Thursday, March 29, 2007

12 year old inspiration

Being in the 30 something stage of life with just an infant to my name, I don't have many opportunities to interact with junior highers. Tuesday evening we invited the next door neighbors over for dinner, consisting of a 40 something mom and a 12 year old daughter. We talked about dance trophies, Universal Studios, babies, seeing as we have one, food, school, swimming, spring break and movies. The evening was going along as predicted until the 12 year old (who I'll just call Danielle for the sake of not having to write the 12 year old another hundred times) said she liked writing and public speaking, and wanted to do a report on something important. In the back of my mind, my "important" topics starting lining up and waving their arms--global warming, pulling out of Iraq, reintroducing morality into our culture. I bit my tongue to see what was important to a 12 year old.

"You're really into the environment," her mom said. It was like a dream come true! Danielle's face lit up and she said, "Yes! That would be perfect. I'm really into global warming. We're melting all the ice caps and destroying our planet. Its not a choice. We have to change." Okay, those aren't her exact words, but that sums up her opinion.

I jumped into action. I grabbed "Field Notes froma Catastrophe; Man, Nature and Climate Change" by Elizabeth Kolbert.
"This book is all about global warming, and its explained in a way that really makes sense. You could totally use this for a report and its available at the library."
"Cool!" She said.
"It's a Santa Barbara reads selection, and the author will be speaking at UCSB at Campbell Hall on April 19th. Its a free lecture."
"Awesome!" She said. Danielle is a pretty girl, dance muscles emerging beneath baby fat. A perfect smile, bright blue eyes, blonde hair and a constellation of freckles across her nose and cheeks. Her enthusiasm about any topic is catching. The date rang a bell for her.
"I think I have a dance competition that day.What time does it start?"
"I believe it starts at 8pm." I said.
"I could probably do that."
That's something I'd forgotten about being 12--a schedule that makes most CEOs appear as indigent bums in their comparative lack of activity.

Before the neighbors left, I'd written down a book title, loaned them a DVD of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and introduced them to the book "World Changing; a User's Guide for the 21st Century."
I wonder if it was too much when I put a flyer on their door the next day, like a Dominoes pizza ad, about the environmental talks scheduled in April in honor of Earth Day. They did say hello enthusiastically the next time I saw them, and I hoped that grin on her face was one of hope for the future, rather than a smile of sympathy for the 30 something over enthusiastic environmentalist--if I even deserve such a title.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fair Trade link update

My last link to the UK fair trade page didn't work--you know, the one I got from the Co-op America article. So I'm not sure if this is the same site, but sure sounds like it:

Friday, March 9, 2007

First US Fair Trade Town

For a pint, who can tell me the name of the first U.S. Fair Trade Town? Is it A) Deluth, Minnesota B) Media, Pennsylvania C) Ithica, New York or D) Bakersfield, California?

You guessed it, Bakersfield! Okay. Just kidding. According to Co-Op America's Fall 2006 newsletter (yes I'm just reading it now!), Media,Pennsylvania became the first "Fair Trade town" in the U.S. What does it take to become a fair trade town? Britain has a Fairtrade Foundation that sets the guidelines, which Media, PA modeled to declare such status;

Here's the basics:
Town/city council promises to serve Fair Trade products at meetings and functions
set mandates for a percentage of media retailers and institutions to sell and use FT products
Encourage support and media coverage of FT
Create a steering committee to keep it going on!

Europe is a ways ahead of us, but I bet we could catch up if we made it sexy to be a FT town. Can you imagine Fair Trade Hollywood? How about Fair Trade Flint, Michigan? For the full scoop on Britain's guidelines, check out

That's what guys night out does for a woman. At least in my town. At least on this night!