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Police Brutality in Ferguson September 9, 2014

Filed under: Human Rights,Public Safety — mochi @ 10:05 pm

I’m sorry that the return of this blog has to start off with a tragedy, but this is an incredibly important issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Warning: What follows is incredibly disturbing, violent, and worst of all, true. I’ll give you a short summary of the events- an 18yo African American boy named Michael Brown was shot to death by police officers in uniform for allegedly stealing candy. People gathered in the streets to protest his murder, and chaos ensued as the police force brought in attack dogs, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The police force of Ferguson is trying to keep this quiet, but I urge you- please spread the news of the tragic events going on in Ferguson right now.

On to the details.

On Saturday, August 9th, of 2014, Michael Brown was shot 10 times by police officers in St. Louis, Missouri. According to witness Isaac Daniels, “He was shot in the chest twice by a cop that was shooting from his vehicle. The young man [referring to Mike Brown] then threw his arms in the air & said please don’t do this repeatedly until he was shot in the head.” This was posted on Isaac Daniels’ Facebook page. The murder took place right outside Daniels’ apartment. The candy store that it was rumored Michael stole from had experienced no theft. Reports were later placed saying that Mike Brown was unarmed and had been shot for jaywalking.

Let me repeat that.

Shot. For jaywalking.

My friends and I jaywalk on the streets around school, and I have done so many times with family as well. I would never be shot for jaywalking, however, and there are two reasons for this: First, the police force in my area is not nearly as corrupt, and second, because I’m Caucasian. Murders of African Americans by police men are a disgusting pattern that is unfortunately growing in America, and it boils down to racial profiling and the blatant racism and corrupt state of America’s law enforcement.

The racism continued as peaceful protests began in the streets on August 10th. The protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace” but the media turned them into lies and claimed they were chanting “Kill the police.” They were doing no such thing, of course, but police men took to the unarmed crowds with attack dogs, shotguns, and tear gas. Tear gas is a chemical weapon that is banned in war, yet the police in Ferguson are using it on peaceful protesters. No 911 calls were answered in Ferguson.

After days of police brutality against the protesters, Captain Johnston stepped in to stop the violence. He told the protesters he would march with them.

On April 17th, however, he broke his promise. He had insisted in a press conference that methods such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and military vehicles would not be used, but instead the police force instituted a curfew, and when protesters were caught after dark, the police shot them with CS smoke.

Journalists and photographers in Ferguson have also been attacked. A journalist operating a livestream for people to document Ferguson caught on camera a cop threatening to shoot him in the face.

They’re tear gassing children out there. They’re tear gassing neighborhoods of people who haven’t been involved with protests. 

On August 23rd it was realized that the People of Ferguson have the power to fire the entire police force… whatever that means. We’re still confused. Honestly, I hope they do.

Mike Brown was a hero. The police force is trying to paint him as a criminal. Witnesses state that Mike Brown told his friend to run while he took the bullets. This boy was two days away from college. He was shot because of Darren Wilson, a racial profiler, corrupt policeman, and Darren Wilson is now currently on paid leave. Paid for murdering a young man.

Now, schools are banning discussions of Mike Brown’s death. News stations are calling him a young criminal thug. Police outside of Ferguson are being incredibly disrespectful by letting dogs urinate on Brown’s memorial sites.

Post this weekend will be about what you can do to help.

 

 

Spotlight on Website: Greater Good January 12, 2014

Here’s a free website that allows you to help others, no account required. Greater Good is a site entirely dedicated to money donations for, well, the greater good. It sells fair trade items and donates percentages of your purchases to great causes. Each day they have a different project- today’s was getting 24 children to a hospital by way of donations and free-clicks-to-donate. In the past, Greater Good has done a lot of good with their clicks. Greater Good

Here are some of their click-to-donate successes.

They have:

  • provided 6 months of care to an orphaned moose
  • sent an orphan to school for 5 months
  • given a sea lion food for a month
  • matched 5 veterans with pets that will help them
  • fed 4,000 seniors
  • donated toys to children in the developing world
  • built ‘castles’ for shelter cats

And many more! Want to get in on the action? All you have to do is check out  Greater Good. It has many sub-sites such as The Hunger Site, The Literacy Site, The Animal Rescue Site and The Breast Cancer Site, all dedicated to the special causes that their names suggest.

With just one click, you can do things like:

  • give free food to an animal shelter
  • give a woman with breast cancer a mammogram
  • donate a book to a child in need
  • fight hunger and poverty every day
  • save land in a forest
  • help wildlife

And it’s freeAll you have to do is click a simple button. I love free click websites, because it’s so easy and you can do it every day. Free clicks are a great way to help whatever cause you want, like breast cancer help, encouraging literacy, or feeding the homeless. I have enormous respect for the donors who give the food/books/mammograms/etc when anyone clicks.

