Special days and dates for the environment – 2019

(Photo: Pixabay)

Here are some significant international and national days/weeks for 2019 that focus on environmental issues.  I’ve also created a list of days and dates focusing on families and communities. Please let me know if I have missed any important ones. (Days marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2019 yet.

February

World Wetlands Day – Saturday, 2 February 2019

Business Clean Up Day – Tuesday, 26 February 2019 *

International Polar Bear Day – Wednesday, 27 February 2019

March

Schools Clean Up Day – Friday, 1 March 2019 *

Clean Up Australia Day  – Sunday, 3 March 2019 *

World Water Day – Friday, 22 March 2019

Ride2School Day – Friday, 22 March 2019 *

Earth Hour – Saturday, 30 March 2019 Continue reading

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Special days and dates for families and communities – 2019

There are many international and national days/weeks that focus on issues facing families and communities. The following are some of the more significant ones in 2019. I generally haven’t included the many charity days and days focusing on specific health issues. Please let me know if I have missed any important days.

(While most of the following days are international, ones marked with * are mainly for Australia.)

I have also created a list of days and dates for the environment.

Please note that some of the websites are not updated for 2019 yet.

January

International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Sunday, 27 January 2019

February

World Day of Social Justice – Wednesday, 20 February 2019

International Mother Language Day – Thursday, 21 February 2019

March

International Women’s Day – Friday, 8 March 2019

Close the Gap Day – Thursday, 14 March 2019*

International Day of Happiness – Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Harmony Day – Thursday, 21 March 2019* Continue reading

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List of 2018 posts

Here is a complete list of blog posts from 2018 with the number of views they received as at 31 December 2018. As you can see most of my posts don’t get widely read! There are more stats about my blog here.

Continue reading

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Blog statistics for 2018 (Transparency report)

Total monthly blog views to end of 2018

When I started blogging I had no idea how my blog compared to others. I know it shouldn’t matter because I should be doing it for my own reasons, but the truth is I did wonder. After nearly two years of blogging I was still only averaging 23 views a day and decided that unless more people were interested, it really wasn’t worth the effort. I started putting in more time and thought to the blog, started writing better content and did some of the courses available through WordPress, and the numbers started increasing.

I’m still not sure how my blog compares to other blogs but, as I’m averaging nearly 1000 views a day, I definitely feel it is worth continuing. Even though many of my posts don’t get many views, because there are over 700 posts and some of them do fairly well, the total views continue to increase. As can be seen in the above graph, December/January and June/July are much quieter months which suggests to me that quite a lot of students use the blog. Continue reading

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The Alternatives to Violence Project: Reflections on a strengths-based approach to nonviolent relationships and conflict resolution

Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) logoThis is the text of a peer-reviewed paper that Gener Lapina (from AVP and Family Support Newcastle) and I had published as part of the 2018 Family and Relationship Services Association conference. The citation with a link to the published version is:

Stuart, G. & Lapina, G. (2018) The Alternatives to Violence Project: Reflections on a strengths-based approach to nonviolent relationships and conflict resolution. FRSA Conference e-Journal (3), 62-69. Available from: https://frsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/FRSA-conference-ejournal-2018.pdf

Strengths-based practice is widely accepted as an important foundation for social work, family work and community work in a range of settings (Hunter, Lanza, Lawlor, Dyson & Gordon, 2016; Oliver & Charles, 2016; Saleebey, 2013). There are, however, a number of challenges or dilemmas involved when adopting a strengths-based approach in certain contexts where there are significant risks associated with people’s safety, such as working with perpetrators of domestic or family violence and in child protection.

In this paper we explore some of the dilemmas involved in offering Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops to parents and partners. We provide a brief overview of AVP, discuss some characteristics of strengths-based group work and then consider five dilemmas we’ve faced in offering the program.

AVP Background

AVP is a community-led initiative that began in the 1970s in New York’s Greenhaven Prison. The program was developed following concern expressed by senior inmates about the cycle of reoffending amongst younger inmates, and a desire to help their fellow inmates develop skills in navigating conflict, without resorting to violence. After much success in Greenhaven, AVP was soon introduced to other prisons and then expanded to other countries and to a range of other contexts (Addy, 2009; Kayser, Roberts, Shuford & Michaelis, 2014; Kreitzer & Jou, 2010; Lambourne & Manirakiza, 2017; Walsh & Potter-Daniau, 2017). Continue reading

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A video introducing asset-based community development (ABCD)

This is a brief introduction to ABCD—asset-based community development (or asset-based community-led development)—produced by The Calabash Trust in South Africa.

