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New v Old.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/09/2022 - 9:12am in

Tags 

Kids, Children

New v Old. Formerly a welded steel pipe kid’s jungle gym replaced by one that’s OH&S approved. Canterbury.

#426; In which a Tree gets the Talk

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/06/2022 - 3:00am in

Tags 

comic, Children, Sex

Mom found your pine cones while going through the laundry.

This Classic Wondermark was originally published July 18, 2008!

Suffer the Little Children

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/05/2022 - 11:00pm in

Detained migrant babies in the crosshairs of the GOP’s culture war.

The Almighty Gun

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/05/2022 - 12:38am in

The United States has become a society that practices child sacrifice.

Bouncing Kangaroo. Get

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 9:01am in

Tags 

Kids, Children

Bouncing Kangaroo. Get in that thing, bounce around and go crazy, kid. Annandale.

New Mexico Offers Free Child Care to Pretty Much Everyone

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/05/2022 - 11:33pm in

Three great stories we found on the internet this week.

Care package

When it comes to supporting the average parent, no U.S. state has gone as far as New Mexico, which began offering free full-time child care to most of its families this month.

Under the program, families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level — for a family of four that would be $111,000 per year — are eligible for free child care. The initiative is funded by an endowment sustained by taxes on oil and natural gas production, which is projected to be comfortably flush with $4.3 billion by 2025. Advocates say free child care will help residents get back to work after Covid-related job losses. And some are thinking even bigger, hoping New Mexico’s success could provide a blueprint for other states to finance similar initiatives. 

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“This is the road to a universal child-care system,” said Governor Lujan Grisham. Nationally, the U.S. offers far less support to parents than most wealthy countries. President Biden’s monthly cash payments for parents, part of pandemic relief, dramatically reduced child poverty, but the payments were ended last year by Republican opposition. 

Read more at the Washington Post

Membership’s privileges

Next time you’re checking out a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from your local library, you may be able to grab a packet of seeds and grow something yourself. 

libraryCredit: San Jose Public Library

As public libraries reinvent themselves to better serve their communities, some are stocking seeds that members can “check out” to plant in their yards, gardens and pots. The seed offerings sprout from the American Library Association’s charter, which recently added “sustainability” to its list of core values. 

Planting seeds supports that. Native plants are a great way to contribute to biodiversity, and garden vegetables can help combat hunger. “It gets people outside, gets children involved with gardening,” said a librarian at the public library in Mystic, Connecticut, which offers 90 types of seeds that any patron can partake of. “The library has become so much more than just a place to come in and get books.”

Read more at Civil Eats

15 minutes of fame

It finally happened: After years of installing more and more renewable energy, California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, finally — briefly — ran on 100 percent green power.  

The milestone occurred on Saturday, April 30 at 2:45 p.m., at which time the state’s grid was fueled by green energy alone for exactly 15 minutes. About two-thirds of the power was solar, with the rest generated by wind, geothermal and other carbon-free sources. Even after 15 minutes, the grid stayed mostly green, with just three percent non-renewable sources sneaking their way into the mix.

While the event is great news for a state that has pledged (at least informally) to be carbon neutral by 2045, it will take a lot of work before April’s milestone can be achieved year-round. “Now we need to get our state running on 100 percent clean energy for the whole day, the whole week, and the whole year,” said the state director of Environment California.

Read more at Elektrek

The post New Mexico Offers Free Child Care to Pretty Much Everyone appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Meet the ‘Future Generations’ Commissioner of Wales

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/04/2022 - 6:00pm in

Sophie Howe has a uniquely forward-looking job. Since 2016, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has been tasked with ensuring her country’s public institutions are taking into consideration how their actions affect Welsh citizens who haven’t been born yet. In that time, Howe has intervened on transport planning, education reform, gender and racial equality, and climate change. She has called for a trial of the four-day working week and has been a vocal advocate for a Universal Basic Income, which will soon be piloted by the Welsh Government.

Howe’s role is thought to be the first of its kind worldwide, but after early promising signs other nations are following Wales’ lead. In September 2021, Scotland announced that it, too, was appointing a Future Generations Commissioner, and in November, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres endorsed a proposal for a Special Envoy for Future Generations, which could impact the 193 member states. We spoke to Howe about the impacts so far, and those still to come.

How did your role come about?

When the Welsh parliament was first established, there was something called the Government of Wales Act that had a clause in it that said sustainable development should be a “central organizing principle.” But what that meant in practice was not a lot. They were words, not action. The Environment Minister would present a report to the Senate once a year, and all we were really doing is standing still. 

Sophie Howe, Wales Commissioner for Future Generations. Credit: Matt Horwood

One minister was really frustrated by that and she managed to get commitments that there would be, in the next term, legislation for sustainable development. At the time, the UN Sustainable Development Goals were being developed and we held a conversation with people in Wales where we asked: “What’s the Wales you want to leave behind your children, your grandchildren, and future generations to come?” They came up with a set of long-term goals of what they wanted Wales to look like in the future. And then the act was developed around that. 

