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Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Earth Hour 2010 how will you celebrate

This Saturday March 27 at 8:30pm, hundreds of millions of people from more than 120 countries and regions across every continent will come together for Earth Hour in a moment of unprecedented global unity to show the way forward on climate change. Here you will find some ideas of how to pass that time! Check out RennyBAs Terella for the concept back earth hour and Norways results for 2010.

Earth hour 2010

Earth hour 2010

Here at Metamorphoses we will be showing our support as well. Since many of us here are internet junkies I thought I would compile a creative list of what one can do during the one hour of darkness. We will be enjoying a candlelight dinner with lobster and fresh mixed salad, a little chilled wine and conversation without keyboards!!! Maybe we will have some other fun too wink wink!! You never know, we may go overtime!

1. Go for a walk and see what the neighbours have switched off.

2. One word: Fondue! You get a great meal, no electricity required. (or cooked lobster like we will have)

3. Chill your wine outside. Host an Earth Hour Party: BYO candle and no plastic cups.

4. Harness the combined romance of candlelight and eco-chivalry to get romantic.

5. Dig out your clarinet, ocarina or guitar for an acoustic music night.

6. Debate whether one hour can trigger social change.

7. Look for stars in the darker night sky, or moon dance.

8. Tell ghost stories. Go down to the basement to investigate dark spooky corners.

9. Bust out the Ouija board, host a séance.

10. Dig out your Dungeons and Dragons dice for an atmospheric apocalyptic game.

11. Prove to yourself that, yes, you can go 60 minutes without updating your Facebook status.

12. Don’t forget fitness. Practise naked yoga.

13. Conserve water. Share a bath.

14. Or go to bed early. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

15. Consider getting some help if the results of No. 14 only took one minute.

16. Spin a globe to find your next holiday destination.

17. Play dress-up in the dark. Don’t wear colour-co-ordinated clothes.

18. If going out, do your makeup by candlelight. It’s harder than it seems. Pretend it’s eighties punk.

19. Play with sparklers. Take long-exposure photos of your efforts.

20. Master your origami skills. (that means paper folding folks!!)

21. Invite your neighbours over for a game of Texas Hold ’em.

22. Put teabag compresses on your eyes.

23. Take your date somewhere discreet and make out.

24. Start a pool on whether there will be a baby spike in nine months.

25. Hark for sounds of fire engines (see: candle use).

I found a nice video which shows what earth hour is, and how it has spread and shown its effectiveness. Let us know what you are doing for earth hour, and join RennyBAs link love for the earth!

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Beyond mediocrity

“Mediocrity is a form of madness, a dream embraced by the masses because it makes just getting by an acceptable — sometimes applauded — social art form. What is excellent requires extra effort. To agree to sleep our way through life is to lose everything, because it rules out the possibility of our soul’s awakening.”

-Guy Finley

Reflections of winter

Reflections of winter

The above quote sums up why I haven’t been here so much lately. I am striving beyond mediocrity in my career for the time being. My new position is making demands on my creativity, problem solving ability, mental and physical energy. However this quote describes why I still love doing this. It is becauseI am constantly challenging myself to grow and to learn, and to do things I am not quite sure I can 🙂 I can’t be equally active in all areas of life, however. So if I don’t post as often as I feel I should, or would like, I hope you know that I am still here and following along anyway 🙂

It’s finished! Breaking away a master thesis on domestic violence

It’s finished! Breaking away! A master thesis on domestic violence

I am happy to announce the finish of my long project which I began working on some time last year, and finally delivered the finished work to Oslo University College this afternoon. That means yes I will also have time to blog again.

domesticviolence

My thesis is made up of two articles based on a qualitative study of domestic violence in association with the women’s shelter where I work. Here for the mildly interested are the summaries for the two articles, if you are very interested you can click here to read the whole darn thing if you like!!

Thanks to all my friends for sticking by me through the whole process and not giving up visiting my blog. And a really BIG thanks to RennyBA for putting up with all my moods, stress, tears, and sharing my joy as well. You are the best!

Discourses of survival: A study of the discourses domestic violence survivors reveal in talking about coping and reestablishment
Summary:

In this article, Discourses of survival: A study of the discourses domestic violence survivors reveal in talking about coping and reestablishment, the focus is placed on prevailing discourses identified in interviews with female domestic violence survivors.

The article is founded in a qualitative study of women who stayed at a local women’s shelter in the fall of 2008. Through discourse analysis of the interviews the article will lift up the users own voices as they share their experiences regarding receiving help from a local women’s shelter and re-establishing themselves in a home free from violence.

