Follow the link below to my latest feature!
Follow the link below to my latest feature!
Over the course of my last few blog posts, I have taken you through ethical purchasing and production of clothing and where to buy such products as well as getting engaged the ethical way! Today I want to discuss ethical accessories – shoes, bags, jewelry, home goods, and even office accessories. My goal is to prove to you that shopping ethically produced and sourced goods is really not hard, is similar to the normal goods you purchased financially, and how you will be helping countless people with your purchases.
For example, this glass bead bracelet shown below (click the picture to view/purchase) is only $14 and is made from recycled glass from the Cape Coast. Global Mamas is the name brand and it is produced by a group of women from Ghana. The picture below on the right is called a Wakami Simplicity Strand made from female artisans from Guatemala, costing $12 and can be worn as a wrap bracelet or a necklace. Both of these items, if purchased, benefit start-up organizations in order for them to attain economic freedom.
These two items are just a glimpse into the world of ethical accessories. They both came from a great ethical accessory resource, Global Girlfriend, “Global Girlfriend was created by Stacey Edgar in 2003 to help women worldwide gain economic security while providing your store with unique products and a simple way to help women and communities in need. Today, we have more than 1,000 points of distribution, ranging from natural food stores, to boutiques, to college bookstores. Our store-within-a-store business model makes it easy for you to offer your customers high quality, ethically-sourced gifts from 34 countries around the world. We believe in the power of commerce to alleviate poverty, and your partnership is the cornerstone to achieving that mission.”
More resources for ethical goods can be found at:
My hope is, by showcasing these items and providing resources for you to shop ethically for anything from clothing to home goods, you can see just how easy it is! So what is stopping you from buying ethical goods?
Peace, love, and an ethical you!
Global Resistance: Pop Culture review
Dun, Dun. A familiar sound to any loyal SVU fan. What any loyal SVU fan would also know is the tendency the show has to focus on actual current events, or real-live criminal cases.
Maybe that is why so many were shocked by Merchandise, an episode which originally aired in 2010.
The episode begins with a young girl running through a market crowd. She then jumps in front of a moving taxi-cab and dies instantly. Upon further investigation by the coroner, it was discovered that the girl had been repeatedly starved and beaten. Death was inevitable; the taxi-cab only sped up the process.
After the stars of the show, Detective Benson and Stabler, looked into the case, they found out the girl had been working on Mission Farms when she had ran away. All minors working on the farm were required to have a permit, which requires a parent’s signature.
Benson and Stabler sought out after the thirteen year old girl’s parents. They found out her name was Carly, her mother died from cancer and her father couldn’t find work for years. There were three other children in the family: a boy close to Carly’s age, and two much younger girls.
Benson and Stabler arrived in a back alley to find and question Carly’s father. Homeless children ran around the alley while Carly’s father washed off his two younger daughters in the street. They clearly lived out of their run down station wagon.
The father told the two detectives that he sent his daughter, Carly, and oldest son, Micah, to work and make money at Mission Farm once he realized he could no longer provide for the entire family. The farm representative told him that the children were too young to work in the city, so they would have to move about an hour out of the city limits. He was told Carly and Micah would be given shelter, clothing, food and a healthy environment to work in. He was a desperate, mis-guided parent.
In all reality, the children start out working on the farm and then are forced into sex trafficking; never being able to earn their way off the farm. They are placed further in debt for water, food, clothes, punishment, and more.
Benson and Stabler watch young girls, not much older than eight to ten years old, dressed as prostitutes and solicit themselves on a steak out to find Carly’s older brother. Micah is brought into custody, revealing the lash marks covering his back from brutal beatings. He had been arrested at 13 for prostitution. Fin, another detective on the show, argues with another officer about the fairness in the law which protects children who are exploited from charges. She informs him that kids only escape charges if they testify against their pimp, however most kids are afraid to testify, or are afraid of being sent home to awful living conditions.
Video footage of Carly’s death showed that Micah pushed his sister into the street in front of the taxi-cab. When questioned later, Micah told the psychiatrist that when one kid did something wrong on the farm- they all got beaten. All the children were kept locked in a cellar, and forced to work days and nights while not being allowed to eat even scraps and garbage. Micah continued, telling the psychiatrist that when girls got pregnant they all ate well. All three of the babies that these young girls had while Micah was a resident of the farm were taken away, including Carly’s child. Micah was so terrified of the beatings he and the others would receive after his sister’s escape, so he killed her. His sister. His best friend.
Luckily, by the end of the show the couple who ran the “farm” and trafficked the children were caught.
Not all children are so lucky, and not all sex slave pimps get what they deserve.