What is the crux of the problem you are trying to address?

You can’t have sustainability without looking at the long-term impact of the things that you do. It’s like applying a “good ancestor” test. Are the things we’re doing now going to screw over the next generation or the generation after?

We think Wales has got a model that the rest of the world should follow. It’s all about really addressing short-termism in governance and government. And that short termism is endemic in every government across the world. That’s why we’re in the climate crisis. It’s why you’ve got widening inequality and you’ve got life expectancy in many places plateauing. So we’re saying that we think, across the world, there needs to be stronger mechanisms to force governments to think long term.

What are the biggest issues that need to be tackled?

The big one, of course, is climate change. We’ve put more carbon into the atmosphere knowingly than any other time during human history. We haven’t cared, we’ve done it anyway, mainly because of economic benefits, and we haven’t wanted to make tough decisions. 

With the pandemic situation, we were all kind of surprised by this pandemic. But if you look at the global risk registers of future risk, the risk of a pandemic has been on there for quite a number of years. So we can’t say that we didn’t know it was a risk, but we were completely unprepared for it. We have to have a society that is prepared.

And if you think about the aging population: In Wales, by 2036, we’re going to have double the number of over 65, and over 80s, high numbers of people living with dementia, and so on. Yet we’ve got a care system which already can’t cope with that. Who is thinking about the long term? How are we going to make sure it’s not catastrophic in the future?

When you start joining all of those dots, we should be looking for solutions to these problems in an integrated way.

What exactly do you do day to day?

I spend a lot of time meeting with government ministers and officials to talk through new policy areas they might be exploring. I commission research, such as I’ve done on the reduced working week and universal basic income. Recently I’ve worked with housing associations to try and bring them together with the government to find a solution about how jointly they could fund decarbonization.

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A lot of it is building a movement. When the act first came in, not many people knew about it. They were like: “What is this?” But now, there’s an increasing number of organizations who aren’t even legally required by the duty, but are signing up to its principal. Even parts of the private sector want to get on board with it, because it’s a long-term plan. We’ll be working with the Welsh Football Association, because they want to build their strategy around football’s contribution to the wellbeing goals. A lot of it is providing advice. A local council might want to have a new strategy on food poverty — how would they do that through the lens of each generation back? It’s sort of promotional, a lot of advice and support.

Are current political systems inherently short-sighted?

That is the underlying problem. Politicians are interested in what they’re going to be able to do in the next five years in terms of how it’s going to get them elected or not. So in Wales, our act is trying to to accept that the seven long-term goals don’t change from one political cycle to the next. Our goal of a prosperous Wales takes us away from an obsession with GDP towards the focus on wellbeing.

It talks about a productive, innovative, low-carbon society, one that uses resources efficiently and acts proportionally on climate change. It talks about skills and access to decent work. There are legal obligations on Welsh Ministers to set these objectives which maximize their contribution to these goals. How they go about doing that is what changes during political cycles, but the goal itself doesn’t change. We’ve got as close as I think you possibly can, in a democratic system, to a long-term approach, and we think that’s what’s needed across the world.

What have you achieved since 2016?

The earliest test of the legislation was when the Welsh government got powers it didn’t previously have, like the ability to borrow money. There was a proposal to spend the entire borrowing capacity on building a 13 mile stretch of motorway to deal with the problem of congestion around a place called Newport. I intervened in that and asked how the interests of two generations had been applied to that decision. How was it in line with prosperous Wales? How is it aligned with our goals around ecological resilience? The road was going through a nature reserve. And 25 percent of the lowest income families in the region don’t even have access to a car. The government changed its mind on the basis of the Future Generations Act and stopped that road. Instead, what we’re seeing is a new transport strategy for Wales, which puts roads right at the bottom of the priority list. There’s a moratorium on all road building; every scheme that’s been approved has stopped. 

We’ve also reformed the school curriculum, so that it’s in line with the Future Generations Act. So the outcomes from our school curriculum are not to learn Latin, but to create healthy, active and confident learners, ethical and informed citizens, creative and enterprising individuals, because those are the sorts of skills that are going to be critical for the future. 

I’ve been advocating a universal basic income, which was seen as a kind of pie-in-the-sky idea two years ago. But when you start talking about the long-term health impacts of poverty, the changing nature of work, all these people working in the gig economy, and not having a safety net, then a UBI actually becomes quite a sensible conversation. And two weeks ago, the Welsh Government announced their first pilot on a universal basic income. 

We’ve massively increased investment in improving the quality of people’s homes to meet carbon emissions targets, and to improve people’s health and to create jobs in the low-carbon economy. We’ve got a strategy to be a zero-waste nation by 2050. I could go on and on.

