Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X

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Some Facts From The Woodland Trust

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this interesting post so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Our ancient woodland are very important to me and so I’ve signed petitions and donated money in the past to The Woodland Trust; they want to see a UK rich in native woods and trees, for both people and wildlife and are a voice for the environment who seek to effect policy change through their research and campaigns.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.



11 must-know facts about woods and forests in the UK

Woods are a vital part of the ecosystems that give us the essentials of life. Woods and forests really are amazing places, not only are they beautiful but they provide us with many benefits. Without them the world would be a very different place. Here are 11 key facts about woods and forests in the UK.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:

  • i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable,
  • ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life,
  • iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

1. Woods and forests are cities for our wildlife

(WTML / John Bridges)
(WTML / John Bridges)

Our woods and trees are home to more wildlife than any other landscape. The UK’s woodland has some of our richest habitats providing homes for thousands of species including many of our mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Woods, and more specifically the trees within them, provide shelter, food and safe places to hide and breed.

Discover wildlife activities you can do with family.

2. Trees in forests communicate with each other through a fungal network or ‘wood wide web’

Fungi have fine threads that spread underground called mycelium. Trees use mycelium like an underground internet to link with other trees and plants. They use these networks to communicate, such as to warn each other of danger. They also use them to share nutrients, older trees will pass nutrients to their offspring that are growing nearby. These partnerships are called ‘mycorrhiza’.

3. Not all rainforests are tropical, we actually have rainforests in the UK

(WTML / Phil Formby) The Celtic Rainforest at Lennyrch in Wales
(WTML / Phil Formby) The Celtic Rainforest at Lennyrch in Wales

The UK is home to a few small pockets of rainforest. They are temperate deciduous forests with a constantly moist environment that encourages growth of mosses and ferns.

4. Woods in the UK are structured with four layers: canopy, understory, herb layer and ground layer

The canopy is made up of the leaves and branches of the tallest trees. The understory or shrub layer is the vegetation below the canopy from smaller trees or shrubs, such as hawthorn, that grow in low light. The herb (or field) layer comes next, plants that grow here depend on how open the canopy is and often need gaps of light to grow. The ground layer is the forest floor filled with mosses, fungi, leaf litter and decaying wood.

5. Galloway Forest in Scotland is the UK’s largest forest at 297 square miles

The next largest is England’s Kielder Forest in Northumberland which is 235 square miles.

6. Around 13% of the UK is covered in woods and forests

(WTML / David Rodway)
(WTML / David Rodway)

The UK is the second least wooded country in Europe after Ireland. In comparison Europe’s average tree cover is 44%. Not enough trees are being planted in the UK meaning we could soon be in a period of deforestation. This is why the Woodland Trust works to create new woodland and connect existing woods by planting native trees.

Find out more about our tree planting.

7. Just 2% of the UK’s land mass is covered in ancient woodland

(WTML / Jane Corey)
(WTML / Jane Corey)

Ancient woodland is defined as areas that have been continuously wooded since 1600 in England and Wales, and 1750 in Scotland. It’s not the trees but the soils that give them this name. The soils have been preserved from human interference for centuries. This has resulted in the development of complex ecosystems that make ancient woods unique and irreplaceable. The Trust is working hard to protect these habitats before they all disappear.

Find out how you can help.

8. The UK’s woods are home to almost half of all bluebells in the world

(WTML / Lesley Newcombe)
(WTML / Lesley Newcombe)

The UK is famous for its stunning bluebell carpets that bloom in our ancient woods from April to May. They are a slow spreading bulb flower with each bulb potentially living for years. New flowers bloom from the existing bulbs every year. But they face many threats from trampling, habitat loss, competition and hybridisation with Spanish bluebells, and from people picking them or digging up the bulbs (this is illegal).

Join the Big Bluebell Watch.

9. The Woodland Trust owns over 1,100 woods across the UK which are all free to visit

We believe everyone should be able to access woods near them for free.  We also buy woods to safeguard and restore them, where we can. We take on sites with existing or ancient woodland or create new woods by planting. Some of our popular sites have both, such as Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire.

Find a wood to visit near you.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People
Charter for Trees, Woods and People

10. Last year, on the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forests, a new contemporary Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched for the UK

Over 70 organisations, local groups and thousands of people worked together to create a Tree Charter that will guide policy and practice in the UK. It is made up of 10 principles that illustrate how we should use, value, protect and celebrate woods and trees. Over 130,000 people have shown their support by signing the Charter.

Find out more about the Tree Charter.

11. Spending time in woods and forests, or even just around trees, is proven to boost our health and wellbeing

(WTML / Judith Parry)
(WTML / Judith Parry)

Lots of research provides evidence that woods benefit our health. Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with fewer complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Being near trees helps our concentration by reducing mental fatigue. One study discovered that a forest stroll had beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate and the immune system.

