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The Action Thread Part Two

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As General Election fever grips the nation, Mencap and the Electoral Commission UK have put together an ‘Easy Read’ guide which explains:

📮 how to register to vote
 what voting is
👍 why it’s important for people with a learning disability to vote
👤 who can vote

You can read and download the Easy Read guide 👉 https://bit.ly/2PYpRdk.

For further details about voting visit our website 👉 https://bit.ly/36HkVQ2.
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Great news in Wicklow! A few years ago Sean Fox and his band Small Town Crisis were the successful applicants in Music Generation Wicklow's open competition to record and video an original composition on the John Lennon Bus. Tonight, Sean will open for Aslan at their sold out gig in the Arklow Bay Hotel. We're delighted to see Sean's progression and wish him all the best! Sean Fox Music


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Job opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (dlr).

A Music Generation Development Officer will be appointed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of dlr Local Music Education Partnership.

Application forms and full particulars available online at – www.dlrcoco.ie

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MAY 15, 2018



Scientists Found a Plastic Grocery Bag in the Ocean's Deepest Trench

The bag was spotted in the Mariana Trench at a depth of 36,000 feet.

No ocean habitat, no matter how remote, can escape the global plastic waste problem. That’s according to a recent study, which concluded that plastic pollution is penetrating even the world’s deepest ocean trenches.

Japanese researchers teamed up with scientists from United Nations Environment’s World Conservation Monitoring Center to conduct the study, scouring the Deep-Sea Debris Database in search of signs of humanity’s environmental footprint.

What they found after searching through the archive, which included deep-sea photos and videos taken on more than 5,000 dives over the course of 30 years, was staggering.

Take Action: Call on Governments and Business Leaders to Say No to Single-Use Plastics

Brought to you by: Flow Alkaline Spring Water
Comprométete a eliminar el plástico del planeta

According to the study, plastic waste is “ubiquitous” even at the greatest of depths. Researchers identified 3,425 man-made items of debris, about one-third of which was plastic, in the deep-sea photos. At more than 20,000 feet under the sea, about half of debris was plastic. Researchers even found a plastic bag tucked 36,000 feet down into the Mariana Trench, the ocean's deepest known area.

Approximately 89% of the plastic debris the team identified was single-use items like straws and to-go containers. Deep-sea organisms were attached to 17% of the plastic debris found, and some creatures were spotted entangled in the items.

“The ubiquitous distribution of single-use plastic, even to the greatest depths of the ocean, reveal a clear link between daily human activities and the remotest of environments,” UN Environment officials wrote in a statement.

“Once in the deep-sea, plastic can persist for thousands of years. Deep-sea ecosystems are highly endemic and have a very slow growth rate, so the potential threats from plastic pollution are concerning.”

Read More: 16 Times Countries and Cities Have Banned Single-Use Plastics

UN Environment pointed to reducing global plastic production as “the only solution to the problem of deep-sea plastic pollution.”

According to the Huffington Post, around 19 billion pounds of plastic garbage enters the world’s oceans every year. China and island nations in southeastern Asia dump the most plastic, but the United States, Brazil, and India are also major contributors, according to a 2015 report in Science magazine.

In an effort to combat plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, countries like Kenya, Vanuatu, Taiwan, Morocco, Rwanda, and France have imposed various bans on single-use plastics, while countless more cities and communities across the globe have committed to eliminating plastic waste by other means.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN's Global Goals, which include action on creating sustainable communities. You can join by taking action here.

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JUNE 1, 2018



Hawaii's Newest Shopping Mall Is Made Entirely From Recycled Shipping Containers

It's an exercise in sustainability.

A new shopping mall opened in Kapaa, Hawaii, this week, but it’s not the mammoth, multi-floor labyrinth that many people have come to expect from malls.

Instead, NoKa Fair is an exercise in restraint and sustainability.

The mall features little new construction — it’s composed of 19 reused shipping containers that house different vendors. Each container is painted a pastel cover and outfitted with French doors. An awning spans the shopping center and people walk can along a boardwalk.

That’s it — simple and eco-friendly.

Take Action: Call on Governments and Business Leaders to Say No to Single-Use Plastics

Brought to you by: Flow Alkaline Spring Water
Comprométete a eliminar el plástico del planeta

Sustainability was the inspiration behind the project, according to a press release.

"The feedback we've been getting from people goes to show Kauai needed a progressive project in this area of the island,” co-owner Jimmy Jasper of Jasper Properties said in a press release. “We're showing the island that innovative community and commercial spaces do not need to require new construction. We're thinking outside of the box on design here and creating a space that people can't wait to be."

