Friday, June 17, 2011

Human Slavery and Permaculture -- what tha?

if you know me at all, you know that i am MASSIVELY into social justice (it's a biblical principle!).  and child trafficking and human slavery fall right into that.  but what?  huh?  what does that have to do with a blog on on sustainability and permaculture as a lifestyle?  have you gone off your rocker woman?

well, no.  and let me tell you why. 

permaculture has as part of it's philosophy, simplified living and care for those we are in community with.  whether we like it or not .... we are in a global community.  we have to think about others.  how we live -- with or without excess -- will directly affect those around us .... because child labor and human slavery are driven by our greed and need for cheaper quicker, easier to access products.  these people are in bondage because of our day-to-day choices!

  • those department store jeans that you bought ... did they come from a sweat factory in a developing country?
  • what about that cool imported produce?  well, chances are a child or forced laborer were used to pick it.
  • jewelry, precious stones?  insist that you know where they are sourced from.  and if they can't give you a straight answer .... chances are it is illegal.
  • tobacco and cotton are huge industries where child labor are used.
  • and i'm sorry to say that often times the following products are produced through child labor in the Philippines: banana's, coconuts, corn, gold, hogs, rice and rubber.  not to mention pornographic materials.
  • the housing industry is very suspect given that there are over 15 known countries that employ child and forced labour to produce bricks.
  • and it happens in our own back yards.  the number of sweat shops in southern california alone would scare anyone.  and aussies aren't exempt.  in the area i live in a few years back it was reported that a particular middle eastern cuisine restaurant had labours that were living in a shipping container behind the restaurant and working in the restaurant.  not long after this was reported in the papers the restaurant closed down.  
as a Christian, i know full well that ALL people are created in the image of our Divine Creator (Gen 1:27).  this must then mandate that i take an active role in ensuring, that as far as i am able, and as far as my "world" reaches ... i have to do something, live some way that is going to contribute to reducing this ghastly blight on our world.  God calls me to that.

and yes, you can make a difference.  by talking about it, by thinking about how you live.  did you really need to buy that gorgeous accessory that came from some developing country?  do you know if the hands that made that belonged to someone who got a fair wage, or someone who was forced to labor for a few scraps of food to survive on?  do you really need to have your home built out of those funky and ever so cool bricks that are imported on the aching backs of small children?  not to mention the food stuffs we buy.

if we all were to make a conscious choice to only eat or own things that we knew and were comfortable with where they came from .... imagine what that would do to reduce the demand from these exploitive sweat shops.  i'm not saying to throw the baby away with the bathwater .... what i am saying is make wise, educated and informed choices about what you buy.  grow it yourself if you can, and if you can't .... then ensure that you are buying local .... whether it's food or clothing.  every choice you make, makes a difference. 

this is a principle of permaculture, as I apply it in my life.  some would disagree.  that's there choice.  some would say that they can only make a difference in their small part of the world.  i reckon that by making the right choices right now .... you are making a difference in the farthest part of the world.  we live in a community.  we can try and forget about our neighbors in exploitive situations ... but they aren't going away.



  1. I'd like to find a permaculture blogger, in a mediterranean climate. Somewhere in their theories is a way for me to grow salad greens. Sustainably. Today we had nasturtium and dandelion leaves with garlic chives. We're getting there very very slowly.

  2. Sounds Yummy! as far as finding that type of blog! keep looking. blotanical is a great start ... often times you just need to try a few different search phrases on google ... and the list of blogs that folks follow can often give you a hint to something! one of the premises of permaculture is that with observation and careful consideration you create the environment and conditions to grow whatever you want. it's a great journey and we're having heaps of fun!

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with you and try with all my heart to buy ethically and as local as possible

  4. if we were on facebook, i'd give you a big "like". we can all make a difference. it may not feel like it .... but we are!