This fortnight in Online Insights, we prepare to make a swap for Fair Trade Fortnight, take some sagely advice from Naomi Simson and some lessons from Iceland’s notorious volcano, and then finish off with some star gazing from a long way away. Enjoy the sites and please share more with me to share with others – huh?

Fairtrade fortnight

Fair Trade Fortnight launched this weekend. The movement has been going many years now and the dividends are starting to come through.

As some of you might know, I have a coffee label, Baristador Coffee, and we launched a Fairtrade espresso blend this weekend and a special deal to help coffee lovers share Fair Trade coffee with their friends.

I have also put together a small page about Fair Trade Fortnight which contains the official video with its call to Make a Swap this year – from non-fair-trade coffee, chocolate, cotton, bananas, etc, to fair trade alternatives. See the video below:

This has come about because most of us in the West do pretty well while the people who produce our luxury commodities are often just in survival mode. In fact, 2 billion people on this planet survive on less than 2 dollars a day.

Fair Trade is about paying a fair price for goods to ensure labour is safe, producers are sustainable, and producing communities survive – that is in everyone’s interest!!

Find out more at www.baristador.com/fair-trade-fortnight-2010.

And if I can be cheeky just once, here is the link to my Fairtrade Espresso Blend.

Naomi Simson

Saw a new program on Fox News this week called The Nation and was mightily impressed by one of the speakers, the owner of Red Balloon Day, Naomi Simson.

Now I must have been living on another planet because it says on her bio that she is a speaker of some renown but had escaped my radar until now.

What I loved most, during a debate on the Henry Tax Reform, she pulled some ripper observations out of the bag that made her panel of stale old males look uninspiring and beholden to well worn, go-nowhere arguments and positions. I loved her rally against payroll tax which, she revealed, was a punitive tax brought in during a war, WW2 from memory, to dissuade employers from hiring people or paying them to much to bolster our stocks of service men and women to go to the front!

Anyway, I have now discovered her blog and one of the most recent entries at the time of writing is about what a mother crossing against the lights was teaching her toddler. She argues that this toddler now knows that it is okay to flout authority and the parent will have no right to complain when their child is a teenager in trouble with the law. What do you think?

Read Naomi’s interesting blog here.

Seven lessons from Iceland’s volcano

Eric Weiner is a writer/blogger who has shared an interesting reflection on what the shutdown of the airline industry has taught us.

There are seven lessons in all but a couple are particularly worth discussing.

One is that we are really living in a global village which isn’t perfect. In this point he is arguing that while we benefit from our shrunken, interconnected world, we pay the price when one part of it goes down, in this case, European air space. Hence, volcanic ash in Iceland led to no available hotel rooms in LA or Hong Kong!

The other observation of note is mother nature still gets the last word. In a very minor way, this was brought home to me during our mini Adelaide earthquake a few weeks ago. There I was, sitting snugly in my lounge at 11.30 on a Friday night, and next thing my house rocked as if a train just rocked into it to couple up. I then thought to myself, despite all the foundations and insurance we wrap around ourselves, nature still has cards up its sleeves.

And a bonus third lesson was purely and simply the miracle of air transport. Big, steel birds weighing hundreds of tonnes hoist themselves into the air and arrive on time in a distant destination with unheard of frequency and accuracy. Hats off to humankind!

Read the seven lessons on Eric’s post.

Earth from Mars

Earth from Mars

Earth from Mars

The last site tonight is actually a sight! Just a simple image of Earth as a star in the night sky from Mars. And it’s old – goes back to 2004 and was taken by the Mars Rover.

In light of the last site and its reference to Mother Nature having the last say, it follows that seeing ourselves in a cosmic context helps put things into perspective. That’s it, just a simple image to meditate on.

How often have you looked at Venus or Mars in the night sky, or stars for that matter, and thought nothing of them. Here, a Martian could easily look at us with the same nonchalance.

See the picture on the Boing Boing website.

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