Discover woods and forests for yourself

We hope you enjoyed learning some interesting facts about woods and forests in the UK. Why not go and discover the wonder of woods and forests first-hand with your family or friends? We offer lots of activities to get you started as part of our family membership.

Source: 11 must-know facts about woods and forests – Woodland Trust

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A Bit About Save the Children UK

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet recently and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this post; it’s a history/activism sort of thing and I found it interesting so I thought I’d share it with you all.

While studying for my teaching assistant qualification, I did a fair bit of research into child protection and in the past I’ve signed petitions and donated money to Save The Children; their history dates back to the start of the 1900s when two sisters had a vision to protect children’s rights and they’re still going strong, defending the rights of children, investigating, exposing and confronting abuses as well as championing solutions.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.



Our history – Where we started, to where we are today

At the beginning of the 20th century, two sisters had a vision to achieve and protect the rights of children. Almost 100 years later, that vision continues to guide all our work. Read the story of what happened in between…

Beginnings: Arrested in London

Save the Children's founder, Eglantyne Jebb.

Save the Children’s founder, Eglantyne Jebb.

After the First World War war ended, Britain kept up a blockade that left children in cities like Berlin and Vienna starving. Malnutrition was common and rickets were rife.

Dr Hector Munro, who witnessed the effects of the famine, reported that “children’s bones were like rubber. Tuberculosis was terribly rife. Clothing was utterly lacking. In the hospitals there was nothing but paper bandages.”

Save the Children’s founder, Eglantyne Jebb, and her sister Dorothy Buxton were part of the Fight the Famine movement, spreading information about what was happening in Europe.

In 1919, Jebb was arrested for distributing leaflets in Trafalgar Square. They bore shocking images of children affected by famine in Europe, and the headline: ‘Our Blockade has caused this – millions of children are starving to death’. When Jebb was tried for her protest and found guilty, the prosecuting counsel was so impressed with her that he offered to pay the £5 fine himself.

Soon, the sisters decided that campaigning alone would not be enough – direct action was needed. In May 1919, the Save the Children Fund was set up at a packed public meeting in London’s Royal Albert Hall.

This was just the start – over the next decades Save the Children would grow to become a global organisation saving thousands of children’s lives each year.

Read our former CEO’s blog about Eglantyne Jebb.

Early years: fighting the famine

Russian children fed by Save the Children during the 1921 famine.

Russian children fed by Save the Children during the 1921 famine.

In 1921, one refugee child described how he had carried his youngest brother among thousands of sick, tired and hungry people. He said, “One day I saw that he was not moving or crying for bread any more. I showed him to my mother and she saw that he was dead. We were glad that he was dead because we had nothing to feed him on.

Save the Children soon raised considerable funds for these children in desperate need. Single donations ranged from two shillings to £10,000. It gave the money to organisations working to feed and educate children in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Hungary, the Balkans and for Armenian refugees in Turkey.

Later, famine in Russia saw children struggling in dire conditions.

To raise money for these children, Jebb and her colleagues used page-length advertisements in national newspapers and footage of famine and disaster work in operation. Films showing the conditions children were facing, screened in cinemas up and down the country, were unlike anything else seen at the time.

With the funds raised, Jebb and her colleagues filled a ship with 600 tons of aid bound for Russia. From winter 1921 through much of 1922, daily meals provided by Save the Children helped keep 300,000 children and more than 350,000 adults alive – for just a shilling per person per week.

Save the Children had not been set up as a permanent organisation, but it soon became one after it was called on to deal with emergency after emergency.

As Buxton moved to focus on political campaigning, the charismatic Eglantyne Jebb, as honorary secretary, became a force to be reckoned with. Persuasive and committed, Jebb quickly established Save the Children as a highly effective relief agency, able to provide food, clothing and money quickly and inexpensively.

 1920s: children’s rights

In the 1920s, we started working here at home, in Britain.

In the 1920s, we started working here at home, in Britain.

Armed with ideas ahead of her time, Eglantyne Jebb wanted to make the rights and welfare of children something that everyone took responsibility for.

She said: “I believe we should claim certain rights for the children and labour for their universal recognition, so that everybody – not merely the small number of people who are in a position to contribute to relief funds, but everybody who in any way comes into contact with children, that is to say the vast majority of mankind – may be in a position to help forward the movement.”

Jebb’s ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ was adopted by The League of Nations, a forerunner to the UN, and it inspired today’s UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

After 1923, with fewer emergencies to deal with, Save the Children focused on research and children’s rights projects.

In the UK, we opened a recuperative school at Fairfield House in Kent for children from inner-city areas, and helped young miners’ families in poverty-striken parts of Wales and Cornwall. In Hungary, we supported a school based on the principle of cooperation and children having a say in the running of the school.

Eglantyne Jebb died in 1928, leaving behind a powerful vision of ending the cycle of poverty that blighted so many children’s lives.

