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Choose Fair Trade Bananas

WFTO Fair Trade Organization Mark

WFTO Fair Trade Organization Mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are bananas, and there are bananas. The banana market is controlled by five large corporations – Chiquita (25%), Dole (25%), Del Monte (15%), Noboa (11%) and Fyffes (8%).  When you shop at the supermarket, how often do you think about where the food you eat comes from or how it was grown? Supermarkets today contain food from all over the world. But how does a banana get to our table?

Most bananas sold in Canada today, have been sprayed with chemical pesticides. Only 0.5 percent* of the purchased bananas have been raised without these kinds of toxins.

The bulk of Canadian organic banana imports is supplied by the United States, with products from, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Honduras. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says Canada imported about 1,800 tonnes of organic bananas in 1998.

In Canada, Transfair Canada – has certified fair trade bananas, imported by Equicosta and Pro Organics Marketing.

If every tenth banana sold in Canada were a certified fair trade banana, this would mean that almost 20 metric tons of chemical biocides would not have to be spread on the banana plantations.

More than one thousand banana workers could work in plantations where they are not being exposed to extremely poisonous biocides. The birds, tortoises, dugongs, butterflies, insects, fish, frogs, and all other animals in the areas around these plantations, would not have the risk of being harmed and poisoned by the chemicals.

This is why you, as a Canadian, should choose fair trade organic-labeled bananas.

Would you like to know the truth about ordinary bananas?

Rivers and seas are not well
Despite the efforts, it has been difficult to come to terms with the immense use of biocides. Chemicals are still leaking out into small streams and rivers, and end up in the ocean and the coral reefs. The fish and other animals in the rivers and alongside the coast are being poisoned and risk dying, at worst.

Criticism has resulted in some improvement
As a consequence of the criticism, some banana companies have made certain improvements to their bananas. The plastic bags impregnated with pesticides are picked up after the harvest instead of being left in the fields. The workers are not in the plantations during the aerial sprayings, and the use of the dangerous weed killer Paraquat, has been heavily reduced. However, this is not enough – and it is possible to grow bananas without massive amounts of chemical biocides.

Harmful to the Workers
There is no safe way to use chemical biocides. All-covering protective clothing is difficult to use in tropical heat. Accidents are common. Daily exposure to the plastic bags impregnated with pesticides cause neurological damage, and when packing the bananas, the workers risk contracting skin problems. The chemicals spread on the plantations are also in the workers’ homes (there are even trace amounts of chemicals in their mattresses), as well as in other buildings close to the plantations, such as the children’s schools.

The Banana Consumption in Canada

Bananas are many people\’s favorite fruit. Canadians consume plenty; the bananas we normally eat in Canada originate from countries like Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador. Almost all of the organic bananas, come from the Dominican Republic. About one tenth of the organic bananas were also labeled with Fair Trade. In Canada, all bananas labeled Fair Trade are also ecologically grown.

Fair Trade Bananas

Choose Fair Trade labeled bananas instead – and help improving both the environment and people\’s lives.

Fair Trade is a guarantee that the growers always are paid more than the world-market price and never less than the cost of production. The labeling is also based on a number of social criteria. Furthermore, there are some minimum demands regarding the environmental effect. The labeling is guaranteed and controlled is carried out by Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International ( ), where Fair Trade is a member.

Organic bananas account for just 0.5 percent of total banana consumption, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in the study entitled “The market for ‘organic’ and ‘fair-trade’ bananas.” –

-ecological growing accepts the use of soaps, organic based extracts, oils, and fungi and bacteria that have not been genetically manipulated. In certain fruit-growing, limited amounts of copper and sulfur may be used.

Canadians wish to rid themselves of debt, stress and in-laws

If Canadians had a magic button and could press it to deduct one bothersome thing from their lives, credit card debt and mortgage payments would be the first to go. According to a new Angus Reid Strategies survey sponsored by Intuit Canada, makers of QuickTax, debt is at the top of Canadians’ deduction wish list, with stress and weight gain following close behind.

