27. December 2010 21:25
On Christmas morning Nicola and I were in the kitchen preparing Christmas lunch when we heard the noise of running water from above. Then we saw the water running down the walls from the ceiling. We assumed we had a burst pipe caused by the thaw after the big freeze that preceded it. So we turned the water off. Would it also affect our gas fired central heating system? I phoned Scottish Gas and I was directed through to a call centre, possibly in India. After some deliberation and consultation with others I was told to switch the heating off. Presumably in India they did not appreciate the affect this would have on us in Scotland in mid winter! Thankfully, I managed to get a hold of our local plumber, even on Christmas Day, and he told me that this was nonsense. The central heating was a sealed system separate from the main water supply and would work fine notwithstanding that we had turned the water off. So at least we had heat, if not water. Our neighbours kindly supplied us with buckets of water so we survived Christmas Day and ‘Boxing Day’ (I understand that Boxing Day cannot fall on a Sunday) without water from our taps.
The plumber arrived this morning and discovered that we did not in fact have a burst pipe (as such). A pipe that carries water from the roof has an old connection that comes within the wall cavity but has been blocked off (after the pipe became redundant and had been cut from whatever item it used to drain water from within the house). The lead that sealed it was not holding it watertight. The main pipe down the side of the house was completely frozen. As the snow thawed on the roof it was running down the outside pipes but backing up when it hit the frozen pipe and ended up coming inside the house! It was just a coincidence that it stopped coming in when we turned the water off at the mains – so we could have had water running from our taps on Christmas Day and ‘Boxing Day’ after all!
Living with water from buckets for two days was not a great hardship compared with the problems the current weather has caused for many. We did have to become much more economic with our use of water and it did make us think of our friends in 22 de Enero. I blogged on 17 November 2009 that “The water that the residents have access to is largely underground and away from the housing area, making it difficult to find potable water for family consumption.” We helped Germán to build a water tower but many families had to walk some distance to fill buckets of water and carry them back to their homes. In Glasgow we were able to simply pop next door.
International research and statistics show that:-
- One out of every three city dwellers – nearly a billion people – lives in a slum. (Slum indicators include: lack of water, lack of sanitation, overcrowding, non-durable structures and insecure tenure.) (UN-Habitat: 2006)
- UN-Habitat has reported that because of poor living conditions children in slums are more likely to die from water-borne and respiratory illness. (UN-Habitat: 2006)
Habitat for Humanity agree with the Department for International Development (DFID) that it should be "our moral and religious duty to ensure that we are part of a world where no one has to live in poverty; A world in which all have access to food, shelter, clean water; to a livelihood, health and education; A world in which the rights and dignity of every woman, man and child to live life to the full are respected". (DFID Target 2015, halving world poverty. A Shared Vision of Reducing World Poverty).
Next time you fill a kettle from a tap, run a bath, have a shower or flush a toilet think of those less fortunate in the world who do not have this luxury that we take for granted. You can help by Just Giving.
4. October 2010 22:28
Today is World Habitat Day.
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
This year the theme is “Better City, Better Life” to specifically raise awareness about the need for sustainable poverty housing in urban regions. This is integral to the housing situation in Argentina. 4 out of 10 Argentines live in indecent living conditions, much of it in cramped tenements and precarious shanties in city slums. Over the next 30 years, the urban population of developing countries will hit 4 billion.
Help Habitat for Humanity Argentina implement housing solutions to put into place a sustainable system of poverty housing.
Read more about World Habitat Day
Download the World Habitat Day Brochure (PDF)
7. September 2010 22:58
I had the pleasure of being invited as a VIP guest speaker to the Thrive Business Breakfast Exclusive Event: Corporate Social Responsibility this morning at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh. It was an early start on a very wet morning for me to get to Edinburgh from Glasgow for 8am. After breakfast each delegate had 1 minute to introduce themselves around the table with me and the other two VIP speakers then having 8 minutes to talk about Corporate Social Responsibility.
I explained (in more than 8 minutes!) how through Inksters I had been able to promote our charity work in Argentina in a way that would not otherwise have been possible. This had resulted in corporate sponsorship, individual donations and raised awareness on a scale that benefitted both Inksters and Habitat for Humanity. I showed the delegates an InkstersGive T-Shirt and gave them all a booklet to take away on our Global Village Challenge.
