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Posts Tagged ‘fair-trade’

Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

SEEKING LIGHT:Pantano Wash, Tucson Arizona

(Note: WordPress seems to have a mind of it’s own right now and will not let me organize paragraph’s and spaces as needed.)

     Forgive me, I am feeling the urge to purge some of the thoughts that keep racing around my brain. Yes, this is absolutely a diatribe. No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop my mind from living and reliving the many nightmares that I see surrounding me, my community, our nation, and our world. The world feels like it is getting worse by the moment.
     With information coming to all of us at a rapid fire pace, it is hard to convince myself that things aren’t really as bad as they seem. They are bad. Our world is a really challenging place and regardless of our politics, we are all feeling it.
Before I start, let me say, I am writing in my blog and I don’t want to be politically correct. Mostly I have been respectful of others on my blog. I share my journey, many of thoughts, and now it is time for me to say what I really about Israel, marginalization of black people, gun control, immigration, women’s rights, climate change, modern day slavery and the list could go on for hours.
     While I accept the fact that none of my thoughts are simple, they feel like they should be. Human rights matter!!! Period. No question. If you feel differently, please don’t continue to read. And in all honesty, if you have Republican leanings, it is due to so many of your beliefs and/or the staunch Republican politicians that our country is in the condition it is.
     I love people. I am a bleeding heart liberal that wishes that I could really make a positive impact in not only my community, and our nation, but in the larger world. I do what I can and I always will.
     Let’s start simple, why do people purchase items made from slave labor? Why would anyone want a sweet morsel of chocolate that comes at the expense of another human being. In truth, I understand that not everyone is aware of who makes their clothing or who picks their cocoa beans, but seriously, if you do know, why wouldn’t you change your ways and look for ways to end slave labor? I don’t have two spare cents to rub together, but I have made decisions for how I shop. If you want to learn more ask. . .I will share. But you don’t need me, there are amazing resources in the fair-trade world. And if money is your concern, don’t buy what you can’t afford or go to thrift shops, consignment stores, etc. to get what you need and want. At least, this way, those that are human rights violators don’t receive direct benefit. And if you really feel like you need something that you can’t live without then only buy exactly what you need until you can afford products that take human rights into consideration. And if your curious, yes that does mean that Hershey is ENEMY #1.
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     Climate change is hurting our universe. It isn’t a fabricated tale and yet there are so many limited people that believe this. Look at the storms, look at the landscape, the pollution, and look at your carbon footprint. And if your really curious, consider taking the time to study what scientists are saying, not politicians that want to fabricate a story to meet their needs. And look at the loss of lives, home, and land over the last decade.
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     Having a child is a choice. There are so many reasons that women need to make a choice that may not seem “right’ to you and even to me, but it isn’t my right to dictate how people take care of their bodies. As a survivor of rape, I can’t imagine how I would have responded to being told I couldn’t have an abortion. While I didn’t have that experience, I wouldn’t want it. And as for some pregnancies, if I were to have gotten pregnant during my fertile years, it would have been an unwanted baby. I wanted children more than words could say, but my one surviving birth was a miracle. I lost many pregnancies before and after my biological son was born. Once doctors understood my genetic reality, there was no way I would have wanted to carry a pregnancy to term or even until I miscarried it. Why should I even have to? Why should anyone?
     Let women decide how to take care of their bodies and meet their needs. And don’t make people go to back alleys and have abortions by scummy beings or doctors that are awesome enough to break the law. Let’s not go back in time and cause the devastation that once was.
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     All my life, I have heard about the countries that turned their backs on the Jews before and during the Holocaust. And now that refugees are trying to navigate towards safety and a life of freedom, we are perpetuating the same realities that existed in the late 1930s and in the 1940s. We are creating situations that allow for the black market to take over. Why can’t we open our country up and make immigration easier. I feel like I live in a population full of prejudice with an ethnocentric politicians/people.
     Instead of building a fence, make it easier for people to live and then watch them flourish. While it make take a while, people will thrive once they are given the room to soar.
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     How many more school children and students have to be murdered at the hands of someone that should never have had had access to a gun? For $200 you can go out and buy a gun. Perhaps you are facing an emotional crisis and you feel despondent for a period. No problem, just go to the local store and buy a gun, a couple bullets, and then take your life. Or better yet, you find out that someone screwed you, why not just buy a gun and blow them and their family away. It really is that simple. Why not consider a federal tax and a local tax for each and every gun you own. We can do this yearly or upon purchase. Heck, our dogs need a license to live in our homes.
     And seriously folks, who needs assault riffles? I am reasonably certain that no one does except perhaps military, law enforcement, and drug dealers.
     There are many steps that can be taken from all encompassing background checks, waiting periods, significant taxation, required training, and making it illegal for children to have access to all guns. Finally it should be illegal to have undocumented private transfer with no background checks.
     While I don’t understand why most people need a gun, I do understand that more can be done to prevent firearm related deaths.
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     Black Lives Matter! Period. While we can all say all lives matter, I know that as a white woman, the color of my skin will not marginalize in any way, shape, or form. I am secure that even if I made a mistake and ran a red light, I wouldn’t have to fear police brutality. And while I know the majority of officers are keeping our streets safe, there are some that aren’t and too many that are being kept on the force despite previous actions. And while I know there are challenges in the black community, we aren’t doing enough in society to change this reality. Violence begets violence – I pray that no more officers lose their lives due to hatred for ‘the uniform’ and I pray that those same officers show discernment while also keeping themselves safe.
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     Israel occupies territories and then wonders why a subjugated people are angry and ungrateful. Gaza is an open air prison that Israel has more or less created.
     No children should have to see their parents blown away on any side of the fence. And should I even discuss the fence? I will skip that here. No one should have to fear going out on an evening walk. And yet none of this is simple. Daily, there have been regular attacks on Palestinians in the territory, even the recent deaths of Israelis. And you wonder why violence is being perpetrated and people are ready to explode. We keep building settlements and destroying the dignity of those that live on their land. Again, I do not encourage violence, but I do think the current government is destructive and destroying any chance of peace in our lifetime.
Finally
     Our world could be so much better, if different choices were made. With every ounce of my being, I pray for peace for all.
From Langston Hughes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
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Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom. For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