Debt is the first to go

The Angus Reid/Intuit study, which polled 1,045 people across Canada, revealed there\’s some interesting dreaming going on:

  • More than one-quarter (26 per cent) of respondents would strike credit card debt from their everyday life if they had the chance, followed by mortgage debt (22 per cent) and winter\’s extra pounds (15 per cent).
  • Atlantic Canadians were the biggest credit card debt dreamers, with 32 per cent claiming they would strike it before anything else compared to only 22 per cent in Alberta. Atlantic Canadians tied with Quebeckers for deducting school debt (14 per cent each).
  • Not surprisingly, mortgage debt elimination was highest in Ontario where housing prices continue to skyrocket.
  • Ten per cent of Canadians are eager to get rid of school debt while another 10 per cent would deduct work stress and seven per cent would choose snow.
  • Annoying partners/spouses and in-laws appear manageable, each accounting for just one per cent of deduction button wishes. Those living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan feel otherwise, with five per cent wishing to eliminate annoying partners/spouses. Three per cent of Albertans would ditch the in-laws if they had the chance.
  • While it’s unclear who’s actually fatter or more stressed, women ranked higher than men in wishing their extra pounds away (17 per cent vs. 13 per cent) while men ranked slightly higher than women in wishing their stress away (10 per cent vs. 9 per cent). But when it came to credit card debt, a whopping 30 per cent of women wanted to dream it away compared to 21 per cent of men.
  • The largest group that wished their credit card debt to disappear were between 35 and 54 years old (33 per cent), followed by those over 55 (23 per cent).

There are some made-up words that really should be in the dictionary

There are some made-up words that really should be in the dictionary.

destinesia (noun) : a disease in which one enters another room/area and forgets what they came for. Although he marched angrily and purposefully into the room, the moment he stepped in from underneath the door, he had destinesia and forgot for what he had come.

Garage Mahal (noun) : an extremely large house , similar to other houses in it’s area, with the primary distinguishing characteristic being an oversized 3 or
4 (or more) car garage to house the SUV’s, RV’s, and other family vehicles.
The Jones’ just moved into a Garage Mahal, so I guess we’re going to have to move, too.

thinko (noun) : A thinking mistake. Like a typo in mindwaves. A slip of the mind.
All my mistakes are just thinkos!

flatuglance (noun) : The glance given by someone who recognizes that someone in his or her’s presence has farted. While on the elevator, he recognized someone’s flatuglance as he tried to determine who had passed gas.

conquire (verb) : to answer a question with a question “Why do you always answer a question with a question?” “Do I?” he conquired.

fakeuccino (noun) : Gas station or convenient store, machine made cappuccinos and lattes. fake-a-chino The popular coffee shop was too expensive, so we settled for a fakeuccino.

gesundtime (interjection) : The time between the moment you realize you are going to sneeze and the actual sneeze.

flexitarian (noun) : A vegetarian who infrequently eats things that are not standard vegetarian fare (i.e. steak, chicken, fish, etc.) She\’s really more of a flexitarian than a vegetarian because she truly enjoys the occasional piece of fried chicken.

winternment (noun) : the state of being forced inside due to inclement winter weather (I made it up because I live in Buffalo!) “The storm caused the schools to close; this winternment is unending!”

Bangalored (verb) : To have one’s job sent overseas Nick was sad when his job was bangalored

Flutterby (noun) : What Butterfies should have been called! Why butter anyway??
dehydrophobic (noun) : One who is unreasonably afraid of dehydration or being thirsty. She’s always carrying water around, she must be a dehydrophobic.

counterstink (noun) : an odor used to mask another odor
The counterstink was more annoying than the odor it was intended to mask.

ignoy (verb) : to annoy by ignoring Stop ignoying me!

derogonym (noun) : An alternative name given to a thing, usually a company or product, which is derived from the actual name and derogatory in nature.
Don’t you think the coffee tastes burnt at Charbuck’s?

phonesia (noun) : The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer. I was going to dial my friend, but at the last minute I got phonesia.

Choose organic, choose local, choose fair trade

Try to incorporate as much organic food as possible in your holiday meal. Organic food is GE-free and grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. There are number of third party certifiers in Canada who certify products as organic. Look for certified organic food at the grocery story, at your local co-op and at farmer’s markets. There are also increasing numbers of organic home delivery services.

