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I know I have been M.I.A. (yes this is a shout out to you know who you are)  lately, but I’ve needed to wrap this year up in many ways and thus have been super busy.

I’ve been so crazed lately I decided to stop and take a break with a book. Yes, that’s right I said it, a book break. The name of the book is, The White Garden: A Novel of Virginia Woolf , written by Stephanie Barron

Here’s my review, short and sweet.

The White Garden: A Novel of Virginia Woolf

This book is pretty fresh. I love the way the author takes the 3 weeks Virginia Woolf was missing after her apparent “suicide” and creates this “what if” point of view.

There you have it.

Now you take a break.

-Cara

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FairTradeCertifiedCoffee

I forget sometimes how important buying fair trade is. I don’t want small children working, picking my cocoa beans to survive, and possibly being abused at the same time. I want kids to be kids, to play, laugh and just be. I want a responsible world where people who have the power to make a huge difference do just that. We have the power to, in astronomical numbers, change how companies operate in this world. We can support fair trade products and if they don’t carry them in your local store, ask them to. We live in a world where distributors can get you anything you’d like. It is not much more money to buy fair trade.  I would rather pay more and buy fair trade chocolate than to pay a cheaper price to support a company that allows families to not receive a fair wage (i.e. – contributing to the poverty of cocoa farmers) and where children have to work for a living instead of just living.

You can take a minute to take action by sending a letter through Green America to Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury, http://www.greenamericatoday.org/takeaction/cadbury/.  Here is a bit from Green America about what is going on with Todd and Cadbury.

England’s leading chocolate bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk, has announced plans to begin using Fair Trade cocoa in summer 2009. The significance of this fantastic news is that Cadbury is the first major chocolate brand to go Fair Trade with one of its main product lines, one of the goals Green America has been striving towards. Cadbury’s announcement proves what Green America has been saying for years: it is viable for a major chocolate bar to go Fair Trade without passing a significant cost increase to consumers. Congratulations on this important victory to all of you who have taken action by buying a Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate bar or writing a letter to bring us to this moment!

The deal, which will bring the Fair Trade label to 15% of the chocolate sold in England, is welcomed by Green America and our allies on both sides of the Atlantic. Increasing the amount of chocolate sold on the Fair Trade market is an important step to improve the lives of farmers around the world.

That doesn’t mean that Cadbury is now a model of sustainability. Here in the US, Cadbury’s chocolates are not Fair Trade Certified™.

Learn more about Cadbury from Green America’s Responsible Shopper.

By contrast, Green Business Network™ members in the confectionery industry like Sweet Earth Chocolates, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, and Divine have been pioneering Fair Trade and sustainable practices for decades, and are 100% Fair Trade.

As we all know, it is critical to write companies to pressure them to improve their performance on human rights and the environment. But it is just as important to thank companies when they make a change for the better, so that company executives can bring an outpouring of positive feedback to their boards, shareholders, and employees to sustain their new, responsible practices and promote more change.

Please join Green America and Fair Trade advocacy organizations around the world in generating as many letters as possible to:

* congratulate Cadbury on the Fair Trade certification of their Dairy Milk bar in the UK

* ask Cadbury, Hershey (Cadbury’s US manufacturer) and Green and Black’s Organic (owned by Cadbury) to expand their commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products.

Then, commit to seeking out Fair Trade chocolate for special occasions, such as Easter eggs from Green Business leaders like Sweet Earth Organic and Divine Chocolate, instead of buying Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

Here is the form letter below. You may alter it to say what you want as well. This is the link where you are able to send and alter said letter.

Subject: Thank you for your fair trade commitment!

Dear Todd Stitzer, CEO, Cadbury:

As a conscious consumer and as a member of Green America, I would like to congratulate Cadbury on your plans to earn Fair Trade certification for the Dairy Milk bar in the United Kingdom. Thanks to your company for taking the leadership role among major chocolate brands in earning Fair Trade certification for an iconic chocolate bar with wide distribution and broad public recognition.

Through your leadership, Cadbury will transform the lives of cocoa farmers and their families, while contributing to a higher standard for ethical sourcing among major chocolate brands. Grassroots activists have been pressing major chocolate brands for years to become Fair Trade Certified. I regularly purchase chocolate from companies that offer Fair Trade Certified products in the United States because with each pound of Fair Trade cocoa purchased a fair deal is made with small-scale farmers in Ghana and other cocoa-producing countries. I am appalled at the existence of abusive child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa and do not want to buy chocolate picked by one of the hundreds of thousands of children working under “the worst forms of child labor,” as the US State Department reported. I choose to support companies that source Fair Trade because I believe that farmers should earn a price for their cocoa that allows them to meet their basic needs and have the right to participate in democratic organizations to decide the use of community development funds. Cadbury’s Fair Trade certification is a significant leap forward in resolving these issues and is a landmark for corporate social responsibility.