shop conciously

For me, Counting the Omer, means being reflective on how I count and how I move through this period of time.

Life is a holy journey, so I need to consider how I want to live, what I want from life, and how I want to make the biggest impact.  And since I am part of a larger community, country, and universe, I need to actively consider not only myself, but the larger world too.

Since I am currently looking at ways to develop a stronger sense of wholeness within myself, I am considering all the different ways that I can grow as a human being and to celebrate the changes that have already been made.

The first decision my family made as conscious consumers was to only buy fair-trade chocolate. At first it felt daunting, but then it felt so right. The cocoa beans industry is known for their use of child slave labor. As soon as we learned that, chocolate became bitter unless it was fair-trade.

One of the most important questions is how can I be the most thoughtful consumer and honor the workers in the best possible way?  This may appear like a choice to many, but to me it is a given. Below are some core ways that each of us can become a good or better consumer.

  1. Get educated – For me, it all boils down to what companies are following ethical practices for their workers and the workers that create/grow the products they are selling.

    Part of being educated is checking the facts – Just because you read something from one source doesn’t mean it’s true. Check the facts by doing your research and by following up with the company themselves. I have seen time and again how common rhetoric may not actually be true.

  2. Hold companies accountable – The more you learn about the companies, the more you are obligated to make your opinions known and/or refrain from purchasing from unethical stores/businesses.  Companies will not know what you think unless you tell them. And the more folks that tell them, the more possible it becomes to impact a company’s business practices.
  3. Shop locally – By shopping locally, you are supporting your community and lessening your carbon footprint.
  4. Shop second-hand – Buying second hand is great for recycling, carbon footprint, and often for your wallet.
  5. Share what you know – We are all partners in taking care of the universe. Period. If you want to impact the world for good, you can start by making good decisions and then you look for ways to inform others the information you are learning and the values you are choosing to live by.

While I am sharing some ways to grow into a more positive consumer, it starts with one step and then another one. You don’t have to become the perfect consumer overnight.

Personally, my goal is to continue my progress to be a really thoughtful consumer and an overall ethical human being. There is always so much to learn AND companies are constantly evolving. Some businesses that once made ethical choices, may change their ways over time and the reverse is also true. With that in mind, I need to stay on my toes.

May we each be a conscious consumer with every purchase we make.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character. Author Unknown

Everything we do matters….

Reflection time. . . .  Over the last few days I have had moments for pause.  With the High Holy Day upon us, I have asked myself so many questions about how I walk in the world and have been honest about myself about I feel about the different interactions I have with not only those I know personally, but the world around me too.  Facing life head on takes courage; it isn’t easy.  But in order to be authentic with my own self, I need to openly reflect and seek understanding for what is, who I am, and who I am becoming.

Human Connections

I love people; I love interacting with nearly each and every person.  I am also sensitive about the interactions with those I adore and much less sensitive with those that matter less as a friend or loved one.  In the last few years, I have come to accept that my spirit can be crushed by the ending or a dark turn in a friendship.  Today, I also embrace the fluttering of my heart when someone walks into my life who I feel has always been there whether the connection is part of my life for an hour or a decade.  I am learning to accept what is.  Reflection. . . .

