Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is Your Halloween Chocolate Happy? List of Certifide Fair Trade and Organic Chocolate

Quiet cloudy day, turkeys roaming in the field.

At least two times a year we find the excuse to give, receive and enjoy chocolate; Valentine's Day and Halloween. The making of cacao has/had developed into a greedy, nasty, chop-down-the-trees, slave oriented business until relatively recently. To combat this awful type of trade, we now have some civilized guarantees with Certified Fair Trade and Certified Organic Chocolate. You would think this is a no brainer, right? Well, with deep regret, I'm here to tell you, we and the chocolate industry have a long way to go.

I say we because most people are not committed to purchasing double certified chocolate, meaning certified both organic and fair trade. I know certifications can be expensive, and for some small companies like Grenada who are committed to not using pesticides, they still lack the certification. While this particular company "does it right", the only way to know at the check out counter (metaphor for impulse buy) if a chocolate bar is both organic and has good labor practices is through certification. I am surprised that more people do not consider these both in unison.

And the chocolate industry... this is voting with your dollars at its best. If you think the chocolate industry is suddenly going to go warm and fuzzy for humanity and the environment, then I have a mountain with a lake and ocean view on it to sell you. They will not change unless their is money to be made or consumers demand it. That means back to you babe.

So how do you vote with your dollars? By buying only double Certified Organic and Fair Trade chocolate. This is not as easy as you think. There are many chocolates that you think are double certified and they are not. For instance Newman's is organic, not Fair Trade. Divine chocolate is Fair Trade but not organic. Trader Joe's cocoa is Fair trade but not organic and their chocolate bar is organic but not fair trade. Green and Black's is very sneaky; their marketing gives the impression they are both organic and fair trade but only their Maya Gold offering is both. Dagoba is another one - all organic but only one of their bars is certified fair trade. A cynic would say these companies purposely have one line of fair trade which then gives the impression that all of their chocolate is. (are you the cynic?) Rapunzel is also marketed as Fair Trade but they only devote a small paragraph on their website to fair trade and use the word "primarily" when they talk about sourcing. This is a good reason why certification guarantees you get what you are expecting.

Need help? Well, here's a list double Certified Organic and Fair trade chocolate bar companies (the whole company, not just one bar). Notice there are only 11 companies devoted to all of their products being double certified, in the world. If I've missed any, please let me know. It would be nice to have an ongoing list.

Alter Eco
Art Bar
Cocoa Camino
Equal Exchange
Health by Chocolate

Shaman Chocolates
Sjaak's Chocolates
Sweet Earth Chocolates
Terra Nostra
Theo Chocolate
Vital Choice

Some people might say that these companies are not considered the best tasting chocolate, that they have sacrificed flavor for their certifications. I ask you, is sacrificing the environment and our fellow human beings worth a little flavor? You can probably guess my answer.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Clothes Drying Racks Make a Difference

Calm, quiet morning.

So today is Blog Action Day 2009 for Climate Change and Global Warming. Much is written about what you can do to take action. You know the usual drill: Change your light bulbs, change your car, change your eating, change your heating or change your cooling, change your garden or your landscape and change your laundry.

Yes that's right, your laundry. How many of you are still not hanging your clothes up to dry? I'm not an energy user expert, but by the looks of the list above, not using your dryer would make a bigger impact than many of the changes listed. People are still making up excuses: I have no room, I have no time, I don't like wrinkles, I don't like the crunchies, I don't, I don't I don't...

Enough already with the excuses. And if your final excuse is where you live won't allow it? Well, try a little civil disobedience. What's the worst that could happen?

So start using a clothes drying rack or clothesline today, like most of the rest of the world. You can do it, really. And then ask 10 friends to join you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eco Oxymorons - Green Washing or Green Wishing?

Clear sunny morning; flaming trees scattered near and far.

Every once in awhile I come across something and say to myself, or any one who will listen, "Now there's an oxymoron". Most of them have to do with the green world, so let's just call them eco oxymorons. Many are related to green washing within an advertisement, description, title or label. You know, adding those little key words that makes something appear greener than it is. I think sometimes green washing is a company's way of green wishing, a way to muscle into the market place. The biggest green washing (and abuse) going on today is the use of the word "natural". But that's another blog coming, a rant and rave for sure, so stay tuned.

Back to the eco oxymoron... So below is a list of gathered green oxymorons. Some are short, some are long, some are funny, or serious or stupid. Many simply a play on words. Most importantly, none of which I made up. If you would like to add to the list, please comment with your own eco oxymoron. Here we go:

Clean Coal
Chemical Free
Organic Junk Food
Melted Ice
Melted Glacier
Natural Make-Up
Clean Diesel
Dry Lake
Sustainable Mining
Plastic Glass
Safe Plastic
Monsanto's Crop Protection
Green Golf Course
Level Population Growth
Veggie Meatballs
Safe GMO's
Eco Tourism
Eco Friendly Plastic Bags
Green Shopping Mall
99% Pure
PVC Fitness Ball
Plastic Silverware
Free Water
Green Parking garage
Silver Lining Organic Underwear
Clean Camping
Environmental Road Trip
Forest Management
Non Toxic Bug Killer
Plastic Wood
Healthy Ice Cream
Meatless Meat
Biodegradable Plastic
Artificial Grass
Artificial Snow
Carefree Garden
Safe PVC
Green Cars
Sustainable Development
All Natural Artificial Flavoring
Sustainable Luxury
Green Skyscraper
Safe Pesticides
Greener Hummer

And my all time favorite . . . Safe SIGG.