She said: “If we accept our premise, that the Save the Children Fund must work for its own extinction, it must seek to abolish, for good and for all, the poverty which makes children suffer and stunts the race of which they are the parents.

“It must not be content to save children from the hardships of life – it must abolish these hardships; nor think it suffices to save them from immediate menace – it must place in their hands the means of saving themselves and so of saving the world.”

1930s: A growing organisation

The 1930s saw us expand our work beyond Europe for the first time.

The 1930s saw us expand our work beyond Europe for the first time.

Eglantyne Jebb’s ambition had been to extend the work of Save the Children outside Europe. In the decade after her death, we went on to establish the Child Protection Committee, which lobbied for the rights of children in Africa and Asia throughout the decade.

We established a nursery school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1936, and we set up nursery schools in several areas in Britain, including the first nursery school in Wales.

Our 1933, research report, ‘Unemployment and the Child: An Enquiry’, showed that mass unemployment affects children’s nutrition. We campaigned for children’s right to adequate nutrition until the Education Act of 1944 provided school meals and milk throughout the UK.

We also worked with refugees from the Spanish Civil War. And we were part of the Inter Aid committee which organised the rescue mission of predominantly Jewish children from continental Europe to Britain just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

1940s: Another War

Our experience working with children in conflict started in the UK during the World War II.

Our experience working with children in conflict started in the UK during the World War II.

During the Second World War we were forced to withdraw from projects in occupied Europe.

In the UK, we set up residential nurseries for young children who had been evacuated from the cities and day nurseries for children whose parents were working in wartime industries.

In large cities, we created playcentres in air-raid shelters, as well as junior clubs for older children who often played unsupervised on bombsites. We also launched Hopscotch – the first playgroup in Britain, that would be the start of a major area of work for many years.

Save the Children started planning for post-war overseas work in 1942, publishing the report ‘Children in Bondage’. It painted a picture of widespread violations of children’s rights and consequent suffering. In India, we supported a child welfare centre in Kolkata, and we set up health centre in Ibadan, Nigeria.

But the majority of Save the Children’s work outside the UK concerned planning for the needs of children in Europe after the war. By the autumn of 1946, we were working with children, displaced people, refugees and concentration camp survivors in devastated areas of France, Yugoslavia, Poland and Greece.

1950s: Work in Asia

A Save the Children worker with children and mothers in the aftermath of the Korean War.

A Save the Children worker with children and mothers in the aftermath of the Korean War.

The Korean War began in 1950. It left many children destitute and living unaccompanied on the streets. Malnutrition and associated diseases were rife. In 1952, the first Save the Children workers arrived. They stayed for more than 20 years.

In 1959, Save the Children and Oxfam produced the film A Far Cry, which showed how far Korean children still were from achieving basic housing, food, education and healthcare. The BBC showed the film on Easter Sunday that year.

Throughout the 1950s there were still many displaced families in Europe. Save the Children continued working in Germany, Austria, Italy and Greece. It sent extra teams to Austria in 1956 to help Hungarian refugees fleeing after the failed revolution.

Outside Europe, in what was to become Malaysia, the Serendah project gave orphaned boys an education, training and a safe place to live. By the end of the 1950s, most of the organisation’s money was going towards work in Asia.

Save the Children is non-political and non-sectarian, and has a philosophy of international co-operation. However, international politics do affect the organisation.

The Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union compelled us to withdraw from some areas in post-war Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Yugoslavia and Hungary. And we were forced to leave some areas in the Middle East following the Suez crisis in 1956.


The 1960s saw a new emphasis on development in newly independent nations in Asia and Africa.

The 1960s saw a new emphasis on development in newly independent nations in Asia and Africa.

The 1960s were hailed as the ‘development decade’, as Western governments and the public were prepared to give money and resources for development projects.

By this time, Save the Children had full medical and welfare teams in 17 countries and its work extended to 26 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the West Indies.

In Korea, Morocco, Nigeria and the West Indies, our Freedom from Hunger projects, which aimed to prevent the causes of famine and food shortages, were beginning to show results.

We were able to get more funding for long-term development projects and emergency responses. We worked with refugees from the Chinese invasion of Tibet, children in Vietnam and children on both sides of the civil war in Nigeria.

In Malaysia and Somalia, we handed projects over to local management, and we started new work in other areas, such as the Mwanamugimu project at Mulago Hospital, Uganda, which taught mothers about nutrition.

We also started the first hospital play group in the UK at the Brook Hospital, London, in 1963. The same year saw the death of Save the Children’s co-founder, Dorothy Buxton.

1970s: Around the world and at home

A Save the Children worker vaccinates a child against polio.

A Save the Children worker vaccinates a child against polio.

 HRH the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, became President of Save the Children in 1970 – the first major charity with which she had been closely associated.

In 1972, Save the Children organisations in several countries, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the USA, formed the International Save the Children Alliance.

