Does anything change?

I watched a program on iplayer the other day about the 14th century, called Christina: A Medieval Life.

I never used to like history at school, but now I find it truly interesting, especially when it gives you an “oh” moment… which this program did. The program documented the life of one peasant woman, and in the process, an amazing bit of English history.

There were pretty much two types of people, the rich, who had all they needed and disposable income for life’s nice things, and then there were the poor, caught in economic slavery, working for the rich before they could go home and eke some sort of existence for themselves.

Do you see my “oh” moment? Nothing has changed. The only difference is we have outsourced our economic slaves to other countries.

Others producing cheap clothes, food and luxury items, unable to pay for education, medicine or other basic needs. Just like the 14th century peasants.

It took the black death killing 1.5 million people in England alone to shake society enough to give these people freedom. I wonder what it will take for us to change?

If you are interested in this topic, try some of these links:

Stop the Traffik

IF

Live58

The Fairtrade foundation

Traidcraft

Tearfund

if issues

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Earth hour cakes

We are having an Earth Hour event at our church on Saturday – its my idea, and lots of the young people are leading stuff which is fabulous!
We are having two halves, the light hour and then when we switch the lights off for earth hour itself, the dark hour… not that dark hopefully what with candles and wind up torches.

There will be a fair trade cafe and shop, a chance to make bags out of recycled clothes, coasters out of recycled Cd’s, bird feeders using old drinks cartons, a clothes swap, games, a video and talk, puppets of praise and star gazing.
Sadly the man at the council hasn’t replied to me so no bicycle smoothie maker.
So today I have been making lots of cake – fruit cake, cherry chocolate cake, lemon cakes and banana and fruit cakes – R has got a sample of each, so that’s his lunches sorted 🙂

I am reminded in all this how much environmental and justice issues matter to me. I’m hoping in taking part, it might inspire some of the young people to further action – hopefully more clothes exchanges, or “swishing” and a regular fair trade shop at church.

Fair Trade Clothes

Pants to PovertyImage by Polska Zielona Sieć via Flickr
There was a time when the only ethical clothes you could buy were thermal long johns and Victorian style nighties. Eek. Thankfully things have moved on a bit, so when I went in search of a new t-shirt or two, I had plenty to choose from.
I especially like Wombat, SP:UK and Plain Lazy. Wombat has more realistic sizing and a variety of other clothes, but SP:UK has more in the t-shirt department. And Plain Lazy are just plain cool.
But what, if like me, you have decided to buy only ethical or second hand clothes? Jeans, smart clothes, high fashion – its all there if you are willing to rummage round the internet… but what about underwear – because who wants second hand underwear?
Well here comes Life’s not fair but my knickers are to the rescue. and its all so lovely too – not a long john in sight. Just polka dots and hearts along with pretty slogans – lovely. And fear not, if you want a fair trade bra which doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing your high school PE kit (I think i may be forever scared by bottle green toweling PE knickers) the get you to peau-ethique on Buy Organics.
And finally a mention for By Nature simply because they have lots of lovely things on their web site.

Bliss.

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The big swap – part two

Go Bananas for FairtradeImage by twenty_questions via Flickr
The lovely people at Shared Interest read my previous big swap post and asked me to post their video and I thought you might like to know a little more about them, in their own words:
“Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society that aims to reduce poverty in the world by providing fair and just financial services. We have been part of the fair trade movement for 20 years and work extensively with community-based businesses in Africa and other continents to help them make the most of fair trade.
We work primarily by providing finance up front to producers, often via their buyers, to enable them to buy raw materials, tools and the other things they need at the time they need them. We also offer longer term loans and other credit facilities to support the development of fair trade businesses.
We currently have more than 8,700 members who have invested over £25 million to allow us to make a range of financial services available to fair trade producers and the businesses that buy, market and retail their goods.
Shared Interest is owned and controlled by its membership. Each member has an equal voice and vote, regardless of account size.
The Society’s Governance involves a Board of Directors, responsible for the direction and management of the Society. Members elect the Directors at the AGM. The Directors report to members each year and answer members’ questions.
There is also a Council, a body which serves to represent the membership. The Council has the power to question the Directors and management and if it sees fit, to address the membership independently”

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Valentines Day approaches

Valentines day. I could say it is a cynical act in companies charging you more money for goods you can buy cheaper at other times of the year. And of course if you don’t buy something, well, how unromantic of you!
But wait.
Valentines day is a moment where we can not only show care for the ones we love, but also the producers of the items we buy.
Take flowers for example. Here in the UK the fair trade foundation’s new and improved site not only makes it easier to find flowers, but food, mens clothes… all sorts of things.
And all you lovely people the other side of the pond are not left high and dry, you can buy flowers as well as a whole bunch of of ther amazing things from transfair USA including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!
So heres to Valentines day and here’s to spreading the love.