The other two Guest speakers, Dr Michael Groves (Managing Director of Great Circle) and Andrew Mason (Group Sustainability Manager at Royal Bank of Scotland) spoke on sustainability.
It was great to be able to bring our work in Argentina to the attention of a diverse group of businesses and charities in Edinburgh. I made my way back to Glasgow in the knowledge that the very early start to the day had been well worth it.
14. August 2010 22:18
Inksters Solicitors have been nominated for Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland 2010. This is in respect of Inksters' support of Habitat for Humanity and the Global Village Challenge in Argentina which you can, of course, read all about on this blog and at the main InkstersGive website.
The Law Awards of Scotland recognises and rewards the very best legal firms and celebrates those who have shown outstanding performance in their field.
The Law Awards of Scotland undertake a rigorous research process in order to identify who are the top law firms in Scotland. Inksters' recently achieved that by becoming a Recommended Law Firm 2010 and have now gone on to receive not only this nomination, for Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the Year, but also for Marketing Team of the Year.
The winners will be revealed at The Law Awards of Scotland awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 16th September 2010 at The Hilton Hotel, Glasgow. For the full list of nominations see: The Law Awards of Scotland: 2010 Finalists
4. August 2010 19:40
The title of this blog post is taken from the Tweet today by Kristof Zoltan von Csefalvay-Bartal (@chrisvcb) who tweeted: "look at the flashy t-shirt I have!": And here is the image from Cardiff that accompanied the tweet:-
Chris is a "Lawyer, geek, superhero, survivor. Currently going to jail so you don't have to".
Follow Chris on Twitter: @chrisvcb
1. August 2010 10:09
One of our Corporate Sponsors, Tom Valenti of ValentiLaw, wearing his InkstersGive T-Shirt in Chicago.
Tom recently returned from a trip to Haiti where he went to assess the need for conflict management skills after the early responders have left and there is a lull in activity. As a result of this visit Tom intends to train Haitians in mediation, facilitation, advocacy, dialogue and in training itself. He and Alan Gross (a NY & PA mediator, trainer and facilitator who has worked all over the world) are taking steps to start a program to train Haitian lawyers in mediation to work on the existing 7 – 10 year backlog of cases in the Haitian judicial system. This can eventually include the development of community mediation centers to handle disputes at a local level by people from the community. They hope to work with existing NGOs to start peer mediation training in the schools, which in many respects need a fresh look at how to get kids into school; how to keep kids in school and how to treat kids while there. They hope to empower Haitians to be able to advocate for themselves so that from the rubble and chaos, there arises a new Haiti that provides the Haitians with a home; an education; a job; and a country in which they have pride.
Read more: Mediators as early responders – follow up and a discussion of a recent trip to Haiti
Follow Tom Valenti on Twitter: @ValentiLaw and @ChicagoMediator
26. July 2010 23:13
Michael Scutt's (aka Jobsworth) latest UK Blawg Round Up #3 is on the topic of Midsummer Madness. He includes the Inksters Give Blog in this and, in particular, Scott Greenfield wearing his Inksters Give T-Shirt. This results in Scott Greenfield's blog, Simple Justice, and his post on You're Not Atticus Finch (and neither am I) being the first non UK blog to be mentioned in a UK Blawg Round Up. The benefits of wearing an Inksters Give T-Shirt knows no bounds!
Michael Scutt kindly bought an Inksters Give T-Shirt but states in Midsummer Madness that "modesty prevents me from posting a photo of my gym-honed torso on this blog". With a little bit of persuasion and a competition between Michael, Valentilaw and Chris v C-B we can now exclusively reveal that gym-honed torso on the Inksters Give Blog:-
14. July 2010 21:58
Antalia's (@Antalianna) two daughters are the first UK supporters of InkstersGive to provide us with a photo of them in their T-Shirts.
Follow Antalia on Twitter
27. June 2010 22:57
Corporate Sponsor, The Trial Warrior (aka Antonin Pribetic), and his nephew, Daniel, proudly wear their InkstersGive Habitat for Humanity T-Shirts in Toronto.
Read the excellent The Trial Warrior Blog