The Profit Murders

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe silence of the left should shame us all, says Neil Scott

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Scottish Television investigative Reporters have produced a programme, “The Dark Side of Dairy.” For a wee bar of milk chocolate, or milky tea, male calves are put to death almost as soon as they are born. Their lives are almost totally worthless in our for profits capitalist system. Same with eggs. Male birds are worthless, so when they hatch, they are thrown into a grinder for feed.

I find veganism difficult for only two reasons. One when I’m in Northern Ireland, restaurants and cafes rarely have good vegan alternatives. I’m waiting to be offered a cabbage sandwich. And two, if its in the house (I live with an omnivore and a vegetarian) my resolve can melt. I’m getting better at that though.

My veganism is for many reasons. But primarily because with all conscience, I couldn’t kill an animal myself, so I don’t feel anyone should do it on my behalf.

This is the same regarding war. I won’t support anyone sent on my behalf to kill people if I can’t do it myself. And I couldn’t.

I’ve been wrestling with Syria and what is going on there. There are many reasons why a British or American led force to stop Assad and Russia from slaughtering people in Idlib can or can’t be deployed. The left are pretty adamant as a semi cohesive group are against military intervention. But something MORE needs to happen. And those like me on the left, should be talking about it. It’s time to ignore the conspiracy theorists and Assadists.  I feel the left, by almost ignoring the slaughter in Syria (and the Yemen) have shown really, how weak we are. How incohesive we really are. How scared we are in the current onslaught by conspiracy theorists, the alt right and the likes (and how the Venn diagram of these groups, and the left overlap, as Sheridan for example, here in Scotland issues a series of idiot conspiracy theorist tweets and takes ultra capitalist Russian gold with a contract with the propagandist broadcaster, Sputnik).

And worse still, how scared we are of the Puritans on our own side. In my opinion those who wave their analysis like some street corner Preacher points his Bible at passers by, and name call and tell those of us debating and discussing some kind of intervention, “You are supporting Imperialism,” are tacitly supporting the murder of tens of thousands of children, women and men.

The shutting down of conversation about what we as the left should call for, or we as the geo-political entity currently called the UK can do will be a defining moment in 21st century history. This current period will shame the left for decades to come. 

Have I got a solution? No, I haven’t. I don’t know all of the options. As an individual I can do nothing. I cant take up arms, and me boycotting the arms trade in the UK in order to try to stop the state sanctioned murders of Yemini families has no impact. Making statements on social media has absolutely no impact – it only draws the conspiracy theorists, the Vanessa Beeley fanboys and girls and the ultra left manic street preachers. The coalition to stop the war is no longer campaigning to stop war. Only some war. So I feel I am no longer part of a coalition, I am part of a group of people effectively silenced while all around me, for my consumption, people are sacrificed. I am -we are- silenced. We are unable – incapable – of discussions on stopping the war, stopping the state sanctioned murders for profit.

I salve my conscience regarding the meat and dairy trade. I do my best not to take part. But my silence and my fear regarding what is happening in the Yemen, Syria, Palestine and other theatres of war, allows the capitalist forces of the USA, the UK, France, and Russia to slaughter human beings in order for billionaires to create new markets for whatever crap they want us addicted to.

When will I find my voice again? I fear never. Because we are shamed. What can we ever say on a world wide stage that should be taken seriously? We’ve given the stage to Putin, Trump and the corporations they oil the wheels for.

And they gladly send people to slaughter others, because the lives of daughters, sons, mothers, fathers are almost worthless in their profit driven, capitalist system.

By Neil Scott

You can read more Ungagged Writing here or hear a range of left views on our podcast

One in Five challenge Starbucks

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One in Five disability rights organisation in Scotland have written to Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson. International organisations representing over 500,000 disabled people have supported the letter. Ungagged are pleased to be included. 

The campaigners have challenged Starbucks to invest in the research and development of a new straw that will satisfy environmentalists and disabled people.

Jamie Szymkowiak co-founder of One in Five said

“Our letter shows the strength of feeling from disabled people around the world. Starbucks must listen to their customers, including disabled people and environmentalists, and commit to investing in the research and development of a straw that doesn’t harm the environment for future generations and ensures the needs of disabled people are met.”

One in Five co-Founder, Pam Duncan-Glancy added

“Starbucks have the power to help disabled people and the environment at the same time. Big companies like them can lead and others follow. It’s so important for our human rights that they act now. After all, what is environmental justice without social justice?”

