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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

WORLDCHANGING - A user’s guide for the 21’st century

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Edited by Alex Steffen; Forward by Al Gore.

This book is a ground breaking compendium of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future.

ecohouse_photoSections on Power, Shelter, Business, Community and just Stuff are divided into short, easy to read explanations of a few hundred of the best solutions out there. The guide is put together by a team of people who invite us to join their conversation on the best tools we can use to improve our lives.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Missy Higgins talks about extreme global poverty

Monday, August 24th, 2009

You can go to the Global Poverty Project website to see videos  from people who have seen the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation. See the Just Focus events page for current New Zealand tour dates of the presentation. To R.S.V.P. to an event you can go directly to the Global Poverty Project events page.

gpp-logo - An International Day of Climate Action

Friday, July 24th, 2009

24 October - An International Day of Climate Action

link here:


350 campaign

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009


Who are they?

350 Aotearoa is part of an international movement to unite the world around solutions to climate change Their mission is to inspire action in communities across New Zealand with a sense of unity, urgency and possibility in the face of the climate crisis. 350 Aotearoa is about using creativity and fun to tackle this most serious and pressing of challenges that we collectively face.

How can I get involved?

- Join a group: 350 have groups around the country (Wanaka, Dunedin, Chch, Nelson, Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Auckland and Waiheke Island) working to organise actions for the 350 International Day of Climate Action being held on 24 October, 2009.

- Get your School involved!: On Friday October 23rd 2009, thousands of young New Zealanders will be taking a 350 school action, calling for a fair global climate treaty that meets the science and gets us back to 350ppm. We’re aiming for 350 schools nationwide to take part! All the information you and your school needs (including curriculum links) is contained in this 350 Schools Action Guide.

- Create an Action: Design and action, follow it through, then let 350 know and they’ll pop it in the Inspiration Bank on their site so that others can be inspired by your ideas!

Check out the 350 website to find out more and get involved now!

The 2009 Human Rights Film Festival

Monday, June 8th, 2009

hrffposterThe Human Rights Film Festival is in its fifth year of supporting and raising awareness about various human rights causes around the world. The theme this year is freedom, which is demonstrated in each of the eleven feature films and five short films on show. The Festival gives people the opportunity to watch films that give insight into the lives and work of do-gooders, philanthropists and other exceptional human beings, and show how communities facing huge problems are able to pull together and work for a better future.

Festivals such as this one are really important because, in the increasingly global society that we live in, it is important to better understand what is happening in countries and communities around the world, that are now closer and more interconnected than ever before. The films shown provide a way for people in relatively liberated countries, like New Zealand, to learn about the lives of others and become motivated to support human rights movements. Watching films is something that can be enjoyed by all, so the Human Rights Film Festival offers a great opportunity to bring the attention of ALL New Zealanders to the real issues facing our world.

Flying on one engine, directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein

Review by Meredith Paterson

child_surgeryFlying on One Engine portrays a complex character, Dr Sharadkumar Dicksheet. At age 78, Dr Dicksheet’s main purpose in life is to perform free facial surgery on India’s poorest. Every year he holds massive plastic surgery ‘camps’ where up to 700 children are treated for cleft lip and other facial deformities. This work has earned him eight nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Dicksheet has improved the lives of thousands, yet his own life hangs by a fragile thread. He has survived cancer of the larynx, two heart attacks and is partially paralyzed from a car accident. At any moment an aneurysm could burst resulting in instant death. Yet, he stubbornly continues operating, performing 76 operations in twelve hours with no breaks. It is little wonder that in India he is revered as a god.

Filmmaker Joshua Z. Weinstein spent two years filming the doctor in his New York apartment and at his Indian plastic surgery camps. The film successfully shows all aspects of Dr Dicksheet’s personality; his determination to keep operating and expand the camps, his bitterness of the Nobel committee’s ignorance of his charitable work, even his extreme stubbornness and crass remarks. Above all, we see the courage shown by a mortal man who knows his time is running out. On the film’s website Weinstein states, “I knew that on a certain level Flying on One Engine would have to be a film not only about one man, but gracefully accepting your own mortality.”

In Flying on One Engine, the director presents many conflicting issues. Money is the main problem. Here is a man with celebrity status, who is worshipped as a God, who has had streets named after him and yet lives off a social security benefit in Brooklyn. He prefers India, but must live in the USA to get crucial surgical materials on which he used to spend $50 000 every year. Charitable work is costly. Thankfully the camps now have sponsors.

Dr Dicksheet’s health is another paradox in the film. He can hardly walk three flyingononeenginesteps on his own, is without a larynx and breaths out of a tube in his neck. With every meal he must take a bowl full of pills. The title of the film is based on his own seriocomic description of his state, “I’m a four-engine plane running on one engine. If that goes, we crash.” Dr Dicksheet refuses to slow down to prolong his own life. If anything, the camps are more ambitious than ever.

The film also touches on the issue of religion. Dr Dicksheet’s nurse insists that he is a living God. He himself considers his yearly trips to India as pilgrimages. He says “the operating theatre is my temple and I see god in my patients.” It is not that he is a living God, but that his strength of mind overcomes his bodily limitations.

