Tag Archives: politics

Time for change

When I first started this blog it was meant to be a way for me to share what we had been up to, exchange ideas for sustainable living and, yes, to give the occasional shout out to promote my business.

As I scroll back through the things I have posted over the last couple of years  it strikes me that so much of it is no longer relevant. Of course we still need to live greener, simpler lives. Of course we still need to consume less. Of course we still need to educate ourselves about the impact our actions are having on the planet and the effect that it’s going to have on our children and our children’s children.

The problems just seem to have become so much bigger. Or maybe it’s not that they are bigger, it’s that there is an increasing awareness of how much damage is being inflicted to line the pockets of the few at the expense of… well it seems to be at the expense of just about everyone and everything.

I used to think that there was a way to opt out. To live on the fringes and lead a simple, low-consumption life. That if we just shared our ideas our collective consciousness would grow. That if enough people took action we really could change the world and leave a better future. I’m beginning to suspect that I was incredibly naive.

Like many people I spend most of my time content in my little bubble. I try to live an ethical life, supporting local business, fair-trade and environmentally sound initiatives because I do believe that consumer power is one of the best ways to effect change. After all, the whole world seems to be run on this made up thing called money.

Of course those that have the majority of the wealth want to keep it all to themselves. This is not news. I find it ridiculous that they want to do this at the expense of just about everything else, but it seems that they do. And it’s getting ever more difficult to get away from the corporations and profiteers who are robbing each and every one of us blind.

I get so angry about it all. I can’t even find the words to express myself anymore. Well I can, but they’re mostly expletives. My partner calls it “Toryettes Syndrome” but I seem to be affected by every single politician, not just the f***ing Tories.

The cost of living keeps going up and the wages keep going down. Every day we are told that we have to work harder for less, be grateful to have a job and yet there are fewer and fewer jobs to be had. If you don’t/can’t work you are labelled a scrounger and, despite the fact it’s illegal and immoral, you can be forced to work for a big corporation for free. This means there’s less paid employment for everyone.

And all the time the big companies make bigger profits and the banks keep getting bailed out. I mean, what the actual fuck?

It won’t be long until self-employed people like myself will be in the same situation as those who are unemployed. Like many working parents, I am entitled to Tax Credits to top up my income, however under the proposed new system I could be forced onto Mandatory Work Activity if my earnings are low.

Never mind the fact that it’s incredibly tough for a small business like mine to compete with the big boys, especially when they get free labour as part of the governments “welfare reform”. Not to mention the numerous tax breaks big businesses get plus their rampant exploitation of natural resources and people all around the world.

I just want to opt out, really I do. But how do you go about opting out when those with the money have all the control?

There’s just so much to be angry about but the thing that makes me most angry is how bloody ignorant so many people are. I am constantly stunned by the bigoted and self-righteous comments that I read on social media, newspapers and blogs. Is it really that difficult to understand? Or is it just that people are so brainwashed by the corporation controlled media that they have forgotten how to think for themselves and empathise with their fellow human beings.

Take a few steps back and put on a wider lens. The bigger picture is pretty terrifying.

We really need to take action. Now. But where do you start? Clicking “like” on a picture on Facebook won’t do it, that’s for sure. We need to get out into our communities. Meet each other. ORGANISE! Share our stories and educate each other, because we’ve all got a lot to learn.

Ordinary women as makers of history…

March the 8th 2011 marks the centenary of the first International Womens Day, a major day of global celebration of women.   So what’s all the fuss about?  Surely in the 21st century we have achieved the emancipation that the suffragettes struggled for in the early 1900s?  Like many women of my generation I have a decent level of education, flexible work which allows me to spend quality time with my kids and a loving relationship with a partner who treats me with respect.  But it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come over the last hundred years.   Back in 1911 when International Womens Day (IWD) was first honoured, over one million women and men were attending rallies to campaign for the basic women’s rights that we take for granted today.  They campaigned for the right of women to work in decent conditions, to vote, to be educated and hold public office and these activists helped put an end to discrimination.   I feel very lucky to be born at a time and place where I can take all of these things for granted.

For so many women across the globe, poverty, displacement and atrocious working conditions are still rife and so the fight continues.    To fuel our consumerist desire for summer veg all year round, sweatshop manufactured jeans for a fiver and countless gadgets that end up in landfill within 6 months there are families living in horrendous conditions all over the world.   For me, International Womens Day is about making the change to a more sustainable lifestyle, being aware of the effects of globalisation, climate change and the insanity of our dependence on fossil fuels.  By getting together with my friends I can raise a bit of cash to help women and children in poverty.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s a reason to celebrate.

The UN describes International Women’s Day as “the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for “liberty, equality, fraternity” marched on Versailles to demand women’s suffrage.”  By acting locally while thinking globally I honestly believe we can make a difference and help the women of the future to live a brighter, happier future.

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