Commenting on release of the letter, Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said

“The companies responsible for distributing masses of single-use plastic items have the resources to innovate products which are truly sustainable and fully fit for purpose – suitable for everyone including the disabled community. Straws and other throwaway plastic items, that can’t be easily recycled, must be phased out and replaced with alternatives that don’t pollute our oceans and are suitable for everyone. In the meantime, plastic straws should be easily available for those who need them.”

We also asked Jamie how he felt about the excellent response, he said

“Too often the plastic straw debate is framed as disability rights versus environmentalists. With this, One in Five is trying to show that the two arguments are just as valid as each other and more pressure should be put on companies to act responsibly. In this regard, it was so refreshing to coordinate an international response and have support from Greenpeace.”

The letter:

————————————-

Kevin Johnson

President & CEO

Starbucks Coffee Company

22 August 2018

Dear Mr. Johnson

Plastic Straws for Disabled People

It has been just over one month since your announcement of Starbucks’ intention to eliminate single-use plastic straws globally by 2020[1] caused considerable anxiety among the disabled community. Furthermore, the ambiguous follow-up statement[2] has done little to reduce these concerns and has led to many disabled people feeling excluded by the world’s largest coffee chain.

One in Five have been working since the start of this year to bring the needs of disabled people to the public’s attention in the plastic straw debate. The average plastic straw is cheap, flexible, can be used for drinking cold and hot beverages, and is readily available. For some disabled people these attributes are vital for independent living. It’s worth pointing out that the umbrella of ‘disability’ includes people with different needs and impairments, and that it’s the universal accessibility of the plastic straw that makes so many disabled people anxious about an outright ban.

As you may be aware, most paper and plant-based alternatives are not flexible or suitable for drinks over 40C (104F). Not only does a soggy straw result in a poor customer experience, the deterioration increases the risks of choking, as some of us take longer to drink. Hard straws, made from metal for example, act as heat conductors and present obvious dangers for disabled people who cannot control their bite or who have neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s. Reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions and can be very difficult to clean.

It’s not acceptable to have straws ‘available on request’ for disabled customers. This is unnecessary gatekeeping that contributes to feelings of guilt for wanting to enjoy – or needing – a drink. Nor is it acceptable for non-disabled people to expect disabled people to carry a straw everywhere we go just in case we get thirsty. Passing yet another cost onto disabled people isn’t suitable if you accept that society bears a responsibility to make the world more accessible for everyone. After all, environmental justice without social justice isn’t justice at all.

Starbucks have a successful track record when it comes to access and disability inclusion: where your organization leads, others follow. Unfortunately the straw debate is no different, as local coffee shops across Europe and North America abandon plastic straws without considering the needs of disabled people. However, you’re in a position to change that.

It is our view that the only solution that will rid our oceans, beaches and parks of unnecessary single-use plastics and meet the needs of disabled people is for organizations such as Starbucks to invest in the research and development of a new straw that is accessible for everyone, including non-disabled people.

Our question is simple. Will you work with us, and disabled people around the world, by committing to sourcing an environmentally friendly solution that meets our needs?

This letter has been co-signed by disabled people’s organizations, disability charities, notable disabled commentators and political representatives from across Europe and North America.

We look forward to your response.

Jamie Szymkowiak and Pam Duncan-Glancy

One in Five

www.oneinfive.scot

The signatories:

Disabled People’s Organizations & Charities

Center for Disability Rights

Inclusion London

National Disability Rights Network

Glasgow Disability Alliance

Facial Palsy UK

Inclusion Scotland

Ruderman Family Foundation

Raul Krauthausen, Founder of wheelmap.org, on behalf of Ability Watch

Michel Arriens on behalf of BKMF e.V.

