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G8 Summit 2008There’s only six weeks to go to this year’s G8 Summit in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan.

Most of us won’t be invited. And many of us will feel powerless to set agendas and influence what goes on behind closed doors. But people power and activism can make a real difference.

Since the End Water Poverty campaign launched last year, we have been lobbying G8 leaders to put water and sanitation on the summit agenda. Last year, despite thousands of messages to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and concerted lobbying of the then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, water and sanitation did not make it onto the agenda. BUT . . .

never giving up hope, campaigning continues, with the result that this year Japan has agreed to ensure that water and sanitation will be discussed as part of the G8 Summit.

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Theos LogoMy good friend (and Director of the public policy think tank, THEOS), Paul Woolley, sent me an interesting little piece they are running over on the THEOS website.

It’s a thought provoking read, and while you are free to leave comments below, I’m sure THEOS would love to hear from you.

As a heads up, this is simply a taster of a larger report they have produced which can be downloaded here (Report) or purchased as a hard copy.

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One of the Prime Minister’s advisers on faith, the author and social activist Jim Wallis, has backed the conclusions of a new Theos report published today, arguing that the church must think carefully before partnering with government.

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DEC logoHope International LogoPlease don’t let doubts about whether donating to help the people of Myanmar will actually result in aid that will reach those in desperate need – it’s only money after all.

Most organisations who are appealing for money will have people already on the ground in Myanmar who can make a real difference with your help.

I know Hope International Development Agency have the capacity to help.

And there are guarantees being made from the Disasters Emergency Committee that donations will be channeled to those agencies who are best placed to intervene.

If you need reassurance check out the BBC’s Website here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7389735.stm

bookpic.jpgMy good friends over at Theos, the public theology think tank, have just published an interesting, and midly humorous report, which demonstrates that a quarter of people in Britain confuse the Bible with speeches by Sir Bob Geldof.

In a ComRes poll, 27% of people questioned wrongly believed that the statement “You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless” – Proverbs Chapter 31, verse 8 – came from a speech by the singer, songwriter and activist Bob Geldof. A further 20% thought it was from a report by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Only 13% of people correctly identified the statement as coming from the Bible.

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Dying for the ToiletIf you don’t already know, 2008 has been designated the International Year of Sanitation by the UN. Though it may not sound as glamorous as some campaigns you could get involved in, it has to be one of the most important given that 2.6 billion people worldwide don’t have access to even the most basic sanitation, the ramifications of which impact health, education, economic viability for developing countries, and simple human dignity. In short, sanitation is fundamental to human development and if this global problem isn’t addressed soon, then we can kiss goodbye to the aspirations set out in the Millennium Development Goals.

If you want to now more, and find out how you can make a difference, then why not turn out to one of the upcoming ‘Dying for the Toilet’ evenings being organized by WaterAid, founders of the End Water Poverty Campaign.

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issue7sub.jpgThe latest edition of Sublime Magazine is out (click on magazine preview). It’s an international lifestyle magazine, so if it isn’t in a newsagents or bookstore near you, then bother the manager and get them to stock it as it’s an excellent read.

The latest edition is all about New Energy and covers the obvious – articles about renewable energy and eco-sports cars – and the not so obvious – a peice about personal physical, emotional and spiritual energy. There’s also a fascinating look back to the oil crisis of the 1970’s, articles about contemporary architecture and fashion, and a rare interview with Radiohead.

Personally, I was requested to produce an overview of the renewable energy industry, an abstract of which is below:

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issue6home.jpgThe guys over at Sublime Magazine have produced yet another thought provoking edition of their international ethical lifestyle mag. If you haven’t read a copy yet, then do check it out, you won’t be disappointed. The latest (first anniversary) edition has taken the theme, Love Your Enemy, and includes an article I wrote for them about conflict resolution, of which I’ve posted an extract below . . .

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Thinking while on the toilet is a common pastime for many of us. So today, while you are doing the necessary, why don’t you think about this . . .

  • 2.6 billion people do not have somewhere safe, private or hygienic to go to the toilet.
  • One gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs.
  • Earlier this year the readers of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) voted sewage disposal and clean water supplies the single most important medical advance, beating a shortlist which included antibiotics, anaesthesia, vaccines and DNA.
  • Today, thousands of people around the world will literally be dying for a toilet.

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Everything Must Change CoverFor obvious reasons, if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 of this review, you might wish to do so, as I don’t have the space to recap here.

In the last third of Everything Must Change, Brian imagines ‘what it would be like to reevaluate, renew, and rebuild the three primary systems of our society [security, prosperity and equity],’ through the new framing story of the good news/kingdom of God, as set out by Jesus (p.155).

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Brian McLarenGiven that this is obviously not my first post re: Brian’s upcoming publication, you might wish to start by reading my rather cleverly entitled post, Everything Must Change: Part 1.

Naturally, I’ve gone over Brian’s foundational arguments with some brevity, for he is building a complex argument to deal with complex problems. Though if it helps to reassure, Brian ensures me that I’ve given a reasonably accurate portrayal of his opening few chapters. And hopefully, I’m about to do the same to what Brian calls his ‘Reframing of Jesus’.

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