We must not assume Dr Dicksheet is a saint. The film presents a complex man who at times is not very likable. However, the film is a clear and honest statement of his determination. The message for us is to stop letting limitations stand in our way.

Next page - Review of Journalists and Kicking It, and some ideas for taking action.

Take it Personally

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

take_photo1Anita Roddick of The Body Shop fame has created a work of art with this book, putting images and phrases together, such as, fashion and victim which show us how we have lost perspective of the real world.

Roddick has always tried to conduct business in a personal way, but has found that the business world is dominated by the faceless, and relentless advance of globalisation. This is a world of secret, impersonal committees, who do not take their social responsibilities seriously. The focus is on profit. Without more openness and democracy, she says, the world will be unable to deal with the serious crisis brought on us by globalisation.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

By Jeff Chang - introduction by DJ Kool Herc
hiphop_photo2This book charts the rise of hip-hop activism as well as the commercialisation of the music; and the clash between the two. It profiles the lives and influences of “the trinity of hip-hop music”–Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and DJ Kool Herc–along with many other artists, label executives, DJs, writers, filmmakers, and promoters. Chang also traces 30 years of the history of the DJs, MCs, b-boys, graffiti art, Black Nationalism, groundbreaking singles and albums, and the street parties that gave rise to a genuine movement.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Te Reo Marama

Friday, February 20th, 2009


What do they do?
Since 1998, Te Reo Mārama has been dedicated, on behalf of the Auahi Kore-Tupeka Kore community and the wider Māori community, to tobacco resistance. The main role undertaken is to advocate evidence-based positions on tobacco-related issues at a local, national and international level in order to achieve the vision of a Maori nation free of the deadly toll of tobacco.

How can I get involved?
As of November 2008, the main way to be involved with Te Reo Marama is by donating or simply by taking up their call to action in your local community.
However, in 2009 Te Reo Marama will be holding a training summit for young leaders to take the cause back to their schools and communities. Watch this space!

350 Animation

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Because the world needs to know….

We ARE the change!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

By Houston Paea

change_photo3Young people are not the indifferent, political idiots that they’re often made out to be. Don’t believe me? Try looking at your school council for confirmation. On a national scale, how about those Young Labour and Young National members? And then internationally there are untold thousands of student organisations, such as Young Politicians of America and Students for a Free Tibet. They all have different political ties, missions, motivation and purposes, but what they have in common is a desire for change and the commitment to make it happen!

Loud and proud
Student politics have a long and proud history. They can be about systems of self governance at school or university, but often they’re about participating in the broader political environment, sometimes even leading the way. From the revolt in Paris in May 1968, which led to the downfall of the French government, to the Black Consciousness movement, which contributed to the end of Apartheid in South Africa, students have long been involved in the fight for justice and change across the world.

Penguin Revolution
In Chile, 2006, over a MILLION high school and university students took to the streets in a series of protests. The movement (also known as the Penguin Revolution because of the students’ black and white uniforms) was demanding better funding for schools, more affordable university fees and cheaper public transport. Many students were injured or arrested during the protests as things turned violent and the riot police got involved. Although many of the students’ demands were not met immediately, they succeeded in being heard and they put education back on the political agenda.

Students for a Free Tibet
change_photoEstablished by Tibetans and students in New York City in 1994, this group now operates in 650 universities and high schools in more than 30 countries around the world. They use a strong network of activists and youth workers to draw attention to the political situation between Tibet and China with the aim of helping Tibet gain its independence. They aren’t aligned to any political group as such, but they’re fighting for freedom of speech, human rights and social justice for Tibet; in short, trying to save a country. See

Young Politicians of America (YPA)
A more peaceful example of youth involvement in politics is the YPA: a not-for-profit organisation that has 2,500 members from secondary schools around the USA. They are trying to create a higher level of youth participation in politics through promoting political ‘thinking and doing’. They get members (they call them ‘politicians’) to do community service work for their
‘constituents’ that relates to topical political issues, such as a creek cleanup. This would be followed by a debate on environmental policy such as pollution regulations, and fuel efficiency standards for SUVs. By encouraging young people to connect with their community they encourage them to think of themselves as citizens. Check out

True politics
Despite all the misconceptions surrounding young people and what they actually care about, they ARE doing something to change the world and contribute to the well-being of this planet and our societies. And isn’t that what true politics is supposed to be about? Not ineffective posturing over tax cuts, or claims to get tough over immigration. The young people of today are the ones with the ideas, with the hopes and dreams of making things better. Young people have a lot to offer: ideals, dreams, the numbers, and very loud voices! And we won’t be ignored!


  • Take a chance – run for your student council. Or, if you want your thoughts and ideas to be heard by national decision makers, join the Provoke Network at
  • Become a youth member of a political party
  • Join a local student organisation or CREATE YOUR OWN! You want to change something? Research it, discuss it with others (be prepared for some debate!) and work to make the change
  • Get involved with the World Youth Movement for Democracy
  • Signup with the Just Focus network or join the discussions in the forum


Find out about student activists around the world at
Download the Do-It-Yourself guide to youth activism at
Do you want to write to a politician, or organise a petition or a campaign? Check out the Take Action guides from the Ministry of Youth Development

This article was originally published in the Global Focus pages of Tearaway Magazine.