6 Ways FairTrade Makes Chocolate Sweeter To Eat

(ref: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International )

What can make a chocolate bar more wonderful than it already is? Answer: Making the bar from cocoa beans where the farmer was paid a fair wage for their product, where no slave labor was used, and where earth-friendly and sustainable growing standards were adhered to.

That’s what you get with a certified FairTrade bar of chocolate. An estimated 14 million people in the developing world depend on cocoa production for their livelihoods. FairTrade helps ensure that they can make a real living and we get a better and safer product. Sweet!

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10 Myths About Older Workers

(ref: Overcoming Myths About Older Workers Flash Cards at http://www.AgelessInAmerica.com )

  1. MYTH: Older workers are too expensive.
    FACT…
    In the time-based 20th century, the longer people worked, the more they earned. In the market-driven 21st century, private and public sector businesses have to become efficient low cost providers. People and organizations need to compete in this center and both must break the link between pay and seniority.
  2. MYTH: Older workers can’t learn as well as younger workers.
    FACT…
    The fastest growing group of Internet users is over age 50. According to a recent Harvard University study, the ability to use an accumulated body of knowledge keeps rising throughout the lifetimes of healthy people. It is true that the most effective ways to learn may be different for older workers than others. Experiential learning has proven to be of greatest value with this group.
  3. MYTH: Older workers aren’t as productive as younger workers.
    FACT…
    “Productivity” is a character trait – not a generational trait. Business Week, in researching the aging workforce, states that people can be old, smart and productive assuming they maintain their health and stay abreast of standard technology. Researchers confirm that far from wearing people down, work can actually inspire people to be productive and fit. Continue reading

37 Rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

(ref: UNICEF, http://www.unicef.org/crc/)

Image from a card handmade in Rwanda

"Wishes come true" - a card handmade in Rwanda

NOTE: October 24th is United Nations Day

The United Nations  Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. On November 20th, 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not.

The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too. All UN members except the United States and Somalia have ratified CRC. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (California) is urging United States ratification.

  1. Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.
  2. All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognized by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.
  3. Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
  4. Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child. Continue reading

8 Stages of Successful Social Movements

(ref: Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership by Berit Lakey, George Lakey, Rod Napier, Janice Robinson)

Bill MoyerBill Moyer, a United States social change activist, developed a strategic model for waging successful nonviolent social movements in the late 1970s. This model is called the Movement Action Plan (MAP). Here is a summary of this model as described by George Lakey, the founder and retired executive director of Training for Change.

Stage One: Business as Usual
In this stage, relatively few people care about the issue. Small groups are formed to support each other. The objective is to get people to start thinking about the issue and start spreading the word. Small action projects may be taken on in this stage.

Stage Two: Failure of Established Channels
The general public is unaware of the injustice and largely uninterested in learning about the issue. The public is thinking (or hoping) that established structures are taking care of the problem. “Surely the government is watching out for the safety of our ground water.” “Surely, corporations know which chemicals are safe and unsafe and are already ensuring that workers and the public are not being exposed to the unsafe ones.” In this stage, small groups research the issue and the victims of the injustice. They may sue government agencies or corporations and will usually lose. Nevertheless, these actions are a necessary exercise in building public awareness.  Stage Two polls will show 15% to 20% of public opinion leaning towards the change.
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20 Richest People in the United States in 2009

Forbes 400 graphic

(ref: Forbes 400, forbes.com. GDP data from indexmundi.com based on 2008 CIA Factbook)

In 2009, the net worth of the top 20 wealthiest fell by 13.8% and there are 3 newcomers to the top 20 group (indicated by an asterisk*). The total worth of the 400 wealthiest in the United States fell by $300 billion to $1.27 trillion. Numbers in [brackets] are countries with the closest approximate GDP. Continue reading

20 Quotes from the Nonviolent Resistance Front

(ref: After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance, Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien)

Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday is October 2nd. In honor of him, the United Nations in 2007 adopted this day to be International Day of Nonviolence. Here are some quotes from leaders in nonviolent resistance that inspire me.

  1. Nonviolence is an intensely active force when properly understood and used. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  2. If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)
  3. The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  4. If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone, will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work. – Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
  5. I had no idea that history was being made. I was just tired of giving in. – Rosa Parks (1913-2005) Continue reading

18 Milestone Events in the Life of Mohandas Gandhi

(ref: Great Figures in History: Gandhi – a full-color manga graphic novel from Y.kids)

g1869p 1869 October 2 – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar in West Bengal, India
g1891p 1891 June – After attending Inner Temple Law School in the United Kingdom, Gandhi passes the bar exam and becomes a lawyer. Unknown to him at the time, his mother has passed away while he is at school.
g1893p 1893 – Gandhi is thrown off of a train in South Africa for refusing to move from his First Class seat to Third Class (even though he held a valid First Class ticket). Such discrimination against Indians was common practice and this personal experience gives Gandhi resolve to fight racial discrimination.

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