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STATUS REPORT – ACTION MAIL MAY 2009

May 27, 2009

URSA FREEDOM PROJECT STATUS REPORT

FIRST THINGS FIRST

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: ANIMALS ASIA AUSTRALIA EXHIBITION

Animals Asia, Australia Branch, is calling for artists to donate works to raise money for their Moon Bear Operations in China. As the event is only two weeks away they are hoping to have all the pieces together by the end of this week but if people can’t make that deadline, they are willing to accept pieces up until about Tuesday 2nd June.

Please contact Anne if you are interested: annelloydjones@animalsasial.org

The exhibition is being held in conjunction with a presentation from Animals Asia Foundation’s Chinese Relations Director, Ms Christie Yang. So if you are not able to donate artwork, you may wish to attend the event.

Tickets are $25 (Aust.) each and can be purchased by contacting Anne at the above email.

Artworks will be silently auctioned at the Red Lips Gallery (owned by renowned artist Rae Heint) to raise vital funds for Moon Bear rescue.

Saturday 6th June 2009
Doors open at 7 pm, Presentation on Animal Asia’s work in China will commence at 8pm
Red Lips Gallery, 60 Excelsior Street, Leichhardt NSW

“SEE THE INVITATION”

DEE DO DEE DOO THIS IS WHAT WE DO

The Ursa Freedom Project (http://www.ursafreedomproject.ning.com) is projecting forward with the Movement developing into much more than a campaign for fund-raising, although this being it’s most important function.

Animals Asia (http://www.animalsasial.org) operate in China and Vietnam rescuing bears and rehabilitating them as best as possible, although many of the bears sustain lifelong injuries and diseases as a result of their treatment in the bile farms. It costs a lot of cash to house and provide them with the special nutrition they need to peacefully fulfill their new-found days of freedom, so fund-raising and sponsoring of bears is directly going to the victims of these commercialisms and the organisation that frees them.

The Ursa Freedom Family is committed to liberating the bears that are bred, born and captured into a life of torture and abuse. The Bile that is extracted from the stomachs of these bears is used in commercial products for which there are cruelty free alternatives. This industry is supported by the people who buy those products and at the bottom of the pit of change, the first step to take before a market can be effected enough to fundamentally alter or cease existence, is to educate the consumers. And that’s where targeted awareness can be a radical approach to education.

Art Action Union is currently highlighted and praised on the home page at the Ursa Freedom Project (THANKS JEANETTE).

Founder of the Ursa Freedom Project, journalist and activist Jeanette McDermott, approached the Art Action Union on Ecopaparazzi to lend a hand with spreading the word. So what do we do? We spread the word! Issuing forth blogs and news and art challenges on all our sites about the project, connecting a number of networks spanning from Facebook to Redbubble, from Ning to YouTube and so the twitter bug carries the Chinese whisper.

If you visit the UFP site you can see that the AAU have also produced a couple of promotional vids
(http://ursafreedomproject.ning.com/video/video/listForContributor?screenName=1yg9v8nk0ne40)

We also have an 11 minute documentary in the approval system waiting for a go ahead. (I have been busy lol)

We have designed a brochure for email circulation amongst welfare organisations to bring awareness of the wonderful efforts that are happening in a grassroots – yet global – way!

ART FOR THE BEARS – ARTISTS MAKIN’ ART

The AAU Redbubble group ran a challenge to help get people not only on board but wearing and looking at awareness. Congratulations to nofrillsart (http://www.redbubble.com/people/nofrillsart/t-shirts/2898371-1-save-the-moon-bear-bile-farming-makes-me-sick-to-the-stomach) for the winning tee Save the Moon Bear (Bile farming makes me sick to the stomach) T-Shirt, last I heard Glenn had sold at least 4 of this design. If you visit the page too, you can see a small proportion of the people who found awareness to this topic through creative activism – and that’s not even taking into consideration the army of fans that would have seen but not spoken, or the people who see the t-shirts being worn.

Glenn chose to sell his tees with no mark up to encourage buyers to spread the word about the cause and the plight of the bears for commercial and consumer attitudinal change. By contrast another very active and passionate member of the AAU collective, Lupe (http://www.redbubble.com/people/lupexx), made sales on some of her many and varied anti-bile farming/save the moon bears tees and donated the sales directly to the Ursa Freedom Project’s donation page sending the funds straight to Animals Asia.