I like how it discusses the idea that the health of our minds and hearts affect our material well-being.  Too much “development” has focussed on material well-being and standard of living rather than quality of life. I recognise the risks involved in somebody from an overdeveloped nation talking about an over-emphasis on standard of living, but there is a real danger for the World if we export our over-consumption to other parts of the globe.

We need development that values what is important to for a fulfilling life. Continue reading

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Australia’s CO2e emissions continue to rise

Despite attempts by the Government to bury the news, the latest update of Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory from the Department of the Environment and Energy show that the total emissions of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) are rising.

Based on the following figure from page 3 of the report, the Prime Minister likes to emphasise that “we’ve got emissions per capita at the lowest level in 28 years.”

Emissions per capita and per dollar of real GDP (Source: Department of the Environment and Energy)

But total emissions, however,  have continued to rise. The following figure (p. 40) shows how emissions fell between 2007 (around the time that Kevin Rudd, a former Prime Minister, described climate change as “the great moral challenge of our generation“) and 2013 when Tony Abbot was elected with a promise to abolish carbon pricing, but have steadily increased ever since.  Continue reading

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My 2018 Transition Newcastle Convenor’s report

Transition Newcastle banner

After seven and a half years in the role, this is my last report as convenor of Transition Newcastle. This is actually the 10th anniversary of Transition Newcastle being founded by Will Vorobioff and Maureen Beckett—we really should have a celebration!

I’ve been reflecting a bit on my time in Transition Newcastle and thinking about how we can contribute to broad social change, because this is at the heart of what the Transition movement is all about.

We face an uncertain, scary future. Climate change, over use of resources, political and economic instability, and rapid social change are demonstrating that we need to rethink our individual, community, national and global priorities, and they challenge many of our taken for granted assumptions.

Our website says that Transition Newcastle is a local group committed to fostering sustainable and resilient communities. Over the years we have done this in numerous ways including community education through forums, film nights and discussions; the Fair Share Festival; Transition Streets; the Nourishing Newcastle Urban Tucker Stall at the farmers market; and various special events (both large and small).

Shed 11

Continue reading

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Resources for churches on asset-based community development (ABCD)

Asset-based community development

A while ago somebody asked me about resources on strengths-based approaches to community development for churches. Here are some suggestions, mainly related to asset-based community-driven development (ABCD).

Articles about ABCD and churches or faith communities.

Barrett, A. (2013). Asset-based community development: A theological reflection. Church Urban Fund. Available from: https://resources.depaul.edu/abcd-institute/publications/publications-by-topic/Documents/ABCD_Theological_Reflection_2013.pdf

Church Urban Fund. (2013). Tackling poverty in England: An asset-based approach. Available from: https://www.cuf.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=4f436396-a2b8-4a97-b58d-3c284dc89fcb Continue reading

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What does Gandhi have to say about youth work?

By Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2006 I was invited to write a paper on Gandhi as part of a series called “What does … have to say about youth work?” for the journal Youth & Policy. Here is a version with a couple of minor changes to update some references. The full citation is:Stuart, G. (2006). What does Gandhi have to say about youth work? Youth & Policy(93), 77-89. Available from http://www.youthandpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/youthandpolicy93-1.pdf

Gandhi, assassinated in 1948, was a seeker after the Truth who transformed India and inspired social change movements throughout the world. Gandhi’s large body of writing provides him with the opportunity to ‘speak to you from my grave’ (Dasgupta and Walz, 1986) and, although he may not have written directly about youth work, his theory and practice of nonviolent social and individual change could serve as a solid foundation for youth workers today.

Mohandas Gandhi (better known as Mahatma Gandhi) was born on 2 October 1869 in India, to middle class parents; his father was a senior official of a small Indian state. Married at 13, Gandhi set sail for England to become a lawyer when he was 19. After being called to the bar in 1891, Gandhi returned to India to work as a lawyer without much success (partly due to his shyness). His move to South Africa in 1893 to become a legal advisor to an Indian merchant set the stage for his political awakening. Shortly after his arrival, despite having a first-class ticket, he was thrown from a first-class train compartment because a white man objected to his presence. His humiliation at the hands of those and other officials began the process of transforming him from a meek, mild citizen into an unwavering political and social activist.

During his 22 years in South Africa Gandhi refined many of his nonviolent techniques, began his life long commitment to communal living in ashrams and learnt to lead large- scale political campaigns. Returning to India in 1915 he became involved in various campaigns to help his fellow Indians before emerging as a leading figure in India’s successful struggle for independence. In 1948, five and a half months after independence, Gandhi was assassinated on his way to a prayer meeting by a Hindu radical who accused him of weakening India by allowing the creation of the separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Continue reading

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