December 19th, 2021
I was going to give myself an extended break over Christmas, but now seems even more relevant than ever to focus on children…..
During his recent pre-Christmas stay here with us, my 3 year old grandson was fascinated by a book we borrowed from the library – ‘There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom’ (James Sellick and Frann Preston-Gannon). It is, in an imaginative way, about the link between palm oil in our food and the plight of orang-utans…
Children instinctively love animals…..and indeed people: he was initially very worried, in another borrowed book ‘The Invisible’ (Tom Percival), that the little girl Isabel was going to disappear completely…..
These two new books are examples of contemporary awareness of issues about justice in the world.
When our own children were growing up, more than twenty years ago, we had books such as ‘Rainforest’ and ‘Tigress’ (Helen Cowcher). We enjoyed these two together, primarily for the gorgeous art work, I think; and even though the other ‘eco’ children’s book we had at the time, ‘Lucy’s World’ (Stephen Weatherill) was more direct about the damage humans are doing, I do not remember feeling despairing…..
Now, reading with my grandson, I feel much more conflicted – my own instinct is, of course, to protect him from sad knowledge….
Knowledge isn’t always power, especially if you’re a child…
But ignorance shouldn’t equal bliss, either – there are ways of dealing with anxiety, by actions that make you feel like you’re making a difference. Trying is better than giving up, and all that!
So, careful, sensitive education seems to be the way – Tony’s Chocolonely Advent Calendars tried to do this, with an empty ‘window’ symbolising the inequality in the chocolate industry.
If you haven’t tried/come across this wonderful chocolate brand, you need to!
Delicious treats await…!
The company was founded by Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist who was shocked to discover that slavery still existed in the cocoa sector. Their aim is primarily to make all chocolate 100% slavery-free (children are still used as slave labour in some parts of the industry…); but they are of course also very ‘eco’ and environmentally aware – as I keep saying, it’s all connected…
Deforestation is strictly prohibited, and absolutely no palm oil is included….
To return to orang-utans, Munchkin, which is apparently the ‘world’s most loved baby lifestyle brand’ (though I’ve personally never heard of it!), is a partner of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). They will currently match donations to the charity, saving orang-utans – if you’re interested, visit IFAW’s website and the #BackToTheWild project.
Harvinder and daughters Asha and Jia have been campaigning, with a petition on Change.org, to stop Kellogg’s destroying rainforests (home to orang-utans particularly..) – now they are turning their attention to that company’s current exploitation of many of their North American employees. Corporate greed strikes again! Please stop buying Kellogg’s products!
If any of you would like a new challenging (and so important..) job, Sum of Us are looking for a Senior Palm Oil Campaigner, to help grow the group’s impact and win campaigns against corporate power. Applications close on January 1st, 2022. Visit sumofus.org and click on ‘Jobs’ for details.
Some enterprising children/young people don’t need us adults to ‘show them the way’ – a natural sense of justice leads them to ‘cut to the chase’ and ‘tell it how it is’….
And they do the impressive research!
Read this amazing story – well, the article is quite patronising really (suggesting their main concern was for publicity….??); but the Young Friends of the Earth (only 8 of them… never ‘too small to make a difference’) are inspiring.
And this is another heartening link to follow – a BBC News Podcast, about ‘People Fixing the World’:
And finally today, I appeal to you all to avoid supporting Coca Cola (they own Costa Coffee too, unfortunately…) – their plastic bottles are polluting the world’s oceans at an alarming rate. My blog photo this week is a Toroa (Royal Albatross) constructed from plastic drinks bottles by Greenpeace Aotearoa (New Zealand) – sea birds are dying because they’re feeding the plastic waste to their young… Please sign their petition to Ban the Bottle.
And use Fentimans Cola for your Christmas ‘rum and coke’s this year….?!
One more positive switch you could make too, a New Year’s Resolution maybe – to the ethical bank Triodos: it’s so easy to do, and they invest in important projects such as the Soil Association’s work to encourage farmers to adopt nature-friendly approaches.
Please continue to check out various important activism posts on both my Facebook page (Emily Thwaite) and my Twitter account (#grandmaglobal)
Happy Christmas to all of you; and a safe, healthy and active (politically!) start to 2022.