Archive | December, 2011

台灣青年氣候聯盟TWYCC UNFCCC COP17歸國分享/記者會 [Sharing session/Press conference] 誠摯邀請您

16 Dec

我們去南非參加聯合國氣候變遷大會的團隊歸國囉!快來參加他們的發表會!

Time: 12/17下午兩點 [December 17th, 2pm – 5:30pm]
Location: 台北市中正區忠孝東路一段31號 [Zhong Xiao East Road No. 31]
近捷運善導寺站6號出口 [Shandao Temple MRT Stop Exit 6, walk straight along Zhong Xiao East Rd. and the building is on the left]

由於場地可容納人數有限,麻煩請大家填報名表,謝謝 [Please complete the registration form so that we know roughly how many people will attend. Thank you!]
http://ppt.cc/hSWp

當天於現場會提供茶點,但為了響應環保,請自備裝食物的容器以及環保杯唷!
感謝各位配合 = )

當天流程 [Schedule]
14:00-14:02 開場致詞 主持人:劉庭安 [Opening]
14:02-14:05 貴賓介紹 [Guest speakers]
14:05-14:10 社團法人台灣社會向上發展協會 薛良凱理事長致詞
14:10-14:15 邀請貴賓上台,張良伊執行長頒發感謝狀與貴賓
14:15-14:20 邀請青年代表上台與台上貴賓合影
14:20-14:25 台灣青年氣候聯盟 張良伊執行長致詞
14:25-14:35 TWYCC出團成果簡報 TWYCC COP17團長/財務長蔡佳芸
14:35 分享會開始
14:40-15:20 講題一:青年如何影響世界 /蔡佳芸、李芝融(台灣青
年氣候聯盟代表)
15:20-15:30 提問時間
15:30-15:50 講題二:台灣青年的氣候參與–作為一位「觀察員」的
角度及感想 /陳柏蒼(國立政治大學代表)
15:50-16:00 提問時間
16:00-16:20 講題三:德班歷險記 /陳柏宇、林嬙(台灣永
續能源研究基金會代表)
16:20-16:30 提問時間
16:30-16:50 講題四:台灣青年在世界的定位 /王景弘(台灣青年氣
候聯盟代表)
16:50-17:00 提問時間
17:00-17:30 分享會結束,茶敘交流時間

主辦單位:台灣青年氣候聯盟 [Hosted by TWYCC]

協辦單位:社團法人台灣社會向上發展協會
台灣永續能源研究基金會
[Sponsored by Taiwan Code Up Association and
Taiwan Institute of Sustainable Energy]

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123 parade with the Green Party in Taiwan

10 Dec

Recently Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC), through the efforts of Liang-Yi Chang, worked with the Taiwan Green Party in it’s recent Climate Change activities – the December 3rd (123) Global Day of Action 123全球抗暖化日行動日. As a co-Director of TWYCC, I was invited to speak at their recent press conference promoting their event in front of Taipei 101.

The Green Party in Taiwan is often mistaken for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan. There are two major parties in Taiwan – the Nationalist Party (KMT) and DPP. They are mostly identified by their colors – the Blues and the Greens. Though in the past the Green Party has sometimes worked with the DPP in environmental issues as the opposition party, they are now aligned against both parties as they believe both of them have failed to make major commitments towards the environmental issues in Taiwan. In fact, the last time that Taiwan’s presidency was won by a DPP candidate (Chen Shue-Bian), he overturned many of the environmental issues that he had professed near and dear to his heart prior election. It was a disheartening betrayal to many of the local environmental groups that had supported him.

The Green Party’s two main issues this year are the increase in green space per person (parks), and a valiant anti-nuke stance under the current administration’s rhetoric that counts nuclear energy as renewable. There are other issues they are pushing which I won’t go into at the moment.

The Green Party is actually something of an international party movement, there are Green Parties in various countries of the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_party Global Greens Network I’ve heard, for example, that the Green Party in Germany holds a great deal of sway, and was very effective in changing the country’s energy policies.