You can also sign up for a daily reminder. Each day, they will send you a email telling you to click the free buttons.

Don’t forget to click at care2.com as well! We’ve made a previous post about it.

greatergood.com

thehungersite.greatergood.com

Ceej

 

PETA is Killing Animals November 16, 2013

Filed under: Animal Cruelty — mochi @ 11:27 pm
Tags: , , ,

I wasn’t a fan of PETA even before I learned the truth about its methods, but new findings just take the cake. PETA, a seemingly charitable organization- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals- is not only neglecting animals, but actually harming and killing them. Instead of letting the 89% of adoptable cats and dogs they keep in their shelters go to good homes, they euthanize the animals. Don’t believe me? You should. The death toll is currently 29, 398. This is wrong. Not only are they murdering innocent animals, they’re lying to the public and doing things that go to the exact opposite of their message. How can we stop them? The http://petakillsanimals.com/takeaction webpage has a part where you can add your name, but that won’t be enough.PETA IS EVIL

Here’s what you can do in addition to that:

  • Educating people about it is the most important thing right now. Posting online about it will help, as well as telling others.
  • Don’t buy anything to support PETA, don’t donate any money
  • If you know of a PETA building or branch near you, you can petition to have it shut down or investigated. IMPORTANT: Make sure that if it is shut down, all the animals have a place to go! Otherwise, the PETA officials may euthanize them.
  • Make sure any strays found are brought to good shelters, not ones like PETA shelters!

 

 

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do without enlisting government help. However, this is a very important issue and I’d like to see PETA shut down. It’s not okay for them to treat their animals this way: it is cruel and hypocritical. Stop PETA! This is NOT ethical treatment!

Ceej

 

Anti-Rape Wear Project November 4, 2013

Rape and harassment are very big problems in modern day. Sadly, it’s improbable that this kind of assault will be fully eradicated, so it’s very important to make sure that people feel safe when they leave their houses or go out in public. There is a project going on to create anti-rape wear- confidence and protection that can be worn. The product currently has prototypes of three varieties: spandex-like/running shorts that can be worn freely or hidden under clothing, cropped leggings, and khaki-style shorts. The material is cut and tear resistant, and the button that holds them on only comes open by a special doe that is easy for the person to remember, but not for a potential rapist. Only the person wearing it can take it off.   As you know, rape is a very big issue that centers around misogyny and women’s (and men’s) need for rights to their own body. You can watch the video on how it works here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ar-wear-confidence-protection-that-can-be-worn
This project needs $50,000 by November 22, otherwise it will be shut down and the products will not be created. We need your help- the link shown above also has places to donate. Please signal boost this. Everyone has the right to protect themselves from inappropriate advances.
 

The Plastic Predicament September 22, 2013

Plastic is a menace to all ecosystems it comes in contact with. Non-biodegradable, toxic, petroleum-based, and easily mistaken for an ocean animal’s prey, it’s ruining our seas and filling up our landfills. The approximated amount of plastic recycled, out of the total plastic produced is almost certainly less than 10%. And do you know what happens to the rest of it? It sits around in a dump for thousands of

English: Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA...

years, or is taken to the ocean to become yet another drifting patch of garbage. Plastic is not a biodegradable substance. It will break down over many years, but it will never fully go away. The molecules will simply divide and become smaller and more spaced out, until they are spread to other parts of the ocean and the Earth to become more pollution. It takes so many years for even a slight breakdown to occur that there is no difference made, and the plastic continues to pile up. Worse yet, even if the plastic does start to ‘decompose’- though I shouldn’t be calling it that, because it will never fully break down- the particles are then microscopic and harder to locate, especially harder to remove. They go into the water that many sea animals live in and breathe.

Sending the plastic to be destroyed isn’t a much better choice. The incineration of trash releases toxins and chemicals into the air, which create pollution in the air. So no matter where the plastic goes, it’s always a problem. Did you know that breathing the air in Mumbai for just one day is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes? That’s how polluted it is. Plastic and other petroleum-based substances are not only ruining the Earth, but also the creatures living in it. Turtles in the ocean often think that plastic bags are jellyfish and consume the bags, which clogs the airways in their throat and eventually kills them.