The results of the article identify four discourses which are present in all of the women’s interviews. These discourses are called 1) collective solutions discourse, 2) others-are-worse-off discourse, 3) violent experience discourse, and 4) Norwegian normative discourse. Through the use of Faucault’s definitions of discourse, power, and knowledge coupled with Butler’s theory of performative gender the article will show how these discourses both empower and challenge these survivors.

Valuable help: identifying best practice in social work with abused women

Summary
The theoretical perspective of the article is known as best practice. This concept as used in the article is based on Ferguson’s (2007) method which places the focus on where social work has had a positive outcome, or is considered to be a success. Although best practice is most commonly used when the worker identifies a situation where he or she perceives the work as successful, in this study it is the user who is in focus. The participants described situations where they felt successful, supported, or strengthened and identified best practice based on their own experiences.

The results showed that all of the women mentioned the safety aspect of the shelter as being significant. Physical refuge and having an alternative to returning home was rated as important to the users. Next is the category of guidance, sorting and planning which all of the users mentioned as being a necessary part of regaining control over a chaotic situation. Further help in setting appropriate goals was seen as useful. The starting point for the users varied, so setting appropriate goals required patience, flexibility, and individual focus on the part of the social workers. All of the participants also worked on their network in some way. The majority relied on their existing network for help, but some of the participants also found the shelters opportunities for creating new network connections as valuable. Lastly practical help was considered important by the participants. Although the need for help varied based on the individual all of the users reported relying on the shelter for some form of practical help.

Release party! I am published!

Last night I was at a very exciting event! Exciting for me anyway….because the new issue of FETT, the only Norwegian feminist journal, had the current issues release party. FETT comes out quarterly, and is produced by Kvinnefronten (Womens front), with economic support from Free Word and the Norwegian Cultural Advisory, and is a member of the Norwegian Journal union.

Release party

Release party

 

I’m sure this is all very exciting for you, but why am I telling you this now? Because I have an article published in this issue!! The article was on how women traditionally, and also today in many places, are controlled much like property under traditional Christianity. (Islam as well, however the theme of this issue was Christianity and feminism.)

 

I have been looking forward to the release for a long time now, and it was so cool going to that party. It was a weird feeling having the person at the next table reading something that I have written. I also had to chance to meet lots of interesting and intelligent women who were editors, writers, photographers or just regular supporters. So now one of my dreams has come true….to be a ‘writer’ !

I love your blog award

I love your blog award

 

Today I also have to thank Sandee of Comedy Plus for a great award!! The I Love Your Blog award.

 

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs that you’ve nominated.

 

I nominate Fleur De Lisa, Inside the Conch, and A little off kilter.

 

Have a great weekend!!

Summer vacation behind locked doors

This year over 120 children will spend their summer vacation in a Crisis centre, or battered women’s shelter here in Norway. Many of these will live behind locked doors for several months before a safe new home is found for them.

It seems to be that this situation is completely absurd, although I see it time and time again. The person who has put these women and children in danger remains in their home, and it is the women and children who are forced to flee and live at a secret address for their own protection.

Children in crisis

Children in crisis

In spite of tough laws in Norway against domestic violence, the accused normally does not get more than a warning and the woman an order of protection which is supposed to prevent the accused from having contact with her. However in many situations of violence the order of protection is not respected by the accused and the family cannot return to their own home.

I was shocked when I returned to work to find our shelter literally overrun…and pretty much stood on end…by a house full of children. Outdoor activities are of course the ideal, however we don’t have the staffing to organize many group activities, the Red Cross which normally runs a volunteer program for us closes the program down in the summer because of lack of volunteers, and many of the mothers are afraid to take their children to the parks or public play areas for fear that their husbands or his family may get to them.

So we spent much of our time and energy at work this weekend trying to keep 17 children of all ages out of trouble, not fighting with their siblings, and entertained. No easy task, I assure you…spent the evening cleaning up paint and organized a popular ‘movie night’ complete with popcorn and juice after the youngest were finally in their beds.

More needs to be done to protect the rights of these families, and help them to stay in their own homes, and rather force the assaulter out of his comfy little bed. However it seems to me that it is a typical womans issue, which doesn’t get enough attention or resources in society in general. The assaulter is normally a man, and the victim normally women and children – and the entire issue is met with excuses. Although the laws protecting the women and children’s rights are in place, the usual excuses – lack of evidence, lack of witnesses, lack of resources in the police force, investigators, and the legal system to give ‘domestic’ cases enough priority.

