Difficult Academics and Inspiring Performance

I am returning to my journal after a gap of three weeks. In between I was busy with my final examination and thesis defence for my MPhil Social Work degree. One of the most difficult things for a grassroots activist who has come back to formal studying after a long hiatus is to put in long hours of academic work. It has been a constant struggle for me. However, since working in the field alone has no vallue these days unless one is able to back it up with academic skills I have been forced to devote myself to studying. Anyway I am now through with formal class going and in my Phd work that is to follow I will have more freedom to do what I want. I would like to note with pleasure that in the interim the Green Party has won a seat for the first time in the British House of Commons and its winning candidate is a woman – Caroline Lucas. This is an inspiring achievement. Caroline is currently also a Member of the European Parliament and her website (http://www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk/biography/) has this to say about her achievements in that role – * As member of the Trade and Energy Committee from 1999-2004, Caroline forced the European Commission to undertake legal investigations into the British nuclear industry and promoted green energy as the alternative; * As a member of the Environment Committee, Caroline has amended legislation to strengthen the case against GM crops; * As the Parliament’s Rapporteur (draftsperson) on a far-reaching Commission Communciation on the impact of air transport on the environment, Caroline persuaded the European Parliament to support the introduction of new environmental charges and noise restrictions on airlines; * As Vice-President of the Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry into Foot and Mouth, Caroline was instrumental in ensuring that the Parliament’s Report advocated vaccination, rather than mass slaughter, as the tool of first resort in any future outbreak; * As Vice-President and now President of the cross-party Animal Welfare group, Caroline has played a key role in keeping animal protection issues high on the agenda, and campaigned vigorously to maintain the future marketing ban on cosmetics tested on animals; * Caroline has used her position to commission EU research that demonstrates existing safety guidelines regarding mobile phone masts are completely inadequate. Caroline has also submitted a Written Declaration (similar to an Early Day Motion) on the risks of exposure to electromagnetic field from radio frequency antennae and mobile telephones, and has called for more research to take account of new technologies such as TETRA; * Caroline has been a high-profile campaigner against the war in Iraq. In the parliament, Caroline has demanded a complete ban on the production and use of Depleted Uranium Weapons, put questions to relevant UK officials and NGO officials, and co-hosted a meeting of MEPs in Strasbourg.

Let us hope that more courageous women like Caroline will make this world a better place to live in than it is at present.

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