GREAT STUFF TO SEE THAT MAKES ME CRY …

Kids always have a way of saying things in a special way – a way that makes you feel happy, sad, safe and scared and a variety of other emotions all at once. Sometimes their application of their view of a situation can completely change the adult world, too many kids are robbed of their opinions. My eldest daughter Olivia (8) is often quite interested in the gozillions of projects that I pile around me so the Moon Bear project, being the animal LOVER she is, made her particularly thoughtful. It prompted her to participate and sent her off on a magical and imaginative picture process that resulted in a beautiful charm for the souls of these sweetly fierce mammals.

What made this very extra sweet from here in Australia was that she was joined in mind and spirit by Angelique’s (http://www.redbubble.com/people/eliq) son Josiathe in Nashville USA. Josaithe is also 8 and together – I reckon they nailed it!

Goodbye bile farming!

By Olivia, 8 years, Brisbane Australia

By Josaithe, 8 years, Nashville USA

ON A SIDE NOTE… HOME AND AWAY … TRAA LAA LAAAAA

For those of you who may enjoy Australian soap opera (no not I said the little red hen, I had to google the name, but I was surprised none the less) … you may be interested to know that Home and Away actor (and evidently, also singer) Bernard Curry has written and contributed a song to the URSA Freedom Family, named Willow’s Song. I had contacted Mr. Curry in the hope that he would contribute more of his media prowess to the cause to nil reply.

I reckon we can change his mind, contact me if you want his email address… ha! Just joking but some one should hassle him for a media release, it would do greater things than he perhaps would know.

You can listen to a soapie singer singing for great things at the Ursa Freedom Site home page (music player is on the left, just down a little bit).

ANIMOTO FOR A CAUSE – SUBMISSIONS WANTED FOR ACTIVIST ART VIDEO

Animoto.com is a website designed to create slide-shows that amaze! A free Animoto account allows a 30 second promo vid that you can post online. What you do is you upload a ton of still images, choose a sound track and mix it. The site mashes the pics through some filters and things and comes out with something cool. You can re-mix the vids as many times as you like until you get one to satisfaction. A free account however gives you very little control over some aspects of the animation so its message presentation potential is limited.

Animoto for a Cause is a special account that you can apply for to which gives you full access to pro-video services in order to quickly and easily make targeted slide-shows that atmospherically move to a soundtrack creating an almost cinematic experience. Additional benefits allow the user to upload images and music but also include text headlines, ebeddable AND downloadable and also available in high definition DVD format for those really special projects. It’s a great way of presenting artwork and also a really easy and no fuss way of creating really professional looking advertisements. Given that the files are downloadable too, they become really awesome motion fills for larger movies that you may be editing in other video making software. You just import the .mp4 file into your editor as a video track.

Having had a free Animoto account for a year, the moment they circulated news of this new scheme I applied on a hunch … and they gave us one!

I have been fiddling with it to get the feel of it but I have a plan to showcase more activist art from our groups this way in the future –

For some idea of what this can do you can compare and contrast:

This is the first AAU vid promo I created using the free account

Find more videos like this on ART ACTION UNION COMMUNITY
This is the latest AAU vid promo (pretty ill-concepted and quick but you get the idea) using Animoto for a Cause

We want to make a vid with your art in it too. If you have any specific pieces that you would like us to add to the next promo send a link or attachment to:

submissions@artactionunion.org

The final video will replace the one that is currently set as the AAU promo vid and will eventually sit on the front page of the artactionunion.org portal when it is finally fully operational – mwahawwwhawww like the Death Star!

NINETEEN74: NYC AGAINST HIV

FASHION AS THE VEHICLE OF CHANGE

Living in the age where sex sells just about everything and anything has consequences, particularly on society and more worryingly on young people. Time and statistics is proving that relying on institutionalised education in matters of safe and healthy intimacy is failing in large populations and the third world.

Is it up to the community to find the solutions to these issues? Let’s not leave it to mainstream media, shall we?

Conscientious fashion professionals have taken the issue to the catwalk of New York – getting straight to the heart of the cause by infiltrating the fashion conscious teen. On the 8th May 2009 Midwood High School in Brooklyn New York was the centre of awareness for Aids education.

