A FISHY SITUATION At 99 cents per can, tuna fish seems like a killer deal – the ideal money saver - I mean think about the endless sandwiches and tuna salad you could make with five dollars alone. Everyone knows the classic clover leaf tuna can – the silver tin with their signature four leaf clover and the glorious print declaring the contents to be “flaked light tuna.” But are you aware of the fact that there are over 60 different species of tuna fish in our oceans, so which exactly are you eating?
Clover leaf is one of the leading brands in canned fish in Canada, but it is also one of the least sustainable; sourcing its tuna form destructive fisheries that kill more than just the tuna they are looking for. Amongst the vast species of tuna these fisheries are also catching and killing marine turtles, birds, sharks, skates, rays as well as many trigger fish. Sea turtles – whom are notorious for being threatened with extinction – are often caught within in the nets set out to catch tuna and inevitably face their deaths in these long lines. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are smaller species of fish and they too are being caught and trapped within long lines and being incorporated in the canned tuna we consume; even though yellowfins are facing the prospect of extinction. But along with the turtles and the tuna that are being caught there is also a by catch of sharks, skate, rays and tropical fish that serve no purpose for the tuna fishery. The sharks – who are almost extinct as it is - are often slaughtered for their fins (done illegally of course). Not only does unsustainable fishing affect sea life it also affects the birds; petrel and albatross dive for their food and when they do so they get snagged on fishing lines and hooks which inescapably result in drowning. These by catches compose about 35% of the total catch.
According to Green Peace the amount of by catch that runs through these fisheries has the ability to fill 1 billion cans of tuna per year. The easy fix to this is for companies such as Clover Leaf to step up and start sourcing from fisheries that use more sustainable, cleaner fishing methods. This will ensure that already endangered species are able to flourish and the tuna in your sandwich is ethically caught.
The Majestic Plastic Bag
Two years ago today (friday), a Deepwater Horizon oil rig run by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and released 200 million gallons of oil into the surrounding waters. The oil spill was detrimental to the surrounding ecosystem, economy and communities. The Institute for Southern Studies recently released Troubled Waters, a report on the aftermath of the oil spill and its consequences in the Gulf Coast.
Keith came home with his work clothes covered with oil. “Everything would be covered in brown pooplike stuff.” Keith went to the emergency room in January 2010 with a terrible headache he could not shake. He has since been diagnosed with multi-infarct dementia, which commonly affects people ages 55 to 75. Keith’s dementia began at 49, as his brain was deteriorating. Today, Keith sleeps about three-quarters of the day. The rest of the time he is all but unaware of his surroundings and his behavior. He is physically violent and sexually inappropriate with his wife. His children, ages 7, 9 and 20, are afraid of him. He cannot be trusted in public, with car keys or even to feed himself. His life expectancy is now, according to his wife, about five years. The most toxic chemicals found in oil are lipid-soluble, which means that they accumulate in organs that contain a lot of fat, like the brain. Consequently, those with the greatest exposure “can get permanent brain damage, dementia, as a result,” Dr. Diaz explains.
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MONKEY BUSINESS: Most people associate palm trees to cruising down the sunset strip in Vegas or to a hot summer’s day in the tropics; but what they don’t know is that palm trees are actively showing up in their lives throughout the course of a normal day. This is because palm oils are used in many foods from Nutella to Girl Scout cookies and McDonalds; but palm oils are not only used in our food but can also be found in Neutrogena, Revlon and Urban Decay Products. Ok so what we have an excessive demand for palm oil?
The majority of the palm oil that is imported in to the west comes from Indonesian – mainly from the regions of Sumatra and Borneo. These areas are heavily populated by the estimated 60,000 remaining orangutans in the wild; the orangutans live in fertile low land areas that are close to riverbeds –the same areas that are favoured for palm plantations. In accordance with the World Wildlife Foundation the reason for the rapid development of these areas is due to the sudden increased western demand for palm oil and the increased value for the commodity.
Along with the introduction of plantations and the destruction of the habitats of these animals there is also been an increase in animal trafficking in the past decade. The trafficking of baby orangutans and poaching of full grown orangutans is a devastating offense which - although is illegal in these areas - is being driven by the demand for palm oil. Some plantation owners will blatantly shoot any orangutans that are found within their plantation because they are seen as “pests.” Often forest fires are set to orangutan habitats to quickly clear the land for plantations, these fires are destructive to not only the forests but they also take the lives of numerous slow-moving apes.