I was personally against aligning TWYCC with any political groups. But upon talking to some of the Green Party people, I realized our interests are very much aligned, and they are indeed very plain-spoken people whose objectives we can (at this stage) trust. Of course, we still reserve our independence and the right to detach and attach whenever a political parties goals changes from our own, as any good NGO would try to do, especially one such as our where our influence on climate change policy is so important to our operations.

So we volunteered to hold a booth at their event, plus make a live-connection to our team in Durban* on the day of the 123 parade. Since the internet connection in the hostel our youth were staying at in Durban was not very steady, we played a video our Media Coordinator Sarah Chen Lin had compiled from footage our COP17 team sent over from the event, and then skype-called Zora Tsai’s phone, our COP17 team leader.

Connecting to Durban event from Taipei City Hall

Liang-Yi and Sarah onstage with our COP17 t-shirts

The turnout to this event were mostly people who were already involved in environmental works movement. That was a pity, since they also hosted the screening of a pretty interesting film: Growthbusters (錢鬼剋星) at the outdoors venue that night. It was not a short film. But you can’t see it anywhere else in Taiwan! The Green Party say that they have been holding 123 parades for a decade now. The atmosphere at the entire parade/fair thing was fairly relaxed and enjoyable, and we had lovely volunteers to help out! I believe TWYCC can do much more next year to promote this event to attendees, and with a good turnout, bring government attention to strong climate change related policies.

We will, of course, hold firmly to our cause and independence as a youth led organization. Our goals are to become more involved in policy influence and capacity building this following year, and I will post more on that soon. If you have any ideas for our organization, please feel free to write to us at taiwanyouthclimatecoalition@gmail.com , visit us at http://twycc.tw and our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/twycc?ref=ts

Getting stronger every minute!

*Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition has sent a team of 5 Taiwanese youth to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – 17th Conference of Parties (COP17), and the 7th Conference of Youth (COY7), to learn, network and participate in the youth movements there. They are also there to serve as a uniting/communicating factor for all the different groups of Taiwanese youth that are sent to this event. They will share their experiences with us on Dec 17th at the Youth Hub in Taipei. I hope to be able to post a link to this event soon. So stay updated!

Taiwan Youth in Durban

Of the abysmal conditions at the Mother Teresa orphanage

9 Dec

This is a belated post regarding my experience volunteering with the Missionary of Charity in Kolkata, India the summer of 2009.

I was just thinking of how people might donate unwanted items to orphanages a moment ago. And whether the orphanage conducts a filtering process after the donation to make sure it’s usable. One thing I’ve noticed about the clothes that kids in orphanages wear: If they’re below the age of being able to put on their own clothes…etc, most of the clothes tend to have elastic waistbands. The two days I was in the orphanage in Kolkata (named Shishu Bhavan, House for Abandoned Children) one of the challenges was putting shoes on the toddlers. Apparently somebody had donated a bunch of shoes that looked exactly the same — and had the same annoying buckle-thing. It was all in a box and there were no individual shoes. We were told to grab kids haphazardly and start to shoe them so they could all go outside for some fresh air. By the time we got to the last of the kids the first kids had either taken off one (or both) of their shoes, or the last kids were faced with shoes that just wouldn’t fit them. All the while they were clambering on us, crying for attention. The hired caretakers (called masis) there had kept motioning towards us to not hug the kids. But it was hard not to. And when the kids saw that we were huggable they were clambering all over us to be hugged, and some of them were screaming and crying and punching us when we couldn’t oblige them all.

Then outside in the playground. God it was like a deathtrap. Somebody had donated a jungle gym to the organization, which was all well and good, except that the corners were unrefined, so that a careless child might very well run into a beamer and get splinters or split his/her head open. There were also broken off tree limbs that the kids would grab and try to whack their playmates with (I chased this kid around and tried to get his weapon away from him). There was a compression on the ground that could very well be a ditch with broken tree limbs lying inside.