I look forward to the day that I will be able to buy Fair Trade Certified products from Cadbury in the United States. I am pleased that Cadbury Green and Black’s Organic has one Fair Trade bar and I encourage Cadbury to work with Hershey as your US licensee to extend Fair Trade certification to your entire range of Cadbury and Green & Black’s products.

Families in my community seek out Fair Trade Certified chocolate for special occasions like Easter. Expanding Cadbury’s commitment to Fair Trade in the United States by introducing more Fair Trade Certified products, such as Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs, Mini Eggs, Dairy Milk, and multiple types of Green and Black’s bars would give families in my community a reason to purchase more of Cadbury’s products.

I hope that Cadbury will join with communities like mine across the US to denounce forced and child labor, support small farmers and expand the selection of Fair Trade Certified products available in the United States.

Sincerely,
Your Name
Your City and State

I make the commitment to only buy fair trade, organic chocolate.

I said it!

-Cara

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
My cousin gave this to me to read awhile ago. I remember she laughed a lot while reading it.

I brought it on a very long trip to the French Alps last week and loved it.

Elizabeth is fresh…I liked her style.

A simple review, I know. :]

-Cara

mission_island_large

The Environmental Intelligence Unit BBC game represents fun times with flash saving the world…

It has been awhile since we’ve had an eco game…Brittish based no less.

Good times.

-Cara


Victoria Woodhull, was born September 23, 1838, in Homer, Ohio. Her father was an itinerant con man and a thief; her mother was illegitimate, illiterate and a religious fanatic. Victoria was raised in filth and squalor, beaten and starved, given little education and exploited in her father’s traveling carnival show as a clairvoyant and fortune teller. She demonstrated psychic powers, located missing objects and people, cured ailments and was said to be a medium.

At 15, in order to escape her father’s brutality, Victoria eloped with an alcoholic doctor, 28-year old Canning Woodhull from a town outside of Rochester, New York. Dr. Woodhull was an Ohio medical doctor at a time when formal medical education and licensing were not required to practice medicine. He fathered a mentally retarded son, Byron and so botched the delivery of their daughter, Zulu (later Zula), that the baby nearly bled to death. After five grueling years, Victoria left him.

Victoria’s belief in the spirits enabled her to form alliances with such powerful men as Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, enabling her to become the first female Wall Street broker. She opened Woodhull, Claflin & Company in 1870 with the assistance of a wealthy benefactor, and her admirer, Cornelius Vanderbilt. She was also the first woman to found her own newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, which stayed in publication for six years, and was notorious for publishing controversial opinions on taboo topics. The paper advocated, among other things, women’s suffrage, short skirts, spiritualism, free love, vegetarianism, and licensed prostitution. The paper is now known primarily for printing the first English version of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto in its December 30, 1871 edition. She spoke before Congress demanding that women be given the right to vote and finally, ran for U.S. President in 1872 against the popular incumbent, Ulysses S. Grant, and powerful newspaperman, Horace Greeley.

Victoria’s era was a difficult one for women, who had almost no rights to property or person. If a married woman worked, her wages were given directly to her husband. She could not dispose of her property upon death. If she divorced, she automatically forfeited custody of her children. Women could not enter universities, law schools or medical schools. They could not serve on juries, and they could not vote.

There were no laws to protect women from physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or fathers, although some states stipulated the size of the objects that might be used to inflict discipline. They had no right to deny their husbands sex. The professions open to women were few, domestic housework, factory work, teaching, prostitution and, for the privileged, writing.

Only women who committed adultery were subject to a jail sentence, not men. In 1868, Victoria Woodhull bravely instructed women to demand a single sexual standard and not to accept the view that sexual desire in females was vulgar. “What! Vulgar!” she said. “The instinct that creates immortal souls vulgar…be honest…it is not the possession of strong powers that is to be deprecated. They are that necessary part of human character.”

Victoria was a pioneer in diet, exercise, and dress. She adhered to the diet prescribed by Sylvester Graham (known for inventing Graham Crackers!). Graham was a sickly child and cured himself through proper nutrition. He recommended no alcohol, caffeine, meat, lard or other types of shortening. Victoria was a vegetarian.

Women of the day were thought desirable if they were delicate, frail, but Victoria advocated vigorous exercise. She rode horseback and walked at least three miles a day. She advocated drinking at least two pints of water a day and eating fresh fruits for good health.

She often wore men’s clothing and urged other women to do the same.

Victoria, used alternative medicine. She practiced homeopathy, a treatment begun by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who took a minuscule amount of a disease-causing agent and diluted it with liquid to create what he called a “spiritlike essence.” Dr. Hahnemann believed that when this substance was introduced into the body, the person would become immune to the disease. Victoria was also a well-known “magnetic healer.” The use of therapeutic magnets dates to the ancient Greeks, who used them to halt bleeding, soothe inflammation, purge infection and promote general healing.

Because Victoria Woodhull said what she thought and antagonized certain people, a campaign was organized against her. She was jailed repeatedly on charges of sending obscene material through the mail, and the press depicted her as “Mrs. Satan” and “The Prostitute Who Ran for President.”