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 3.12.07 PM.pngNoKa Fair

NoKa Fair breaks from the prevailing global model of environmentally destructive construction.

Every stage of a traditional construction project — from clearing land, digging foundations, extracting resources, shipping resources, burning fossil fuels, and more — generally takes a toll on the environment.  

Read More: These Are 6 of the Most Exploited Resources on Earth

For example, sand, often used to make concrete, is the second-most exploited resource after water, and the world is running out of it.

Facing a shortage of sand, many countries — from the US to the United Arab Emirates — are dredging ocean bottoms for sand, destroying aquatic ecosystems in the process.

NoKa Fair shows that shopping centers don’t have to plunder the Earth’s limited resources to attract customers.

Read More: Chocolate Companies Are Illegally Destroying Forests to Grow More Cocoa, Activists Say

Other companies are rethinking their business models to protect the planet as well.

Supermarkets across the UK are banning plastic bags, major corporations like Adidas are revamping their supply chains to eliminate harmful materials, and other companies like Burger King want to end deforestation.

Encuesta | Medio Ambiente
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These companies are being further spurred to action by regulators around the world who are reckoning with major environmental issues like climate change.

The small shopping center in Hawaii isn’t making any significant difference when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions or acidifying oceans, but in its own humble way, it’s showing that sustainability is a good business model.

Global Citizen campaigns to end the production of single-use plastics and you can take action on this issue here.

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This Congolese Doctor Discovered Ebola But Never Got Credit For It — Until Now

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November 4, 20199:26 AM ET
7-Minute ListenPLAYLIST

Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe first encountered Ebola in 1976, before it had been identified. Since then, from his post at the Congo National Institute for Biomedical Research, he has led the global search for a cure.

Samantha Reinders for NPR

Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe says his story starts in 1973. He had just gotten his Ph.D. at the Rega Institute in Belgium. He could have stayed in Europe, but he decided to return to Congo, or what was then known as Zaire, which had only recently attained independence from Belgium.

If he had stayed in Belgium, he says, he would have been doing routine lab work. But in Congo, he would be responsible for the "health of my people."

"But when I arrived here the conditions of work were not good," he says. "I had no lab; I had no mice for the experimentation, so it was very difficult to work here."

Being a microbiologist without mice or a lab was useless, so he took a job as a field epidemiologist. In 1976, he was called to an outbreak of a mysterious disease in central Congo.

Lots of people had died of something that presented like yellow fever, typhoid or malaria. Muyembe arrived to a nearly empty hospital. He says people thought the infection was coming from the hospital, and he found only a mother and her baby.


Muyembe says his biggest legacy won't be discovering Ebola. It will be that in the future, another young Congolese researcher could be able to do more of their work in their home country, rather than relying on peers in the U.S. or Europe.

Samantha Reinders for NPR

"I thought that it was malaria or something like this," he says. "But in the night the baby died, so the hospital was completely empty."


By morning, as the people of Yambuku heard Muyembe had been sent by the central government in Kinshasa, they started lining up at the hospital hoping he had medicine for them.

"I started to make physical exam," he says. "But at that time we had no gloves in the whole hospital."

And, of course, he had to draw blood, but when he removed the syringes, the puncture would gush blood.

"It was the first time for me to see this phenomenon," he says. "And also my fingers were soiled with blood."

Muyembe says he washed his hands, but it was really luck that kept him from contracting an infection. He knew immediately this was something he'd never seen before. Some of the Belgian nuns in the village had been vaccinated against yellow fever and typhoid, but this disease was different. It was killing people fast. When he took liver samples with a long needle, the same thing would happen — blood would continue to gush.

He persuaded one of the nuns who had the disease to fly with him to Kinshasa. He took blood samples before she died and sent them to Belgium, where they had an electron microscope to try to identify the culprit. Scientists there and in the United States saw this was a new virus that caused hemorrhagic fever.

They named it Ebola, after a river near the village.

The discovery, says Muyembe, was thanks to a "consortium of research."

But Google "Who discovered Ebola?" and you get a bunch of names — all of them white Western males. Dr. Jean Jacques Muyembe has been written out of history.

"Yes, but it is ..." he pauses. He takes a breath and laughs, looking for the right way to respond.

"Yes. It is not correct," he says. "It is not correct."


The man who gets the bulk of the credit for discovering Ebola is Dr. Peter Piot. At the time, he was a young microbiologist at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Belgium. He was the one to receive the blood samples sent by Muyembe.