The show revealed that sex trafficking is a federal offense who 27 million fall victim to globally, and 14 to 18 thousand in the United States. That was in 2010. This is 2012.
If you are anything like me, you have recently seen countless friends become engaged or even been in attendance for their weddings. While I remain single, yet married to my school work and jobs – I can still appreciate a delicious, fabulous, and stunning diamond ring. On the plus side I get to see all of my friends rings before one is graciously placed on my hand. I like to think of it as window shopping!
On that same note, while admiring the sparkle, you have to keep in mind where those beautiful diamonds have come from. I want to clarify what conflict diamonds are as well as how the concept of “Fair Trade” works.
-”In relation to diamond trading, conflict diamond (also called a converted diamond, blood diamond, hot diamond, or war diamond) refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity, usually in Africa where around two-thirds of the world’s diamonds are extracted.” (Blood Diamonds)
-According to Brilliant Earth, a source for “Ethical Origin Fine Jewelry”, “Conflict diamonds,” according to the most widely-used definition, are diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized national governments. These diamonds are also referred to as blood diamonds. Many retailers offer “conflict free diamonds,” providing only a limited promise that their diamonds do not finance these violent rebel groups.”
What can you do?
“Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers…”
Hands for Africa is a non-profit organization working to restore lost hope to those devastated by the civil war in Sierra Leone. We support amputees by developing and implementing self-reliance programs and providing the necessary aid for the advancement of these self-reliance programs. Below is a video detailing the work that they do.
Do your homework on how certain conflict-free diamonds are harvested and sold. Below are links to various resources of where to buy or even just browse non-conflict diamonds.
Peace, love, and sparkling ethically sourced diamonds for all!
I’ve have been on a search to learn about our environment and the creatures that use it as a habitat. Throughout my research, I have discovered that our whales (among other animals) are in danger of being killed for research and I have also learned many ways that our environment is facing destruction. Each article that I read on the horrible acts that are taking place all across the word have made me eager to learn more on what I can do to help.
I wanted to learn about opportunities to help stop these wrongdoings. In the process, I found out about hemp. Hemp is a plant that can be used for medicine, clothes, paper, textiles, and more. However; hemp is outlawed in many parts of the world.
With over 25,000 environmentally friendly products that can be made from hemp, why is it outlawed in so many areas?
With the United States importing over 1.9 million pounds of hemp fiber, 450,000 pounds of hemp seeds, and 331 pounds of hempseed oil per year, it is certainly a question that we need an answer to. Why do we import so much; however not let our farmers grow it? Hemp is legal in just over 30 nations, such as Canada, Japan and the European Union, which are many of the areas that we import it from. However; there are still many more nations that do now allow its growth.
Many states in the U.S. have been trying to pass the legalization of growing hemp. Currently, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia all have laws allowing the growing of hemp. With laws allowing the cultivation of hemp, it can be used for research, farming, or industrial. However; though these states have laws allowing it, each farmer must have approval from the DEA. The DEA has continued to turn down the majority of requests, even though their states have a law legalizing it.
The main argument from the government is that farmers could easily grow marijuana alongside the hemp. Hemp and marijuana are hard to tell apart. Since marijuana is illegal to grow, they do not want any part in making it easier for its growth. However; farmers argue that since hemp is the stronger of the two plants, it would cross-pollinate with marijuana, and take it over, making it impossible for marijuana to be grown anywhere near it. Since this is the case, the farmers argue that hemp should be legal and that marijuana is a different issue.
How Can We Use Hemp to Help Our Environment?
As mentioned, hemp can be used to make over 25,000 environmentally friendly products. Hemp can be used to make: rope, cloth (clothing made from hemp is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter), fuel, furniture, shoes, paints, makeup, medicine, lotion, soap, plastics, inks, insulation in housing, paper, and the list goes on! Most products that are made from wood, cotton, or petroleum can be made from hemp.
The major advantage of using hemp is that unlike wood you don’t have to chop it down. When we chop down trees we are harming forests and the creatures that live in it. When we use hemp, we do not have to pump or mine it like petroleum. Since hemp can grow in most climates, its not limited geographically like oil. Combined with other alternative energies hemp could end our reliance on foreign oil!
Hemp is a great alternative to cotton. (First of all, no we do not want to harm the cotton farmer’s industry, they can start growing hemp instead!) Listen to what a real farmer says about hemp.
Look at the advantages of growing hemp:
So, What Can You do to Help Legalize Hemp?
So, do not just read this article and say you agree. Go out a make a difference! Tell others, support the industry, and make a statement by signing the petition. Together we will make a difference!