She died on June 9, 1927 at Norton Park in Bredon’s Norton, Worcestershire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom. She had moved there in October 1876. She met her third husband, banker John Biddulph Martin, and married him on October 31, 1883. From then on, she was known as Victoria Woodhull Martin. Under that name, she published a magazine called the Humanitarian from 1892 to 1901. As a widow, Woodhull gave up the publication of her magazine and retired to the country, establishing residence at Bredon’s Norton.

The End.

-Cara

reversegraffitiproject.com

What a really great concept of something large we do on a small scale while thinking, siting in a dirty diner, shower, or car…or is that just me again?

:)

-Cara

let\'s play

I love game day!

It goes like this, in Climate Challenge you are the president of the European Nations. You handle the issue of global warming from 2000 to 2100. It is like the Sims game but for the good of the world.

I like it so far, but will like it more when I win!

-Cara

Aung San Suu Kyi

Some days I think I am so smart and know so much when suddenly I realize I truly know very little of the world outside of America or even New York City. I think it has a lot to do with being raised on American televised news and in American schools that didn’t teach me much about the world outside of these great states. Don’t get me wrong, I love America and am sure she was only trying to protect me from the big, bad, scary world out there…or was she? I digress, this is not the point of this entry.

The point is, until today I don’t think I ever heard of Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma). Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Burma’s liberation leader Aung San, who negotiated Burma’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, and was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. Aung San Suu Kyi showed an early interest in Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent protest. After receiving her education in Rangoon, Delhi and at Oxford University, Aung San Suu Kyi then worked at the United Nations in New York and Bhutan. For most of the following twenty years she was occupied raising a family in England (her husband is British), before returning to Burma in 1988 to care for her dying mother.

After having long refrained from political activity, she got involved in the “second struggle for national independence” in Myanmar in 1988. She became the leader of the National League for Democracy on September 27th, 1988, and subsequently was put under house arrest on July 20, 1989. She also emphasizes the need for conciliation between the sharply divided regions and ethnic groups in her country. She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused. The election held in May 1990 resulted in a conclusive victory for the opposition. The regime ignored the election results. Suu Kyi refused to leave the country and since then, she has been kept under strict house arrest.

One of her most famous speeches is the “Freedom From Fear” speech, which begins:

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

The whole reason I found out about her is I think at times Sarah Silverman is hilarious and she participated in this website, www.fanista.com. It is a program where each day in May celebrities do a P.S.A. to spread awareness about Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma.

Here is Sarah Silverman’s for your viewing pleasure.

Aung San Suu Kyi is super fresh!

-Cara

The history of solar power is of interest to me, because again for some reason I have an innate interest in all things solar. In this entry I wrote about some of the forefathers of the solar power movement and in future entries I will bring us up to the present time.

Humans and the earth have used the sun as some sort of energy source since the beginning of time, but it was not until 1838 that Edmund Becquerel observed and published findings about the nature of certain materials to turn light into energy. This in itself did not really create much commotion, but it did bring the thought of harnessing the sun’s energy source to people’s mind.

Thirty years later between 1860 and 1881, Auguste Mouchout, a mathematics instructor at the Lyce de Tours, became the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. This invention was born out of his his concerns over his country’s dependence on coal. “It would be prudent and wise not to fall asleep regarding this quasi-security,” he wrote. “Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion. Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?” Well we know what they do, they discover other nonrenewable sources of energy like oil and natural gas to use up, and once that is gone then will we turn to sun and wind for our main source of energy? The issue “they” see with that is they have not figured out a way to turn an obscenely grandiose profit off the sun and air, but I would not worry too much as I am sure General Electric is working on buying the sun as we speak.

Anyway, Mouchout received funds from the French Emperor Napoleon III and with those funds he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilized to make ice, for which he was awarded an awesome French Medal of Super Freshness [I tried to discover, briefly, what medal it was he won, but to no avail, so yes I did invent the French medal of Super Freshness incase you weren’t sure.]!

Unfortunately, his groundbreaking research was cut short. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative source of energy was not considered a priority anymore and he no longer received any funding from the Napoleon V3 [ah, isn’t that the way things go?].

I will end our solar history lesson there for today and hope you have enjoyed it so far, more to follow!

Let the sun shine in.

-Cara


Reason 80 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In the early twentieth century man learned how to extract nitrogen (fertilizer) from the air, cheaply and in large quantities. The discovery ultimately allowed 2 billion more people to inhabit the Earth and has given humans the luxury of feeding crops to livestock. Yet what gives the world abundance has, by way of nutrient runoff and acid rain, poisoned waterways from the Chinese countryside to the Ohio Valley. (Excess nitrogen promotes algae growth, robbing the water of oxygen.) In North America and Europe, lakes and rivers contain 20 times the nitrogen they did before the Industrial Revolution.

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I start many things with good intentions, many, many things. This time I intend to stay focused. This time I will not leave behind what I started. This time it is larger and more important than my obsession with Martha Stewart, all design shows, and Teresa Witherspoon. :P This time it is about the greater good...this time I am serious.

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