Disability Agenda Scotland

  • Action on Hearing Loss Scotland
  • Capability Scotland
  • ENABLE Scotland
  • RNIB Scotland
  • SAMH
  • Sense Scotland

Embla Guðrúnar Ágústsdóttir and Freyja Haraldsdóttir, co-Founders, on behalf of Tabú

Health & Social Care Scotland (The ALLIANCE)

Cumbria Down’s Syndrome Support Group

WOW Campaign

Alice Wong, Founder and Director, Disability Visibility Project

Ian Langtree, Director, on behalf of Disabled World

People First (Scotland)

Notable disability rights activists and political representatives

Baroness Tanni Grey Thomson

Jeremy Balfour MSP, Conservative Party

Johann Lamont MSP, Labour Party

George Adam MSP, Scottish National Party (SNP)

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Liberal Democrats

Alison Johnstone MSP, Scottish Green Party

Míriam Nogueras, VP of the Catalan Democrats (PDeCAT) and MP in the Spanish Congress

Robert Gale, Artistic Director, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company

Debra Torrance, on behalf of Ungagged

Cllr Dennis Robertson

Cllr Robert Mooney

Sandra Webster, on behalf of the SSP Disability Network

Susan Douglas-Scott, Chair of Independent Living Fund

Trade Unions

Community

UNISON

Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)

[1] https://news.starbucks.com/press-releases/starbucks-to-eliminate-plastic-straws-globally-by-2020

[2] https://news.starbucks.com/views/follow-up-to-starbucks-sustainability-news

Translations of the Letter 

  Plastik-Strohhalme für Menchen mit Behinderung

  Pailles en plastique pour les personnes handicapées

   Pajitas de plástico para discapacitados

   Canyetes de plàstic per a persones amb discapacitat 

 

You can read Ungagged articles on the straw ban here and on the suggestion of a baby wipe ban here 

by Debra Torrance

You can read more Ungagged Writing here, or hear a range of left views on our Podcast

Edinburgh Fringe Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Day 15 of Edinburgh Fringe and the mood has changed.


76% of performers are hungover and 39% of performers dreams have been crushed forever . Flyer guys and gals have lost interest mostly and nobody that I know has seen a show yet. Everyone just walks around handing out or accepting bits of cardboard.


Everyone gets distracted and spends the full day walking around diagonal cobbled lanes that even makes google maps shite themselves.


There is no internet reception. Either because too many instagram cunts or because internet is shite. Nobody truly knows.


Every drink costs a fiver until you say ‘really?’ to the barman, then discounts appear like bagpipes outside a chip shop.


We all pretend we love Runrig because our patriotism has better tartan than everyone else’s patriotism and that’s a good indication that we were randomly born into the best country that ever existed and perhaps the time we exist is more important. But that’s for historians to decide.
I met one of them tonight. They gave me cardboard and I promised to go to their show, but I didn’t because I got lost walking in Edinburgh.


This fuels our economy. Apart from the oil, it’s all walking and cardboard interactions that keeps us ticking over. 5000 shows today and only 40 audience members.


But 5 million shortbreads sold and twenty homeless people arrested for being outside.


I don’t think we can change the world we inhabit but it would foolish to think we definitely cannot, so I will be spending Saturday night putting it all to the test. Stramash. 9.30pm. Girobabies. Free entry. Edinburgh Fringe. The Moods. Micky 9s. Dopesickfly.


And now I will say some hollow words that mean very little so people versed in my writing don’t scroll down and think ‘this is probably an advert‘ because even though it may look like it. This is environmental.


No cardboard was harmed in the making of this post.

By Mark McGhee

You can read more Ungagged Writing here or hear a range of left views on our podcast

Breakdown or break free: the climate choice we face

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

It is August, which usually means a month of damp, cold driechness, just to welcome all the tourists to the Edinburgh Festivals.

Instead, we’ve seen record summer temperatures, and several weeks of not only high temperatures but also very little rain.

Northern Ireland saw its first hose pipe ban in 23 years imposed last month. Wildfires have been raging across several parts of the UK. The Met Office issued its first ever thunderstorm warning at the beginning of July.

Further afield, 100% of New South Wales is affected by drought. Fires are rampaging across California and Greece. And, back in Scotland, perhaps most (un)surprisingly of all, there have been train delays and cancellations because the tracks were ‘too hot’.

Many Greens, environmentalists, climate scientists and others have been talking about the increasing likelihood of such events for decades. Up until now, we have always been dismissed as scaremongers, conspiracy theorists, idiots, or worse.

Finally, though, it seems as though the mainstream media is taking the break down of our climate system seriously.

At last the BBC has published an article taking climate change seriously. That is, not couching it in terms of uncertainty and doubt, or extreme ideologies and marginal interest. Not only that, they didn’t try and temper it with ‘balance’ from climate change deniers.

It seems extraordinary that it has taken more than four decades of clear scientific consensus for the UK’s public broadcaster to take seriously the issue that is the game changer for our society. And even the Economist has led on climate change this week.

