Many young Female Leaders are at the forefront of the demonstrations opposing a (violent) Military Coup, that seized power on Feb 1st. More than 60% of the population in Myanmar are making less than $1.90 a day.
"After a year of shutdowns, layoffs, pay cuts and union crackdowns, tens of thousands of garment workers have been spurred into (non-violent) civil disobedience in recent weeks, as the coup threatens both their freedom and the industry,” according to an NY Times article.
“We are being shot in the streets during the day. Our homes are being raided at night. We have made the global apparel brands huge profits with our bare hands over the years, the very least they should do right now is ensure we are not fired simply for wishing not to live under a military dictatorship. Amidst such an undisputed human rights travesty, their silence thus far is appalling."
-Ma Moe Sandar Myint
General Workers of Myanmar (FGWM)
Many people in Myanmar are being silenced. Demonstrating their control, "the military has partially stopped communications to the outside world. For the past 17 days, internet access in Myanmar has been blocked at night. Days after the coup began, Facebook was blocked nationwide and remains blocked by most internet service providers."
According to The Guardian, "1,000 workers were trapped inside (the GY Sen factory that supplies Primark to prevent them from protesting). Workers said they were able to break free after several hours."
Majority of Myanmar’s 700,000 garment workers remain unorganized. However, unions have played a significant role in improving their working conditions. “Mass strikes and union demands led to the establishment of a minimum wage in 2015,” stated NY Times.
Organizations to Support:
Sign the petition actionnetwork.org/petitions/adidas-zara-and-lidl-support-the-civil-disobedience-movement-cdm-in-myanmar
List of brands made by union organizer - Andrew Tillett-Saks:
Read the responses from fashion brands in Vogue: https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/myanmar-workers-support-civil-disobedience-movement-democracy
More Articles to Read:
Interview with: The Oromo Legacy, Leadership, and Advocacy Association (OLLAA), Oromo Protests, Oromo Youth in Charge (Toronto)
Black History Month may be ending but the oppression continues. The Oromo People are native inhabitants to Eastern Africa and are fighting for their lives. Their land and freedom have been stolen. More than 50,000 peaceful protesters have been imprisoned by the government to be silenced. Many are protesting around the world to shine a light on this while their government keeps their families in the dark.
Oromia - a vast land that is home to Ethiopia's largest ethnic group. It has some of Africa's most fertile land and produces coffee to be sold around the world. The government has been stealing and exploiting the land of the Oromo People for decades displacing 3 million farmers, which sparked mass protests around the world in 2015 and the fight continues today.
In my interview with protesters from around the world including people from The Oromo Legacy, Leadership, and Advocacy Association (OLLAA), Oromo Protests, Oromo Youth in Charge (Toronto).
Gada Hunte said that:
“Historically, Oromos were subjugated and treated as second class citizens by subsequent Ethiopian regimes. Current government and its policy of power consolidation remind Oromos of the Emperors era. Power consolidation to form an authoritarian state was achieved violently. Back then, it was breast mutilation and other inhuman forms of torture was used to succumb Oromos. Today, we are experiencing parallel atrocities in the Oromia region. Abiy Ahmed (Ethiopian Prime Minister) continues arresting peaceful protesters, extrajudicial killings, suppressing decent, and eliminating Oromo political leaders and parties.”
“In order to resist this oppression, the Oromo people are fighting on multiple fronts. Imprisoned Oromo leaders Jawar Mohamed, Bekele Gerba, and many more are currently on hunger strike for more than a month. These Iconic leaders translate Dr. King's and Gandhi’s peaceful resistance into Oromo both in writing and action. From the darkness of their prison cells, They inspire the nation to not give in to govt oppression and fear but to keep fighting. The Government has denied them urgent medical care by their doctors. Here in diaspora Oromo are protesting Ethiopian govt and collectively calling on the world citizens to be a voice for these prisoners and Oromos at large.”
Merertu Kitila said that the various forms of torture used by the government dates back to:
“The Anole massacre in the 1880s by Emperor Menelik II, in which thousands were mutilated (in addition to many thousands of killings) including cutting off the right breast of women and right hand of men, as well as castrations. We refer to this tragic event (in our language) as Harmaaf Harka Muraa Aanolee or simply, "Anole Massacre." Aside from this historial event though, torture in various forms has continued into present day including (current day) brutal torture of political prisoners and brutal torture of civilians in the streets, killings in their homes, etc.”
