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This is the version for sharing online. If you’d like to use this in print then do get in touch, as the original version I made is in higher resolution & without pixel fonts.
I don’t watch much telly.
But I turned it on yesterday, and saw a commercial for a sofa company where a woman filled her front room with sofas because at those prices, she’d saved so much money. Am I such an oddball? Does that not scream out that our society is in a really sick state? And by sick I mean that kind of desperate sickness brought on by addiction, where we find joy in bargains, and achievement in spending.
Our consuming habits directly create misery, poverty, disease, famine, rape and war the world over. It’s all well and good pointing the finger at the political and corporate sleazeballs and their addicition to money for wrecking the planet and people’s livelihoods. But none of that is ever going to change unless we STOP giving them our money.
From a practical standpoint, to make any change at all, we need to seriously cut back our consuming habits. To start with, we can all buy less STUFF. STUFF we don’t need, STUFF cheaply made that breaks the next day, STUFF we feel obliged to give as presents, STUFF that fill our houses and our lives with an empty sense of achievement.
The stuff we do buy, we should ensure is ethically sourced and produced. Or bought second hand. Then we need to look after our stuff, so that it lasts longer.
We shouldn’t be afraid to break convention, for example with diamond engagement rings. We’re made to believe that this is a tradition but diamond rings didn’t become common until the 1930s.
Food First: “Migrant Farmworkers: America’s New Plantation Workers”
IHS Child Slave Labor: “Child Slavery Should Not Be Forever” (with further references)
Wikipedia: “Child labour in the diamond industry”
Wikipedia: “Blood diamond”
“Forced child labour in Uzbekistan”, Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights
Cotton Campaign – Stop forced and child labour in the cotton industry of Uzbekistan!
Craig Murray: “Child Slavery in Uzbekistan”
Salon.com: “Where Computers Go To Die – And Kill”
Greenpeace: “Where does e-waste end up?”
ZDNet : “Is Apple’s suicide factory outsourcing to even cheaper Chinese peasants?”
Triple Pundint: “Report Details Abuses At Chinese Factories That Manufacture Apple and HP Products”
SACOM: “The Dark Side of Cyberspace”
Oxfam international: Chilean fruit-picking workers’ story”
Slave Labour That Shames America
DEAD SEA SALTS:
Palestine Solidarity campaign – Fact sheet
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: Fact Sheet
Amnesty International: ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
New Internationalist: “The Looting of The Congo”
Raise Hope for Congo
Enough Project: Conflict Materials
Wikipedia: Second Congo War
Oxfam: “No End in Sight: The human tragedy of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo”
Update 5th Jan 2011 — This piece is being used in the campaign to tell Apple to Stop Slavery Practices at Foxconn’s Manufacturies. Please have a look, sign & promote! http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-apple-stop-slavery-practices-at-foxconns-manufactories (Good luck Monica, and thanks for the initiative!)