Throughout the 1970s we ran development programmes and emergency responses in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Sahel region of Africa.

During the civil unrest in Northern Ireland, we worked for young people from both Nationalist and Unionist areas. Our Coates Street play centre brought together children from the two communities, as described in Save the Children Northern Ireland’s 1971 annual report:

“These children, drawn from both sides of the Peace Line, play together most successfully with no sign of animosity. The mothers too are meeting in a friendly relaxed way, which is helping to foster a better relationship in this district of rioting.”

In the UK, we began working on projects with Gypsy and Traveller children, and helped provide for unaccompanied children arriving from Vietnam.

In 1979, we launched the Stop Polio Campaign as part of an attempt to eradicate polio worldwide.

 1980s: Protecting people’s dignity

A camp for displaced people during the 1984 Ethiopia famine.

A camp for displaced people during the 1984 Ethiopia famine.

Disasters dominated the 1980s, with the most high-profile emergency being the 1984 famine in Ethiopia.

TV coverage of this and other disasters caught public attention. Donations to Save the Children increased and we were able to work more widely around the around the world.

In Mali, thirteen-year-old Athi said: “During the bad years when people suffered from hunger, Save the Children came.”

We also initiated new programmes designed to protect the dignity of children and their families. To combat the prejudice and misconception around the spread of HIV and AIDS, we set up education, prevention and treatment projects.

We carried out pioneering projects with prisoners’ children, and worked towards alternatives to custody for young offenders. And in education, we focused on giving all children equal opportunity.

1990s: Responding to conflict

After the 1994 Rwandan genocide, we used Polaroid photos of returning child refugees to help trace their families.

After the 1994 Rwandan genocide, we used Polaroid photos of returning child refugees to help trace their families.

During the 1990s, we continued to work with children affected by war in Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Angola and the Balkans.

We campaigned for the rights of child soldiers and for the protection of children forced from their homes by war. We also encouraged young people to speak out about their experiences and fight for positive change.

Fourteen-year-old Fernando, in Mozambique, told us, “The bandits killed my father. They killed my mother. And my brother. They took me to their base camp. Yes, I was with the bandits. I had a gun.”

Following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, large numbers of returning child refugees had become separated from their families. We helped set up a family tracing and reunification programme to help unaccompanied children find their parents, or other relatives who could care for them.

2000s: A new ambition

Justice (centre) 11, has come to get her Yellow Fever vaccination.

Justice (centre) 11, has come to get her Yellow Fever vaccination.

The new millennium saw a new ambition to tackle global problems. The Millennium Development Goals decreed that by 2015 child mortality should be cut by two-thirds, extreme poverty and hunger halved, and that all children would be able to go to school.

Save the Children became an important part of the global effort to achieve these aims, and our progress in many areas has been impressive. Between 1990 and 2011, the number of children dying before the age of five fell from nearly 12 million to less than seven 7 million.

Between 2006 and 2009, our Rewrite the Future campaign helped 1.4 million more children into school in countries affected by conflict. And we launched a global campaign to save children from preventable illnesses, laying the foundations for our No Child Born to Die campaign the following decade.

As humanitarian crises continued to have a devastating impact on children, we massively increased our capacity to respond to emergencies.

Our five-year response to the 2004 Asian tsunami was one of the largest in Save the Children’s history, benefiting around one million people. During the conflict in Dafur, Sudan, we reached children in intensely hostile environments. And in the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake we found our way through to children whose communities had been completely cut off.

2010s: No Child Born to Die

Sierra Leonean national staff take their PPE training, Western Area, Sierra Leone

In response to the Ebola crisis, we ran one of Sierra Leone’s most important specialist treatment centres.

This decade we’ve continued to expand our reach and impact. In 2016 we reached 22.1 million children through our work on the ground – more than double the number of children in 2010.

We’ve responded to a series of devastating disasters – from brutal conflict in Syria, to devastating food crises in East and West Africa, and the worst ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Faced with the growing number of emergencies around the world, we’ve expanded our humanitarian staff and resources, including joining forces with frontline health charity Merlin in 2013. We’ve also set up the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to help train the next generation of humanitarians, primarily in countries affected by crisis.

Alongside the growth in our emergency response, we’ve developed a portfolio of ambitious, long-term ‘signature programmes’ – from Rwanda to Bangladesh to Indonesia – to support millions of children. These programmes involve partnerships with local communities, governments and global companies.

In 2011 we launched our five-year No Child Born to Die campaign, to engage broad public support for our cause. Through raising awareness and calling for world leaders to take action to stop children dying, this ground-breaking campaign has helped bring about breakthroughs – in vaccination, nutrition and newborn health – to save millions of children’s lives.

In 2017, we started to look at creating transformative change in the key areas of protecting children in conflict, battling pneunmonia – the world’s biggest child killer – and early years education around the world.

