Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Starting the Big Conversation

The WI’s Time to Talk Campaign is about making sure we all know what our loved ones’ wishes are about organ donation. The decision to be a donor is up to each of us (you can become Registered Donor here if you like), but in the end, it’s left to thousands of families every year to turn those wishes into actions.

We know talking about donation with our loved ones can sometimes be difficult. So we've come up with a way to use WI members’ talents to show their leadership in finding the Time to Talk.

We’re starting the Big Conversation, which means we’re asking each and every WI member to:
  1. Find the Time to Talk and have a conversation with their loved one about their organ donation decision
  2. Get creative and make something through craft or illustration to show who you spoke to
  3. Take a photo and send it to us
Did you sit down to a cup of tea with your husband? Did you mention it to your children when you were cooking dinner in the kitchen? Maybe you mentioned to a close friend after getting your driving license renewed? Perhaps reading a story about donation in the paper prompted you to talk to a family member. Transform who you spoke to (or are going to speak to) and the context of that conversation into whatever craft or creative project you like. It can be as skilful (crochet, pottery, decoupage, quilling, embroidery) or basic (spell out their name in icing or take a selfie spelling out who you told!) as you want.

Take a photo of it and post it to social media using the hashtag #WITimetoTalk. Or email it to the NFWI Public Affairs team (publicaffairs@nfwi.org.uk) and we'll publish it for you.
The results will be shared online over the next year on Twitter, Facebook and an online photo gallery. At the end, we will create a massive mosaic of photographs of all the WI members’ crafts for a special exhibition as part of the WI’s centenary year.

With each photo representing a real conversation, together they will show how WI members have found the Time to Talk, and inspire others to do the same. Remember every single discussion about organ donation is part of a bigger conversation.

You have until Friday 27 March 2015 to share your conversation photos with us. Get crafting! 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

MPs call for more effective action to protect bees

Try to imagine a world without bees; it’s not only honey that we would have to do without.  The fruit, vegetables, flowers, nuts and seeds that many of us take for granted all depend on honeybees for pollination.  The pollination services that bees currently provide would have to be replaced by hand pollination; a costly and time consuming process which, with an estimated cost of up to £1500million a year, would be prohibitive, and add to our food bills. It’s unsurprising then that the WI’s SOS for Honeybees campaign has resonated so strongly with WI members and their communities. 

The evidence on the multiple challenges facing bees has been growing over a course of years. The government is finally taking steps towards the action that’s needed with the development of a National Pollinator Strategy, published in draft in March, and currently being finalised.

MPs on the green watchdog, the Environmental Audit Select Committee have been scrutinising the strategy and taking evidence on its potential efficacy from a range of experts including Defra’s Chief Scientist, Ian Boyd, the NFU and Friends of the Earth.  The NFWI’s Marylyn Haines Evans, Public Affairs Committee chair also gave evidence to the Committee’s inquiry, setting out WI concerns that while it’s a good start point, there is room for improvement.

The Select Committee’s report was published last week, and like the WI they felt that the strategy is lacking in several important areas. MPs expressed particular concern that much needed research into pesticides, and their impacts on bees, will be funded by pesticide companies with the risk that the needs of bees risk being undermined by commercial interests.  Committee Chair, Joan Walley commented: “When it comes to research on pesticides, Defra is content to let the manufacturers fund the work. This testifies to a loss of environmental protection capacity in the Department responsible for it. If the research is to command public confidence, independent controls need to be maintained at every step”.

With bee numbers in sharp decline, securing unbiased, transparent research in which the public can trust – and on which policy makers can act – is a priority for the WI; this should be a priority for the government too.