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November 15, 2021 - No Comments!

A Conscious Christmas

-5 ways Christmas giving can be different this year-

Recently, during one of our online updates, we learnt that Australians were expected to spend around $18 billion on Christmas shopping. We also discovered that there would be about $1 billion in unwanted gifts given. That’s like - approximately 7.3 million Australians receiving gifts that they will never use, or wear, this Christmas! (The Australia Institute, 2019)

I don’t know about you but for our team at ZOE, the driver to become more conscious consumers is to prevent, and end, child labour in industries like the clothing/garment industry, makeup, agriculture (food, coffee), homewares and electrical goods. But we also feel that the environmental and health factors are huge drivers for change too.     

In our last blog post, Reconciling Our Consumer Habits in the light of Child Labour, we wrote that Australians are connected to the issue of child labour through the products that they consume. “When we want our products to be free of child labour, but don’t take any consumer action, we tell our suppliers that as long as it is accessible and affordable, we will buy it.” 

Or as Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” 

So how do we develop a more conscious attitude this Christmas in light of what we know about child labour, the waste factor, our budgets, and the expectations of our families and friends?  And how do we give a gift that will be treasured rather than wasted? It feels like a lot to juggle all those things!

As we mentioned in the last blog, there are tools available to assist us. There are ethical shopping apps such as ‘Good on You,’ ‘End Poverty,’ ‘Sweat and Toil’ and ‘Shop Ethical’ available for download. But there are other creative alternatives to curb our shopping habits too such as buying less, buying second-hand, reusing existing Christmas decorations rather than buying new ones, and considering what the people we’re giving to already have.

This quote speaks volumes to this topic, “This is not about being a Grinch, canceling Christmas or trying to pass a minimalist purity test. It’s about breaking out of a consumer mind-set that demands we constantly buy things — things that we then must care for and eventually dispose of.” (Annaliese Griffin, How to Buy Nothing New This Holiday Gifting Season, The New York Times, Nov. 7, 2021)

Using an online audience interaction platform at our last online update, we asked participants to contribute some of their creative ideas to be more conscious as we all step into the Christmas season.  We’re hoping that these suggestions will help equip you with some fresh ways to be more conscious as you plan your Christmas giving this year. And as ACRATH reminds us it’s about, “Placing the person at the centre of our Christmas shopping” because it is our actions and spending that impacts workers all around the world.

Idea #1

Make it a challenge*. Just like Annaliese Griffin says in, ‘How to Buy Nothing New This Holiday Gifting Season’, “Every year my husband and I set a holiday challenge for each other: Find a gift at the local thrift store, something delightful that is a reflection of our individual aesthetics or obsessions.” 

*And how about trying not to buy any new wrapping paper this year either. Reuse wrapping paper and cards, and get creative using fabric or other materials to wrap gifts.

Idea #2

Buy a plant, or something ‘living’. For people who love nature, gardening and flowers, there are Australian businesses that help to sustain people, land and culture through the propagation of native plants.

Idea #3

Support 100% Australian owned businesses. Find out about buying from local producers. Share with your family when you find ethical brands that have positive social impact.

Idea #4

Give a voucher (to cook a meal, babysit, mow the lawn, garden make-over, Op-shop voucher

etc.) Or make a home-made/ handmade gift. 

Idea #5

Give an experience (movie vouchers, day outing, restaurant, theatre tickets etc.) Or make a donation on behalf of a person to a cause you know they support.

It may take a little more effort on our behalf to get started, but when we truly care about the people who make our gifts - and the ones who we’re gifting them to - then it’s totally worth it. 

Remember that this is a journey. Developing a more conscious attitude towards purchasing at Christmas takes us from a place of ‘not knowing’ anything about what we’re buying, where it comes from, or who made it … and moves us towards ‘good’, ‘better’ and then ‘best’ choices. 

Let’s accept that it’s not about getting it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but more about using our awareness, and the information available, to make the most informed decisions we can - knowing that no one has all the answers on this topic to tell us exactly what we should do.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a conscious consumer, keep a lookout for our NEW upcoming course in 2022!

October 30, 2020 - 1 comment.

No Joke! This is Australia!