By focusing on these issues, as well as our continuing work in emergencies, we plan to play a full part in helping the world meet the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Signed by 169 national leaders in 2015, the SDGs aim to end preventable child deaths and provide health care and quality education for all children by 2030.

These are challenging goals in uncertain times but as we approach our centenary in 2019, our past shines a light on our commitment to transforming the future for children.

The Save the Children archive is deposited at the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections at the University of Birmingham. For visitors’ information and to view the archive catalogue click here.


Source: Our History | Save the Children UK

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A Bit About Greenpeace

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet recently and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this post; it’s a history/activism sort of thing and I found it interesting so I thought I’d share it with you all.

I’ve signed petitions and donated money in the past to Greenpeace; they defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, as well as championing solutions.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.


Greenpeace – Our History

In 1971, motivated by their vision of a green and peaceful world, a small team of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada, in an old fishing boat. These activists, the founders of Greenpeace, believed a few individuals could make a difference.

Crew of the Phyllis Cormack on the first Greenpeace voyage (Vancouver to Amchitka) in 1971. © Greenpeace / Robert Keziere.

Their mission was to ‘bear witness’ to US nuclear testing at Amchitka, a tiny island off the West Coast of Alaska, which is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone regions. Amchitka was the last refuge for 3000 endangered sea otters, and home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other wildlife.

Even though their old boat, the Phyllis Cormack, was intercepted before it got to Amchitka, the journey sparked a flurry of public interest. The US still detonated the bomb, but the voice of reason had been heard. Nuclear testing on Amchitka ended that same year, and the island was later declared a bird sanctuary.

We’ve compiled a history of Greenpeace through the decades, so you can follow the journey from there to here:

Greenpeace in the 1970s
Greenpeace in the 1980s
Greenpeace in the 1990s
Greenpeace in the 2000s
Greenpeace in the 2010s

Our vision

Our vision is to transform the world by fundamentally changing the way people think about it. We want governments, industry and each and every person to stop viewing the Earth as an inexhaustible resource and start treating it as something precious that needs our protection and careful management. We all need a planet that is ecologically healthy and able to nurture life in all its diversity. Read more about our vision »

How we make change happen

Greenpeace stands for positive change through action. This action takes many forms – from investigating and exposing environmental abuse and lobbying governments and decision makers to championing environmentally responsible and socially just solutions and taking nonviolent direct action. Throughout, we always hold true to our core values of independence, internationalism and personal responsibility. Read more »

Our impact

Our first campaign – to stop nuclear testing – eventually led to The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Since then, with the support of 2.8 million people worldwide, we’ve won hundreds of successes in our campaigns for a greener and more peaceful world. Read more about our impact »

Get active

We are only able to achieve any of this because of the generous help of our supporters who lobby governments and companies, donate money to support our campaigns, campaign locally on their high streets, fundraise for us and put their freedom on the line to protect the planet. Find out how you can get active with us »


If you have any questions about the organisation, how to get involved or anything else, these questions should help. Read more »

Source: Greenpeace History | 1970s to the present day

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A Bit About Refuge – The Charity Fighting To End Domestic Violence

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet recently and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this post; it’s a history/activism sort of thing and I found it interesting so I thought I’d share it with you all.

In my job as a teaching assistant, I’ve come across women who have been helped by Refuge; they are an amazing charity that give a safe haven to women and their children who also seek to effect policy change through their research and eye-opening campaigns.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.


Chiswick refugeOur history

Refuge opened the world’s first safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence in Chiswick, West London, in 1971.

Women and children flocked to our doors because, for the first time, someone was saying it was wrong to beat your partner. Back then, domestic violence was seen as a “private matter”, to be dealt with “behind closed doors”. Society turned a blind eye.

Since 1971, Refuge has led the campaign against domestic violence. We have grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic and gender-based violence services. Now we support over 6,000 women and children on any given day.

Banner for our visionOur vision

Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence and violence against women and girls is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety.

We aim to empower women and children to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear. We provide a range of life-saving and life-changing services, and a voice for the voiceless.

How will we achieve our mission?

Refuge believes that domestic violence and violence against women and girls will only ever come to an end when the Government adopts a fully-funded national strategy that is underpinned with adequate commitment to provision, prevention and protection.

In support of this approach, Refuge operates a three-pronged strategy across its strands of work. Refuge provides high-quality services for women and children who have experienced violence; protects women by advocating for a strong criminal justice response to perpetrators; and prevents future violence through education, training and awareness-raising.

Find out more about Refuge’s 3P approach here.

hub thumb 180 x 328Provision: what makes our services special?

Refuge does not just follow best practice; it creates best practice. Find out more about what makes Refuge a specialist service provider here, including how we measure the impact our support has on women and children.

Sandra speaking - lobbying thumbProtection and prevention: how does Refuge affect change?

Refuge campaigns for changes to the way the State responds to domestic and gender based violence victims and perpetrators, so that women and children are better protected. It also prevents future abuse by raising awareness of violence against women and girls. Find out more here.

