Small Pleasures – a Moment of Peace

Thanks to The Hummingbird Bakery.




No more fish in the sea?

So my fellow Londoners:

Been to Oxford Street lately? Go and pass by Selfridges and tell me what you find!

Those of you who don’t live in London (or don’t have the chance to go to Oxford Street right this second…): no need to despair – I am your eyes and ears.

Introducing :

Selfridges launched its Project Ocean campaign:

A whole month of raising awareness on what is happening in our oceans is coming to an end.

NGOs, charities, organizations and institutes have been coming together to talk, discuss, inform and meet all those interested in the state of our oceans it’s inhabitants.

Keywords in the campaign and all the events that are taking place are not only the oh-so-common overfishing or sustainably fished tuna, but also ocean acidification, questions of which combination of policy work, protected marine reserves and joint approaches to enforcement of negotiated agreements is needed to save our oceans. Or at least stop them from deteriorating even more.

The fact that Selfridges not only gave all the window space and their lounge in the basement to the cause but also pledged to change all their fish products to sustainable options gives hope and hopefully also drives the point home that conscious consume behavior can be one of those approaches direly needed.

I especially like their interactive fundraiser: Their website is an aquarium full of fish. When you donate a little egg will hatch and become a fish carrying your name and linking to your facebook and Twitter. This little fish will keep on swimming past every once in a while. Are you on there yet?!

To read more about this strategy of involving people read the DigitalBuzzBlog.

So, if you are around, check out the store fronts, come to one or the other charity event; oh – and give the rodeo wale your best shot!



Black Eyed Peas or Black Eyed Peace?

Despite the long gap in time, I am continuing the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace. Everyone can surely remember the big hit the Black Eyed Peas landed in 2003: Where is the love.

It is a very good example of conscious hip hop.

Listen in again:

My favorite part is sung by

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I’m gettin’ older, y’all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ our wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinema
Yo’, whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feelin’ down
There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feelin’ under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found

Now ask yourself

Where is the love?

Oh and don’t forget:

We only got one world, that’s all we got: one world.

That’s all we got guys, so let’s change the way we treat it and how we treat each other as well.



Child Soldiers

In the two posts in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace, we have seen how popular culture portrays deep social issues, such as child abuse in its various forms. However, very much like for example women, youth and children are not only victims of violence, or peacebuilders as seen in the article The Unexplored Power of Youth but in some cases they can also be perpetrators of violence.

Here are two videos that show these different sides of youth and children. This time the videos show how NGOs try to approach this complex and difficult topic. Both videos are made by WarChild, an organisation that tries to reintegrate child soldiers and give them the means to come back to a somewhat normal life.

If you have some articles or interesting websites that might give ideas or approaches for guiding youth through the process of changing the roles they are playing towards positive change, please share them – post them below or send an email to

More from the series soon,

Nina Aeckerle

London goes green!

What we all have either used or at least seen in cities like Paris and Barcelona is finally coming true for London:

Bikes for hire all over the city!

Mayor Boris Johnson shows his environmentally friendly side and signed over the bike campaign to Barclays.

On July 30th 6000 bikes with the Barclay’s logos on them will swarm out into the streets of London. Barclays is paying £25m to take over the bike scheme. Is it a “payback for the mayor’s support of financial institutions in the credit crunch”??!

Do we care? We get to have the bikes!!

So, how does it work?

For £1 a day the bike is yours. Payable by credit card at one of the 400 docking stations all over London nothing stands in your way of living out your love for the bike. For those of you who like to ride for a while, careful, charges go up if you stay on for more than 30 minutes. Might be work taking an annual pass: the price then drops to 13 p a day.

Unfortunately it seems like we won’t get to enjoy all 6.000 bikes right on the 30th, since there was a delays in installing docking areas. Cycling the city will start with two cycle super highways that will connect the suburb to central London.

TfL expects 40.000 trips a day. Can we top that?

To those crazy bikers and those of you who have a car please pay attention to blue paint on some roads: this space is a shared zone for cyclists and drivers alike….so be friendly to each other!!!

This concept really works in other cities, let’s turn London into a success story, too!

Have fun with them and take care of our environment!

Sources: London Evening Standard Friday 28 May 2010 and BBC online

Harvey Milk – a Politician with a Twist

Harvey MilkA friend of mine asked me to write a post on Harvey Milk: a man who tried to change politics and the lives of thousands of gay men.

Here is one of his famous speeches:

There are a couple of things I would like to mention apart from the fact that he was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Back in the 70’s this was a major step for the LGBTQI movement. I think the importance of his success is absolutely clear and deserves acknowledgment and admiration.

But there is more to his politics than his personality and sexual orientation.

Harvey Milk stood for community politics. He engaged directly in conversation with the people, listened to their concerns and tried to raise awareness of them. Furthermore the idea that the ‘Us’s’ have to find their place in mainstream thinking and acting and have to be heard and included addresses the basic ideas of integrating all parts of society in order to determine the route it takes. Finding your place and being acknowledged as a valid part of society can be considered a basic human need and it is among others thanks to Harvey Milk that many gay men and lesbian women can live their life in a more peaceful, accepted way than before; although, of course, we are still not where we should be.

Losing someone like Harvey Milk at such an early stage of taking influence is rather painful. But however short his life might have been, he influenced and strengthened so many and gave hope to those who were desperately in need of it.

The sentence he always started his speeches with was:

I am Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you.

And that he really did.

Thank you, Harvey, for standing up and coming out of the closet.

Nina Aeckerle

P.S. For those of you who are more interested in the visual: watch the movie Milk (2008) with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. It is more than a great movie.

Mike Ellis – Mezeker Means to Remember

Sorry for the long silence and a big welcome to the second post in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace.

Today I would like to show you Mike Ellis‘ performance on Def Jam Poetry.

For me Mike Ellis has found a way to skillfully address a diversity of topics ranging from social grievances, to war, to the often not very helpful reactions of politicians. It questions perceptions of wrong and right, of suffering and  misery and teaches a bit of modesty. It is easy to feel as a victim, feel that one is suffering the worst but as he says for most of those who live in so-called ‘western’ countries, even those who one might consider to be bad off are comparatively well off.

But here is what I think. ‘Your story is worth a verse’. Every person experiences reality the way he or she does. So in their own context their suffering is as real and as threatening as any other persons. So, what is there for us to do? Of course I am not saying that we should deny our own conflicts and problems, but we should remember that ‘you can’t avoid strife until the next person’s struggle is so often worse‘. We should learn to place events in our lives into context, but at the same time never forget that ‘in the context of the universe, your story is worth a verse‘.

See you soon or more of the series.

Nina Aeckerle