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Showing posts from 2007

Smouldering olive trees scar the Peloponnese in Greece.

I am saddened to hear the devastation caused by the forest fires in Olympia, Greece, where more than 60 people have been killed since last week. Thousands of internal refugees are now homeless across the Peloponnese. The ancient ruins of Olympia, site of the original Olympic Games, were close to destruction but thankfully an operation involving 15 fire engines supported by aircraft and helicopters managed to save this sacred site.
Approx 4m olive trees have been ravished by the fires so far. These beautiful trees can be exceptionally long-lived, up to several centuries, and can remain productive for as long, provided they are pruned correctly and regularly.The problem is that they grow very slowly, so the landscape will remain naked and scarred for many years to come.
I'm off to Crete in under 3 weeks time, so to pay homage, I plan to seek out an olive tree in Crete, claimed to be over 2,000 years old. Let's hope its still there.

Model eco-mama?

The new rather special person in my life, Alethea, is 3 months old today. She makes me SO happy. I'm trying my hardest to be the model eco-mama but am faced by daily dilemmas. Time allowing (and boy is it limited right now!) I plan to log all the highs and lows of this new adventure into parenthood.

Energy-intensive gaming

New owners of the Playstation 3 released in the UK today, might be forgiven for overlooking the impact of their new purchase on the planet amid all the excitement. But the PS3 saps power, consuming 380W, more than double its closest rival, Xbox 360, which runs at 160W, and over EIGHT TIMES more than its predecessor, the PS2, which runs at 45W.
Isn't it time consumers of gadgets and gizmos such as these were given accurate data on the label about their energy efficiency, in the same way that we can for white goods such as fridges and dishwashers?

LU first public body to join Ethical Trading Initiative

London Underground (LU) has become the first public body to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) - an alliance of retailers, unions and charities committed to improving workers’ conditions in supplier factories.

LU issues about 300,000 items of uniform a year to its 12,000 staff, much of it made in the Far East and Eastern Europe. Companies supplying LU clothing will now have to demonstrate their efforts towards complying with a set of stringent standards covering health and safety, wages, discrimination and other labour issues.

It remains to be seen whether other public bodies will sign up following this announcement.

Ethical Trading Initiative

It’s not playtime for toy workers in China

With the news of the imminent arrival, I though it best to get researching on the rather massive area of all things baby related. To my dismay, I’ve discovered that most of the main toy brands have a rather dark side and I’m faced with the ethical dilemma of buying toys for my child that may well have caused distress to someone else’s family. What is clear is that it is very difficult to find ethical toys on the high street and avoid potentially risky chemicals found in plastics.

According to a report by Ethical Consumer, 'sweatshop' labour is still a stark reality in toy factories.

"Although most companies we investigated have signed up to support industry standards, when it comes to their factories, these standards just aren't strict enough. Most companies allow staff to work in excess of 60 hours per week, something that we at Ethical Consumer find unacceptable. Their supply chain codes of conduct also make little provision for ensuring workers earn a 'living wa…