Source: Our history – Refuge Charity – Domestic Violence Help

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A Bit About Friends of the Earth

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this post; it’s a history/activism sort of thing and I found it interesting so I thought I’d share it with you all.

I’ve signed petitions and donated money in the past to Friends of the Earth; they are an outspoken leader for the environment who seek to effect policy change through their research and hard-hitting campaigns.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.


Friends of the Earth

About Us

Friends of the Earth fights to protect our environment and create a healthy and just world.

Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

About Us

We are more than one million members and activists across all 50 states working to make this vision a reality. We are part of the Friends of the Earth International Federation, a network present in 74 countries working for social and environmental justice.

What we do

Friends of the Earth demands that leaders do what is necessary to defend all people and preserve the environment. We boldly push for what is needed and refuse to settle for what is politically easy, because that is the only way to achieve true justice and equity. We are not beholden to any corporate or political interests.

Our staff engage in hard-hitting advocacy campaigns by producing cutting-edge policy analyses, instigating lawsuits, targeting corporations, and organizing our members on the ground. This strong advocacy has been the key to our successful campaigns over our 48-year history.

Three principles guide our work

Being a bold and fearless voice – The severity of our environmental crisis demands that we be bold in what we fight for and what we fight against. This means challenging elected leaders and public officials, even when it’s not easy or politically convenient. Donald Trump wants to hand over our public lands to Big Oil. So we’re taking him to court to stop the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. We also filed a lawsuit to expose potential corruption leading to his decision to gut protections for Bears Ears.

Fighting for systemic transformation – The world’s problems are too big for tiny fixes around the edges. We are working to transform our economic and political systems through strategic reforms that lead to systemic, radical changes. The corporate agriculture industry holds a lot of power over our food system, and is trying to douse our food with toxic pesticides. But, using the power of our grassroots membership, we transformed the entire industry, and pushed nearly three-quarters of garden retailers to move away from bee-killing pesticides.

Organizing and building long-term power – We are committed to growing and strengthening our activist base to fight for change. In order to build long-term political power, we collaborate with broader movements, because the fight to protect our planet is intrinsically tied to the global struggle for justice and liberation from oppression. When a political appointee or a threatening piece of legislation looms, we work together to stop to it. Trump wanted to make Sam Clovis – a racist, homophobic climate denier – chief scientist at the USDA. We worked with our members and our partners across the broader movement to stop his nomination.

Some of our efforts include:

  • Defending the Environmental Protection Agency and strengthening other agencies’ work to protect public health from attacks by corporate polluters

  • Protecting organic agriculture and working to make sustainable and healthy food available to all

  • Fighting against trade deals that undermine democracy and expand the power of international business

  • Promoting clean energy solutions that are community-controlled and help alleviate poverty

  • Empowering people to hold financial institutions accountable for destroying tropical rainforests

  • Pushing public institutions – both bilateral and multilateral – to improve the lives, livelihoods, and environments of people throughout the world.

  • Supporting community efforts to protect our oceans from fossil fuel projects, including export terminals and coal plants.


Source: About Us • Friends of the Earth – Friends of the Earth

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Tuna – what’s my ethical choice?

Hello Lovely Followers,

Where possible, I use my heart when choosing where and what to spend my hard earned pennies on; local produce to reduce on air miles (although also taking into consideration the cost of heating greenhouses to grow year round fruit & veg in this chilly island compared to food naturally found in hotter climes), Fairtrade products to ensure workers are paid an honest wage for their labour, you get the idea.

I was sat ordering the family groceries online this afternoon, when I came to the next item on my list – tinned tuna in water. Although I have previously bought my tuna from Waitrose, the supermarket that I use for my weekly groceries (Asda) didn’t have pole-and-line-caught tuna.

Why do I try to buy tuna that’s been caught this way?

Well, I have seen a couple of nature documentaries over the years that have shocked me by showing us not only the damage to the ocean but the innocent marine life caught inadvertently in traditional net type of fishing.

I was not deterred, as Asda did bring up a variety of producers with tins of different varieties of tuna (perhaps there was ethically/eco-farmed tuna that I was unaware of and sold under a different name); my lack of knowledge sent me to Google.

The following article was top of the search list and although it was posted back in 2014, it did clear up the tuna species question for me. I hope you find it as informative as I did.

(In case you were wondering, went back to Waitrose and bought my tins of tuna there.)


Source: Greenpeace – If You Eat Tuna, You Should Know This


If You Eat Tuna, You Should Know These Five Fish

by Willie Mackenzie

May 5, 2014

Use this quick guide to get to know the fish on your plate.


Illustration by Greenpeace.

Tuna are wild animals, but many people simply understand them as food. Using the shorthand ‘tuna’ can be a bit confusing, as it tends to cover a whole family of species, from the relatively small and widespread skipjack, right up to the majestic and beleaguered bluefin.