Maalan Jira, kukkute na nyaatee jira "What’s left of my existence, they have ripped me apart and consumed me."- Hachalu Hundessa
The government has been stealing and exploiting the land of the Oromo People for decades. Those who dare to speak up or take part in the protests are killed, locked up or tortured. They are being silenced and need your help.
Family and friends living in North America are frightened to hear phone calls from loved ones in Ethiopia in which more have died. Please speak up for those who cannot speak right now. For those who have been locked up in the cages and tortured. They are moms, dads, children, teachers, musicians, friends and people.
They have resorted to hunger strikes that have lasted more than 30 days and are on the verge of death. You are their last hope.
If this is your first time hearing about this it’s because their government often uses tactics to silence any media coverage on this issue.
Follow, support and amplify:
Donate to the mutual aid benefit - GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/oromo-political-prisoners-medical-fund
Share and sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/abiy-ahmed-save-ethiopian-political-prisoners
Hashtag to use to spread awareness:
You can’t talk about climate justice without racial justice. It’s a privilege to be able to separate these two heavily related issues. According to the Earth Island Institute, the hierarchical worldview of
White supremacy means that value is measured by the profits and powers of that select group, to the detriment of everyone, and everything, including the planet. This is what happens when you put yourself above all others and Mother Nature. There are 2 key elements of destructive white supremacy that fuels the climate crisis:
1. It is deemed acceptable to mine and exploit the Earth without considering how it affects others and future generations.
2. Despite knowledge of the climate crisis, industries have continued to emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The entire fossil fuel industry was born our of slavery and colonialism. According to the Guardian, "Fossil fuel interests – oil, gas, and coal companies, fossil-fueled utilities, and fossil fuel investors - have colonized nearly every nook and cranny of energy and climate policy research in American universities, and much of energy science too. And they have done so quietly, without the general public’s knowledge." You'll even see entire climate denial studies funded by big oil. They have a ton of money and power to do this and yes majority of these rich multi-billionaires are white men. This would be like if public health research was funded by the tobacco industry and I'm sure if you did some digging you would actually find health studies funded by the tobacco industry trying lessen the dangers of smoking.
White Supremacy has been normalized throughout history, in the 17th century John Locke, a philosopher said, “unused land was wasted land." This dangerous ideology has allowed the white people to steal the land of indigenous peoples time and time again. The massacres of Indigenous people happened because of white supremacy and dehumanization, they were called "savages" and seen a less than by the whites throughout history. If you are seen as less than, it is easier to make excuses when exploiting and killing your people.
Even now white supremacy and this idea that you are worthy of having everything even if it hurts others is seen today. According to Rachel Allison (IRIS), "The historical concentration of industry and wealth in countries like the U.S and Europe means that they’re responsible for 79% of climate changing emissions." We consume way more per person in the west than the rest of the world (see stats here). Our consumer culture is fueling our climate crisis and is being driven by big corporations with this continent need for more.
This racial inequality also means that the people most at risk from climate change have the fewest resources to adapt, according to the Washington post. This is evident, when natural disasters occur and will worsen with climate change. For example, "More than 30% of Black New Orleans residents didn’t own cars when Hurricane Katrina hit — making it almost impossible for them to evacuate." If you look at lower elevation levels in many places, you'll see that many poorer communities of color live there.
There wouldn’t be a climate crisis if we valued everyone’s lives equally. Here are just a few of the examples of how white supremacy is hurting our people and planet:
Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. It is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events: hurricanes, floods, drought. Human trafficking, "is often described as a modern day form of slavery, typically though sexual exploitation or forced labour."
But how are they linked? Globally, 21 million people are victims of human trafficking globally and climate change will only worsen that by displacing millions according to this study from the Columbia Law School. Displacement can occur by: extreme flooding, and water shortages and desertification that threaten food supplies. According to the study:
A drought in India affected 330 million people in 2016. many migrated from rural areas in search of water, food and jobs. Women, children and elderly were left behind and at greater risk of being trafficked.
But who is to blame for climate change and how can we solve this? The answer is complex. But the next time you are feeling guilty for a small mistake you made, just know, "100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988."
Where does all the stuff that we donate go? Turns out we handle the overwhelming amount of donations like we handle a lot of our waste. We send it to other countries to deal with.