He describes his experience in No Time to Lose, a book about his professional life, including his vast work on HIV.

But Ebola was his big break. In the book, he describes how vials of blood had arrived in melting ice, some of them broken.

He describes how the World Health Organization ordered them to give up the samples, to send them to England and eventually the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, which was one of the only labs equipped to handle a deadly virus like Ebola.

He describes how angry that made him and Dr. Stefaan Pattyn, the man running the lab at the time, who died in 2008.

"[Pattyn] claimed that we needed a few more days to ready it for transport," Piot wrote. "So we kept a few tubes of VERO cells, as well as some of the newborn mice, which were dying. Perhaps it was a stubborn rebellion against the whole Belgian history of constantly being forced to grovel to a greater power. That material was just too valuable, too glorious to let it go."

Almost simultaneously, scientists at the CDC and Piot looked at the samples under an electron microscope and saw a snakelike filament — huge in comparison to other viruses and very similar to the Marburg virus. The CDC, which kept the world's reference lab for hemorrhagic viruses, confirmed this was something new. This was Ebola.


The Congo National Institute for Biomedical Research sits in the middle of Kinshasa.

There are ragged couches along the corridors and goats feeding in the courtyard. But this is where the bulk of the science is being done on the second largest Ebola outbreak in history.

Tucked in corners around the building, there are high-tech labs. Scientists in full biohazard suits run Ebola samples through sophisticated machines that spit out DNA sequences. On the bulletin boards outside the offices, scientists have pinned papers published in international journals about the science done right here.

Workers are constantly dragging in boxes of brand-new scientific gear. On this day, almost all of them are stamped with the American flag.

It's no secret there is resentment among scientists here about what many believe is a marginalization of their work by the West.

Joel Lamika, who runs an Ebola smartphone app at the institute, says many foreign governments want to stamp their flags on the work Congolese have done.

"They want to claim like it's theirs," he says. "But it is theft."

Lamika says perhaps one good thing that has come out of this latest Ebola outbreak is that it is giving the world a chance to rewrite history.

Muyembe, he says, is a national hero. His picture is on a huge banner in front of this institute. During previous Ebola outbreaks, and especially the huge one in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, the the scientific community used Muyembe as an example of someone who had gotten it right. Under his leadership, Congo had managed to quickly quell nine previous outbreaks.

Maybe this outbreak, he says, will give the world an opportunity to know who Muyembe is.

"It's time for the world to learn that Ebola was discovered by a Congolese," he said. "By Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe."


Today, Peter Piot is the director of the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He's friends with Muyembe and expresses nothing but admiration for not only his scientific prowess, but the way he has managed public health emergencies.

But in his book, he mentions Muyembe only in passing, as a bright scientist constantly pressuring Piot for more resources.

When asked if he feels responsible for writing Muyembe out of history, Piot pauses.

"I think that's a fair comment," he says. "But my book was not an attempt to write the history of Ebola, but more my personal experience."

Piot says at the time of that first Ebola outbreak, African scientists were simply excluded. White scientists — with a colonial mentality — parachuted in, took samples, wrote papers that were published in the West and took all of the credit.

But things are changing, he says. Muyembe, for example, is finally starting to get his due. He was recently given a patent for pioneering the first treatment for Ebola and he has received several international awards, including the Royal Society Africa Prize and, just this year, the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize.

"That reflects, I think, the [change in] power relations in global health and science in general," he said.

During this outbreak, Muyembe has also made a decision many thought unthinkable even a few years ago. He decided that all of the blood samples collected during this Ebola epidemic will stay in Congo. Anyone who wants to study this outbreak will have to come to his institute.

American scientists, who have led the way in studying Ebola, have privately expressed frustrations. But Piot says the decision was obviously made because of how African scientists have been treated. Western scientists, he says, should get over it.

"We have to wake up to two things," he says. "One, the world has changed. And two, it's a matter of fairness."


Muyembe keeps his office ice cold, and when he talks, he nervously drums a pen against his notebook. He's terribly serious about his work, but he also offers an easy smile as he remembers his work.

The thing that makes him glow is talking about the treatment he developed.

"It is the most important achievement of my life," he says.

In 1995, during another outbreak, he wondered whether antibodies developed by Ebola survivors could be siphoned from their blood and used to treat new cases. So he injected Ebola patients with the blood of survivors, taking inspiration from a practice used before sophisticated advances in vaccine-making.

"We did eight patients and seven survived," he says.