So I’ve pulled together a quick guide to the tuna species you’re likely to encounter in either the U.S. or Europe.

This is not intended to encourage you to eat them, but to raise awareness of what it is that’s being served up. If you’re going to eat tuna responsibly, here are some issues you need to think about.

There are about 15 species of tuna recognized worldwide, but you are likely to only encounter these five:

Skipjack (Katsuwonas pelamis)


Skipjack is relatively small and the most abundant and widely-fished of tuna species. The fish can be up to a meter in length, but is rarely recognizable when served up. It makes up more than 70 percent of the American canned tuna market (often called chunk light). Tuna chunks and flakes in brine or oil, on a sandwich, baked potato, or pizza? Safe bet it’s skipjack.

It’s a pretty abundant species, but there are still issues around how it is fished. In particular, fishing methods indiscriminately harm other species, which end up as bycatch.

Most skipjack is caught using large purse-seine nets. When these are set around Fish-Aggregation-Devices (or FADs, which are really just floating structures that act like fish magnets) they result in huge amounts of bycatch of other fish, as well as sharks, rays, even sea turtles, and, occasionally, whales or dolphins. Using FADs has been shown to increase the amount of bycatch tenfold.

The famous dolphin-safe logo on tuna may tell you that its not caught in a way that deliberately catches or sets nets around dolphins, but it’s no guarantee. And of course, ‘dolphin-safe’ tells you nothing about impacts on other species.

A net bulging with tuna and bycatch on the Ecuadorean purse seiner 'Ocean Lady', which was spotted by Greenpeace in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands while using fishing aggregating devices (FADs).

A net bulging with tuna and bycatch on the Ecuadorean purse seiner ‘Ocean Lady’, which was spotted by Greenpeace in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands while using fishing aggregating devices (FADs).

Sadly, many of the species caught and killed as bycatch are endangered, including several species of open ocean sharks and sea turtles. And when you factor in the scale of the fishing operation to fill those little cans, that adds up to a whole lot of collateral damage, including tens of millions of sharks every year.

Luckily, there are better, cleaner ways to catch skipjack. Look out for pole-and-line caught skipjack, or tuna that has been caught without using FADs.

Yellowfin (Thunnus albacares)

yellowfinpicYellowfin are widespread and magnificently-streamlined fish. And, yes, they have yellow fins, including characteristically sickle-shaped elongated go faster ones. They are found around the world but mostly confined to tropical waters. They can grow to over two meters in length.

Yellowfin tuna can be found either in cans or sold fresh and frozen as tuna steaks. You may also find it in sushi. The package should tell you what species it is (if it doesn’t, don’t buy it).

Like skipjack, yellowfin are caught with purse seines, and when FADs are used, the vast majority are young yellowfin that never get a chance to breed. Another method of catching them is using longlines: lines of baited hooks that can be many miles long. This method of fishing can be very indiscriminate and responsible for lots of bycatch. Sharks, swordfish, turtles, and seabirds can all fall victim to the baited hooks. Longlining is the main reason that global albatross populations are endangered, and as with purse seining, some of the species caught and killed are endangered sharks and turtles, too.

Turtle caught in Spanish longline, Mediterranean.

Turtle caught in Spanish longline, Mediterranean.

There are ways to make longlining better, but the safest way to know that your yellowfin hasn’t come at the cost of other animals’ lives is to look for pole-and-line caught.

However, there are now real concerns that populations of yellowfin have been totally overfished, and in many places are still plummeting.

Here’s a tip: only choose pole-and-line caught yellowfin, and eat it sparingly.

Albacore (Thunnus alalunga)

albacorepicAlbacore is a cooler water tuna, and it even ventures into waters off the U.S. west and east coasts. They have an unusually long pectoral fin and are sometimes referred to as white tuna because of their pale flesh.

Albacore tuna is often sold as solid white albacore in cans. They make up approximately 20 percent of the U.S. shelf-stable tuna market.

Skipjack tuna are caught by pole-and-line off Flores, Indonesia.

Skipjack tuna are caught by pole-and-line off Flores, Indonesia.

Albacore is mainly caught on longlines, but they can be caught with much more ocean-friendly methods, such as pole-and-line and a similar method called trolling.

Most populations of albacore have been totally overfished. The only relatively healthy stocks are in the Pacific, but these are in decline.

Tip: hoose pole-and-line or ‘trolled’ albacore from the Pacific.

Bigeye (Thunnus obesus)

bigeyepicThis is a big, robust fish, found in tropical waters and growing over meters in length. Sadly, bigeye tuna are in trouble, with many populations plummeting in recent years due to overfishing. It’s caught in similar ways to yellowfin, and while you might encounter it served up as tuna steaks, its much more likely you’ll find it served as sushi. It is one of the two species known as ‘ahi,’ along with yellowfin.