All of us have to reflect sometime. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Rockland

All of us need to reflect sometime.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Rockland

The first half of my life, I was blessed with some great people at times and many sweet interactions, but I haven’t always experienced deep connections with people.  While loving people deeply has added a beautiful layer within my life experiences, it can hurt too.  Sometimes I miss the life I lived before I felt or cared intensely.  I am not sure why some people touch me deeply and others less so.  The bottom-line is that I am learning to accept that relationships can be complicated and that has to be OK.  I am learning.

What I have learned is that people matter; they always matter.  Finding the beauty in each interaction is the gift I give myself.  Yes some touch me a little more,, but each and every one touches me.

Life Forces

We are surrounded by beauty, by trees, animals, cactus.  The earth is below me; the skies hover above me.  Life surrounds me.  And I am responsible to do my best with the world around me.  I believe that each of us needs to walk gently with the earth at all possible times.  When we have a choice, we should always be live consciously and thoughtfully.  The earth and the skies will be here long after we are gone; we need to remember our role in making that happen.

Last week, I had a conversation with someone who was perplexed why I didn’t want to make the trek with others up to Phoenix for a short meeting.  The  reason was simple to me, but not to this person.  One of many reasons I gave was because it made little sense to drive 4 hours for a 2-3 hour gathering.  His response was that the little things don’t matter, it is the big picture how we live our life.  I didn’t agree; I don’t agree.  Every step we take matters.  Does that mean I am perfect?  Not at all, but I am working on being the best I can be.

This morning, I read the status line that one friend expressed after having a car-free Sunday; this attitude makes sense to me.  May we all have car-free days!

Everything we do matters.

Eating

I am back on my health journey.  With each passing day, I make good eating choices and less than good eating choices.  When I make good choices, I feel great and my weight is easing down.  When I make less than good eating choices, my weight inches up and I don’t feel too good.

I am also becoming more conscious of the different considerations possible for each and every item I purchase.  While I don’t have the money to do everything I want, I do have the ability to make choices and to grow in a specific directions.  My considerations include, buy are not limited to:

  • organics vs. conventional foods
  • whole foods vs. processed foods
  • packaging
  • animal by-products vs. non-animal by-products
  • carbon footprint (local vs. distance)
  • fair-trade vs. slave labor/poor employment practices
  • cost
  • etc.

With each choice comes many layers of complexity worthy of consideration.  My job as a human being is to consider what goes into eating and to make the best choices as I move forward.  Over time, my hope is that I will better align my values with my food choices.

Reality

Yesterday, I drove an hour each way to be with a community that I adore that was having a traditional ‘memorial service’ that takes place during this time of year.  I joined the community to honor both those that have passed and those that are alive and thriving.  Did I have to drive over two hours? No, but sometimes I need to make choices that have many implications.  In this case, I did what was right!

When we live consciously, we make choices every day.   And every choice we make has an impact on the world we live.  And each choice comes with a cost to our health, our environment, our world.

May we all do our best as we walk in the world.  Everything we do matters.

Here is a small list of what I have been doing over the past weeks.  What are you doing that makes a difference for others in some way?

  1. After reading one of my blogs, a reader took the time to tell me how my writing touched her.  While that doesn’t happen often, the fact that it keeps happening keeps me inspired and writing.
  2. A couple of months ago I reached out to a man who might have single-handedly saved my life.   Approximately 33 years ago, I worked with a counselor who gave me some well needed to tools for taking care of myself.  While many of my friends were experiencing normal junior high trials and tribulations, I was struggling to survive a traumatic childhood and using mind altering substances to help me on this journey.  With the help of this one special man, I was able to make different decisions and while the next years were far from good, I made it!!!!Last month, I found him and told him.  The timing was great and in the end, I was able to touch his life when he needed it! I am so happy that I reached out.
  3. Every time I go to the grocery store, I smile at the cashiers, the baggers, the stockers – I love making them smile.  And when I go to the check-out stand, my phone always goes away so that I can interact with those around me.
  4. So often I notice trash on the ground and then I pick it up.  Why not?
  5. A friend called to tell me that they now by fair-trade chocolate because of our family.
  6. I have donated boxes and boxes of good items/books to those in need and to organizations that run thrift shops that benefit organizations that are doing good work.  As I simplify, I am hoping that others can benefit.
  7. Gave money to a friend who nearly ran out out of gas and asked her to pay it forward when the time was right.
  8. Saved a rabbit from a coyote!!!! 🙂

Everything we do matters.

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(Disclaimer: Long-winded diatribe)

Life has many moving parts and it is our job to navigate each and every one of them.  Even when the journey is challenging, we really have no option.