In collaboration with Designers Against AIDS and Sunny Downstate Medical Centre, website NINETEEN74 Director, Raoul Keil, described the vision for the event:

In the wake of another revolutionary fashion event and the anticipation of its first major New York based catwalk show, NINETEEN74 collaborates for a great cause with young professionals; examining the issues of HIV and AIDS, improving sex education and promoting safer sex. It is indeed true- the US, particularly areas in New York: eastern Brooklyn, the Bronx and Northern Manhattan are in a state of sexual meltdown and the most threatened are teenagers. HIV infections are registered among youths aged from 13-29; 1 in 3 students in NYC are being sexually active at present and there’s a disproportionate percentage of teenage pregnancies escalating. Organised by NINETEEN74, director Raoul Keil; The NYC AGAINST HIV/AIDS fashion show will cite the existing pressures and consequences of unprotected sex. It will present an impartial approach providing the reality of the virus through two major elements: education and entertainment. We don’t want to impose but rather expose the need for better sex education for youths. Through the sheer medium of fashion and visual performance, all of the designers and contributors [make-up artists, stylists and models] involved tackle the motto: 1 LIFE 1 CHANCE. NINETEEN74 are here to reinstate that safer sex is fashionable.

Following the event there is an excellently informative and extremely aesthetic publication, which tells you the shocking truth, while feeding you beautiful concepts to push the message home.

http://en.calameo.com/read/0000196556d5ee655a058

I asked Raoul about the reaction to the message that was presented in this provocative and chic event.

Q. What is the one phrase you remember from the evening that summed up what you were hoping to achieve?
A. With our event NYC against HIV www.Nineteen74.com has reached a local audience of 1100 guests attending the show plus 100 000 online viewers. We wanted to increase awareness about HIV and show that high profile professionals have the power as individuals to educate a young audience and entertain at the same time.

Q. Why do you believe that fashion can be a powerful catalyst for Aids education?
A. Every individual needs to dress, and each individual should be aware of dangers in the world, but why always presenting it as evil. With our fashion show we caught the attention to raise awareness about the possibility to protect and show that everybody on that planet is involved! and hopefully we cleared the heads of those kids from HIV being a “dirty” virus by showing them the effort all the talent involved has made.

According to their official press release:

The event was brought to life through the valiant efforts of health and wellness advocate Karen Jemmott, Director of Physician Outreach at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre, and Raoul Keil, Founder and Director of creative networking site http://www.Nineteen74.com. Jemmott and Keil met through a mutual acquaintance,
Ninette Murk, Founder and Director of Designers Against Aids, who suggested for them to collaborate together for a cause: ‘NYC against HIV’ was born!

‘1 Life 1 Chance’ was the thread which tied together all of the contributors on the project to spread the word about the benefits of delaying sexual contact as well as practicing safer sex. The project focused on the hopes of making the next generation healthier, happier and better informed.

At the forefront of the catwalk show were the vibrant and chaotic creations of UK designer Emma Bell who recently showed her Autumn/Winter 2009 collection at London Fashion Week. Hair and Make up by Artlist Paris based famous Steven Canavan, and Cecilia Romero, who worked their magic on the models and produced an intriguing show.

With the success of NYC against HIV, Ninette Murk and Raoul Keil have hopes of replicating its message in other cities across the world by bringing together budding talent and health activists to spread the word.

RADICAL EDUCATION – IN THE MIDDLE OF A WHIRLWIND

Here are some very cool ideas about the re-definition of educational values for the benefit of community. Presented as audio documentaries accompanied by some great articles of ‘leftern’ viewpoint.

http://inthemiddleofthewhirlwind.wordpress.com/i-want-to-do-this-all-day-redefining-learning-and-reinventing-education/

PACIFIC STORMS EXHIBITION

The Pacific Storms Exhibition in Bundaberg creates a great opportunity for cultural creativity to bring understanding to us about some of the people that Australians live closest to. Particularly if you live in Queensland (and can get to Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery) as we see many Pacific Islanders moving amongst us.

Pacific Storms will be celebrated from the 3rd – 12th July, an exhibition accompanied by an array of cultural activities such as Lei making, dancing, audio-visual performance, family fun-day and weaving.