Schools of fish circle a fish aggregation device (FAD) floating and continuously attracting fish during a banned FAD fishing season in the Western and Central Pacific ocean in 2009.

Schools of fish circle a fish aggregation device (FAD) floating and continuously attracting fish during a banned FAD fishing season in the Western and Central Pacific ocean in 2009.

Unfortunately, even canned chunk light tuna may contain bigeye. This may actually be because juvenile bigeye are being caught in purse seining nets alongside the smaller skipjack (this also happens with juvenile yellowfin). Catching juvenile tuna, from threatened or overfished stocks, is a big problem because they are caught before they have had chance to breed.

Definitely avoid purchasing bigeye, and avoid conventionally-sourced canned chunk light tuna.

Bluefin (Thunnus maccoyii, Thunnus orientalis, and Thunnus thynnus)

bluefinpicThere are three species of bluefin tuna: Southern, Pacific, and Atlantic, and they are spectacular fish. Growing to over three meters and weighing up to a whopping 1,000 pounds, they are warm-blooded top predators that can accelerate faster than a sports car. They can tolerate warm and cold water. They are found along the coasts of the U.S.

Critically endangered bluefin tuna is seen being traded on the dock at the port of Kesen-numa City, Miyagi Prefecture, North East Japan.

Critically endangered bluefin tuna is seen being traded on the dock at the port of Kesen-numa City, Miyagi Prefecture, North East Japan.

In recent years, bluefin tuna has been severely overfished. Atlantic and Southern bluefin are already classified as endangered, and Pacific bluefin populations are at only 4 percent of historic levels. Traditional methods of catching them in traps and on lines have given way to large purse-seining catches targeting them as they come together to spawn. The fashion for sushi has driven this demand. As they get ever scarcer and ever more expensive there are real concerns for the future of bluefin.

In the U.S., you should only find bluefin in relatively expensive sushi. It may be labelled as o-toro. But it’s best to avoid bluefin altogether due to plummeting stocks.

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Whaling – time to stop it, permanently!

Please, one person can make a difference!

The beautiful Fin Whale

The beautiful Fin Whale

 The Icelandic whaling fleet is about to leave port to hunt and kill 150 endangered fin whales. We’ve come close to shutting down this barbaric operation before and now we have a chance to end it for good.


As the whalers sharpen their harpoons for this year’s hunt, their boss is trying to ship last year’s whale meat to Japan right now. Over 1,700 tonnes are about to be sent through the icy passage between Russia and the North Pole. But if the tiny Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis simply removes their flag from the vessel it can’t leave port! Tourism is the main pillar of their country’s economy and we can put their reputation on the line by throwing them into our giant global spotlight.

St Kitts and Nevis Flag

The St Kitts and Nevis flag

We have just six days before the boat could set sail.

Our community already helped push European countries to shun this shameful trade. Let’s now get St. Kitts to stop helping the whalers! Sign now and share with everyone urgently — Avaaz will deliver our voices straight to the new Prime Minister, and if he doesn’t respond quickly, Avaaz’ll target his biggest tourist market – the US – and show how St. Kitts is supporting the slaughter of these majestic beings:

Kristjan Loftsson

Kristjan Loftsson

Iceland’s entire fin whaling industry is run by one man, Kristjan Loftsson, but his business is barely breaking even, so if we stop the whale meat from reaching Japan we can sink his profits! Other nations have removed their flag from vessels in response to public pressure over other environmental concerns so we know this can work for the whales. All we need to do is create a scandal and get a delay to make the crossing to Japan impossible.

Japanese whalers plan to resume “scientific” whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary despite widespread opposition, and St. Kitts and Nevis votes in support of Japan’s “research” at the International Whaling Commission. If we take them out of the equation now we can strike a deadly blow to both Icelandic and Japanese whaling at the same time!

Pressure has been mounting globally and nationally to stop the Icelandic whalers. This could be a turning point for the whales. Together we have the power to turn the International Whaling Commission into the International Whale Conservation Commission. And we can get started by stopping this year’s harpooning and this whale meat shipment! Sign the urgent petition now:

We know our voices work! Following our 1 million strong petition in 2013, the Dutch government blocked Iceland’s whale meat shipments docking in the Netherlands. And together with Greenpeace, our community managed to get fin whale meat sent back to Iceland from Germany. Since then major shipping companies announced they would never ship whale meat again. We’re making it harder and harder for this industry to make a profit. Let’s shut it down for good!

With hope,

Lisa, Danny, Alice, Ricken, Mel, Nick, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team


Iceland sends shipment of 1,700 tonnes of whale meat to Japan (The Guardian) (

Desperate whalers go north (Greenpeace)

The Winter Bay (Vessel Fider – shows where the ship carrying the whale meat is and which country is registering it)

Japan to resume whaling hunt despite IWC warning (AFP) is a 41-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

To contact Avaaz, please write to us at or call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US).