We need to talk about undies

Yes, your undies are a very private thing. Comfort and style are immensely important, and no doubt you’ll have a strong personal preference. But we do need to talk about undies.

Do you know what nasties are riding along with your favourite undies?

Residual chemicals in clothing

It’s a significant issue in clothing, particularly for people with sensitive skin, and especially in underwear that hugs our skin so closely. So much so that Choice recommends:

wash any new clothes twice before wearing, although washing won’t remove certain types of chemicals

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Why we’re so enthusiastic about our Fair Trade partnerships

I want to share with you a few of the reasons we’re so enthusiastic about our Fair Trade partnerships, and why we’re eager to have your ongoing support. Continue reading

Geoff and the chocolate factory

A couple of years ago Geoff White told us that he was going to open a chocolate factory. We smiled and nodded approval, but secretly wondered if Geoff was biting off more than he could chew this time.

But Geoff is a remarkable man. We should have known better than to be sceptical.

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India’s food security vs the World Trade Organization

India has come under heavy criticism for blocking the implementation of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement reached at Bali in December 2013.

Proponents celebrated the Bali “package” as a long-awaited achievement by the WTO, which had failed to reach a significant agreement since 1995. However, critics lamented that the Bali deal was skewed in the favour of developed nations.

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Why I’m drinking fair trade organic Ethiopian coffee

Ah. The Aussie summer. Catching waves. Watching cricket. Fresh local fish. Friends. Sleeping in. Coffee.

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World Fair Trade Organization – CAJUNz co-operation

A few years ago at a World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) conference my good mate Geoff White from Trade Aid in New Zealand was giving an update on happenings in what had historically been called the “Pacific Rim” regional grouping of WFTO.

Basically the Pacific Rim included the few countries, spread around the Pacific and over half the globe, that didn’t fit either geographically or thematically into the other formalised WFTO regions – which had adopted the names WFTO Europe, WFTO Asia, WFTO Africa and WFTO Latin America. We were the rump, without the formal structure and meaningful names the other regions had taken up.  They, and the global secretariat, had been pushing for us to name ourselves formally – and get organized…

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Pucket Table Game

Pucket! I lost…

I had a weekend away at the beach with fourteen friends who meet every three months or so for shared, home-made curry banquets.

The weather looked like rain so my partner and I took along a few games, including New Internationalist’s new Pucket game, for potential indoor entertainment. Though I’d toyed with the Pucket game a bit, and watched a YouTube video or two of it being played, I’d never actually played it myself, so I wasn’t sure if there’d be much interest. Especially since many of the curry clubbers were variously into either more cerebral or more relaxing pastimes… and Pucket is definitely neither.

What it is is an updated version of an old French table game called ‘Table à l’élastique’ or ‘Passe Trappe’, and it has been variously described as “backgammon on steroids”, “wooden, noisy and you get to ping things”, and “the most addictive game to hit the market in years”.

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A tale of two doormats

Have you ever stood under a coconut palm for shelter during a rainstorm? Hmmm. Not such a good idea. For a start, a coconut palm isn’t much of an umbrella. But the big issue is falling coconuts. A typical coconut weighs in at about 2k, and falling 25m from near the top of the palm turns it into a deadly projectile. If you value your brain, get out from under that coconut palm in a hurry. And listen to the thuds from a safe distance as the coconuts hit the ground.

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A funny thing happened on the way to the (Fairtrade) market…

A few years ago I was in a meeting which had a pre-release view of the now ubiquitous fairtrade label seen on coffee and tea around the developed world. When it flashed up on the screen I actually burst out laughing and blurted ‘looks like a dead fish!’. It also on quick reflection looked like an animated little enzyme that regularly ran across our black-and-white TV screens in Australia in the 60’s (yes I’m that old) gobbling up germs to advertise some cleaning product or other. Continue reading

A tale of two producers

Two of our producer partners put Australian politics to shame.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship recently announced that Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder and CEO of soleRebels, has received the Foundations Social Entrepreneur of The Year Award for 2012. In announcing the award Schwab Foundation Chairman and co-founder Klaus Schwab said “Bethlehem embodies the vision and values of the global social entrepreneur community, and we are proud to honor her exemplary work in creating a highly innovative, ethical and sustainable business that continues to make a strong social impact.”

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