PUTTING AN END TO THE MADNESS
As previously mentioned, District 13 and the rebels released videos to rally support for the revolution. They created awareness for the cause, updated the citizens of Panem on the revolution, and sparked pride in the movement.
Just like the rebels in the Mockingjay (third book in the Hunger Games series), people have rallied to create awareness for the children and people who have fallen victims to the LRA.
A group called Invisible Children has set out to start their own propos, or social movement called Kony 2012. According to an article by ABC News, Invisible Children want to “harness the power of the internet to raise awareness…” amongst other things.
The Kony 2012 video, which reached over 100 million hits in a matter of days, goes on to say, “We are making Kony world news by redefining the propaganda we see all day every day that dictates who and what we pay attention to”.
Notice a familiar word there?
Kony has been indicted on numerous accounts by the International Criminal Court. Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 video awareness movement hope to put arresting Joseph Kony, once and for all, at the highest level of priority on officials minds.
But is simply watching an informational piece of propaganda enough? Is posting the video to your Facebook page or tweeting a link going to save these children? I think we both know the answer.
WHAT IS KONY?
More like who is Kony.
For the 29 minutes and 59 second version, check out this video. If you don’t have 29 minutes right now, I encourage you to go back and watch it when you do have more time. It’s pretty powerful stuff.
At the risk of falling to the same criticism Invisible Children received about their video over simplifying the issue, I will try to sum it up as best I can in the amount of space I have.
Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which began in Uganda and has spread throughout Africa. The LRA has been fighting for over two decades under the leadership of Kony, who claims to be a spokesman for God.
According to an article written in the BBC, Kony “has created an aura of fear and mysticism around himself and his rebels follow strict rules and rituals.”
This sounds a lot like the fear President Snow instilled in the people of Panem, eh? If you don’t consider the actual Hunger Games a strict rule and ritual, I don’t know what is.
Kony and his army have kidnapped over 60,000 children and forced them to fight in the LRA. The children are forced to kill their friends and family while serving in the army. Those who disobey have their body parts cut off, or are killed. The image to left is from the BBC article linked above; it highlights a victim of the LRA. She had her lips, ears, and nose cut of at the hands of Kony’s soldiers.
In certain cases, President Snow has Capitol offenders punished by cutting off their tongues, so they can never speak again.
The University of British Columbia has tried to put together a more comprehensive list of the injustice and horrors the LRA has spread across parts of Africa.
In my last post I discussed the issues and violence surrounding the manufacturing sectors of the fashion industry. While some of the videos and information were disturbing, it allowed for us to really see what is behind the production of the clothing we all too often take for granted. If you reacted like I did, you were mad, upset, sad, and mostly guilty for buying clothing from these manufacturers and not really thinking about the effect of your actions.
For a little historical motivation for change, I provide you with this quote from Thomas Paine, “The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
If all of those feeling are true for you as well, I want to provide you with some options to make a change in your purchasing habits. If you are a fan of H&M‘s clothing, then you are in luck! According to The Guardian, H&M just might be the new home of ethical fashion. H&M has recently positioned themselves as the second largest retailer in their sector, bringing in $412 Million quarterly. H&M’s sustainability report is set to be released later today, so stay tuned if you want more details about their corporate social responsibility.
“What I can say is that we do the very best we can with a lot of resources and a clear direction of what we’re supposed to do. We’re working really hard.” Says Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability for H&M.
While H&M is making great steps toward being a more socially responsible company, they haven’t fully made the transition to an ethical corporation. However, buying from H&M’s Conscious collection is an awesome step towards a responsible fashion outlook.
In my research on H&M I came across another great find, The Guardian spotlights a book by Lucy Siegle dubbed as “An expose on the fashion industry written by the Observer’s ‘Ethical Living’ columnist, examining the inhumane and environmentally devastating story behind the clothes we so casually buy and wear.” Click the photo below for more information and to purchase the book.
Straying from the fashion industry for just a moment, I want to highlight the website called U : R E S I S T. It is an online medium that sells clothing in an effort to support the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, with 100% of their proceeds going to that cause. They also blog on hot button issues in an effort to support resistance movements as well as fuel the fire of those who are already interested in large-scale movements, such as OWS. While I personally do not agree with some of the things they say on their site, it really is a great resource to get started or find some motivation to make a change in your own life as well as make your resistance outwardly visible to those around you!
In an attempt to find digital resources in which consumers can look to for help with staying sustainable and resist the norm of sweat shops, underpaid, and mistreated workers, I came across the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF). It is a resource for fashion professionals in an effort to create a sustainable and responsible future for the fashion industry.