So is that spoonful of Nutella as a mid-night snack worth contributing to the extinction of one of the world’s most intelligent primates?
(photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehambrick)
NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL BLUE SUEDE SHOES: Christain Louboutin, Giuseppe Zanotti, Dolve Vita, Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Steve Madden, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Chanel, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana , Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, Emporio Armani, Dsquared, Burberry, Versace, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss. It’s all about whom you wear and less about who you are.
It’s funny how we will easily fork over $800 for the latest Jimmy Choos; “elegant suede and mesh shoes [that] will take you from day to evening. Available in classic black and sophisticated navy.” But when asked to donate a dollar that the grocery store for a charity organization we are suddenly “watching our money.” That says a lot about the values of society and the implications of these values; are we truly this cruel?
Blake Mycoskie believes otherwise. He established a breakthrough movement when he created TOMS Shoes and the One for One policy. Every pair of TOMS Shoes that are sold result in another brand new pair being given to a child in need. The company was created in 2006 and since become a global phenomenon, along with its One for One policy. Shoes are something people have closets and closets full of, some that never get wore and some that are so worn out but we don’t have the heart to throw them out. It’s hard to imagine that there are young children who have never owned a pair of shoes and TOMS allows for these children to be given this amazing necessity.
Along with providing comfort the shoes that are donated are removing life threatening risks. Soil transmitted diseases are extremely common in underdeveloped countries; an example of this is Helminths. Helminths also known as an intestinal worms; one way that they occur is when hook worm eggs access the skin on the soles of feet and infect the body. They can cause chronic intestinal blood loss which will result in anaemia (a decrease in the number of red blood cells). The introduction of shoes also protects children from cuts and sores that may become infected. Another major reason for Mycoskie choosing shoes is that most schools require uniforms which include shoes, so by providing shoes education is received in return. TOMS Shoes have touched the hearts of thousands of people around the world and created an outlet for these people to provide change. In September 2010 TOMS had given over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need.
Manolo Blahniks have nothing on a pair of TOMS. Make a change and invest in someone else future and exchange those painful 6 inch Steve Madden pumps for a comfortable and fashionable pair of red canvas classics. Be who you are and not what you wear. http://www.tomsshoes.ca/
(photo from: http://www.flickr.com/taygpi/)
CUP OF JOE: With the dawn of a new day comes the hustle and bustle everyone’s morning routines; whether it be pushing the snooze button for an hour, dozing at breakfast, or doing your make up in rush hour traffic, most morning routines require a dose of caffeine enriched coffee. Be it black, with milk or a classic double double, coffee is a vital part of many people’s daily routine; the Coffee Association of Canada reports that 63% of adult Canadians consume coffee on a daily bases. But how many of people stop to think about where all this coffee is coming from?
Canadian coffee is sourced mainly from Coffea Arabica beans; these beans represent 70% of the coffee products found in the world. Arabica beans are native to Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia; all of these countries are classified as having a low development rating on the Human Development index in 2010. The level of development of these countries is extremely important because it illuminates the exploitation of the coffee industry that is occurring in this area of the world. Although you might be enjoying a cup of hot fresh brewed espresso the coffee farmers are served up a cruel, heartless bowl of nothing. They are cheated out of their crop more often than not, even with countless “fair-trade coffee” campaigned fuelled by outraged westerners, most farmers are living in less than par living conditions with little or no nutrition food (let me clarify…no food, nutritional or not). These families are forced to give up healthcare and education in order to have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter and food. There has been an increase in deaths of coffee farmers due to malnutrition in many African countries including Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Those that cannot afford to farm coffee any longer are forced to take to the streets as beggars and children often face their deaths on the very streets that they once took to get to schools.
So when you have that next cup of coffee, remember that lives that are affected by it and the impact you are having on the lives of people thousands of miles away. Look for fair trade coffee, the extra dollar isn’t going to kill you, but it may be the final nail in someone else’s coffin.
(photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meltedmoments/)