What’s been difficult about the job?

I can’t force anyone to do anything or stop anyone doing anything. I’m unelected. My job is to hold to account, as far as the role can, how the act is being implemented. My role is to be their conscience, the conscience of future generations. And to call them out when they’re not thinking about future generations. I have powers of review. I can look at a particular public body or a particular issue, and give recommendations on ways that they should improve, which they are legally required to respond to. But ultimately, it’s up to politicians to operate within the legal framework that they have, because they are the ones who are elected.

What we’re trying to do here is the biggest cultural change program that Wales has ever seen. Everything gone in the past is almost the opposite of what we’re trying to do with the Future Generations Act. So what I’ve spent a lot of time doing is trying to unpick a lot of that stuff, which is the system, which works against us. That’s been the biggest challenge. But actually, we have these new obligations now, and we need to do things differently. That’s quite a slow process. But things are changing. You’ve got to start somewhere.

What’s next, after 2023? Will you run for re-election? Will the role develop?

My term comes to an end next year, and there’ll be a new commissioner. But part of our mission is to take the Future Generation concept to other parts of the world. So at the moment, there’s a private member’s bill going through the UK Parliament to have a Future Generations Act for the UK. There’s also legislation going through the Scottish Parliament. There’s interest from the Irish government in something similar. I’m in Germany at the moment talking to the regional government in Gutenberg about how they could do something similar and the UN Secretary General, we’ve been working with him around a UN declaration on a Special Envoy for Future Generations. I’ll continue on a mission to see how more countries across the world can adopt this approach and an increasing number are really interested.

The post Meet the ‘Future Generations’ Commissioner of Wales appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Book at Lunchtime: Iconoclasm as Child's Play

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 09/11/2020 - 5:24pm in

Dr Joseph Moshenska, Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow at University College, discusses his new book, Iconoclasm as Child's Play. Drawing on a range of sixteenth-century artifacts, artworks, and texts, as well as on ancient and modern theories of iconoclasm and of play, Iconoclasm As Child's Play argues that the desire to shape and interpret the playing of children is an important cultural force. Formerly holy objects may have been handed over with an intent to debase them, but play has a tendency to create new meanings and stories that take on a life of their own.

Joe Moshenska shows that this form of iconoclasm is not only a fascinating phenomenon in its own right; it has the potential to alter our understandings of the threshold between the religious and the secular, the forms and functions of play, and the nature of historical transformation and continuity.

Panel includes: Dr Joseph Moshenska is Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow at University College. Joe grew up in Brighton, and as an undergraduate he read English at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. After graduating he went to Princeton, initially for a year as the Eliza Jane Procter Visiting Fellow, and stayed there to complete his PhD. From 2010 to 2018 he was a Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Trinity College, Cambridge. Joe joined the Oxford Faculty in 2018. In 2019 he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize. Professor Lorna Hutson is the Merton Professor of English Literature and Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies. She was educated in San Francisco, Edinburgh and Oxford and has repeated that pattern in her career, having taught at Berkeley, St Andrews and now Oxford. Professor Hutson is a Fellow of the British Academy and works on English Renaissance literature. She has written on usury and literature, on women’s writing and the representation of women, on poetics and forensic rhetoric and, most recently, on the geopolitics of England’s ‘insular imagining’ in the sixteenth century.” Professor Alexandra Walsham is Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge. She currently serves as Chair of the Faculty of History. She was an undergraduate and Masters student at the University of Melbourne before coming to Trinity College, Cambridge, for her PhD. After a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel College, she taught at the University of Exeter for fourteen years before returning to Cambridge in 2010. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2009 and of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2013. She was appointed a CBE for services to History in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2017. Professor Kenneth Gross is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Rochester. His critical writing ranges from Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare, to modern poetry, theater, and the visual arts. His books include The Dream of the Moving Statue, Shakespeare’s Noise, Shylock is Shakespeare, and most recently Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, winner of the 2012 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. He’s also the editor of John Hollander’s 1999 Clark Lectures at Cambridge, The Substance of Shadow: A Darkening Trope in Poetic History. Gross has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Bellagio Study Center, the Princeton Humanities Center, and the American Academy in Berlin. Gross has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Bellagio Study Center, the Princeton Humanities Center, and the American Academy in Berlin.

Professor Matthew Bevis is Professor of English Literature and Tutorial Fellow at Keble College. He is the author of The Art of Eloquence, Comedy: A Very Short Introduction, and, most recently, Wordsworth’s Fun (Chicago University Press, 2019). His recent essays have appeared in the London Review of Books, Harper's, Poetry, and The New York Review of Books. He’s currently working on Knowing Edward Lear for Oxford University Press, and a book On Wonder for Harvard University Press.

Children in Care Falling Behind Most Benchmarks: Research

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2015 - 1:41pm in

Tags 

research, Children