Those of you that know me well,  know that I use writing as a means of working out all that goes on in my brain.  It is what I do.  If I am not writing, it usually means something is seriously wrong; only rarely does a busy schedule keep me from what I love second only after mothering. This is one of those times that I am working towards figuring out what I really think, so here it goes. . . .  So here is the quiet voice that sometimes goes unspoken. . . .

Loving life comes naturally to me.  I love animal-kind, the earth, and all that surrounds our world.  Yet I struggle on a very deep level; I struggle because so many people make choices to live their lives in ways that I find questionable.  And while I am not perfect; I openly grapple and when I do get thoughtless, I have my sons who remind me to follow by beliefs.

The reality is that life is a finite amount of time.  Death is a given; we will all die at the end our journeys.  My hope is that at the end of my journey I will have made a difference for good.  With every ounce of my being, I pray that my words are always thoughtful, that my actions exhibit kindness for the world I live, and that I live a life with integrity.  I truly want to be the best human being I can be.  And whether I am alive or not, my hope is that my life has touched people and made a difference.

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC  Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

Climbing towards the beach -Topsail, NC
Photo courtesy of Wendy Harris Delson

As someone who lives consciously that means I have to consider the world around me and the ramifications of my actions.  While there are many non-negotiable in my book, I also realize that I have a lot to learn and I can always be better.  I also believe that we are all a work in progress; it takes time to change.

Now to share how I really feel:

  1. When you shop for anything consider those that have done the work to bring the product to you.  Are they treated fairly? Buying fair-trade makes sense; We should all do our best to shop at stores that pay their staff living wages.  I do realize this isn’t always easy or economical, yet shouldn’t human beings be safe both physically and emotionally.  Possible offenders of not treating the workers fairly include Walmart, world-wide sweatshops, the chocolate industry-to name a few.  Know as much as you can about the products you purchase; know that child slave labor is still alive today.
  2. We aren’t doing our best to create an accessible world.  We can have the best programs, but if our communities are not made in a way that is as accessible as can be that it doesn’t matter what we service or product we are offering.  And as consumers, it is important for us  to make it not-optional that all of us are responsible for making our environments work for as many as possible.  One challenging example is clothing stores:  Wheelchairs need to be able to me freely through the store.  Another example is to provide ASL interpreters when requested for community events; community events should be opened to all.  We need to create better mechanisms to be more inclusive to meet the needs of as many people as possible.
  3. All human beings should have been born to equality.  And it is human beings that are not always operating with that premise.  How sad! And yes, it frustrates me and even angers me too.  Marriage equality for all should be a given.  In terms of religious choices, I respect nearly all religions, but they need to be kept within their houses of prayer.  While some of our teachings do not accept homosexuality, our country should not be guided by religious principles. The Boy Scouts should be accepting leaders that are good human beings; the leaders should not be chosen by their gender preferences.  I love that so many of my Eagle Scout friends have made the choices that they have made; some are trying to change things from within and some have reversed their affiliation with the Boy Scouts.  Making conscious choices is a good thing.
  4. Our carbon footprints matters.  Why are we so wasteful?  I love how people say they recycle, but do they not realize that recycling takes energy.  We are literally wasting paper reams every day.  We are not considering all of the issues of product packaging and how the products come to us.  How far do the products have to travel to make it to us?  Can we go to the store once instead of going 10 times over the course of the week.  Can we walk or  bike to the places we need to get to.  We really can make a difference by learning about how our carbon footprint impacts the world around us.
  5. I love Israel; I do not like her government.  I despise when people think I hate Israel because I don’t like her actions.  Wrong.  I have a right to speak my mind and to make conscious choices in how I live with the knowledge I learn.  I also have to hear what other sides of the story are saying.  Human beings matter and I have the responsibility to care about all humans.  Darfur, Bangladesh, China – I need to be caring about all human beings; if I know governments are making poor choices, I need to use my voice in order to make a difference for good.  This is not just about Israel, this is about taking care of and sometimes supporting those who’s voices aren’t being heard.
  6. If you tell a story long enough, it becomes your truth (even if it is a lie).  The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether or not the story we are telling is in fact the truth.  I have watched how stories and lies have been woven to become truths; and for the first time in my life I am watching people’s positive reputations become altered because of partial stories being told for the purpose of destruction.  I wish some of the adults I knew would get out the high school mentality and stop talking about people.

I am trying to walk gently as I share how I feel.  We are all a work in progress, but I wish that more people cared a little more than they already do.  The good news is that many people are doing amazing work to make our world a better place.

Silence speaks words; so don’t sit in silence.  While we have to navigate the many moving parts of our lives, don’t forget about that we are responsible for making our world what it is. .  Conscious living is a practice; it takes time to develop.  Being thoughtful in our how we walk in the world, our consumption choices and in our activism will ultimately lead to a better world.

May we all choose to live consciously and consider the world that we live in with each and every step we take.

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