Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Mexico... more than just a desert

So things have been completely crazy at work this past week- so no time for posting.  I've gone to bed before 8:00 2 nights this week!  Last weekend I took Justin to visit my Granny in Las Cruces... let's just say that he was shocked that within 2 hours from our house there are real mountains... with elk and antelope and ski runs, and trees and everything!  Haha... we had a great time going to the farmer's market and bought some wonderful organic preserves, honey, and local produce.  Here are a couple pictures from the trip.  Those are the Organ mountains in the background and Chope's bar and mexican restaurant is our favorite place to go.  My grandparents used to eat there when they lived at Stalmann farms pecan orchard (in the 1950s) and the restaurant was one room out of their house (even when I was little you had to walk through the kids rooms to go to the bathroom) but they have one of the best Mexican restaurants anywhere!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The move

I know it's been a couple months since we moved to New Mexico, but I forgot about these pictures.  I thought they might give everyone a good laugh.  Justin was bound and determined to bring that HUGE doghouse (it's bigger than the truck).  I can't believe Suzi made it, although I think we burned out the clutch on the 13 hour drive (with no A/C in the middle of August).  I'm glad we can look back at this and laugh now...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where does your coffee come from?

As Dean mentioned in his comment on my last post, people who work as coffee growers/laborers and diamond miners are two of the most oppressed trade groups in the modern world. Instead of complaining about what our government can do about fair trade, I thought I'd give a few tips and insight on the little things we can do.
# 1 Many coffee brands are starting to use fair trade coffee beans (if you're not sure what that means- see notes on fair trade at the bottom). Look for this seal at the right.
#2 For all you starbucks drinkers, they do sell fair trade coffee, BUT you have to ask for it up front. Presently, fair trade coffee only makes up 10% of the coffee they sell.
#3 Clothing made overseas. Many (actually most)clothing companies have their clothes made overseas in garment factories. Make sure the company you buy from inspects and reports data on their factories. Gap brands (Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic) were once in the news for child labor in some of the Asian Indian factories. They now inspect and report on all garment factories. Here is their social responsibility statement A little research is all it takes to make sure you are buying responsibly.
#4 Buy clothing from fair trade companies. Fair trade clothing has much higher restrictions- see article here Fair Indigo is one such company. Check out this site for other great fair trade companies
#5 Don't be afraid to ask! Ask the companies you buy from if they sell fair trade, if they pay fair wages to their workers, and if they have a social responsibility statement.

Fair trade=Fair Trade pretty much means exactly what it says. It is all about making sure that products exported internationally from “developing” countries to “developed” countries are produced under fair conditions. That means promoting the payment of fair prices, safe and healthy working conditions and responsible environmental practices.

Why this is important. For example, in the coffee industry, farmers who do not sell their crops to fair trade buyers often are forced to sell their coffee for less than $0.01 a lb and can have an annual wage of less than $300 for their entire family. Often times, this amount of money is less than the cost of operating their farm and their are plunged into a spiral of debt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are you really pro-life?

The Shane Claibourne book I was reading has a lot of info about his perspective (backed up by scripture) about social issues.  Since we're being bombarded with politics lately, I thought I'd touch on this hot topic. I really liked his discussion on pro-life issues.  When we really get down to it... life doesn't just begin at conception and end at birth.  How can "passionate pro-lifers" be for wars that kill innocent children, or buy products that are mass produced overseas in sweatshops where children may be working night and day in unsafe conditions and be paid next to nothing?  This seems like a contradiction to me... so many times we stand for something when it's convenient for us, but fail to see the bigger issue.  I especially liked his comment that "if we are going to discourage abortion, we had better be ready to adopt some babies and care for some mothers".  What are your thoughts on these issues?