While organic food is almost always the best choice, you should also consider where and by whom it was produced. Locally grown food is easier to trace to small, responsible producers. And, since it doesn’t need to be transported as far, it cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.

One great option for fresh food year round is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) which allows you to pre-buy – in essence invest – in a farmer’s annual crop. The dividends: farm fresh food, as soon as it’s ripe. To find a local CSA, search the Internet or ask at your local food co-op.

For fun, try to prepare a holiday meal out of ingredients from within a hundred miles of your home. For tips, visit

For information on where to buy organic food, visit the Canadian Organic Growers or check out the Eat Well Guide.

Whenever possible, opt for fair trade certified food products. Commonly certified products include coffee, tea and chocolate. For more information on agricultural workers in Canada, visit

The many uses of Vodka

*14 things you can do with Vodka besides drink it.

  1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The solvent dissolves adhesive. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

  2. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.

  3. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfect the blade and prevents rusting.

  4. Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

  5. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

  6. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.

  7. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

  8. Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshable ice pack for aches, pain or black eyes.

  9. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed  lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days.

  10. To relieve a fever, use a dishcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.

  11. To cure foot odour, wash your feet with vodka.

  12. Vodka will disinfect and ease a jellyfish sting.

  13. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.

  14. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

And silly me. I’ve only been drinking the stuff!!

4 simple tips to save money at home and help the environment

Here are 4 tips to save money and reduce climate changes. These are simple changes for your home to save money and live environmental friendly:

Avoid standby-mode, can save up to 70 dollar/year.

A TV, Computer or other electronics with standby mode, can consume 50% of power consumption. To switch off the TV completely, you save money and the environment. It cost you about 10 dollar a year to have the TV in standby mode and it is also a fire hazard. Approximately all standby-energy in an average household cost between 70-80 dollar a year.

Change your showerhead to a low, can save up to 180 dollar/year

About 15 to 25 percent of all energy consumed in a house, goes to heat up the water. A family of 4 people that shower 5 minutes per person per day, consume 87,6 cubic meter (One cubic meter = 1,000 litres = 220 gallons) of water a year.

With an economic shower head the consumption are reduced to 58,4 cubic meter a year. The water bill is lower and energy consumption is reduced. In total a family of 4 people could save 180 dollar a year by changing showerhead and other taps.

Seal your windows and doors. Can save up to 150 dollar/year

By reducing the emission of heat from you house, you can reduce your energy consumption. If you close the curtains or blinds at night, the heat is staying longer. Seal your doors and windows can save up to 150 dollar/year in a average size house.

Reduce the heat in your house. Can save you up to 200 dollar/year

If you reduce the temperature inside your hose with one degree you reduce energy consumption with 5 percent. For you that live in an average size this can be a saving up to 200 dollar/year if you reduce from 22 degree to 20 degrees indoors.

Other savings you can are:

  • Do not use your dishwasher, wash all your dishes by hand in cold water.
  • Change your regular light bulbs to fluorescent light bulbs
  • Shave with a razor and not an electrical razor.
  • If you have a towel heater or dryer on compared to when it is off

Friday on the Subway

I got up this morning feeling very joyful, it was Friday, casual day at work, so this is the day of the week I like to stand out by going in my business clothes. On the subway down to my office, I looked around the subway car and I noticed that the majority of the passengers all were dressed for casual day. My mind started going, thinking about how we conform ourselves to seemingly arbitrary standards that are set for us when joining a company, the further my thoughts took me, I realized that all of us follow the same rules, as if we lived in a Big Brother state.

Before reaching my subway stop, George Orwell’s book 1984 came to my mind and I was asking myself if are we heading there.