A not for profit organisation, EFF aims to make it easy for fashion professionals to integrate sustainability at the heart of what they do. Membership of the ETHICAL FASHION FORUM delivers support for fashion businesses towards sustainability through three programmes. Each programme includes several essential tools which members can take advantage of to succeed in ethical fashion business.
Global Resistance: Pop Culture Review
Warning: Spoiler Alert for any of the three books in the Hunger Games trilogy.
While you may or may not have been a fan of the books or now major motion picture, there is no denying that the Hunger Games series has some heavy metaphors about our society today.
By the end of this blog series, I’ll bet that even if you dislike the Hunger Games you’ll agree with me about a few things.
HUNGER GAMES SERIES BACKGROUND
Divided into 13 districts, the country of Panem exists post-modern North America. People of the Capitol, who makes all decisions for the people of Panem without consideration of the citizens, also relies on the districts to survive. Each district provides something of life-sustaining importance to the capitol, for example District 12, the home of the main character, mines coal which is sent to the Capitol and all its people.
The people of the districts had enough of the communistic rule of the Capitol, and they started an uprising. The Capitol ended the uprising after destroying District 13. As a reminder to all of Panem not to repeat the “Dark Days”, the Hunger Games were inaugurated.
Each district is required to provide one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to play in the Hunger Games, where they are paraded in front of the Capitol, thrown in an arena, forced to fight to the death until only one tribute remains alive, and the people of Panem are forced by law to watch the Games and all the proceedings. All the while, voicing concern or disproval of the Capitol or the Games is punishable by death.
Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the story, volunteers to take her 12 year old sister’s place in the Games. At just 16 years old herself, Katniss promises her younger sister, Prim that she will try to win. And win she does.
Of course along the way, a love interest in thrown into the mix. The male tribute from District 12, Peetah, has been in love with Katniss for most of his life. He and Katniss develop a relationship, and Katniss vows to save them both. Just when the two are about to eat poisonous berries, the man in charge of the Hunger Games allows them both to stay alive and be proclaimed the winners. That man is never heard of again.
This sparks another uprising amongst the people of the districts because of the blatant defiance Katniss showed toward the Capitol. The leader of Panem, President Snow, even pays Katniss a visit in lowly old District 12 to warn her of her actions. He threatens to kill her family and loved ones if she cannot put of the fire of revolt that the people of the districts are beginning to get
Katniss struggles to please President Snow and protect her friends and family. She and Peetah are thrown back into the Hunger Games once again, under sketchy circumstances. Just when Katniss thinks she will die, she is rescued by a secret society of Soldiers. They bring Katniss and a few others to District 13, which has in fact survived underground from the Capitol’s attacks 75 years prior.
Peetah was not saved in time, and was captured by President Snow’s people. He was brutally abused and brainwashed to hate Katniss and the revolt. He is later rescued by the rebels, but not with out consequences which affect he and Katniss for the rest of their lives.
Here Katniss trains with other to fight the capitol. She accepts the role as the figurehead of the revolution and the rebels, the Mockingjay. District 13 sends videos out to all of Panem called Propos (short for propaganda) to encourage and further fuel the uprising against the Capitol that has begun in each of the districts. Little by little, more and more people fight for freedom against the Capitol.
Finally, after many have suffered and sacrificed their lives for the cause, the Capitol is stormed and taken over by the rebels. Katniss watches her little sister, her world, blown to pieces before her very eyes. It doesn’t take her long to realize the President of District 13, Coin, was behind it; President Coin staged a bombing of young children to rally any remaining Capitol loayals to the rebel cause.
Granted the honor of assassinating President Snow, Katniss aims her weapon of choice at President Coin and releases the arrow. Instantly Coin is dead. Katniss knew that a true republic, the goal of the rebels, was never possible with a leader who could kill their children.
At last, a republic is formed, the Hunger Games are no more, and they all live as happily ever after as you can after you’ve witnessed genocide and war.
Starting to see some similarities with the Kony movement, yet?
One seed can create a new tree. You can buy seeds to plant to help create new trees. Different programs, such Plant a Billion Trees gives you the opportunity to have their organization plant a tree for you. Their motto is “one dollar. one tree. one planet.” Their focus is the Atlantic Forest. It is considered to be one of the world’s most endangered forests. Working with the Nature Conservatory and other organizations, Plant a Billion Trees works together to keep the forest alive. When trees are destroyed, a new seed is planted to replace the tree.
When planting a tree there are specific steps to follow. This video gives you guidelines on how to plant a tree and the regulations that must be followed.
So, take the steps to make a difference. Plant a seed to help keep our environment alive!