Ex.1. Read two descriptions of new forms of campaigning for government action in the UK. Think of suggestions in support or against starting such campaigns in our country.
CAMPS FOR CLIMATE ACTION
The Camps for Climate Action are campaign gatherings that take place to draw attention to, and act as a base for direct action against, major carbon emitters, as well as to develop ways to create a zero-carbon society. Camps are run on the principle of free attendance of volunteers. They are supported by donations. The camps first started to appear in the UK in 2006, at power stations and Heathrow Airport. Recently, camps have taken place in Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Netherlands, and Australia.
Structures for the camp are created from material that is chiefly waste from building sites. During the camp there's a lot of training on practical skills to run such camps, different aspects of taking direct action, as well as a large number of workshops on climate-related issues. Power for lighting, radios, mobile phones, sound equipment and laptop computers is supplied by solar panels and a wind turbine. Biodiesel from recycled cooking oil is available for vehicles. There is a strong emphasis on the use of bicycles and public transport. All food is vegan, mostly organic and locally sourced.
There are various sorts of protestations held by the campers. For example, in October 2009, protesters from Camp for Climate Action took part in “The Great Climate Swoop” at Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. The police arrested 10 people before the protest began on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Some 1,000 people took part, and during the first day groups of up to several hundred people pulled down security fencing at a number of points around the plant. Fifty six arrests were made during the protest and there were a number of injuries. After the event the newspapers criticized the protesters. They said that climate change did not present a justifiable reason for civil disobedience. In response, the activists said that it should be urgent to respond to potential extreme climate change. It is enough justification for such violent campaigning.
Ex.2. Read a description of the activities of a distinguished organization. Find reasons for supporting or criticizing its activities.
Today, Oxfam International is a confederation of 14 organizations working with over 3,000 partners in around 100 countries to find solutions to poverty and injustice. Oxfam was originally founded in Oxford in 1942. The original Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was a group of concerned citizens. The Committee met in the Old Library of Oxford University, and its aim was to relieve famine in Greece caused by Allied naval blockades. By 1960, it was a major international non-governmental aid organization. Though Oxfam's initial concern was the provision of food to relieve famine, over the years the organization has developed strategies to combat the causes of famine. In addition to food and medicine, Oxfam also provides tools to enable people to become self-supporting and opens markets of international trade.
Oxfam's programme has three main points of focus: development work; humanitarian work, especially in the field of water and sanitation; and popular campaigning, trying to affect policy decisions on the causes of conflict at local, national, and international levels. Oxfam works on trade justice, education, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, conflict (campaigning for an international arms trade treaty) and natural disasters, human rights, and climate change.
Oxfam has numerous shops all over the world, which sell many fair-trade items. They opened their first charity shop in 1948. The proceeds from these usually get paid to different charities. Their stock originally came from public donations but currently is based on products from developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America, including handcrafts, books, music CDs and instruments, clothing, toys, food and ethnic creations. These objects are brought to the public through fair trade. For example, Oxfam is the largest seller of second-hand books in Europe (around 12 million per year).
As any other organization, Oxfam’s activities have provoked both praise and criticism. Sometimes it activities are considered to be controversial. But the fact remains that Oxfam is well known all over world and enjoys a high humanitarian reputation.