2012 – Ah, what a year. The United States of America re-elected Barack Obama for his second term in office while Canadians grow more and more concerned with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s lack of respect for the environment, human rights and indigenous people. Many people have interpreted the end of the Mayan calendar as the end of time – clearly that did not happen. I choose to believe that the new year represents a great spiritual awakening and that our positive energies will be universally connected thus creating great and lasting positive changes around the world.
Here are my hi-lites of 2012:
Same-sex Marriage (or what I like to call marriage)
Same-sex marriage has been made legal in the following areas around the world: Denmark, the state of Sao Paulo – Brazil, the state of Bahia – Brazil, in Mexico – Secretary of State Quintana Roo reversed marriage annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriage to be performed. In the United States of America – same-sex marriage is not recognized federally, but Maine, Maryland and Washington join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont have all legalized same-sex marriage at the state level.
Our Environment (as reported by Greenpeace)
February 2012: Edison International announced that they would shut down the Fisk and Crawford coal plants. After ten years of gritty and determined grassroots work, communities in Chicago triumphed over the corporate polluter in their back yard. On the same day, citizens in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania celebrated the announcement that Houston-based GenOn would shut an additional 7 plants, including the Portland Generating Station where Greenpeace worked with NJ and PA residents to demand clean air for their community.
February 2012: The countless hours spent scouring legal documents, appearing in court and enduring what must have been trying exchanges with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) by our awesome lawyers at Ecojustice has all paid off. The longtime legal case came to a close in a precedent setting victory for B.C.’s threatened and endangered resident killer whales. After years of facing threat after threat, and population declines, these iconic creatures certainly needed a win. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the 2010 ruling that guaranteed the protection of killer whale habitat by law under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Appeal Court’s ruling was an uncommonly strong judgment, and a controversial one for DFO after the court awarded Greenpeace costs noting that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans’ behaviour had been “worthy of rebuke.”
March 2012: Thanks to campaigning by Greenpeace and our supporters, leading Italian tuna brand Mareblu has decided to abandon destructive fishing methods in favour of sustainable practices by agreeing to source tuna only from pole and line and FAD free purse seining operations by the end of 2016. The move is a huge victory for our Tonno in trappolacampaign and is a significant first shift in the Italian tinned tuna market. Mareblu has shown that when a company really wants to commit to taking action to save our oceans, it can do it. Now that the standard has been set, there can be no more excuses – all other major brands and retailers must follow.
April 2012: Danone has released a statement confirming its plans to phase out supplies of paper and packaging products from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). The statement also confirms that the company intends to develop a zero deforestation policy, which will cover all of the commodities it buys that could be linked to deforestation. Danone joins the likes of Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, Adidas and many more who have already dropped APP.
May 2012: For over a year, Greenpeace campaigned intensively for the cancellation of Senegalese fishing authorizations. These licenses constituted a serious threat to the livelihoods of millions of Senegalese who depend on the ocean’s resources for their jobs and food security. Organizing a travelling caravan called “My voice, my future,” that engaged artisanal fishermen across the country, launching an online petition, meeting with politicians, and organizing a ship tour to expose and document overfishing in Senegalese waters, were some of the actions Greenpeace took to achieve this result. So it was with joy that we learned of the Senegalese government’s decision to cancel the fishing authorizations issued to 29 foreign pelagic trawlers in West African waters.
July 2012: Greenpeace has reacted with delight at the cancellation of $100 million in public funds to a proposed HRL dirty coal-fired power station and is calling on the owners of the project to withdraw their proposal altogether. Last year, Greenpeace activists placed a 200-metre long banner across the site of the proposed HRL power station, calling on the Prime Minister to live up to her word that “no more dirty coal-fired power stations would be built in Australia”. Greenpeace also partnered with Environment Victoria, Quit Coal and other environment groups to build a petition of over 12,000 people calling for HRL’s Commonwealth funding to be withdrawn and given to renewable energy.
July 2012: You may remember earlier this year we bought 18 tea products at random from nine tea companies in China, and after sending the samples to be tested discovered that a whopping 12 of the 18 samples contained at least one pesticide banned for use on tea. Well guess what? Two of the outed tea companies, Tenfu (天福茗茶) and Anxi Tieguanyin Group (安溪铁观音集团ATG), have agreed to your demands for pesticide use reduction and setting up traceability systems for their supply chain.
July 2012: KFC bosses in Kentucky remain silent on whether it will cut forest destruction out of its supply chain globally, it looks like one country has gotten tired of waiting for headquarters to respond to our campaign. Following a first meeting between KFC Indonesia and Greenpeace, KFC Indonesia has issued a statement to address the issues of deforestation in its supply chain and declared its decision to suspend purchases from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) at this time.
Greenpeace also congratulated the Gillard government for showing the courage to prevent the Abel Tasman super trawler fishing in Australia’s waters. Greenpeace hailed it as a victory for the Australian community which has united to reject this monster ship. The decision also sends a message to the global super-sized fishing fleets that world community opposition is growing to their unsustainable business model.
August 2012: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has denied the complaint by Neste Oil over Greenpeace spoof site. The WIPO panel declared that Greenpeace may use the domains http://www.nestespoil.com and http://www.nestespoilreturns.com to criticize Neste Oil’s use of palm oil as biofuel. The WIPO panel confirmed that non commercial criticism is part of the freedom of expression. According to the panel Greenpeace did not use the sites to unnecessarily tarnish Neste Oil. In similar cases even harsh criticism has not been considered as tarnishing. The Panel concluded that Greenpeace had been using the sites to raise legitimate environmental concerns for non-commercial purpose.