Recent developments are being made to create plant based plastics, rather than petroleum based ones. While this will certainly help to stop creating trouble for the ocean, it won’t decrease what’s already there. Thankfully, inventions are being made, and it’s believed that they can help. Take Dutch teenager Boyan Slat’s robotic ocean cleaning invention: it gleans its energy from ocean currents, so it’s sustainable, and it directs plastic particles to collection platforms. The plastic particles will then be recycled in a way that people can profit from it.Dutch Ocean Clean Up Device

Will this fix every plastic problem our oceans face? No. In fact, it’s estimated that only a third will be collected, but it’s a revolutionary solution that’s still going to change a lot for ocean wildlife. However, the robot cleaning devices are just an experiment, say the team of engineers working on them, though they also say that it looks promising. It’s not clear when these cleaning platforms will be put into use, or even if they will be put into use. So what can we do to help?

Ways to Help:

  • Bring a reusable grocery bag to the store with you, and make sure the rest of your family does as well.
  • Recycle as much of your plastic as you can- preferably all of it.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere. Stop buying plastic ones! If you’re in desperate need of water, and plastic is the only option, recycle that bottle, or reuse it for another day.
  • Talk to your local grocery store about stopping the usage of plastic bags altogether. Be sure to remind them that it will boost their profit because they can also sell reusable cloth bags.
  • If you have a lot of plastic grocery bags already, use them to line small bathroom trashcans. You can also iron a couple of bags together to create a reusable grocery bag.

If we could outlaw the dumping of plastic into our oceans and landfills, companies might be able to sell it to other organizations, such as Terracycle, and they could turn it into recycled products. What do you think? Got any ideas to help?

Ceej

 

Topic of the Week! September 18, 2013

Filed under: Just Bonsai — Mary @ 6:03 pm
Tags:

Hi everyone!

Bonsai is going to be starting a new feature called the “Bonsai Topic of the Week.” This is how it works: every week, we’ll have a new topic on which we’ll be posting topics. This will not only make things more organized, but you’ll also get more in-depth knowledge on ways to help the world, or at least be aware of the problems that need to be fixed.

The topic for this week (September 16-21) is Ocean Conservation, as can be seen on the right-hand side of the blog. Some topics you might see in upcoming weeks are:

  • The Rainforest
  • Energy Conservation
  • Garbage
  • Wildlife
  • etc., etc.

If you want to suggest topics for us to cover in the future, you can head over to the About page & leave a comment. If you want to submit your work, go on over to the Submit Your Work page and submit it! We’re always glad to hear from you, glorious followers.

Love you guys!

Ceej & Mary

 

To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer – That is the Question August 27, 2013

Filed under: Education,Literacy — Mary @ 6:36 am
Tags: , ,

Hey everybody! You may or may not know this, but every staff member of Bonsai is required to complete one “large” assignment to help the world in real time over the course of a year and then post about it. As far as I know, this is the first one done. I asked Ceej (the lady in charge) if I could use volunteering at the library as my large assignment for helping people this year. I volunteered for 68.5 hours (I think), which may seem like a lot, but my friend McKenna got 101.25. Because she subbed for everyone. Almost.

What did I do while I volunteered? Well, there were two types of things you could sign up for – events and desk shifts. At the beginning of the summer, based on your availability, you were assigned certain desk shifts and recurring events. Throughout the summer, you could sign up for open slots at the desk and for events that occur only once, so you weren’t assigned to come beforehand.

Some events that were held included LEGO Club, Discovery Days, Wednesdays@1, Disc Golf in the Library, Teen Minute to Win It, Yarn Crafts, Origami, Fearless Crafters, READ to a Dog, Stuffed Animal Sleepover Party, and Give Peace a Chance. I volunteered at the LEGO Club (which happened over a span of four weeks), one Discovery Day, and Give Peace a Chance, while I attended Disc Golf in the Library and Teen Minute to Win It. When I volunteered, I would help set things up, pick things up, and help kids stay on task and give advice and at Give Peace a Chance I served cake.

The volunteers.

When you were at the desk, you would sit there (sometimes with another volunteer) and wait for people to sign up for the Summer Reading Program (SRP). Basically, you got their information, entered it into the computer & gave them their form, where they could fill in the boxes for the amount of time/pages they read. For the first two weeks, that was all you could do – sign people up and answer questions and associate yourself with your fellow volunteer. After those first miserable weeks, kids started coming back to collect their prizes, which you could get after you reached a certain checkpoint on your form. There were four prizes in all. You could give them Overtime Reading Tickets, tickets that would enter them in a random drawing for even more prizes (or you could forget about it and feel sorry for the child who missed a grand opportunity). There were 4 different programs: Preschool, K-5, 6-8, and High School-Adult. Each program gave you different prizes and different reading records and different amounts of time you had to read.

So that was how I spent my summer – reading, encouraging kids/young adults/adults to read books, serving cake, and building towers of LEGOs.

Does your library offer volunteering? Is there some other fun volunteering you could do in your community next summer? Think about it, and help your community! :)

 

 
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