Fair Trade Phones

September 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Many worldwide lined up for days outside Apple stores this week, wondering what new technology would be unveiled with the release of the IPhone 5. Others eagerly await phone contracts to expire so they can upgrade to the latest phone of their choice. News coverage shows the excitement or disappointment as the competing brands tinker with the look and features of their products, with experts commenting, comparing the pros and cons of new devices. The technology age sees us connected on a daily basis, through our phones, computers, tablets, consoles and TV’s. How often though do we reflect on how these products get from the beginning of their journey, such as minerals like tantalum, through factories, in countries like China, to the stores in our communities and then into our pockets, homes, businesses or learning institutions.

This talk by Bandi Mbubi is a powerful one. Each of us as humans on a daily basis make choices as consumers. These choices are made through necessity of living in an interdependent world, where needs that we have can be met by the goods or services of others. Whether it be the food that we buy or grow, the homes that we live in, the electricity that we use, the transport that we engage, the way we dispose of waste, the venues where we connect with others or the technology we have or purchase, each choice can have an impact on others within the global village. Historically, these choices connected humans much closer to their community, where as in today’s world we see goods and services being traded, bought and sold throughout all corners of the globe.

In todays cafes and stores, it is common to see Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and clothing in particular. Many other products within various markets carry similar branding, empowering the consumer with information as they make purchases. Those living and working within the developing world can be very vulnerable, encountering hazardous working conditions, limited access to negotiating a better deal and commodities taken and exported without fair compensation for the individual, family, community or country in which it was sourced. Our connection to this example of the Congo by Bandi Mbubi is then growing, with so many of us in the Western world in particular owning and using such technological devices. Each of us is then able to reflect on our own thoughts and actions, including the personal and collective ethical influence we have into the future.

As Bandi Mbubi explains, technology has opened communication and connection channels throughout our global village. We have witnessed, like in the examples he mentions, where text messages have given a voice to those who may not have been heard before. It has also allowed himself and his family the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends who live back in the Congo. These technological advancements have become an important part of the fabric of our society. With all these advancements come responsibilities though, with each of us able to become informed about our ability to make positive differences through our daily thoughts and actions. The little empowered ripples that we make as consumers each day, can develop and inspire the fair world that we wish to live in.

“Fair trade. Would it not be more logical to label unfair products?”
– Loesje


Open to Potential

September 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Read this short story called ‘The Empty Cup’ and consider how important being open to potential is on our journey.

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

I have always loved this story, reading it and sharing it in many varied texts and settings. We have all experienced moments when our mind was already made up, we were convinced that what was possible for ourselves, others or the world around us was determined because of our limiting thoughts, past experience, a sense of maintaining power or being the expert, vulnerability, fear or stereotypes that have been developed. It is challenging to envision certain eventualities as possible, we risk stepping out of our comfort zone, away from the comfortable, and experiencing change, ups and downs. This requires being open to potential.

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us’. – Marianne Williamson

In the story we can insert any human interaction. We live in an interdependent world that sees us making daily thoughts and actions that affect ourselves and others within our global village. The titles or subject are not the important theme within the story but the reminder to explore the possibilities within each of our interactions with self, others and the world around us. Within this process we are more likely to discover our own and others potential and be able to act authentically, making a difference and feeling empowered throughout the journey. Our connection and being open to what’s possible can allow us to continually grow and learn from our interactions, experiencing joy, inspiration and support, as well as providing strength in those times that test us.

“When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out”. – David Weatherford

Connection Through Public Spaces

September 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

At the core of all of our programs is a belief in the potential of each individual. We believe that through connection to self, others and the world around us we are able to explore the possibilities, discover our potential and then act authentically, navigating the journey that is life, making a difference and ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’. Throughout the interdependent global village that we live, opportunities exist all around us to connect. This connection provides us with support and meaning as we experience successes and challenges. Even though these opportunities exist, sharing this time and space with over seven billion others, our humanness, past experiences, vulnerability and busyness can affect the quality of our interactions and the connection possible.

