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Social responsibility review – 22 March

Royal Commission – people with disability

Do you or someone close to you have a disability? Have you or they experienced violence, abuse, neglect or been exploited?

Have your say on the draft terms of reference for a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. This public consultation runs from 13 March until 28 March. Take the survey here. If you need advice or support to do this, find a disability advocate or contact the Survey Hotline on 1800 880 052.

Coming up

National Close the Gap Day

21 March is National Close the Gap Day, a time for all Australians to come together and commit to achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Find out more about this day and share your support on social media (images available as you scroll down). Read this story about the first resident doctors on the Torres Strait Island of Mer, both First Peoples.

Earth Hour

The fight for our planet’s future is on! Switch off for Earth Hour at 8.30pm Saturday 30 March and help make a difference against climate change. The National Council of Churches in Australia and the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church encourage you to sign up in your congregations and individually.

Discover how the world could change as global temperatures increase. This useful interactive resource – Climate Future enables us to find out how different areas of our lives are and will be affected.

Week in review

Beyond borders with people seeking asylum

Tim Costello explores this deeply confusing and divisive current issue for Australian Christians. “Can we stand back from the political debate and consider the kingdom view that goes beyond matters of border sovereignty? Do we now move forward in fear or faith?”

You might think the threat of war is lower than ever …

Recent revelations of Australian arms exports to the Middle East have rightly provoked widespread consternation. But this is no sudden aberration. Nor is it a uniquely Australian phenomenon: “As if to establish its credentials in the arms trade, last year the Australian government unveiled plans to become one of the top 10 arms exporters. A $3.8 billion Defence Export Facility, to be administered by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, is to provide the finance to Australian companies to help them sell their weapons overseas.” Read this article by Professor Joseph Camilleri, published in New Matilda.

Responding to rising seas: OECD countries

There is an urgent need to ensure that coastal areas are adapting to the impacts of climate change. Risks in these areas are projected to increase because of rising sea levels (one metre in the next 80 years) and development pressures.

This report reviews how OECD countries can use their national adaptation planning processes to respond to this challenge. Specifically, the report examines how countries approach shared costs and responsibilities for coastal risk management and how this encourages or hinders risk-reduction behaviour by households, businesses and different levels of government.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an update

This is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world and is located between Hawaii and California. The most extensive analysis ever of this area has been conducted and the results are frightening! The estimated surface area is over 1.6 million square kilometres (three times the size of France). There are more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing about 80,000 tonnes.

Individually and as communities we need to reduce how much plastic we use! Here are 15 hints to help you.

Call to action 

Christchurch: send a message of hope now

The New Zealand Muslim community is hurting. Amnesty is calling on us to send messages of freedom, justice, hope and love, and are committed to delivering them where they are needed most.

“Just because you can’t see a disability, doesn’t mean it isn’t there”

Join with Wellways, an Australian mental health community support service, as they call on the Australian Government to increase funding and provide substantial support for those experiencing mental health issues. There are also resources available to help break down the stigma associated with mental health issues. Sign their petition today.

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