How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor and Slavery

Posted on 04. Sep, 2014 by .


The following is from NPR and was written by Michaeleen Doucleff


When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

“My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation,” says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”

One of those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardian published a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.

“Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns,” the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.

The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems aren’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.

Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.

“We have more than 1 billion people on our planet whose livelihood and survival is tied to rapidly declining resources,” Brashares says. “They’re not going to take it lying down, nor should they.”

As the fish in the ocean decline and forests are destroyed, families have to work harder and harder to get the same nutrition or wages. For instance, many communities in West Africa have hunted animals in local forests for thousands of yearsBecause of deforestation, now many hunters there must travel for days to find prey, Brashares and his team wrote in Science.

To make up for these extra costs, hunters and fishermen around the world have increasingly turned to cheaper labor. In many cases that ends up being children or people in desperate situations.

“Child labor and slavery is exploding because the time needed to catch fish [or hunt animals] has gone up exponentially,” Brashares says.

But many policies and laws aimed at stopping these abuses focus on stopping traffickers instead of trying to fix the source of the problem, he says. “The government’s strategy of tracking down key traffickers and arresting them is missing the scale of the problem and the underlying issues driving them: the rapid destruction of wildlife.”

Brashares thinks biologists need to work together with politicians, economists and social scientists to figure out ways to slow down the destruction of the environment. At the same time, communities that depend on local wildlife for food and income should have the rights to these natural resources, he says.

“We need to target areas where we know reliance on wildlife is the largest,” Brashares says. “Then local communities need to have tenure rights to these animals. This strategy may be working against the U.S. economically in the short term, but in the long term, it’s a no-brainer for the world.”

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Minimum Wage in Your State

Posted on 11. Jul, 2014 by .


How Many Minimum Wage Hours Does It Take To Afford

A Two-Bedroom Apartment In Your State?

Click the picture to find out!


For more information, click here!

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Young Adults & Comsumerism

Posted on 24. May, 2014 by .


The Seven Sorrowful Mysteries of Stuff

Young Adults, Consumerism and the Uncluttered Soul: The Seven Sorrowful Mysteries of Stuff

By: David B. Couturier, OFM. Cap. David-B-Couturier1_0

This article is about stuff and young adults.  First, it’s about stuff – what we buy and sell, what we collect and store, what we pitch and toss away. It’s about what piles up in our closets, what pokes out from under our beds and hides in our basements, what gets stored in our garages and what gets buried and made invisible in our landfills. Something is changing dramatically in our relationship to stuff and in our image of ourselves because of the stuff we use and throw away. Our obsession with stuff makes it easy to treat people like stuff and to traffic people like stuff.  So, I want to talk theologically about stuff.

This article is also about young adults and how stuff affects them. I am referring to the so-called Mosaic generation, between the ages of 18 and 29. They are an amazing but largely unrecognized group of adults who are not only different from the generations that preceded them but are, as one author noted, “discontinuously different.”  This is the generation that is developing dramatically new attitudes and different practices in almost every area of life, including religion.

Mosaics are the first generation to live with the volume and velocity of unprecedented technological, social, cultural, religious, economic and psychological change.  They are not like Boomers and even Gen X’ers who are always catching up to change. This is the generation that has seismic change in its DNA. Because of this, they have perspectives, attitudes and concerns that are distinct to them.

And for that reason, they have a discreet attitude towards social justice that is often underappreciated. It is my thesis that they are developing a prophetic imagination with filters that allow them to see what is happening in politics and what is affecting our relationships to one another and to the planet in a powerfully new way. But, their prophetic imagination is not impacting the Church as fully as it could and should. And that is the case for several reasons.

To begin with, this is the first generation of young people that is decidedly “unreligious.”…

Read more by clicking the link to the document attachment below.

Young Adults & Consumerism

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Stand Up For Food That Is Responsibly Grown

Posted on 01. May, 2014 by .


What is the Equitable Food Initiative?

The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is a new project that brings together workers, growers and retailers in the effort to produce better fruits and vegetables. As produce farms comply with the EFI Standard—for improved working conditions, pesticide management, and food safety—the entire food system sees benefits, all the way from farm workers to consumers.”


How are we involved?

“As a consumer, you are a vital link in the food chain–bringing fresh fruit and vegetables into your home and your diet. Your food decisions make a difference in how produce is grown, harvested and sold: if you demand better practices, you can make a difference.”

For more information and to learn how to take action, visit the Equitable Food Initiative website.

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Pope Francis: Human Trafficking is a ‘Crime Against Humanity’

Posted on 25. Apr, 2014 by .


From TheGuardian.com by Lizzy Davies

Pope Francis says human trafficking is ‘a crime against humanity’

Pope Francis addressing a crowdPolice from around the world and religious leaders pledge to work together and to fight against human trafficking

Pope Francis has described human trafficking as “a crime against humanity” as international police chiefs and religious figures pledged in the Vatican to work together to fight modern-day slavery.

At the end of a two-day meeting, organised by the bishops’ conference of England and Wales and chaired by the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Pope Francis met privately with four women, all former sex workers who were the victims of trafficking.

In his address, the Argentinian pontiff said: “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”

Attended by the home secretary, Theresa May, as well as Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, the conference was designed to encourage cooperation between the Catholic church and law enforcement officials on the ground.

The pope’s backing for the project was invaluable, said Hogan-Howe, not only for the moral stance it would send and the network of 1.2 billion Catholics it would reach but also for his sheer pulling power.

“If I’d asked 20 police chiefs from Thailand [and] Australia to travel to London, they may have, but I can guarantee that if the pope shows his interest, people will be interested. And that leadership is so powerful,” he said.

The pope’s backing of the conference could help move human trafficking up the agenda of governments throughout the world, added Hogan-Howe. “Apart from its mere statement, it encourages governments to pass laws. It seems to me that by making such a declaration it encourages governments to take this as a very high priority.”

The conference heard that only 1% of human trafficking victims currently come forward and the church believes it can play an important role in providing sanctuary for them, as well as support in reintegration, regularisation and psychological recovery.

Participants of the conference have dubbed themselves the Santa Martha group because many were accommodated in the Vatican guesthouse, or Casa Santa Marta, where the pope lives. They have agreed to meet again, in London, in November, said Nichols.

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