For more information visit www.brag-brc.org.au

RECYCLED TOILET PAPER

A list of organisations recommending the use of toilet tissue tat is made from recycled paper.

Australian Department of Environment and Water Resources
www.environment.gov.au

New Zealand Ministry for Environment
www.mfe.govt.nz

United States Environmental Protection Agency
www.epa.gov

United Kingdom Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
www.defra.gov.uk

Environmental Defense
www.environmentaldefense.org

Natural Resources Defense Council
www.nrdc.org

Worldwide Fund for Nature
www.panda.org

Eco Buy Victoria (Australia)
www.ecobuy.org.au

Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment
www.dse.vic.gov.au

Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW
www.dec.nsw.gov.au

Queensland Environmental Protection Agency
www.epa.qld.gov.au

Planet Ark
www.planetark.com.au

Links provided in context by “Safe”, the toilet paper … it’s wrapped in brown paper… like a favourite thing!

And while we are on the topic of ethical consumption, Australians should visit this site:
http://www.ethical.org.au/
A guide to ethical groceries … what a gem this is! Although it still won’t make shopping with young children any easier, in fact most likely harder and longer …

There is also this seemingly reputable UK website:
http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/

The Art Action Union, Uni Students and Activist Education

A little while back I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop that was organised by the Australian Student Environmental Network. The day was absolutely value packed with active education utilising creative learning tools such as role plays, drawing and active problem solving, and what workshop is complete without a bunch of crazy games that require looking silly, or running madly with arms flailing. All free and provided by volunteers, including a yummy, homely vegetarian lunch.

Image provided by Australian Student Environmental Network, Educating the Educator August 2008

Among all the eating, role-playing and drawing though, I managed to gain a hell of a lot of ideas and enthusiasm (not to mention, the realisation that as an active listener I suck, yes, you all knew it I know). I met like-minded and concerned people who want to feel empowered and want to use their skills and knowledge to promote forward and positive progress in all communities. It’s nice to meet people in this way; it reminds us that we are not alone in our insecurities and passions.

The day focused on how to get your own action group up and running, how to facilitate community meetings, how to get your message out to the community and explored topics of strategy and audience.

I was also nicely introduced to this massive and extremely active network of capable caring souls pushing their minds and spare time to the limits in public service. Concerned with topics that span all issues we heard personal stories of immigration, cultural challenge, environmental action, veganism and women’s issues. I also became familiar with terms such as “Dumpster Diving” (by which starving students tour the inner city suburbs visiting the garbage receptacles of local food vendors and ‘rescue’ the edible delights that these businesses carelessly discard after a day’s display).

Find out more about the Australian Student Environmental Network at: www.asen.org.au

Other related activist-education resources as recommended by ASEN:

The Change Agency (Brisbane Based)

Training for Change (Philadelphia Based)

Thanks especially to Clare Towler and all the team for being so awesome and active in helping others to get to a level of expression in their communities.

Green Peace With An Artistic Farewell For Climate Action

The Greenpeace International vessel the Esperanza spent part of last year promoting an Energy [R]evolution to renewables as the Australian federal government was developing a response to climate change, a response that fell very short of expected targets and was largely disappointing and internationally embarrassing.

Images courtesy of Greenpeace Australia

As the vessel sailed up the Queensland coast it stopped off here and there to make powerful direct actions, including powering down the largest coal fired power station in Australia at Eraring, occupying the top of Ipswich power station smokestack for nearly two days, and painting climate change statements on the sides of twenty massive coal ships near Mackay.

The Esperanza’s visit to Australia came to an end in Cairns (North Queensland) as artist Jorge Pujol directed a candle-formation in the shape of a wind turbine. A fine example of creative statement making being utilised to make an endpoint and to draw in another audience.

More than 7000 people toured on board the Esperanza as it stopped in ports along the eastern Australian coast. We were able to visit and get a first hand encounter with a boat that sees a lot of important and intrepid activity in the southern oceans and all over the world, when it docked in Brisbane.

The Esperanza is used most frequently in anti-whaling campaigns in the Southern Oceans because of it’s size and inflatable raft capability (it has 11). It is also the home of a large boat called the African Queen, used in the Amazon River recently to confront illegal fishing.

images copyright 2008 Kathleen Cameron

The first image is one of the famous inflatables you see on the news wire doing all those amazingly courageous antics to keep reporting what is real and to bring awareness to the world… and that’s the famous rainbow!