In 2017 alone, some $173 million in worn or used clothing was exported from Canada to countries and regions around the world. 75% of the clothing that is donated doesn’t even end up getting sold in the thrift shops we donate to according to CBC.
“No rational businessman would ship stuff to East Africa or West Africa or Central America just to have it burn in a field.” -Bank and Vogue Co
There is a huge secondhand market there but it’s hurting local businesses. Kenya’s new garment industry had half a million garment workers a few decades ago but now only has tens of thousands. The East African Community even tried to ban new imports of clothing from coming in but was pressured heavily by the United States.
In Nigeria they are known as kafa ulaya (the clothes of the dead whites).
Donated clothing was previously given away for free in East Africa. It then became a commodity to sell, which is what suppressed the local textile sector.
This is not to deter people from donating. Just be more mindful when donating. Donating clothing is definitely far better than landfilling, but it does not erase the impacts of the clothing.
A lot of thrift stores don’t actually know where their clothing is sent. There needs to be more transparency and clothing needs to be tracked.
I absolutely adore this movie! It's about how a cute little garbage compacter named WALL-E and his friends discover that life on earth is still possible. It's honestly a pretty realistic prediction of our future if we continue to pollute and accumulate waste. I love the story of friendship in love told through actions rather than words and the music really warms your heart!
P.s. I really hope we won't get to the point where we're slurping burgers out of plastic cups oe any cups lol it does not sound appetizing!
My neighbor totoro
Probably one of my favorite movies of all time! Hayao Miyazaki's movies are a must watch. This movie is about a family and two sister who just moved into a village. They meet all sorts of cute creatures when they explore the area and some very fluffy ones too! Totoro the big guy in the poster is a friendly spirit that can only be seen by children. It's a great story about family and helping one another! I love the scenes where they literally grow a forest!
The theme song is literally stuck in my head right now!
Now I feel like the song they put was a little too similar to Let It Go but I loved it regardless! Finally some representation in Disney, it's been too long! Anyways Moana is a story about a girl well named Moana, she's unlocks her secret past of her families history and how they sailed across the ocean. Her people's island was dying and the fish were depleted. The story of mother nature and friendship is truly beautiful in this movie and we are very lucky to learn a little about the Polynesian culture.
I've probably watched this movie a thousand times! It's one of the first times I got to see a strong female main character. Spirited Away is a beautiful story about a girl named Chihiro who moves with her family to a new place. They end up taking a little road trip to an empty village with a huge bath house. Her parents show how greedy humans can be and end up turning into pigs leaving Chihiro to fend for herself in this new world filled with spirits but she meets some amazing friends along the way. The story also shows themes of pollution caused by humans.
Definitely my favorite movie of all time!
I think this movie is adorable! It's a bit more abstract in the art but it's very beautiful. Ponyo is a goldfish who becomes human and befriends a little boy in the seaside village. This imbalance caused a tsunami to wash over the village. It shows themes or pollution and friendship but also to respect nature.
"I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees" that saying will always be ingrained in my head! If you love trees and Dr. Seuss I would definitely recommend this movies and the book. It's about standing up for those who cannot speak and in this case it would be the trees and protecting them from deforestation. This movie will always remind me of when my high school physics teacher would recite the whole entire book for memory on stage at our school summer camp right before the new school year!
This movie is filled with magical fairies that live peacefully in a beautiful forest called FernGully. One day Crysta, the fairy decides to venture outside the protected land and end up meeting all sorts of creatures they've never seen before like bats and even humans! It's an old movie but definitely worth a watch! Heavy deforestation themes here.
Over the hedge
This movie is hilarious! It tells a fun story from the perspective of the suburban wildlife and how they survive by stealing food from the humans. I mean technically the animals were there first! They plan a food raid and try to escape from the exterminators. In the end they learn what it means to be a family.
Save the owls! This movie is about how a group of kids stumble upon an owl's home. Later they learn that construction workers were going to tear it up so they team up to save the owls habitat!
Who doesn't love penguins?! This movie takes you on a musical journey of the Emperor Penguins. They sing, dance and talk! They run into a ton of trouble along the way from predators to plastic rings, to overfishing which depleted their food resource. Catch Happy Feet and their cuddly but fierce journey of survival!
What's your favorite environmental kids movie?
