Joseph Kony

The KONY 2012 campaign started as an experiment. Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he was famous, would the world work together to stop him? Or would it let him remain at large?

The experiment yielded the fastest growing viral video of all time.  3.7 million people pledged their support for efforts to arrest Joseph Kony.

Thousands rallied in Washington, DC and the KONY 2012 Global Summit on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) brought together seven leaders from international institutions and the affected region to talk about what they are doing to stop Joseph Kony and his rebel army.

The KONY 2012 experiment sparked more international activity focused on stopping the LRA than ever before. But Kony is still out there.

Kony 2012 is the fastest growing viral video in history.

Feeding nine billion people

How we can take action (- excerpts from www.feedingninebillion.com/take-action)

10 actions which would make a difference…

1. Shop at a farmers market

Farmers markets are one venue where you can buy directly from farmers.
Buying directly from the farmer helps the farmer retain more money from every pound spent than if they are sold through conventional food retail outlets like supermarkets. In addition to supporting farmer livelihoods, purchasing directly from your food producer lets you ask questions about how your food was grown. Not all vendors at farmers’ markets sell produce they grew themselves: different farmers markets have different rules about what can be sold.

Check out this site to search for local farmers markets in your area www.localfoods.org.uk

2. Join a community shared agriculture (CSA)

This is where the community shares in both the risks of farming and the bounty of the harvest. The way it works is you buy a ‘share’ of the farmer’s harvest in advance, giving the farmer the start up funds they need to grow their crops. Then you receive a box of food every week during the harvest. Similar to buying direct from farmers at farmers’ markets, buying direct from farmers through a CSA helps the farmer retain a greater portion of every pound you spend.

Simply post your search in Google for your nearest. I found this little gem for a CSA in Milton Keynes: www.foodtrain.org.uk

3.Try growing your own food

Growing your own food will increase your knowledge of food and reduce the miles your food has to travel to just about zero.  Additionally, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for the lifestyle of a farmer.

There are numerous books on the topics of growing your own food.  The internet will provide you with a vast wealth of knowledge, however if you prefer a book, one title is “The Backyard Homestead” which will provide any aspiring gardener with the basic knowledge to get started.

4. Experience farm life

As the world shifts to predominantly urban, the plight of a farmers is increasingly farther removed from our consciousness.  To gain an appreciation for our food, it is important to understand where it comes from.  Try holidaying at a farm.

5. Eat in season

When you’re eating peppers in the middle of winter, they came from a long way away.  Eating in season means that the food you’re eating is from the same region and that you’re supporting regional farmers.  For advice on how to do this, see the links below.

6.Eat efficiently

Foods from animals generally require more land, water and fossil fuels to produce than plant foods because not all of the feed livestock consume is converted into meat, milk and eggs. Try experimenting with vegetarian recipes or start a Meatless Monday tradition to cut back on your animal food consumption. There are many factors that contribute to efficient food production. For example, organic, grass-fed beef raised and consumed locally could be more efficient in terms of resources consumed in production than industrially produced fruits, vegetables, or vegetarian protein options produced and processed long distances from where they are consumed and shipped half way around the world to get into our supermarkets. Become informed about where your food comes from and what is required to produce it so that you can make more efficient choices.

7. Become informed about food

Gaining knowledge our the food system will help you make better choices and understand the current issues regarding food.  The www.feedingninebillion.com website provides some useful pointers.

8. Concentrate on food waste

Estimates state that globally, 30% of the food grown is wasted at some point between the field and the dinner plate.  Much of this waste is on the consumer end, as those leftovers aren’t as appealing on their third day.  Try making this a focus in your kitchen by being conscious of it and planning smaller meals so there aren’t so many leftovers to be wasted.  Additionally, preserving and processing raw vegetables is a great way to lower the amount of food waste in your kitchen.  The food waste you do have you could compost.

As a society, we are continually using more of the earth to store our garbage.  When you throw out compost this fills up the space in landfills and required us to use even more space for our garbage.  Additionally, if you try growing your own food, the compost will help improve the quality of your food.  Learn more about composting.

9.Volunteer professional skills or donate

There are many organizations which are working tirelessly to improve our food system in many ways.  They require resources to keep their efforts alive.  Consider donating or volunteering your skills and time as a way to get involved and make a difference.

Let’s have ‘The Talk’

overpopulation-scalesBy 1850, we had reproduced so successfully that in 200,000 years we had 1 billion people on Earth.  The next billion came in 100 years.  Now we add 1 billion people to the planet every 12 years!

In 2011 the world population reached 7 billion people.

As a species, we are a biological success story – we survive.
We are also a religious success story – we have gone forth and multiplied.

But now we have to stop… or it will be our downfall.

Every day we add 229,000 people to the planet. This is unsustainable… which means the world’s population has to stop growing.

The question is how?  Will it stop over famine, disease, war over resources or will it stop growing because people choose to have smaller families?

Actress Alexandra Paul discusses her lifelong concern about human overpopulation and the fears we all have about discussing the issue. (January 2013)

The fastest and most efficient way to stabilise the world population is to send girls to school and to empower women. To give everyone access to an education on birth control.

 

Stand-out moments of 2012

2012 was an eventful year. It was both turbulent and destructive yet celebratory and joyous.

Olympics2012 best moments
In this year, we really saw the “Great” in Great Britain served up and shared with the rest of the world – from the amazing staging of the golden Games to an entrancing summer of sport and the Queen’s diamond Jubilee.  Despite the weather, people congregated and partied together in celebration of our British heroes.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were finally found guilty of Stephen Lawrence’s murder of 1993.
Later in the year, the British public saw the BBC in disrepute as the Jimmy Savile case erupted with 450 sexual abuse allegations made against him.  BBC director general, George Entwhistle resigned (with a £450,000 severance payment!) after just 54 days in the job (when a Newsnight report led to former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse on Entwhistle’s watch) and the Lord Leveson report gave rise to question the need for greater press regulation.

Elsewhere, we saw the devastating effects of global climate change taking their toll – not least as we learned that the Arctic sea ice (aka the world’s natural air-conditioning unit) had shrunk to a record low, global sea levels were continuing to rise faster than predicted and the world was at the mercy of more extreme weather conditions – such as Hurricane Sandy that went on to destroy swathes of the east coast of America late in the year.

And while we saw austerity provoke discord in Spain and Greece, calling for a 130 billion euro bailout package for Greece, we also saw Edvard Munch’s harrowing painting, The Scream, (no. 5, 1948) sell for 140 million dollars.

Wars continued, including that in Syria which has seen over 44,551 people killed in the Syria crisis since March 2011 – with over 100 (many of them children) added in the Houla massacre in March 2012.

Soulful songstress, Whitney Houston died, as did Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island tortoises- a Galapagos giant and reportedly the rarest creature on earth.

Obama was re-elected to win a second term and a fearless Austrian dare-devil called Felix broke the sound barrier in a fall to Earth from space.

See it all here in the Guardian’s  interactive guide to the most extraordinary news and viral videos of 2012.