Greenpeace Australia Photographic Exhibition – 30 Years of Inspiring Action

Greenpeace International

Donate to Greenpeace
Donations at this time will fund their new campaign to bring direct political action on Climate Change.

How To: Grow Veggies From Art

Northcote Community Gardens (Melbourne Australia) are a great example of how local community groups can utilise their collective creative talents and their passion for sustainability to promote their activities to their communities and the world.

T-shirts for sale by Northcote Community Gardens at redbubble.com

From their RedBubble profiile:
… any profits made from these images will be used to sustain the gardens and hopefully buy a water tank! We also have many creative people among our members including photographers designers, and artists, so we plan to keep the quality of our work up…

Rebecca made this statement when I asked her about the Northcote Community Gardens’ collective:

Northcote Community Gardens is very small by most community gardens standards, with only 15 plots, but we are very passionate about our little plots of veges, and the joy we all get from gathering together to grow food and share. We are a diverse group of people of different ages and cultural backgrounds, and that also adds to the creative mix. We like to share our creative skills with the group and often have little workshops on topics ranging from felt-making to seed saving to pumpkin soup making to how to promote ourselves and fundraise. Growing our own food organically and caring for our little plots of earth is a creative act, as is making the little mosaics, or natural found object sculptures that decorate our plots, or photographing our produce…and designing tshirts to spread the word!

We also feel that growing your own food is rapidly becoming an important political and environmental statement….plus home grown just tastes better! Community gardens are more and more in demand in urban environments and they are fabulous places for people to learn, and connect and create…we urge everyone to get involved in community gardens…GROW FOOD and save the world!

Northcote Community Gardens Blog

Lorie’s Pet Cause

Lorie Rhoden – otherwise known as half of Crockpot Productions – is an avid animal rights supporter. She tells us of her personal attitude towards animal abuse and why she feels compelled to watch that footage.

Why I Get Angry

I have to get angry.
Why?
It’s like this.
Every time I watch video footage about animal cruelty I cry like a baby. I can’t help it. This is the kind of stuff that makes me despise the human race and it makes me ashamed to be part of it. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like things will never change – at least not enough. I feel like people are evil and always will be; and that people like us will never be large enough in number to make others understand or care. Stuff like this is the kind of stuff that makes me want to have nothing to do with our society, this world, or this life. It makes me want to die.

But then I get angry.
Before the tears have even dried on my cheeks, I get sooo angry about the state of the world and our society and about the people who don’t understand or care. And I want to make change happen – somehow.I’ve yet to come up with a foolproof plan – but at least when I’m angry I’m feeling the need and the passion to do something – to make a change for the better. To make people understand and care.

And being angry at society and passionate about animals is, in the long run, going to be far more productive than being dead. So no matter how hopeless I feel; no matter how much I feel like I just can’t sit through another video; I find a way to move onward and keep working towards my goal to make things better for all the voiceless creatures whose lives depend on people like us.

Art, Action and Awareness – Stuff to do now!

Join the Art Action Union Community and add stuff

Learn about the 350 Climate Campaign

Look at (and perhaps purchase) some active wear from some witty designers

Donate to the World Wildlife Fund

Read about the diversities of feminism and find 1001 Links at Feminist Ezine

Discover Blue King Brown Activizm/Educationism

Posimism and ProActivism
Feature Projects from Around the Globe for the Greater Good!

Skateistan: Afghanistan’s 1st Co-ed Skateboarding School

Crescent City Art Project: the Kids of Katrina

Blogs and Logs

Do you have an Activist Art Blog or Website or know of a really good one? Nominate it for our news mail by sending a link to: contact@artactionunion.org

Helen Bascom expresses her opinion on “Visionaries” because of pressure from others in other places to stop her questioning her government through photographic art in public.

“A frustrated graphic artist, so what better way to get over it than to build a website where real artists can express themselves.” Eric Wilson, Founder of Artevist

‘By supporting Frame Lines you not only support the artists but you also support the need for an alternative media for magazines. You support the reduction of damage to the environment.’ read more!

***

Hope you made it to the end of this huge issue… sporadically brought to you by me at the AAU Base Computer…

Aspire to inspire y’all!

Kath

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