But talking about climate change as a real thing is not good enough. Not now. It is not about a changing climate. Likewise, it made no sense, during the Beast from the East, to be talking about global warming.

Thawing out (nevermind being warm!) seemed a distant dream as we were plunged into the frozen cold of ‘spring’ this year.

We must ask why it has taken so long for climate breakdown to be headline news. The mainstream media, and the neoliberal economy that it props up, has, for nearly 40 years, been used as an instrument of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Twenty years ago, we were told that China was the problem: what was the point in ‘the West’ doing anything about Climate Change when China was building a new coal power station every two minutes?

More recently, rather than causing more climate destroying emissions, China was blamed for being at the centre of a conspiracy: using climate change to destroy the American steel industry, or way of life, or whatever.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt have been the weapons of choice of the media-enabled neoliberal system that has controlled our lives since 1979. We can see this only too clearly if we look at the comprehensive failure of ‘the system’ to deal with rising inequality.

The contention that the market is the ideal mechanism for allocating resources has limited utility when the market allocates resources to destroying the planet on which we depend.

So, we need action. Urgent action. And urgent action not at an individual level, but action at state and supra-state levels.

We need to decarbonise our energy systems, not just our electricity supplies. We need radically different thinking to how our transport system works. We need to support our communities to be more resilient.

We need to wrest power from the corporations and elites that have benefitted from the market systems they have controlled and manipulated.

And that means changing the economy so that there is space for resilience: where there is social and collective control of and responsibility for the systems and processes that sustain us. We should be repurposing IT platforms (like Uber, airbnb, etc.) to provide social value rather than just making silicon valley millionaires even richer.

Imagine an effective lift sharing system in remote rural areas where public transport struggles to survive. We should be using the wealth created by our labour for the benefit of all. Imagine a society where caring and creating roles were valued over and above profit maximising for individuals.

We should be harnessing the immense compassion of our humanity to ensure a just future for people regardless of their background. Imagine a future where we trade in peace around the world, not in the weapons of war.

We need system change much more than behaviour change. Asking individuals to act against all the incentive structures of our society and economy has failed.

Where the corporate answer to the climate crisis is to increase ‘green consumption’ our answer must be to rebuild our society and our communities so that we can put humanity and the future of our world ahead of short term profit.

Only when we break free of the economic system of control, fear, uncertainty and doubt will we be able to rebuild our communities and our society for the future.

 

By Maggie Chapman

 

 You can read more Ungagged Writing here, or listen to a range of left views on our podcast