Public spaces have historically been such an important part of our communities. They have provided a place to meet, interact, listen, share, trade, laugh, play, learn and pass down the wisdom, culture and stories throughout the generations. This significance reminds me of the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. The positive impact that is possible when we empower individuals through a shared vision of connection, opening channels of communication, hopes and dreams, and valuing diversity along the journey of potential that each of us is on. Respect is built as we celebrate the amazing contribution that each member of the community is able to make, like pieces of a puzzle.

Candy Chang so eloquently describes this process in our 21st Century world. As she describes, two of the most precious things we have is time and relationships with other people. Her journey exploring ways to recreate public spaces to provide opportunities for connection inspires many to become more aware, reflect and appreciate the significance of their daily thoughts and actions. Watch this short video and consider its message and themes. In what ways can you become an architect of vibrant, empowering and inspiring public spaces in your communities? In what ways can you act on the questions that arise throughout your life, overcoming any connection limits that we imagine might exist before we even reach out?

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

– John Lennon

What’s Your Dream?

September 1, 2012 at 12:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“When you build a house, you start with one brick. If we want to build peace, we should start with one day. And that day has arrived”.

– Jeremy Gilley.

Jeremy Gilley was not the brightest or most popular kid at school. Like many he experienced challenges throughout his childhood. One of his challenges at school was his learning difficulty, dyslexia, which made learning to read, write and spell more difficult. Another challenge Jeremy experienced was that his parents had separated and he didn’t really feel he fitted in with all his peers.

What he was interested in was the world around him. He was a deep thinker and took a keen interest in the TV news. He also found his talents lay in the area of theatre, landing a lead role in a West End musical in London at the age of 12. This saw him then beginning to attend theatre and ballet schools. Each of us have unique talents that when discovered can inspire us along our journey of potential.

Fast forward quite a few years and Jeremy, now 42, is the face and continued energy of the movement that is Peace One Day. He has many supporters, such as high profile stars like Jude Law and Angelina Jolie, as well as all those around the world who believe in the vision, ‘Peace Day is everyone’s legacy. If it doesn’t belong to everyone, it’s not going to work’. Consider what your dream might be and the steps, daily thoughts and actions that you are taking to see it become a reality?

This journey has not been all about successes. It began with Jeremy setting out to create an international day of peace, using his camera to document his journey. He believed he may not succeed but thought the documentary would at least make a statement about the world not wanting to try. He travelled the world, talking to kids in particular, and harnessing support for a UN Resolution to make the 21st September a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

There were many set backs as well as inspiring moments for Jeremy but on the 7th September 2001 the UN passed the resolution that he had worked so hard to achieve. Watch the video below, find information on the web or watch the DVD’s produced by Peace One Day to gain a better understanding of the amazing journey that took place, including the devastating event 9/11 happening just before the announcement was meant to be made in New York of the successful establishment of Peace Day, as well as the amazing energy and passion that Jeremy expresses through his daily thoughts and actions. Also consider how you can celebrate with the global village on September 21 this year.

This is obviously no magic fix to issues that face our global village. It is an opportunity though to appreciate the ability for each of us to become the change we wish to see in the world, through our daily thoughts and actions, inspiring others along the way. We are able to passionately advocate for the values that we hold, fairness, justice, equality, opportunity and the list could go on. We can make choices, big and small, that positively ripple through the global village. If we believe connection is possible, with self, others and the world around us, we are capable of achieving what some may believe is the unachievable.

Peace One Day has seen many great achievements, like some 4.5 million children in Afghanistan receiving immunisations because of the cease-fire and non-violence negotiated on the 21st of September each year. Continued awareness and effort is required to see a further reduction of violence and greater celebration of diversity within our global village. Each of us is able to help, through thoughts, words and actions. Consider what ways you inspire others? Consider how your thoughts drive your actions? Consider how your words empower self and others, or affect your own or others potential? Now go do it and have fun along the journey!

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

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