September 2012: Australian Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced a ban on the Margiris super trawler for up to two years and further scientific investigations before boats like this are approved. Burke acknowledged overwhelming public concern in reaching this significant decision. Congratulations to the thousands of passionate Australians, community and environmental groups and fishing groups who stopped the Margiris from destroying Australia‘s oceans.
October 2012: M&S becomes the seventh brand to make a credible commitment to clean up its supply chain and products and eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals, joining Puma, Nike, Adidas, H&M, C&A and Li-Ning. More brands need to respond to the urgency of the situation and take ambitious action to rid the fashion world and our precious water supplies of toxic chemicals.
November 2012: The world’s largest fashion retailer Zara – and parent company Inditex – today committed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020, following public pressure in response to Greenpeace’s Detox campaign. Zara becomes the eighth brand to commit to eliminate releases of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chains and products since Greenpeace launched its Detox campaign in 2011. As a part of the commitment Zara is reinforcing the ban on APEOs, and pledges to set further short-term elimination timelines for other priority hazardous chemicals, including PFCs. Most notably, Zara will now require at least 20 suppliers to start releasing pollution discharge data by the end of March 2013, and at least 100 suppliers by the end of 2013.
December 2012: One of Australia’s leading canned fish manufacturer, John West (Simplot) has pledged to stop using destructive fishing methods that needlessly kill sharks, rays, baby tuna and turtles. The commitment means that John West will phase out the use of highly destructive and wasteful Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) used with purse seine nets by 2015.
December 2012: The government of South Korea has abandoned its plans to begin a ‘scientific’ whaling operation, a significant step forward in global efforts to protect whale populations. The proposed hunt would have caught minke whales for commercial purposes under the thin veil of scientific research. More than 100,000 people from around the world sent messages in the last month to the South Korean prime minister, asking him to call off the hunt.
December 2012: Brazilian oil giant Petrobras has abandoned its plans for deep-sea oil drilling off the coast of New Zealand. The world’s third largest oil company has decided to return its exploration licenses for deep-sea oil and gas prospects to the government, effectively abandoning its plans for deep-sea drilling in New Zealand.
***source/additional information for all of the above information can be found at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/about/victories/ ***
The WWF continues their global initiatives to save key places and critical species but they can’t do it without our help. With limited financial resources they really rely on public donations to continue their efforts to save our planet and endangered species. How can you help….spread the word using social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc..). Please visit their website for their priorities, accomplishments, new stories and to make a much-needed donation:
Ethical Treatment of Animals
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has named Sen. Mac Harb 2012’s Canadian of the Year for being the first Canadian parliamentarian in history to introduce a bill to phase out Canada’s cruel commercial seal slaughter and for his tenacity in promoting the legislation in the Senate, Sen. Mac Harb has been named PETA’s first-ever Canadian of the Year.
Uncovering the cruel and mass graves of sea animals at Niagara Falls, Ontario – Marineland. Hopefully this will put an end to their cruel mistreatment of these imprisoned animals.
Air Canada is set to ban the shipment of primates to laboratories for testing. This leaves United Airlines as the only North American airline—and one of the few left in the world—to continue this bloody business.
For more amazing animal stories and victories, please visit the following link below.
***source/additional information for all of the above information can be found at: http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/default.aspx
Well – since I don’t prescribe to cable television or listen to the radio much…..I don’t have too many hi-lites regarding entertainment or pop culture. My favourite pop culture/entertainment moments of 2012 are as follows:
Winning tickets to see Madonna in Montreal – not regular tickets but GOLDEN CIRCLE PIT tickets, what a show and what a weekend! I not only saw her in Montreal but my husband – Jason, managed to win 4 tickets to see her in Toronto – another incredible night and concert!
Meeting Peaches at TIFF at her screening of her rockumentary Peaches Does Herself. Also catching her amazing and intimate show at the Drake Hotel…what could have been an awful night turned out to be one of the most fun nights out of 2012. Thank you Peaches!
Madonna/M.I.A./Nicki Minaj performing at the Super Bowl. Madonna was in top form and gave the over 100 million viewers a 1/2 time show they would never forget…..although it was slightly overshadowed by M.I.A.’s semi-contraversial bird flip – which was completely unnecessary considering what is shown on regular cable television.
My top 5 Favorite Albums
- MDNA – Madonna (completely under-rated and one of the most successful albums of 2012 worldwide – it was the best-selling album of 2012 in Russia, the first time for an international artist).
- HOW ABOUT I BE ME (AND YOU BE YOU)? – Sinead O’Connor (ever since her infamous SNL appearance – her music career has received much criticism, even after releasing such amazing efforts such as Universal Mother, Faith and Courage and this fantastic alternative rock album).
- MASTER OF MY MAKE-BELIEVE – Santigold (I never thought she could top her debut album Santogold but she did…this is a masterpiece).
- NEW & NUMBER ONES – Kristine W (new tracks and reinterpretations of old classics – awesome comeback from one of Billboard’s top artists of the decade – 2000 to 2009).
- AN OMEN EP – How To Destroy Angels (a 6-track EP from the wife of Trent Reznor’s (of Nine Inch Nails) group and a teaser for what is to come in 2013 – electronic music at its best).
You can purchase all the above music on iTunes or by visiting each of the artists websites, links following:
- http://www.madonna.com/ (Madonna)
- http://www.sineadoconnor.com/ (Sinead O’Connor)
- http://www.santigold.com/ (Santigold)
- http://www.kristinew.com/ (Kristine W)
- http://howtodestroyangels.com/ (How To Destroy Angels)
Thanks for all of your love and support in 2012…..I hope you continue to read/share/follow my blog posts. I also hope that you continue to advocate for a more positive world community – let love, compassion and joy guide you through 2013 and throughout your lifetime!
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!