An Indian mother had shown up with her daughter dressed in a pink tutu. She said she celebrates her daughter’s birthday by bringing her here every year to play with the children, so she could appreciate what she had. As a treat, she had her daughter dispense little toy whistles to the kids. Within half an hour of absolute cacophony, half of the kids were coming up to us holding their broken whistles (the seed thing on the inside would fall out). The nuns and caregivers watched this general Lord of the Flies scenario with little disapprobation, not at all considering the fact how the kids would feel with this little pink princess and her doting parents in their midst. I believe the parents are very generous donors to the facilities, otherwise why would there be an exception to the rule of : No visiting the facilities or taking photos unless you’re an approved volunteer.?

Once monthly group birthday party we happened upon.

There were so many things that were inefficient in that Missionaries of Charity orphanage that we saw these three in just the two afternoons we were there.

1. The system is not transparent. The existence of the different facilities and it’s functioning are not information readily available to the public. Perhaps there are security issues concerning such a free volunteering program – anyone who showed up could volunteer, basically. But the existence of such a secrecy system in this day and age raises questions about its operations. Also, such a large charitable operation should have absolute transparency in its book-keepings – something that would not have been difficult to meticulous, orderly nuns. I have not been able to find anything in that order.

2. There was only 1 caregiver (a hired hand, not a nun) for every dozen children. There was no sign of gentility or care for the children as individuals. The caregiver we met was clearly overworked and emotionally unresponsive. No thought at all seemed to have been put into the safety of their environment or future. The goal of the entire operation seemed to be: “Keep them alive, on the minimum amount of funds possible.” An apathetic environment is as bad as an abusive one. Several of the kids showed signs of emotional and behavioral difficulties that can be attributed to lack of affection. This made me extremely worried about their future – and these kids are only toddlers! It made me anxious that they should be adopted as early as possible and taken out of this loveless environment.

3. On the one visit we took to one of their care facilities for the elderly and disabled (as a half-a-day volunteer), we witnessed a wound cleaning. The nuns surrounded a patient with a very large bedsore (a hole half the size of my palm), dumped iodine into the wound, and proceeded to scrub it (what looked like very vigorously), with a cotton ball that was pinched on the end of a long, evil looking pincher the length of my forearm. It looked like a scene from a Florence Nightingale picture. The Taiwanese nursing teachers who were with us said it was an extremely outdated method of dealing with bedsores that would be counterproductive to new tissue generation. I was just glad the guy in the bed appeared to be in a coma. I do not believe that in all the years their facility has existed there has never been one modernly trained health care professional that has passed through their facility who has noticed the medieval method of care (and equipment) present.

It would be unfair to say all bad things about the Missionaries of Charity facilities. So here they are – Good things: the facilities were clean and spartan, the regimen was very efficient and clear. But based on the prestige they have, the amount of charitable funds they must certainly receive and people wiling to donate time and expertise to their efforts, they certainly could do much, much better.

Update: It was only recently that I heard about Christopher Hitchen’s expose on Mother Teresa. You can see the documentary Hell’s Angel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WQ0i3nCx60 or read an interview of him here: http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/hitchens_16_4.html

The time I was there I felt an innate recalcitrance of the system to any suggested changes to their modus operandi, or willingness to expend further funds on upgrading their system. The only recourse I can think of as an outsider is to make large donations on condition of better performance, or offer services (updating their jungle gym) as a donation. Otherwise one must hope that someone in the administrative chain will eventually see fit (with enough clear-sight or political pressure) to improve the service that they provide there, so that it is not “just good enough for poor people”, but truly humane and conscientious.

ps. During the time we were in Kolkata we were mainly working with another transient organization in their wound care service to street people at the Sealdah train station. While we were there, we encountered an albino man with leprosy who was wandering around in a hospital gown. Several of his toes had been amputated and his wound was crawling with maggots. We tried referring him to a Missionaries of Charity wound care station in the vicinity. The sisters there arranged for a time for him to be picked up by some of the brothers from their leprosy home at a certain time. However, he did not show. I do not know if that was a reflection on his sense of responsibility or his willingness to go to the home, since we were unable to communicate with him effectively in his own language.

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