imported to the UK once and for all’.
Watch this WWF Youtube video on how we are making pandemics easier to spread between animals to human beings. This short-4 minute video enables us to understand how we are making diseases spread now easily with animals being displaced from their natural habitats. This video urges for a more sustainable system and tackle illegal wildlife trade. Share this video to raise awareness.
Have 6 minutes to spare and be aware? Watch this extract from David Attenborough’s new documentary that was shown on BBC One on the 14th of September. This short video voices the urgent need for action with a million species at risk of extinction due to climate change and that this is and will make us more prone to succumbing to pandemic diseases. This documentary offers alarming facts and images but also solutions and things can any one can do to help:
Donate with WWF and help them reach their £150,000.00 target. Your donation will go towards supporting local brigades, indigenous communities to defend their territories and land rights and through Covid-19.
According to government data, Indigenous territories in the Amazon lost 497km² of rainforest between August 2018 and July 2019 – a 91% increase compared to the corresponding period a year earlier.
The donation will also help campaigning for an immediate end to deforestation and mining in the Amazon. You can make a one-off donation of 10,25, 50 or enter your own amount.
Consume less meat and eat more responsibly. Eat meat and diary responsibly: we have to demand sustainable production.
We also need to start producing affordable food without expanding even further .We waste about 40 percent of the produced food.
3. Looking for something to watch this week?
Watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix!
This eye opening documentary has been defined by The Independent online newspaper as ‘the most important documentary of our times’. This new 90-minute docu-drama brings attention to the unconscious effects of Social Media and platforms.
What can we do?
Join #StopProfitForHate campaign. This campaign holds social media companies accountable for hate on their platforms: ‘Social media must prioritise people over profit, and they must do it now’.
Image credits: theverge.com
4. Meet the charity: Kidscan
This week’s Voices of Change contributor is Kidscan, one of the only UK charities dedicated to solely funding children’s cancer research. Kidscan Children's Cancer Research supports children with cancer and their vital research into safer and less toxic treatments.
You can support them by organising a fundraiser at work/home, take on our running/walking Challenge, sign up to Sustainably where you can donate every time you shop by rounding up to the nearest pound.
Other ways to help:
Join GOLDFOR Campaign in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
5. Simple sustainable swap: Switch to reusable menstrual products like period underwear, menstrual cups, and reusable pads - if you can!
According to the Guardian, menstrual products litter Europe’s beaches with 200,000 tonnes a year ending up in UK landfill. A single disposable pad can take up to 800 years to degrade.
Go Plastic Free! It is great for saving money!
Switch to the Menstrual cup. Menstrual cups can be used for 10 years and cost about £20. Get a menstrual cup with the Mooncup.
Get reusable, sustainable and reasonably priced pads with shops such as Wear’em out.
Get organic pads from TOTM. They also donate money to Endometriosis UK every time you buy something. Prices are from £2.70 for a pack of 10.
Get organic tampons from shops like o.b organic.
Buy period underwear, for example shethinx is sustainable, washable and reusable and doesn't leak!
Image credits: shethinx.com
Want to go a step further? Sign the petition: Expand the Free Menstrual Products Scheme to Universities. From 2020, the Department of Education has introduced a scheme giving free access to menstrual products in state schools and colleges.The petition urges the government to include universities who have been excluded from this.
You can also help the environment by registering to join the Great British September Clean from 11-27 SEPTEMBER. Support Keep Britain Tidy by pledging to pick up litter on these dates, making a donation or fundraising.
Come back again next week for more ideas about how you can get involved and make a difference. In the meantime, if you know of any initiatives in your community that you think we should promote get in touch.
More things you might like:
Breaking the Taboo | Spotlight On: Suicide
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