Plastic Pleurisy Part Poo 💩

Reading Time: 4 minutes
The war on plastic is real, it’s escalating. Humans are devising new ways to tackle the ever growing problem that is plastic. We are recycling more, we have discovered plastic eating insects,
We’ve deployed barriers across rivers to catch plastic, we have sophisticated tractor dragged rakes to pick up the plastic on our beaches. However, we really should be cutting down on the production of plastic, and the only real way to impact that is to stop using it.
Hence the logic behind banning some plastic convenience items, such as straws that was featured in my last article on the subject, Plastic Pleurisy.
Now the newest great idea is to ban wet wipes. There has been a bit of an uproar from parents on the issue, there’s many articles that share parents concerns. But do I even need to mention the needs of the disabled? Yes, it seems I do.
Now, you’ve a wee baby and how gross to imagine carrying about a wet rag you’ve just used to clean up a really dirty nappy. Now imagine that baby is a grown adult. Are you still carrying about that cloth? No, no you are not, it’s probably binned. Adding to the every growing number tonnes of rubbish in our dumps.
Double incontinence is a concern for many disabled people who want to go out in public, wet wipes are a necessity. Not a convenience. Yes wet wipes shouldn’t be flushed, and they are causing huge fatbergs in sewer systems around the country.
What is a fatberg? It is a huge build up of mass in a sewer that is caused by things that aren’t meant to be flushed down the loo. There was a whole program about it, where they dissected one, if you want to physically balk when you watch tv then its not hard to find the link online. But here in Scotland we have adverts on tv telling us how our water systems work and regularly advertise what and what not to put down the loo. I think education is a better alternative than flat out bans.
The needs of disabled folk are quickly becoming afterthought in Tory tokenistic environmental policy, and it’s the afterthought that irks me so much. But that’s to be expected from a party who’s welfare reform can be called nothing else than a bureaucratic attack on the sick and disabled citizens of their own country. What’s surprising and depressing tho is the ableist responses from the general public;
Apart from the clearly ableist commentary, the backlash is growing against parents who know what disabled/changing room facilities are like. (Let’s be honest, they are usually one and the same.) There is no bidet and they almost always already smell of poo. There is the cries of “what did you do before wet wipes existed?” and that is true, I asked my 77 year old mum what she used to use, she told me a natural sponge, however there wasn’t many public changing facilities. And of course, babies were in natural terry towelling nappies. As for disabled folk, well my mother recalls seeing the first public disabled toilet in the 70’s, before then disabled folk were rarely seen out. Most likely ostracised from their communities and societies for reeking of pish.
Sometimes disabled folk are stuck in bed, and besides the uncomfortableness of a bed bath, it’s quite humiliating to have someone else clean your private parts. There’s a dignity some folk don’t even have the privilege of having. I’m not going to go down the line of telling you all about catheters, digital stimulation of bowels, adult diapers and other toilet stuff, I’m gonna guess you also go to the loo, you know sometimes you get a dodgy tummy, I’m sure I don’t need to go into the details of why a packet of wet wipes is an essential item in a bug out bag for any disabled person.
What I am gonna do however is talk about actual non essential plastics. Things that no-one needs whatsoever and is a waste of plastic.
No 1. Balloons, now my mum says I’m a party pooper for this one, but really what is a balloon for? Those plastic foil, usually filled with helium (which by the way is in short supply and essential for running MRI machines) and attached to a plastic string. We blow them up and give them for celebrations where they are put in a corner to slowly deflate and wilt away, only to be flung in the bin or they float away still filled with precious gases and end up in the ocean anyway.
No 2. Plastic wrap on things made of plastic. If plastic is so durable it can stay in our environment for centuries, and won’t break down naturally then how come we need to wrap up plastic garden chairs in plastic cling film? That seems a real waste of plastic.
No 3. Plastic coffee stirrers. Apart from the fact you can stir your coffee with practically anything else, why do we have little strips of plastic in the billions, available next to plastic pots of milk and sugar at many a coffee shop and canteen?
So there are three other plastic things, totally unessential to anybody. Total frivolous waste of plastic, plastic that will probably end up in our oceans. I want to tackle plastic pollution as much as any other tree hugging environmentalist. I want to save our planet, it’s the only one we have. Mother Nature is my deity and I don’t want to offend her, but I am so sick of bearing the brunt of powerful people’s decisions. Please think before you ban plastic products that of are real use in making disabled people’s lives easier. We don’t want a return to hiding in institutions, hospitalised indefinitely and made to feel ashamed to go out in public. I obviously don’t speak for all disabled folk, but I speak as a human who was once fully abled bodied. I never expected to suddenly soil myself in Ikea, I didn’t know some student nurse would give me a bed bath when I had my periods in hospital.
And that is the other thing, this ban of wet wipes is also classist. Imagine being homeless or having no access to hot water. How could you stay clean? What if it happened to you? We are all human beings, we all have to take responsibility, that is true. But can we just think of each other before we start banning stuff?

Plastic Pleurisy

Reading Time: 4 minutes
So I stumbled across a twitter thread today, quite innocuous but linked to a vital and important issue. Plastic straws. Now I know we have all seen that awful video of the poor turtle with the straw up his nose, but in case you haven’t…
Here at ungagged we try really hard to support all environmental campaigns, and reducing plastics in our oceans is just one of the many causes we ran on our activist advent calendar. I personally recycle as much as I can and try to ensure I buy products with environmentally friendly packaging when I can. We have 5 recycling bins including a food waste bin, as I suspect many of you guys have at home too.
It was recently suggested we would have to increase our recycling capabilities as we brexited the European Union, so it’s no surprise that the government has encouraged companies trying to cut down on unnecessary plastic products across the board.
One of these very admirable moves include banning plastic cotton buds. Replacing them with a biodegradable paper poled cotton bud. The other announcement was from multiple retailers and companies themselves, the banning of plastic straws.
Following the news that Scotland intends to ban single use plastic straws by the end of 2019, several restaurants were keen to tweet that they were ahead of the curve
20180212_220027
 20180212_220046
There is a campaign called The Final Straw Scotland and there’s a video you can see here…
Now, I really don’t have a problem with companies restricting the amount of straws they stock, I don’t even have a problem with biodegradable alternatives that work. What I object to is being told, as a disabled person who regularly needs a straw to be able to drink, that I can buy my own metal alternative or the company supply a reusable washed one.
Oh. My. Gods! Yukkers *vom emoji* 🤢🤮

