You may not think that slavery is still a major problem worldwide, and you’d be wrong. As Oakland-based Slavery Footprint can show you via their handy web-based survey, you might have as many as 53 slaves working for you (that was our number) right now! Luckily, this fine organization, along with two other non-profits with similar missions, have received a $1.8 million grant from Google.org to raise awareness of modern-day slavery and work to eradicate it in the United States and overseas.
Based in Oakland, Slavery Footprint “works to engage individuals, groups, and businesses to build awareness for and create deployable action against forced labor, human trafficking, and modern day slavery.” They do this largely through technology and social media, including the online slave “calculator” launched this fall.
Via this calculator, we learn that the majority of our slaves appear to be in China, where, as Slavery Footprint tells us, “Coal mines, brick kilns and factories in the poorest regions of China operate illegally, using much of China’s estimated 150 million internal migrants as slaves. Raw materials from slavery include: Acrylic, Cashmere, Coal, Cotton, Gold, Graphite, Leather, Limestone, Linen, Mercury, Nylon, Pearl, Quartz, Silicon, Silk, Silver, Tin, Tungsten, Wool, Pig Iron, Lead, Lithium, Polyester.” Take the survey. It takes less than five minutes and includes a lot of other facts, like the practice of conscripting boys in Pakistan for labor at age 13, which they’re forced to continue until age 30.
I have an estimated 32. Apparently makeup is a big one, and I’m glad I don’t use a lot (I’ve had the same blush for 9 years and its just running out now, to give you an idea!)
The techonology one scares me though, as so many products like i-pods and mp3 players break down so fast. It costs us more money, plus it means we “have” to get new ones, using up more resources. I hope my smartphone was actually built to last, and not to break down once the warranty is up. I love it, and would be happy to keep it for years and years.
I’ll definitely start thinking of buying fair trade as much as possible when I live on my own and do my own groceries. I don’t want my comfort to come at the cost of human lives.
"I have a five-year-old boy and, like all parents, I would throw myself in front of a bullet heading his way; yet somehow I’m supposed to suspend that instinct when it comes to climate change. I’m supposed to bide my time until the next election, hoping somehow that Canadian voters will not be duped by the multi-million dollar campaign of tar sands companies, and by the relentless spin of a government that has chosen to represent them rather than its citizens.
It needs to end. We Canadians need to learn to be outraged by the outrageous. We need to learn that democracy is now a full contact sport that requires us to repeatedly raise our voices in order to be heard, and not to wait for our turn to quietly mark an X on a ballot once every four years.
It is only when our outbursts turn into a regular drumbeat that we will start to see the change that we and our children need. We each need to join in calling bullsh*t, and then actively pitch in to clean it all up.”
That’s the question award-winning documentary filmaker, or “media activist” as he calls himself, Velcrow Ripper is asking with his latest film Occupy Love set to hit theaters next year. The film will trace the Occupy movement from its inception at Wall Street, to the General Strike in Occupy Oakland, to Canada, to movements in Europe and beyond. It’s a timely and transformative project
A description of his film and message reads:
"A profound shift is taking place all over the world. Humanity is waking up to the fact that the current system that dominates the planet is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning. The dominant paradigm is based on separation, as exemplified by the financial system, and the corporate emphasis of profits before people.
Our headlong rush towards infinite growth is destroying our communities, our ecology, and threatening our very existence. The climate crisis is hitting us with droughts, extreme weather, floods, sea level rise and more, yet corporate lobbyists block any attempts at mitigation. Unemployment is at an all time high, and the gap between the wealthiest 1% and the remaining 99% is growing alarmingly. People are losing their homes, and the quality of life for the many is plummeting, while the few are raking in absurd profits. Wall Street is making dangerous bets, greed is running rampant, and entire economies are collapsing. Governments have been bought by the corporations, and many of us had lost hope. Until now.
This crisis has become the catalyst for a profound transformation: millions of people are deciding that enough is enough - the time has come to create a new world, a world that works for all life. We have experienced an extraordinary year of change, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, and now, erupting into North America: the Occupy Movement.
This is a revolution rooted in compassion, direct democracy, and shared power, as opposed to the “power over” model of the corporate world view. The new story is one of Inter-dependence. Love is the movement. As the Occupy cry goes: “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible!”
So now what can you do?
- Read more about his projects, see picture and video clips at occupylove.org
- Support this film! To compete theatrically and get the film out soon, Occupy Love needs funds for the technical aspects of the film. http://www.indiegogo.com/Occupy-Love
- Join them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/occupylovefilm
-Asked by http://kayjaytee.tumblr.com/
This is one of the questions I struggle with the most, and hopefully dig a bit deeper into with coming projects…
A project from my friend and classmate Peggy did this for her final project in SFU’s Semester in Dialogue program
My name is Peggy and I’m an undergraduate student at the SFU semester in Dialogue. I am compelled by the mystery of the people I see, and inspired to hear their stories.
Each week, I sit on the streets of Vancouver asking people for random conversation. And then I blog about them here.
I feel because of the way our society and fast-paced lifestyles are structured, we fail to interact and connect with each other as strangers. We stopped believing in the value of random conversations and lost faith in the power of stories from people we don’t know.
Through a series of lived experiences and blog posts, the purpose of the Stranger Diaries is to connect us with one another, listen to each others stories, and share them with the world.
For more information on the inspiration behind the project, go to:
And for ways to get involved, click on:
When we were 5 years old we used to ask questions about everything. Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? How are babies made?
We’d ask and ask, and look for the answers everywhere until we were satisfied.
But as we grow it’s easier to accept things as they are. To grumble and complain. To silence the questions in our heads for fear they are “stupid” or impossible to answer.
But change comes when people ask the hard questions, and challenge the dark answers. The only way to make friends is to ask questions. The only way to learn is to ask questions. And not only ask- but seek the answers too.
Spark the Fire is a platform for change. It is an open, safe space for questions and answers. I will be posting not only my own investigative projects, but also am excited to highlight projects that inspire me, or questions that intrigue me.
Come, be inspired, ask questions, share your voice, spark your fire.