Climate change will affect every single one of us but who will be affected the most? Studies have found that people of color are the most vulnerable to the climate crisis. What is racial justice? It is the fair treatment of people of all races and its about changing the system to make that happen.
Here are a some facts that you should know:
Here are 6 Environmental Organizations Led by POC that you can support:
Here's to a more inclusive movement!
We know about climate change and its effects on the environment. But how will climate change affect our health? Today I want to show you just how dangerous our climate crisis is to all of us.
Here are 5 ways that climate change will affect our health:
Hearing all these horrible affects is really scary but luckily there are some ways we can take action.
Here's what Biden plans to do about Climate Change. Biden wants to have, "net-zero emissions no later than 2050." He also wants to make a $1.7 Trillion federal investment in climate action and environmental justice in the next ten years. He plans to, "installation of 500 million solar panels and 60,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines." Biden will also have "500,000 electric vehicle charging stations" available.
Biden has set goals for reducing carbon emissions in U.S. buildings stock by 50% by 2035. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, "any successful climate protection strategy must consider residential and commercial buildings, which are responsible for almost 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. "
Another important part of Biden's plan is that he will make low-income community housing more energy efficient. Many low-income communities can't afford the energy efficient retrofits to cut their carbon emissions on their own. He also plans to place energy efficiency standards for household appliances. Clean drinking water is vital to everyone. Biden plans on improving water related infrastructure and put systems in place to monitor lead and other dangerous contaminants.
Clean energy jobs
As the country shifts away from coal power Biden will ensure coal miners will still receive health benefits. According to Biden, coal companies have hired lawyers and doctors to work against coal miners and deny them of their benefits including the Black Lung Benefits Program. This program helps protect coal miners by providing medical coverage for lung related diseases such as pneumoconiosis which is common in the coal mining sector. Even though I'm against coal mining I still think it's important to protect people and their health. Not everyone gets to choose what kind of work they go into. Many work to just pay the bills. We must protect the people.
Biden also acknowledges that communities of color and low-income communities do not equally benefit in well-paying jobs in the clean energy sector compared to whites. Sadly, "African Americans hold only 1% of energy jobs." As president, Biden has promised to make sure communities of color get preference in grant programs in clean energy.
Election day is coming up guys! November 3rd will be a huge day in determining what our future will look like. Scary isn't it? Funny how time flies. Just four year ago I bawled my eyes out when I found out that Trump actually won the US presidential election. I was truly scared for our future and I still am.
I'm sure we all know by now that Trump doesn't care about the environment but what has he done specifically to destroy our planet and children's future?
Trump has repeatedly denied that climate change is real. He does not believe in science. This is dangerous because as the US presidential figure, you hold a lot of power and influence. He has publicly stated that he believes climate change is a "hoax."
As a president he has diminished the urgency and importance of our climate crises. He even appointed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump also pulled out of the Paris Agreement as soon as he sat in office. The Paris Agreement is an important agreement to, "cut greenhouse gas emissions to keep global heating below 2C.”
Here are just three out of the 100 things that Trump has done to weaken environmental protection in the US. He cut out the Clean Power Plan which would have put limits to how much carbon emissions coal and gas plants are allowed to emit . He also made oil and gas corporations exempt from reporting how much methane they emitted. He even cut out Obama's order to cut "greenhouse gas emissions by 40% over 10 years."
One of the main reasons why Trump has went so hard on cutting out these regulations that protect the environment is because his campaign has been funded by big oil corporations. Oil pipeline billionaire Kelcy Warren raised $10m for the US president’s campaign. He donated $1.7 Million personally.
Sadly there are only 2 presidential candidates to choose from. It's either Trump or Biden. To understand how the electoral college system works and why it's like this please watch: We're doing Elections Wrong on Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (seriously an amazing show).
Here's what Biden is bringing to the table:
We still have hope! Please vote by going to vote.gov. Here you can figure out when you need to register to vote and how you can vote in your state. Below are some key states that are going to really be the deciding states on what our future will look like. So please if you have friends and family there please explain to them why protecting the environment and our future is so important. Please encourage them to vote this November.
Hi everyone, I’m Elizabeth! I am a Chinese American and Canadian environmental activist focused on creating awareness on environmental justice issues and tying them to fast fashion and our waste and climate change crisis. I’m very open about my mental health. I talk about these important topics on my platform