 

So first off, never mind the blatantly obvious fact some disabled folk have upper limb impairment which means it can be difficult to hold cups and glasses. Yes we usually have our own drinks container, often with special handles or grips and built in straws, but most of the time the straw has 3 day old water in it or some disgusting electrolyte powder residue from that time you had the skits. And like we are all aware some disabled folk are more prone to disease and infection, and myself having an autoimmune disorder, I don’t really fancy drinking out a “washed”, “communal” straw. I’ve seen dishwashers in bars.
Now the tone of this article is gonna drastically change. If you cant interpret the point I’m digging at then I probably can’t help you past this stage.
  • Numero uno!

Before you comment on why doesn’t a disabled person just buy a metal or wooden straw, or use a paper straw, answer this. Do you have one of those bamboo toothbrushes? Have you recently measured the mould growth? Do you carry around your own cutlery EVERY time you grab a coffee? Oh you don’t use a straw to drink hot drinks? That’ll be why you think paper straws are the perfect solution.

  • B)

99% of my mobility aids contains some sort of plastic. My wheelchair has plastic trim, my crutches half plastic. I have a plastic pirate themed orthotic brace for my foot. I have a plastic bath seat. I have a plastic toilet stool (not my stool, that’s organic. Hashtag: poo emoji 💩)I have a plastic gripper grabber, plastic fans, plastic pads, plastic sheets (sometimes). You cannot plastic guilt trip a disabled person. Most of our furniture is plastic. It’s not a style choice like some funky 70’s LA interior design magazine or hipster Bakelite revival.

received_10210744209750105
Not a hipster fashion item
  • Section iii.)

Telling a disabled person they can carry a straw about with them or trying to tell them how they can best adapt to their own disabilities, is a bit fucking stupid. No one know’s a disabled person’s capabilities and adaptabilities better than the disabled person themselves, or their primary carer. Swallowing can be an issue for some disabled people. People with physical disabilities and mental/neuro disorders alike. Just cos you have a granny with arthritis doesn’t mean you know what’s best for Tam’s C1 spinal cord injury and resulting impairment. With all your best intentions, just gonnae no?

  • Part IV)

A disabled person most likely has a kit, a bug out bag if you will. I have medicine, patches, pads, a tool kit, a water bottle (aforementioned star wars container with Jedi grip), spare clothes, waterproofs, a hand pump, and a scarf (to double as a blanket) all in the back of my wheelchair. I also have to remember my phone, my wallet, my disabled parking badge, my crutch, my keys, my bag for life and my trolley coin token thing cos there is no way I have a pound coin cash, and you want me to remember to take a straw so you feel better about the banning of plastics? No bother I’ll just die of thirst in the supermarket queue while the lassie helps to pack my 20 PLASTIC bags for life. Not only does remembering such a shitload of stuff impact my cognitive issues, it can be stressful and expensive.

Remembering a wee straw might not seem like a big deal, especially if it’s something you need. It might not even seem expensive. Buy a multipack from the pound shop eh? But when being disabled is already costing a premium, and putting barriers in way of our independence, a small insignificant drinking tube seems trivial. But when you sometimes have to ask for a key to the toilet, plead for access to a ramp, be reassessed on congenital and progressive disorders, a wee straw feels like the final straw.
  • Lastly;

please don’t take this article too seriously. If you want to find out more please go check out the amazing work @jamieszymko is doing in highlighting the issue.

Please don’t be an ableist jerk and think before you tweet.
And please don’t get me started on the issue of pre-chopped vegetables. That involves knives. *angry emoji* 😡
Get in touch, get ungagged! @_Ungagged

12 Days of Christmas- Day 11

Reading Time: 1 minute

Today’s 12 Days of Christmas challenge is arguably the most challenging, but we are sure you can do it.

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Did you know that in the top 10 of UK’s most endangered species are hedgehogs, turtle doves, red squirrels but also that 6 out of the 10 are in fact insects?

Insects play a vital role in our ecosystem. Not only providing food for our birds and other small mammals, but also pollinating plants, trees and grasses.

