Monday 20 February 2017

Upcoming opportunities to build community where you live

Neighbours Day 2017 is coming up on the weekend of March 25/26. This is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours and build community where you live.  You can sign up here to get emails with ideas of how to celebrate (the most recent newsletter for our region even told us how to apply for supermarket vouchers to help with associated costs!), or check out the official website here - it has a number of resources to help you get started.

Your celebration could be as simple as inviting your nearby neighbours over for a cuppa, or you could band together with other neighbours to organise a full-on street party!  You can see photos of Neighbours Day celebrations in our street from 2015 here.   We typically find people from about 1/3 of the houses in our street come along and we've made a number of friends through it.

Also, Tuesday week (the 28th) is Shrove Tuesday - the last day before Lent.  This is typically celebrated with the eating of pancakes 😅.  We had a couple of retired neighbours over for a pancake breakfast last year and hope to do the same this year.  It was good to spend time with them and also gave us an opportunity to talk about what Lent has come to mean to us.  You can get heaps of ideas for how to host a low-stress, community-building celebration on the Sacraparental blog here.

Friday 10 February 2017

A week visiting my parents

Recently we spent a week at my parents' place.  It wasn't really a holiday, as Martin went to work every day as usual, but it was a great way to spend lots of good time with them.

Whilst we were there, I also spent a lot of time admiring their beautiful garden.

This hippeastrum had a beautiful scent that drifted metres beyond the plant!

Sunday 5 February 2017

How to buy chocolate without supporting abuse of cocoa growers

I am extremely concerned about the high levels of abuse in the cocoa growing industry.  I am not willing to pay for people to be abused just so I can have a treat!
My bottom line is this.  If the workers who grew the cocoa for a particular chocolate brand didn't earn enough to feed themselves and send their children to school, or if they were subjected to serious abuse, then I won't buy that product.  As far as we are able, we are committed to living lives that allow our global neighbours to flourish.
How do I identify which chocolate is good to buy?  Below I state my minimum labour standards, discuss briefly how I assess common claims made by chocolate brands and why I love certification, and then expand on these at greater length.

Minimum labour standards

When I look to buy any chocolate/cocoa products I first examine whether the workers who grew the cocoa earned enough to live on and whether they were subject to:
  1. Slave labour;
  2. Child labour*;
  3. Unsafe use of agrochemicals.
* child labour doesn't include all work children do.  It refers to children doing work that takes them out of school or is harmful to their natural development (carrying overly heavy loads etc.).  If the children concerned aren't slaves, child labour can generally be prevented by paying the adults sufficient that they don't need the kids' labour to survive.