Meanwhile it is the victims who lived locked up, for their own safety, behind closed doors and security windows and I just keep on popping popcorn and washing up paint…and doing the little I can to make it better.

Going green on two wheels, bike riding is fun!

Going green is easier then you might think and fun to boot. Yesterday in spite of a number of rain showers, I took my little reusable cotton grocery bag and instead of climbing into a vehicle with 4 doors and 2 wheels I opted for one with no doors and 2 wheels. In other words I put the bag on my bike and peddled my way to the grocery.

Biking away

Biking away

This isn’t exactly earth shattering news in Scandinavia. In fact the local area where we have our summer home, like most of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, has wonderfully developed bicycle and pedestrian paths and the Scandinavian people seem to bike everywhere. Not only do they bike everywhere but they bike at all ages. It is not at all unusual to see people over 65 or 70 peddling in to town to do their daily shopping. Just think how many illnesses and how much more mobility they have because of this habit. Of course most of them didn’t pick up their bike last year and start training! I am sure the vast majority has ridden their bike to town for the last 50 years and that is why at the age of 70 they are still able to do so!

Another thing I really like about it is that the bikes don’t necessarily need to be the newest or most modern. There are many well maintained and well used bicycles peddling around the streets of this little town. The relatively flat terrain makes biking a cheap, easy, and healthy choice for your daily errands.

Going Green to the Greens

Going Green to the Greens

Using bicycles as a means of alternative transportation is a great way to reduce the impact on the environment and save money too! In addition to that it is good cardiovascular exercise, burns up a bit of my vacation calories and is actually quite enjoyable. Much like my feelings at the beach, when you get to the top of a little hill and begin to coast down the other side it is still just as exhilarating as it was when I was 6 years old. The feeling of the wind on my face and the sound of it rushing by my ears, leaning down over the handle bars to go just a little bit faster. Its good, childish and fun…and tomorrow we will be riding our bikes to the golf course!!

UPDATE: To see how our golf trip turned out visit RennyBA!

Global warming + growth in China + Oil crisis = World Hunger

I have been personally concerned about the headlines reporting on food shortages across the world. I must admit it has filled me with fear from time to time, can it happen here. I live a relatively good life here in Norway. My thoughts are more often on losing weight then hunger. However I also am very much aware that we live in a global world now, very little of the food which graces our table is locally grown. When that balance is upset all of us can suffer.

A world wide food shortage of proportions not seen in our lifetimes is on our doorstep. In Dhaka recently 10,000 Bangladeshi textile workers clashed with police in a protest triggered by food costs. In Haiti, demonstrators recently tried to storm the presidential palace after prices of staple foods leaped 50 per cent. In Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal and Cameroon there have been demonstrations, sometimes involving fatalities, as starving people have taken to the streets. And in Vietnam the new crime of rice rustling, when crops are stripped at night from fields by raiders, has led to the banning of all harvesting machines from roads after sunset.

Rice Shortage in Asia

But what are the factors that led to this shortage? What has triggered the price rises that have put the world’s basic foodstuffs out of reach for the worlds poorest peoples?

One factor is the decision by the US government, made several years ago, to give domestic subsidies to its farmers to grow corn that can be distilled into ethanol, a biofuel which can be mixed with petrol. This policy helps limit US dependence on oil imports and gives support to the nation’s farmers. However it also takes over land, about 20 million acres, that would otherwise have been used to grow food crops. Other nations, including Argentina, Canada and some European countries, have adopted similar biofuel policies.

In addition there is the problem of climate change. As the levels of carbon dioxide rise in the atmosphere, meteorologists have warned that weather patterns are becoming increasingly disturbed, causing devastation and drought in many areas. Some politicians see climate change as the most pressing challenge facing the world while others say that biofuels, grown to offset fossil fuel use, is taking food out of the mouths of the world’s poorest people.

Then we have the growing wealth of China. Once a relatively rural economy, China has become increasingly industrialised and its middle classes have grown accordingly. As a result there is a doubling in meat consumption in China. As the country’s farmers have sought to feed more and more animals, more and more grain has been bought by them. Many don’t realize that increased production of meat causes increased use of grain.

And finally there is the issue of vegetable oils. Soya and palm oils are a major source of calories in Asia. But flooding in Malaysia and a drought in Indonesia has limited supplies. In addition, these oils are now being sought as bio-diesel, which is used as a direct substitute for diesel in many countries

The moral of the story here is the world is a complicated place, and nothing we do, or overdo so to speak is without consequences. It is positive that we will use biofuels, it is positive that China is boom, but the consequences to the world have to be measured against these gains.