The most vital insect in this process is of course the bee. Honey Bees, wild and domestic perform around 80% of the planet’s pollination. The humble bee is facing great challenges right now. Whole hives decimated by disease. Bee keepers in the US reporting up to 50% losses. They need our help.

By protecting the environment and habitat of these wild animals, we can help them survive and thrive as us humans encroach ever further into their spaces, so today we are asking you to plant something to help feed our insect friends.

You don’t have to have a lot of money or a lot of space to plant something. If you have some outdoor space, order some free seeds online, save a sapling that will otherwise be cut down or crushed by traffic,or plant some bulbs. If you have no outdoor space, you can still grow things in pots – even old margarine tubs will do – on your windowsill. You can grow herbs to use in your kitchen, or bulbs to grow as gifts for next spring. You’ll get the satisfaction of nurturing something, and our creepy-crawly friends will thank you for it.

12 Days of Christmas- Day 9

Reading Time: 1 minute

On the 9th Day of Christmas Ungagged are bringing the focus back to your local community.

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Another nice easy one to do today,  and it really will make at least your little corner of the world a nicer place.

Wherever you are going today, whether you’re off to work or to the shops, on the school run, or even just taking a little walk down your street, take a bag with you and pick up any rubbish you see lying about the place. It doesn’t matter that it’s not your rubbish, it’s your community.

This is another of those small acts that can have a large impact. You won’t only be improving the look and feel of your community, and reducing the impact of human wastefulness on your local wildlife, but you may also inspire others to do the same, or shame litterers  into taking their trash home for recycling in future. Either way you’ll get to go to bed tonight knowing you did a good thing.

12 Days of Christmas- Day 2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Continuing our 12 Days of Christmas- 12 little ways you can make the world a better place.

received_10210397952773897.jpegBet you’ve got a whole house full of cardboard boxes and plastic packaging now, haven’t you? I know I have– plastic wrapped around wrapping paper and christmas cards, all the usual plastic packaging around our fruit and veg but supersized because we have to get enough food to feed an army, just in case. And dont get me started on plastic toys imprisoned in plastic packaging with plastic cable ties all wrapped in cellophane. Do toy manufacturers think that Barbie is going to escape from her box and run off with Darth Vader or something?

Having so much packaging is annoying for us, but it is deadly for our marine life. Plastic doesn’t dissolve in the oceans, it floats around until it becomes microgranules or is ingested by marine life. There’s currently over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. It’s poisoning our fish, choking sea turtles and being ingested by dolphins who can’t digest it, so with their stomachs full, they starve. Festive, huh?

Luckily, there is lots you can do to help. From the simple things like taking a reusable shopping bag out with you, reusing or recycling whenever you can and even giving up rubbish bags in favour of tipping your waste directly into the wheelie bin to save on plastic getting into landfill sites.

If you have children you can reuse plastic bottles in all sorts of ways, by making them into bird feeders, bath toys or using them for junk modelling. If you don’t have children, pop into your local nursery or primary school and ask if they need any donations of clean bottles or boxes or plastic tubs for their arts and crafts lessons.

There are entire islands of plastic in our oceans. Luckily there is a fantastic organisation called The Ocean Cleanup which is working tirelessly to remove the plastic from our oceans and protect our marine life. Visit their site for info on how they are fighting to protect our oceans, and scroll to the bottom of the page to see how you can help, and where to donate to the organisation.

12 Days of Christmas – Day 1

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It’s the first day of Christmas and we’ll be marking the next 12 days with little ways you can carry the festive spirit on by making the world just a tiny bit better.

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The birds in your garden are cold this time of year as well, and food can be hard to come by. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to help get our feathered friends through the winter though. The RSPB has some brilliant advice on what to feed the birds in your garden here.

In the winter months birds can find it hard to find fresh water too, so don’t forget to leave them a drink as well.

If you’d like to do even more to help,you could do some of your January Sales shopping through  Songbird Survival – a charity that commisions research into Britain’s declining songbird population. Or you could become a member of the RSPB for £4 per month. Perhaps the ideal Alternative New Years Resolution? Very little effort so nice and easy to stick to, you’ll get a quarterly magazine and unlimited entry to over 100 nature reserves in the UK, and you’ll get that warm feeling of knowing you’ve helped protect our garden birds.  You can sign up or find  out more here.

 

 

Let us know on twitter or Facebook the #SmallActs you are doing over the 12 days to make your world a little brighter