Yesterday I outlined some terrible facts about modern-day slavery (People shouldn’t be bought and sold). But what can we practically do?
When I was at school, we were taught about how slavery was abolished in Britain and the USA. This was obviously a good thing.
It came as a shock to find out, some years ago now, that there are more slaves in the world than ever before.
Regular readers will know that one of my ’causes’ is ethical chocolate – chocolate that is grown by free farmers who are paid a fair wage, and not by trafficked children working more or less as slaves. (For background, see Ethical chocolate update.)
So it was with great delight that I received a weighty package in the mail recently and discovered a story of dark criminality and desperate legal actions.
When countries are in turmoil or their people are impoverished, many choose, or are forced, to look for a better life, and so become refugees. Australia is an attractive place to seek refuge. Because we are an island nation, many refugees make the often dangerous journey by boat, and increasingly, many perish in the attempt. When they arrive, they can spend years in detention before being allowed to stay or being sent back.
So, if the facts (as outlined in previous posts) show that the world is indeed warming faster than ever before, the weather patterns are changing, the burning of fossil fuels is a major cause, and the outcomes will be disastrous, why do so many people still oppose the idea?
Is there a conspiracy to present global warming as a fact when it is a lie?
Or is there a conspiracy to fight against a scientific truth for some devious reason?
Chick-fil-a is apparently a chain of about 1600 chicken fast food stores in the US. Being an Aussie, I wouldn’t know. But apparently the chain has been in the news recently because of an allegedly anti-gay stance, mainly, as far as I can tell, seen through large donations to christian anti-gay causes. Recently protests by gays were answered with a “Chick-fil-a appreciation day”. I’m not really concerned about the details, just setting the scene.
I mention all this simply to link to this post, The morning after Chick-fil-A day. The author, Mike Patz, is a pastor, and offers some very sensible thoughts about how christians relate to non-believers. It is probably most relevant in the US, but I think we all need to learn.
Worth a look I reckon.
So why should christians be concerned about these effects?
With the London Olympic Games about to begin, now is a good time to remember one of my ‘heroes’.
He was probably Australia’s greatest male sprint athlete, a silver medallist at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. This is the best an Australian male sprinter has ever finished, and in a time that, amazingly, is still the Australian record. He is almost forgotten in his own country, yet famous in the US for something more important than running fast.
This is the story of Peter Norman – a story that deserves to be remembered.
There has been a long campaign for chocolate companies to only source their cocoa from farms that don’t use trafficked child labour, and who pay the workers a fair wage. And progress has been slow.
I have previously reported how I have joined many others in writing to chocolate companies here in Australia asking them to adopt Fairtrade or other certification that guarantees ethical practices.
So it is always good to celebrate encouraging news.
What is the future of the church as we know it in the western world?
I have written about this many times (see The future for the church), believing that much needs to change. It is like the tide is coming in, the island the churches are sitting on is shrinking, our feet are wet, yet things are just going on as normal.
But bit by bit, the evidence keeps coming in (just like the tide), that one way or another, things will indeed change.
Almost one billion people, an eighth of the world’s population, are hungry as you read this. Why?
I have previously reported on the ethical dilemmas posed by eating chocolate, due to the trafficking and exploitation of children in growing cocoa in West Africa (see My pleasure, their misery? and Easter eggs and slavery), and on the responses to my letters to chocolate manufacturers (see Fair Trade chocolate – report 1).
I have received some more replies, and have researched some more information, all of which is very revealing.
Easter’s coming soon, and if you live in the west as I do, you’ll probably be eating your share of easter eggs. But what if the eggs came from cocoa grown using child labour, that is effectively slave labour?
Back in November I reported on exploitation in the world cocoa trade in My pleasure, their misery?. At that time I wrote about this to two prominent chocolate manufacturers.
I subsequently reported (Fair Trade chocolate – report 2) that I had received a reply from Cadbury indicating their ongoing support for Fair Trade products. I think they could do more, but it is encouraging that they have come this far.
Now, more than a month after I wrote to Darrell Lea, I still have not received a reply. Of course, Christmas is probably their busiest period, so I may hear from them in January. We shall see.
Anyone want to join in writing to Darrell Lea, and also to Nestle, Lindt or others?
Photo courtesy of World Vision.
A couple of weeks ago, I outlined some facts about exploitation in the growing of cocoa for chocolate (see My pleasure, their misery?) and at the same time wrote to two prominent chocolate manufacturers expressing my concerns and asking them to make more concerted moves to only source cocoa from growers who were paid a fair wage and were not exploiting children.
I have had one answer back.
The Australian Labor Party, which forms the present Australian Government, is having its national conference, where policy ideas are discussed and decided. This year, one of the “hot” topics for discussion is gay marriage. (Technically, I think the proposal is a change to the Marriage Act, which currently specifies marriage is between a man and a woman.)
The main opposition comes from the churches, especially the Anglican and Catholic churches, and Labor party officials with church links. Are they right?
On 8 October actress Marzieh Vafamehr was sentenced to 90 lashes and one year jail in Iran for her part in the Australian film My Tehran for Sale. I’m a little late in posting this, but its not too late to sign an Amnesty petition to the Iran government opposing flogging.