Creation care blog
11th June 2021
PLASTIC CUTLERY AND DRINKING STRAWS
With the prospect of sunnier warmer days ahead at last you may feel like taking your lunch break in a park or beside the lake or heading off for a picnic with family or friends at the weekend. It would be good to avoid using disposable plastic cutlery and straws as they are among the worst plastic pollution culprits. Why not carry your own cutlery with you or keep a set in the car. There are lots of options available in different price categories and made of bamboo, wood or metal. Many are sold as sets in a bag for easy and clean transport. Most can be reused over and over again. Suppliers can be found if you look on Google under ‘reusable picnic cutlery’. One example I’ve come across is made in Vietnam from jackfruit wood and is on sale in fair-trade shops such as the Magasin du Monde in Nyon and elsewhere. It’s beautifully hand-crafted and elegant, but a bit expensive at about 25.00 CHF … it would make a lovely present!
Several alternatives to plastic drinking straws are now available, including the old-fashioned paper straw, but preferably reusable bamboo or metal straws. These usually come supplied with a mini-brush to simplify cleaning.
4th June 2021
DO YOU LIKE CHOCOLATE?
Even if you don’t the following may be of interest! Did you know that 99% of the chocolate that you find in your local supermarket is made in the global north. Chocolate production has long been dominated by countries far from where cocoa originally comes from but I have now come across an initiative to start to bring about change. I’ll let them introduce themselves:
‘FAIRAFRIC CHOCOLATE is a German-Ghanaian social business that is revolutionizing the chocolate world. Africa’s raw materials have always been used primarily for the production of goods in the Global North. That is why it is important to us to go one step further, to process raw materials locally and to transfer the added value as far as possible to Africa. In order to achieve this goal, we produce world-class chocolate in Ghana – from tree to bar. In doing so, we create jobs outside agriculture and multiply local income in the country of cocoa origin. With every purchase of FAIRAFRIC chocolate you help to create qualified jobs in Africa, which in turn lead to higher income, better access to higher education and health care. No development aid, but a real opportunity for change!
The premium quality organic chocolate is produced from tree to bar in rural Ghana in a new solar-powered factory. This wildly increases Africa’s share of the value chain in the chocolate industry. By not only sourcing the cocoa in Ghana but by producing the chocolate from bean to (wrapped) bar in Ghana, FAIRAFRIC has a tremendous social impact, with every bar.
70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, but less than 1% of the world’s chocolate is made there. We are changing this system. We pay the highest cocoa premiums in West Africa: 600 USD per ton of cocoa. Thus, the farmers can finance second and third degree education for their kids.
FAIRAFRIC couldn’t be any fairer. It increases income in Ghana by at least $0.50 per bar (compared to $0.01 per average bar of Fairtrade chocolate)’
Don’t hesitate to find out more and see photos on their website and next time you are in Nyon why not drop into the Magasin du Monde, place Bel-Air 4 and try some of this delicious chocolate available in several varieties.
8th May 2021
Let’s start with some simple ideas to get us thinking, try out and perhaps (hopefully) adopt new habits. Of course it’s nothing new, but one of the most urgent issues is to reduce plastic waste and in particular single use plastics. Next time you go to a supermarket why not be specifically aware of products that are pre-packed in bulky plastic boxes, especially things like meat, fruit and vegetables, even fish and cheese. Much of this packaging could be avoided if we get in the habit of taking along our own bags and boxes.
Personally I’m a fan of ‘veggie bags’ and keep a supply of the light washable nylon ones in my handbag and in the car. I like being able to choose just the quantity, quality and even the size of the fruit and vegetables I need. Most supermarkets now readily supply these bags for a small charge, though you could of course make your own. This simple idea has been in place for quite some time, but sadly I still see most people just grab the usual old plastic bag they are used to! If I’ve forgotten my reusable nylon bags I look out for the paper bags that are sometimes supplied, or I even just stick the price label directly on the item if for example I just need one aubergine or red pepper.
THE BOX LADY!
Recently I was delighted to discover that the meat counter in my supermarket (in France) was very happy to let me bring along my own boxes. The butcher just weighs the box first, then puts in the meat I want and sticks the label on the lid. I use plastic boxes with click-on lids as they are leak-proof and easy for the butcher to close. Again the advantage is being able to choose just the quantity and quality I want. The butcher now recognizes me as ‘the box lady’, is very friendly and helpful and even picks out the best pieces of meat when I want to make a stew! Just imagine the quantity of nasty plastic meat packaging that could be saved if more people adopted this habit. If you are not a meat-eater I imagine the same tactics would work for purchasing fish or cheese at the counter, though I admit I haven’t tried this yet.
I look forward to hearing how you get on, even if these ideas are not new to you, and will be back soon with another thought.
8th May 2021
As Carolyn mentioned at our AGM, I have agreed, as a member of Council, to encourage, promote and coordinate our La Côte Church commitment to Creation Care and share ideas about what we can do as individuals. The urgency for each one of us to play our part in caring for God’s wonderful gift of Creation is becoming ever more evident. To start with we have created this blog. A brief introduction to each new theme and a link will be included periodically in our Weekly Bulletin. I will get the ball rolling and hope that in due course many of you will feel inspired to share your own ideas.
My personal commitment and enthusiasm stem in part from working for over 16 years as a volunteer in a fair trade shop in Geneva (Le Balafon), raising awareness and providing an amazing number of insights into fair development projects and trade issues. My main concern, however, is for the kind of world that will be left behind for my children and grandchildren. I may myself no longer be around to suffer the full effects of climate change and all the related problems, but they will be … and I consider it my responsibility to play my own small part in as many ways as possible to contribute to a better, cleaner, safer, fairer and more just world.
Thank you for your interest and I look forward to sharing with you over the coming months.
– Jean Mayer