The medical establishment wrote him off. He didn't have a control group, they told him. But Muyembe knew that in this village, Ebola was killing 81% of people. Just this year, however, that science became the foundation of what is now proven to be the first effective treatment against Ebola, saving about 70% of patients.

"But if this idea was accepted by scientists, we [could have] saved a lot of people, a lot of lives," he says.

You can tell Muyembe is hurt by all this. Ever since he returned to Congo, he has fought for recognition for his country. His whole life, he has dreamed that big science could come out of his home country.

Just as he announced that samples would not leave Congo, he also got a commitment from Japan to build a state-of-the-art research facility right here. Soon, the goats in the courtyard will be gone, replaced by a facility just as good as those in Belgium or in the United States.

At 77, Muyembe says he doesn't regret coming back to Congo. And, unlike when he returned in 1973, now he has equipment.

"Now I have mice here," he says, laughing. "I have mice. I have subculture. Now, everything is here."

His biggest legacy, he says, won't be that he helped to discover Ebola or a cure for it. It'll be that if another young Congolese scientist finds himself with an interesting blood sample, he'll be able to investigate it right here in Congo.

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Opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (dlr) County Council is now inviting applications for the position of Music Generation Development Officer.

Job reference: 008488

A Music Generation Development Officer will be appointed by dlr County Council and will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of dlr Local Music Education Partnership. 

Music Generation dlr is part of Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Temporary five year fixed term contract (Salary range: €47,588 - €58,157 per annum)

Application forms and full particulars are available online at – www.dlrcoco.ie

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms: 4pm, Thursday 28 November 2019.

Late applications will not be accepted.

Based on the volume of applications received short-listing may apply. Short-listing will take place on the basis of the information provided in the application form. Depending on the qualifications and experience of applicants, short-listing thresholds may be significantly higher than the minimum standards set out.

dlr County Council is an equal opportunities employer.

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New Opportunities in Kerry, Galway, Roscommon and Tipperary

New Opportunities in Kerry, Galway, Roscommon and Tipperary

Applications are being sought for Musician/Music Tutor and Administrator roles in Kerry, Galway County, Roscommon and Tipperary.

Music Generation Kerry: Musicians/Music Tutors

Kerry Education and Training Board invites applications from suitably qualified persons to be placed in a pool for part-time musicians/music tutors for the following Music Generation Kerry Programmes:

A. Small group tuition in vocal (including choral) or instrumental learning (any music genre).
B. Large-group tuition (vocal and/or instrumental) in early years and primary school settings.
C. Ensemble (instrumental/vocal), band facilitation, mentoring in any genre of music, including, where applicable, songwriting/creative composition, music technology etc

Application forms can be downloaded from www.kerryetb.ie.

Closing date: 12 noon, Friday 15 November 2019.

Music Generation Galway County and Music Generation Roscommon: Musicians/Music Tutors

Galway & Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) invites applications for the position of Music Generation Galway County and Music Generation Roscommon Musicians/Music Tutors. 

Application forms, job descriptions and person specifications available online at www.gretb.ie. A panel may be formed.

Closing date: 12 noon, Friday 22 November 2019

Music Generation Tipperary: Administrator and Musicians/Music Tutors

Tipperary Education and Training Board invites applications for the position of Music Generation Tipperary Administrator (three-year, fixed-term contract).

Application form, job description and person specification available online at www.tipperary.etb.ie.

Closing date: 12 noon, Monday 25 November 2019.

Musicians/Music Tutors:
Tipperary Education and Training Board invites applications from suitably qualified persons to be placed on a panel for part-time musicians/music tutors for the following Music Generation Tipperary areas of interest:

A:  Small group tuition in vocal (including choral) or instrumental learning (any music genre e.g. brass, classical, trad, rock and pop, etc.)
B: Large-group tuition (vocal and/or instrumental) in early years and primary school settings (any music genre e.g. brass, classical, trad, rock and pop, etc.)
😄 Ensemble (instrumental/vocal), band facilitation, mentoring in any genre of music, including, where applicable, song-writing/creative composition, music technology etc

Application forms, job descriptions and person specifications available online at www.tipperary.etb.ie.

Closing date: 5pm, Monday 25 November 2019.

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"If you carry on using the R-Word it's like emotional bullets at us, so it's disgusting. Just stop using it full stop."
Richard is right. The R-Word is never acceptable.
It hurts. It is discriminatory. It is plain wrong!
This #AntiBullyingWeek, #TheChangeStartsWithUs.
Let's stop the use of the R-Word!

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