This song is beautiful.
Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers [acoustic version]
This song is beautiful.
This always makes me smile
When being proposed to you probably aren’t thinking ‘where did that diamond come from?’.
I don’t think I’d have given it much thought either, until I had a seminar yesterday on the role of natural resources in fuelling violence, with a focus on blood diamonds in Zimbabwe.
Diamonds from Zimbabwe are internationally considered legal, non-conflict diamonds due to the narrow definitions of conflict in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. However:
- Diamond sales fund repression by the Zimbabwe government and army
- Army guards accept bribes for access to the mines, meaning that profits from the diamonds go into their pockets, and not the people of Zimbabwe
- Over £38 million of the diamond mining revenue is suspected to be funding Mugabe’s allies
Just because a diamond isn’t seen as a “conflict diamond” doesn’t necessary make it acceptable. Mining worker’s conditions are pretty poor, and a lot of the workers are women and children who are forced to work in the mines.
Despite efforts to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds they have not been eradicated from international trade. Just because a diamond is labelled “conflict free” doesn’t necessarily make it so.
The ignorance of the consumers who are buying diamond engagement rings certainly doesn’t help the situation. Do we really want to fuel corruption by buying an item we don’t need?
Is there an ethical alternative to diamond rings? A quick search on google came up with a number of different alternatives, including:
- man-made diamonds
- and my personal favourite, recycled rings. That’s vintage, eco-friendly rings. Fab.
Making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
This is a stupendously awesome commercial from a toy company called GoldieBlox, which has developed a set of interactive books and games to
A friend at work posted a trailer for the film “Earthlings” on her twitter account. I’ve never thought about eating meat before, it’s something I’ve always done and I’ve never questioned the treatment of the animal. After watching the two minute trailer I found myself in tears. I’ve always liked animals but never considered the pain they go through to produce the meat I eat. I always thought they were “just animals” and weren’t the same as us.
So yes, I watched the film Earthlings, felt wholly ignorant about the way meat was produced and how cruel it was to animals, and spent most of the film in tears.
I then decided to read up on vegetarianism, and was particularly intrigued to read about the positive effects not eating meat can have for the environment. I study international development,looking at how the lives of those living in poverty can be improved, and I felt a moral obligation to become vegetarian when I realised that we could feed more people on a vegetarian diet then we can on a meat based diet. Growing crops to feed people rather than animals would use less land, water and other resources, which is amazing. The amount of land needed to produce food for someone following a typical meat-based diet could feed two and half vegetarians.
Livestock production is responsible for 70% of the Amazon deforestation in Latin America, where the rainforest has been cleared to create new pastures. 780 million people across the world do not have access to clean water but farming accounts for around 70% of all freshwater taken from lakes, waterways and underground water supplies around the world, much of it to produce meat. With the UN Secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, saying that water scarcity could fuel the next big international conflict, reducing the water we use doesn’t seem like a bad plan.
But it’s not just about not eating meat, it’s about being a better human being. Buying more fair trade, sourcing seasonal products from local businesses, buying things from charity shops rather than purchasing mass produced products I don’t need. It’s just the beginning, and I’m sure I’ll learn more along the way, but I’d like to think this is the first of many positive steps.