Thursday, June 21, 2018

Shari'a courts in New Zealand

I frequently hear people arguing against Muslim immigration as it will lead to Shari'a courts being established in New Zealand.  After all, they say, such courts already operate in parts of the UK and/or Australia.

When such people talk about Shari'a courts, it seems they are thinking of the kind of courts operated by the Taleban or ISIS - courts which hand out sentences such as stoning for adultery.  If that's what comes to mind, I can understand why people don't want that here.

However, is that what really happens in the UK or Australia?  Does a court really sentence a woman to stoning or a man to have his hand cut off and it is done?  I seriously doubt it: those things are serious crimes under UK and Australian law and would certainly attract substantial notice.

Monday, June 11, 2018

A visit from a possum

Our garden's a wasteland at the moment - mostly neglect, but also a number of plants have been eaten right down to the ground.  We think this fellow (and one or more companions/rivals) are the culprits for that:

possum on the fence out our kitchen window last week
So we borrowed a trap off a friend, and on Friday morning woke up to this:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why You're Here: Ethics for the Real World

Recently I won a copy of Why You're Here: Ethics for the Real World (John G. Stackhouse, Jr.) on Goodreads.  Martin found it really exciting and has written the following review of it.



Sunday, May 20, 2018

A lovely Saturday

Yesterday was a fun day :-)

Martin and I had our first go at bottling mussels.

2kg mussels ready to go

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Buying fish for human rights: salmon

Last year I blogged about how Martin and I try to shop in ways that support human rights.  We do that by:
  1. Preferentially buying things produced in low income countries;
  2. Buying things produced under the best labour conditions available;
  3. Trying not to buy things produced by child or forced labour.
The reasons behind these principles are explained in more detail here.

At the time that was written I was uncertain which (if any!) fish or seafood we could buy that would accord with those principles.  We had become aware that slavery was rife in the fishing industry.  People were being forced to work without pay both on the boats and in processing factories, child labour was being used, and there were plenty of disturbing stories of rape and murder, too.  It was all pretty sobering.

A year later, I have good news!  There are companies taking this stuff seriously, and there are brands you can buy in confidence :-).  I have been in discussions with a number of companies over recent months and am keen to share what I've found with you.  I'm hoping this will be first of a series of blog posts covering different sectors of the fish and seafood industry, but I'm starting with one of my favourite things: salmon.

In summary, here's what I've found:
  1. To buy salmon that provides employment to people in low-income countries, you should (surprisingly) buy salmon farmed in New Zealand where possible (the salmon feed tends to include fish meal produced in such countries);
  2. To buy such salmon produced under the best labour conditions available, you  should choose products from New Zealand King Salmon (which produces the brands Regal, Southern Ocean and Ora King) as they only buy feed from suppliers that are certified child and slave labour free;
  3. To avoid supporting child or slave labour, you should restrict your purchases to the following brands:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1wTJ4EQjLNGQsWPLnpfDLzXRtxh-9hlje
Click to download as a pdf to take with you as you shop :-)

Read-on to learn why I came to these conclusions.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

20kg of CO2e

I've been playing with some numbers and have come up with a list of things that all give about the same amount of carbon emissions (approximately 20kg CO2e):
  • 5 days of average Kiwi household power use (100kWh) - if hydropower
  • taking the bus from Auckland to Palmerston North (500km)
  • driving from Auckland to Huntly (100km)
  • 10kg of dry fertiliser (20% nitrogen fertiliser)
  • 80 standard loo rolls
  • a 3L steel saucepan (1kg of saucepan)
  • a pair of cotton undies
  • 3 square metres of wool carpet
  • 2 square metres of vinyl flooring
  • 1.5 square metre of window glass (single glazing)
  • 1/2 a square metre of driveway concrete (10cm deep)
  • a square foot of house (just the shell, typical Kiwi construction)
  • a square foot of solar panel (monocrystalline)
  • 44kg fruit or vegetables grown organically or in New Zealand
  • 33kg conventionally grown imported fruit or vegetables
  • 20L milk
  • 13kg lentils
  • 5kg chicken
  • 2kg cheese
  • 1kg of beef
Certainly brings out how different things have different impacts - and not always in the ways you'd think!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Art from light and shadow

Yesterday I came across an amazing artwork made from building blocks (thanks Thalia!):

Building Blocks by Kumi Yamashita