“Australians are very friendly and easygoing people. In fact, Australians are renowned for their laid-back nature and unique sense of humour. Another thing Australians are known for is their love of sport, recreation and the great outdoors.” (tafeqld.edu.au).

What do an Australian police officer, security guard, bicycle repair man, student, transport worker, reservist, videographer, restaurant worker, IT consultant, forklift driver, retail services worker, student, school secretary, health and safety worker, and a computer programmer all have in common? 

These were the occupations of just some of the 44 men aged between 19 to 57 found across every state and territory (except the Northern Territory) who allegedly all shared child sexual abuse material using a 'a cloud storage' company.

It's said that Operation Molto began late last year when the AFP were tipped off by a US intelligence agency about an international paedophile ring.  

So far 16 children have been removed from harm but The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) has received 21,000 reports of child exploitation in the last financial year. 

You can read this and be appalled, or you can read this and be spurred into action. 

The choice is up to you. Click here to download a toolkit or email us to see what you can do. 

 

 

 

October 2, 2020 - No Comments!

I Can Do That!

For all of us who work at ZOE, in any one of the 5 countries, we often cross paths with people who say, “I want to do something … what can I do?” Less often though, we see people who passionately embrace ZOE’s mission, combine it with their interests, skills or hobbies and then actually use it to influence their sphere. But when we do - it’s powerful!

Recently in Australia such a person came forth and reminded us again how everyone has something that they can do to bring awareness to the issue of ending child trafficking. 

Meet Sharon! An ordinary, yet amazing, woman who is using her heart -- along with her hobbies and circle of influence -- to make a difference by helping children.

Not long ago, I asked Sharon a few questions and here’s what she had to say!

1) How did you hear about ZOE?

I first heard about ZOE when Brett became the ZOE Development and Advocacy Coordinator in Australia.  About 9 years ago, I became aware of child trafficking through another organisation that was setting up in Mozambique. (My husband and I were living there at the time.)  But after a few years this connection waned.  I first met Brett when he was senior pastor at a local church my family started attending maybe 20 odd years ago and so his getting this position led me to check out your website

I noticed you were involved in education and had developed a curriculum for year 10 students and are in the process of a curriculum for year 9 students and possibly primary school students.  This sparked my interest even more as most of my time has been spent in ministry with children.   I started reading Facebook posts on ZOE’s work, then Brett invited me to be part of the ZOE prayer team. I’m excited to be part of an organisation that brings healing, transformation, hope and the good news of Jesus to vulnerable children. 

2) What 'sparked' your ideas for both the dinner and the art work you're doing?

When I saw the delicious food being prepared from ZOE’s recipe book, I asked Brett if I could purchase one.  He said, “How about I send you some books and you can maybe cook something from it and have a few friends over to talk about ZOE and its work.”  My immediate response was, “I can do that!”  So then began my planning for my ‘awareness afternoon tea.’  I’m now planning to host a second one in the near future.

I’ve enjoyed sewing quilts and other projects for about 20 years and along the way, it’s been a pleasure to create things for other people and organisations.  When I saw the ZOE colouring book, I thought this may be a way for me to do some creative work for ZOE.  When Brett said the drawings were done by some of the ZOE children and staff, well that was a bonus! 

3) Why are you passionate about ending child trafficking?

I’m passionate about ending child trafficking because it saddens me greatly that children, through no fault of their own, are subjected to terrible abuse and miss out on so many opportunities including to know unconditional love and the right to enjoy their childhood.  NO child should have to endure what so many are ‘living’ through and that also includes working in factories/or on farms for little pay and not receiving a formal education.  I have four children and one grandchild and am so blessed they have had and are still having many wonderful opportunities to grow, learn and flourish! I’m excited to be part of an organisation that brings healing, transformation and hope to vulnerable children. 

I feel that prevention and education is the key for big changes in so many areas. If I can play a small part in making people aware of what is happening in our world, in our country, then it can be the start of a journey which others can take and pass on.  Love the ripple effect!  

*If you have a passion to end child trafficking and ideas on how you could use your interests, skills or hobbies to influence your sphere, then please reach out and discuss your plans with us.