  • “In the book the character Winston Smith lives in London which is part of the country Oceania. Oceania is a totalitarian society led by Big Brother, who censors everybody’s behavior, even their thoughts. Winston is disgusted with his oppressed life and secretly longs to join the fabled Brotherhood, a supposed group of underground rebels intent on overthrowing the government.
  • Winston meets Julia and they secretly fall in love and have an affair, something which is considered a crime.  One day, while walking home, Winston encounters O’Brien, an inner party member, who gives Winston his address. Winston had exchanged glances with O’Brien before and had dreams about him giving him the impression that O’Brien was a member of the Brotherhood. Since Julia hated the party as much as Winston did, they went to O’Brien’s house together where they were introduced into the Brotherhood.
  • O’Brien is actually a faithful member of the Inner-Party and this is actually a trap for Winston, a trap that O’Brien has been cleverly setting for seven years. Winston and Julia are sent to the Ministry of Love, which is a sort of rehabilitation center for criminals accused of thought crime. There, Winston was separated from Julia, and tortured until his beliefs coincided with those of the Party. Winston denounces everything he believed him, even his love for Julia, and was released back into the public where he wastes his days at the Chestnut Tree drinking gin.”

We are controlled by rules, we need a license to drive a car, having a car we need to have an insurance and obey traffic rules, to travel we need a passport, we need an ID to get our money from the bank, whether we earn money or not, we need to file our taxes, it goes on and on. We are completely in the mercy of process and laws.  More and more, business sectors introduce processes and certify the individuals that are working in these sectors, project managers, accountants, real estate agents, insurance brokers, financial planners, the list is endless. So how did we get to this, one word –lawyers.

Behind almost all the industry associations there is a lawyer that has championed the cause of a profession and the creation of a process to certify individuals working in it. There are more lawyers today than there ever have been and we are a society at the mercy of lawyers that control our businesses, governments and our cities.

What will happen if we elect the wrong government and they decide to create new laws to control all the industry associations?

If that happens we are close to a totalitarian society and in my view, it seems we are heading in that direction. Currently what is going on is that we are creating a new class of professionals, who slot in between middle and the rich class. This class is all about process and control, a set way of doing things. I do not think we are exactly in the position Winston Smith in the book 1984, living in a society in which they cannot fall in love, but we have our taboos too, the biggest one being that we cannot be poor.

Being a man ‘bad for the environment’

Men are worse for the environment than women, spending more on petrol and eating more meat, both of which create greenhouse gas emissions. These are the conclusions of a new report by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

“Three out of four cars in Sweden are today driven by men. Around ten percent of all drivers, mainly main, account for 60 percent of car journeys ,” author Gerd Johnsson-Latham told Swedish Svenska Dagbladet.

The team behind the report argues that Sweden ought to giver greater consideration to the gender perspective when making planning decisions on matters such as public transport.

The study is being produced for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Commission.

A ship sank in high seas – A question of nationalities

A ship sank in high seas and the following people got stranded on a  beautiful deserted island in the middle of nowhere:

  • A. 2 Italian men and 1 Italian woman
  • B. 2 French men and 1 French woman
  • C. 2 German men and 1 German woman
  • D. 2 Greek men and 1 Greek woman
  • E. 2 Polish men and 1 Polish woman
  • F. 2 Mexican men and 1 Mexican woman
  • G. 2 Irish men and 1 Irish woman
  • H. 2 Swedish men and 1 Swedish woman
  • I. 2 Iranian men and 1 Iranian woman
  • One month later, on various parts of the island, the following was observed:

    A. One Italian man killed the other Italian man for the Italian woman.

    B. The two French men and the French woman are living happily together.

    C. The two German men have a strict weekly schedule of when they alternate with the German woman.

    D. The two Greek men are sleeping together, and the Greek woman is cooking & cleaning for them.

    E. The two Polish men took a long look at the endless ocean and a long look
    at the Polish woman, and they started swimming.

    F. The two Mexican men are talking to all the other men on the island trying to sell them the Mexican woman.

    G. The two Irish men began by dividing up their part of the island into
    Northern & Southern parts, and by setting up a distillery. They do not
    remember the Irish woman because it gets sort of foggy after the first few liters of coconut whiskey; but at least the English are not getting any.

    H. The two Swedish men are contemplating suicide. The Swedish woman is
    bitching about her body being her own, the true nature of feminism, how she
    can do everything that they can do, about the necessity of fulfillment, the
    equal division of the household chores, how her last boyfriend respected her
    opinion and treated her much better, and how her relationship with her
    mother is improving.

