New Internationalist

Ideas For Action

Issue 114

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ENVIRONMENT[image, unknown] Action

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IDEAS FOR ACTION

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Bihar Tribal Action Group

Bihar Tribal Action Group
1st Floor, 155 Pine St
Adelaide 5000, Australia
Tel: (08) 223 5795

AIMS
To focus Australian and international attention on the plight of tribal people in Bihar and other parts of India and to persuade them to appeal to the Indian Government to take steps to improve their situation.

METHODS
By publishing information supplied to us by our contacts in India and by reproducing articles published in India and elsewhere. Along with our pamphlets, we distribute copies of published material to social justice organisations in Australia and overseas. We write letters to the media and to Indian politicians and diplomats. We draw parallels, wherever there is sufficient reliable evidence, between the lot of Indian and Australian tribal peoples. In this way we find we are able, more clearly, to get our message across to Australians.

SUCCESSES
We have had material published in South Australia’s major daily newspaper and also in several national and international newsletters. This has provoked a response from the Indian High Commissioner to Australia indicating some official sensitivity to our activities Our contacts in Bihar write that ‘things are improving over here in the same sense that the Government is measuring its methods before any repression’.

FAILURES
We have failed to generate a widespread response to distribution of information to other agencies

FUTURE PLANS
To send a member of our group to India to investigate the situation more fully, to maintain our campaign to achieve greater media exposure: and to keep a steady supply of intelligence to sympathetic organisations and individuals.

HELP NEEDED
We are eager to exchange information and documentation with individual or groups who are concerned with the interests of tribal people. We need more people to write letters to the Indian authorities.

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Peace Tax Campaign

Peace Tax Campaign
26 Thurlow Road
Leicester LE2 1 YE
Tel: 0533-702687

AIMS
To establish the statutory right whereby all who object to paying for war or military preparations shall have that part of their tax payment paid into a Peace Fund, used exclusively for peace-making purposes poses.

To recognise that paying for war preparations is equivalent to fighting in time of war and the present conscientious objection provisions in the law, should be extended to include this.

METHODS
The Campaign publishes a regular newsletter and organises rallies, lobbies and demonstrations. It gives support to individuals presently attempting to divert a portion of their taxes from war-like to peaceful purposes.

Above all the Campaign seeks to gain the support of the House of Lords and MPs.

SUCCESSES
Having established a firm footing in 1980, the Campaign now has a mailing list of over 5,000. Financial support has been generous. Most MPs are aware of the Campaign’s existence and 35 fully accept the aims while a further 24 give some measure of support. An amendment to the Finance Bill was tabled in 1981 but not called. This is being repeated along with an Early Day-Motion.

FAILURES
We feel it’s too early to talk about failure. We recognise that it is going to he a long, slow, campaign of education and lobbying which will take time.

FUTURE PLANS
The Campaign is stepping up its parliamentary pressure programme. We are establishing a charitable trust to fund peacemaking work — a forerunner of the Peace Tax Fund to be established when our aim is achieved. We have recently approached a large number of humanitarian and religious bodies for support through annual conference resolutions. In due course we plan to make application to the European Human Rights Commission.

HELP NEEDED
We need the written support of all those who are in favour of a change in the law.

The PTC application form enables supporters to add their names to a Peace Tax Register.

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The Pollution Probe Foundation

The Pollution Probe Foundation
12 Madison Avenue, Toronto
Ontario, MS R 2S1
(416) 978-6155

AIMS
To raise public awareness of significant environmental issues. To force political action that would result in the reduced use of pesticides and toxic chemicals, that would limit acid-rain causing emissions, and that would ensure the recycling of safe disposal of hazardous wastes.

To encourage individual action in reducing energy consumption by demonstrating the value of conservation and renewable energy.

METHODS
We further these aims through advocacy of our issues in public forums, through effective use of the media, through the publication of reports, books and a bimonthly newsmagazine, and by opening the doors of Ecology House, our headquarters and demonstration projects, to the public.

SUCCESSES
We have established ourselves as a legitimate critic of environmental policies in Canada. We have been instrumental in alerting she public and politicians to the growing threat of acid rain and of toxic chemical pollution. We have helped other concerned groups and citizens become more effective in getting their problems recognized and remedied.

FAILURES
Despite the strong public awareness that has been developed around certain issues such as the chemical dumpsites leaking in to the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, we have not been able to force provincial, federal or American governments to clean up industrial pollution to the extent that is technically possible.

FUTURE PLANS
We will publish a handbook of case studies documenting the successful recovery of industrial wastes. We will continue our active role in promoting the safe disposal of hazardous wastes and insist on proper remedial work for abandoned landfill sites.

HELP NEEDED
We always need members to show support for our cause. Visitors and volunteers to Ecology House are welcome from anywhere in the world.

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