a healthy bit of sabotage

I was at a conference at the Salvation Armys Training College yesterday about living incarnationally. It was really good, great actually. But I'm not blogging about that (maybe another time). I'm blogging about what I saw in the canteen: 3 drink dispensers and not one Fair Trade coffee available! (Crikey you cry, is she still banging on about That?) These are the same hot drink dispensers that were around when I lived there 15 years ago (I remember them well cos we would grab the cup before the water went in so we could eat orange flavoured powder/ college kid sherbert.) It has been 3 years since the Salvation Army in the UK implemented a Fair Trade policy, why the fig do we still have Maxwell House machines in the training institution?! Is there anyone out there who can tell me?
But, you know, don't get mad get even and all that. So FAIR TRADE FORTNIGHT IS COMING UP ON THE 25TH FEBRUARY. Normally I advocate some tender letter writing and that is all good, but alongside that why not get the message across in some creative ways. What about this for a deal: In a week or so I'll put up here some resources that you can print off; a letter to your canteen/management/fave cafe but also some signs that say "Fair Trade Me". All you have to do is spend a couple of weeks scoping out all the non-fair trade machines around and decide who to write your letter to.
That way when Fair Trade Fortnight comes along we can all go armed with some signs, some of that fluro WARNING tape and some bluetack and attack the non-fair trade machines.
Are there any volunteers living around the college hood who will pimp those Maxwell Housers?!


Shop for Jesus

Argh. Sales. They have made the streets of London even more desperately crowded this month. Sitting on the bus on Oxford Street watching the masses sway and shove from shop to shop has burdened my little heart. "I shop therefore I am" seems to be a pretty common paradigm for people, which poses concerns on loads of levels- spiritually/well being of individual, society/ impact on global poverty/ impact on environment.

BUT, I am not ranting today, I am just going to point out a few little cool sites to do with consumerism, here they are- the cream of todays crop!

The Compact are a bunch of friends who decided to get out of the consumerism grid for a year, buying pretty much nothing for 12 months.

Buylesscrap- Is bit of a mockery of Bono’s RED concept (but also gives you the opportunity to donate directly to the RED charities.) I love Bono, he is radical, but I have always felt pretty dubious about the whole RED thing (you know buy a RED tee shirt from Gap and a few cents goes to charity) You simply can not shop your way to a better world!

Green my Apple is an exciting wee venture from Greenpeace- if you like Apple visit that site and get them doing the right thing.

Here are two truths:

We can impact big business through our ethical choices: that vote in your wallet matters!

To consume ethically we must consume less. It doesn't get much more simple than that!


Social Action Calendar 2008

I hate feeling like the year is gliding by on skates, last year I had too many "Shivers-can't-believe-I-missed-that-significant-chance-for-action" moments.
So in an effort to curb that from happening this year I have scoured websites and have tried to put together a pretty exhaustive list of International Dates around justice, peace, development. Some are a bit wacky, others are major, but all provide a chance for action. Here is the Social Action Calendar 2008.


The gate of the year

We have had a grand old week of adventures gallivanting around the south of England visiting- yes you guessed it- castles. (Plus a few other fabulous antiquities like Stone Henge, which is incredible) I think we came across 5 altogether including the currently lived in Windsor and the earthworks of Old Salem. One castle for each day we were away! In Windsor by the tomb of George the Sixth, I found this little quote:
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown" and he replied "Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God. That shall be better to you than a light and safer than a known way."
What a true word. So as I stand here looking at 2008 I hope I can have the pure, simple faith to step out into whatever darkness, knowing that my hand in Gods is well enough. That is the key to an adventure, eh?