    I. The 2 Iranian men are still waiting for someone to introduce them to the
    Iranian woman!


    The happiest people in the world are not those who have no problems,

    But those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect


Watch out for ugly blogs

It’s pretty damn easy to get started with a blog. You don’t need any hardware or software or hosting company, the blog providers will handle all of these for you. There is no sign up fee or monthly fees. There are so many blog sites that offer FREE blogs to any one, you can quickly sign up and start to generate your content in minutes. Generating good content, now that’s the hard part.

Anyone can be a publisher; the good, the bad or the ugly.

The Good
The good side of blogs is that individuals have an opportunity to voice their opinions on various issues or report on what\’s happening in their community. Newspapers have noticed this, and many of them are offering blogs to readers, which is great in that it foster community interaction with the news delivered online.

The best bloggers can give you alternative views on news and events that can quite astonishingly and convincingly turn conventional and accepted versions upside down. They can add complexity to our understanding of what is happening in different parts of the world. The most famous blogger of our time, Salman Pax, “The Baghdad Blogger” remains the best example of what an independent blogger can contribute.

The Bad

Relying on blogs for news is unwise mainly because bloggers are not journalists who have to comply with ethics and standards like sourcing all material or writing coherently. The news obtained from blogs is unreliable and the best you can hope for are observations and opinions unbacked by any guarantee that they have not been invented.

Blogs can be cleverly disguised propoganda or even a mouth piece for commercial interests. Of course, one can also say the same things about some mainstream media outlets.

Most bloggers do not even attempt to report news first-hand because they don\’t have the resources to be on the spot at a news event, or spend 8 hours a day reporting, or if they do, they are usually being paid – which makes their claim to be independent of “corporate-controlled” main stream media (MSM) questionable.

Bloggers tend to focus on giving their opinions about the news, providing links to the same “corporate-controlled” media stories that they complain so much about. Bloggers have also been successful on occasion at picking apart news stories, finding mistakes by doing research on the internet, with one or two high-profile achievements in that respect.

But the reality is that if bloggers want to be successful in the news field, they’ll find they need to earn a living from their work, just like any other freelance journalist, and they will then become part of the dreaded “MSM”.

Just because something is published on the internet doesn’t make it radically different from an article published in the “old” print media.Blogs can also be very cheesy. Okay, that’s just an opinion, but it’s an opinion held by many people. A variety of people use blogs as a way to trap you for the purpose of spamming or to sell you another get rich quick idea.

Blogs have opened up a new avenue for fraudsters to reach potential targets for their scams. So, you have to watch out for that when you visit a blog and be careful not to give up any personal information. I learnt this the hard way, I have given up my email address at some blogs to get additional information, and that has caused me to receive over 400 spam mails a day and it seems to be growing.

The Ugly
The ugly people are the commercial interests that use blogs to offer specific industry news and make you believe that they are a serious publication, from a marketing perspective, this is pure genius in trapping potential buyers. But for the visitors to the blogs, this is an entrapment as they later will be approached by the company behind the blog.I am not saying that every company that has a blog is ugly, there are good blogs which companies use to interact with the buyers, in which they can gain feedback and improve themselves.

The ugly as I mentioned are the companies that use blogs as a newsletter to entrap visitors.These newsletter blogs offered by a company, are a part of their marketing mix, because of the ease of adding content to a blog. Companies newsletter blogs tend to have content from serious publications and they link back to the original article, not providing any deep analysis or original content, so be careful when you go to a site that has a blog newsletter, first find out if this is a serious publication or not.

One way to check is to see if they offer subscriptions. If a subscription is offered it is probably a genuine publisher and not a company.

Also look at the content, if they quote a publication, then it is not a genuine publisher.

Do not signup for email newsletters if the company behind the newsletter is using a blog providers hosting service. You may be allowing the hosting service to collect your email address, possibly selling your email address to email marketing companies. Read the privacy policy carefully.

So, in conclusion blogs are good, bad and ugly, be careful when you visit a site, do not give up your information. I suggest that if you want your own blog, find the community site you prefer and sign up with them.