Today is International Women’s Day which also falls in Fairtrade Fortnight. One of the most important ways of lifting women and girls out of poverty in developing countries is to promote fair trade. According to the Fairtrade Foundation a quarter of all farmers and workers in fair trade are women. Of these just under half work on plantations and just a quarter are members of small farmer organisations such as co-operatives. In contrast the United Nations calculates around 70% of agricultural work is done by women. So why the difference? The answer is men still own most of the land and transport crops to market meaning they control the household income. Recognizing and investing in women farmers is good for development as many are catalysts for change in their communities. The Fairtrade Foundation is addressing this gender gap through a variety of projects. You can also help by buying fair trade from your local Co-operative store who are the largest independent supplier of fair trade products in the UK.
Looking forward to the Strictly Len Goodman special tonight? According to a great piece by the Guardians environment editor Adam Vaughan Len “will provide one of Christmas TV’s top challenges for the people tasked with keeping the lights on. When the judge finishes reminiscing over 12 years of Strictly Come Dancing on Friday night, kettles will be boiled, lights switched on and water company pumps powered up as toilets are flushed across the UK”.
Christmas is a challenging time for energy companies because demand is much more difficult to predict. So how much does Christmas cost us in energy? The figures are quite amazing. According to GoCompare Energy cooking Christmas dinner costs the UK £15m and leaving the Christmas lights on costs an incredible £3.75m a day.
All this means the average household can spend up to £50 extra on gas and electricity in December.
We all know someone who is lonely although we probably don’t think about them very often. The distant relative who we never see. The older person who lives across the road. The teenager who is always on their own. The girl or boy at school who never mixes with other children.
To highlight their plight the writer and campaigner George Monbiot has joined forces with the leading folk singer and musician Ewan McLennan to launch a new tour and album called ‘Breaking the Spell of Loneliness’ which is out this week. It followed George writing a column two years ago on the subject in which he argued that what distinguishes our age from those preceding it is an epidemic of loneliness, a deadly condition, which kills as many people as smoking or obesity. To his surprise the article went viraI and it even inspired a recent BBC1 documentary called The Age of Loneliness. READ MORE
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