Rare and Endangered Species Are Not A Luxury Food Item – Our Protest Against Commercial Whaling

This month the Japanese officially resumed commercial whaling after a halt of more than 30 years. The commercial hunting of whales was banned in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to ensure the conservation of whales. Despite this ban, Japan had continued to hunt whales on a smaller scale for “scientific” purposes. This so-called science experiment resulted in the killing of 333 minke whales last year, including many pregnant female whales. This month Japan has withdrawn from the IWC and decided to ignore the ban altogether, meaning that they will openly hunt whales for commercial use from now on.  

Turning Whale Meat Into A Luxury Item

While the ban of commercial whaling was an excellent initiative for the preservation of whales internationally, it had one unintended consequence, it increased the value of whale meat to a “luxury item”.  The ban of commercial whaling meant that whale meat became a rare and expensive delicacy in Japan where it is eaten as whale cutlets, sliced raw whale, deep-fried whale nuggets, whale bacon and whale jerky.  Whale meat is now a luxury food in the Japanese market, and demand for it is high.  The resumption of commercial hunting spells disaster for the conservation of whales. 

The First Commercial Whaling Resumes Hunt

In the first week after Japan decided to ignore the ban, five whaling ships set sail from Kushiro for the country’s first commercial hunt since 1986. These five ships were allowed to catch more than 227 whales in Japan’s commercial fishing waters. In the first official commercial hunt, the first whale killed was a 5.6-ton Minke whale measuring more than 8 metres in length. Once hauled ashore it was sent to the local fish market where the hunters were hoping for a sale of more than US$18 per kg. This is only the beginning of the whale hunting season.

It is hard to believe this brutal practice of killing whales for a luxury food market still exists in modern day Japan. Whale meat is food from the past. For many older Japanese, it is food from their childhood in the post-WWII era. During this time the American occupation authority encouraged the use of whale meat as a cheap source of protein, and it was often served in school lunches up until 1987.

Now whale meat is not a cheap source of protein for a hungry population, but is served only in the most exclusive restaurants and supermarkets. The creation of a luxury market for this meat is likely to act as an incentive for other countries to also ignore the ban and resume whaling. With many whale species on the brink of extinction, we find this path to be absurd.

The Threat To Whales

But, Japan is not the only nation on the hunt for whales, Norway also continues to hunt whales. They pursued and killed 432 Minke whales last year to supply the growing demand for whale meat in luxury tourist destinations. These harmless creatures have been put at risk by the continued hunting. The resumption of commercial hunting by Japan only increases the risk to their survival. 

Whales are already suffering from the damage we have caused to their environment. We have damaged and encroached on their habitats and breeding grounds, we have depleted their prey through over-fishing and we have polluted their waters with toxins and heavy metals that accumulate in their bodies.  Now added to the human-made threats on this species is the abhorrent act of hunting them for the luxury food market. Hunters wanting to supply this luxury market use grenade harpoons with spring-loaded claws to attack a pod of whales. These harpoons embed deeply into the whale’s flesh killing the whale slowly and painfully while being used to haul them onto the deck of the whaling vessel. If this does not kill the whale, hunters will shoot it onboard with rifles. This is the reality behind the whale meat dish served in a high-end restaurant in Tokyo or Oslo. 

whale

With the long term recovery and survival of whale populations are already at risk we urge the nations of Japan, Norway and Iceland to reconsider their decision to commercially hunt these gentle giants of the seas. These creatures are not a luxury food item, they are an essential part of our oceans and world. And, it is up to us to protect them. 

What can you do?

Send an email to the Japanese Government via the Australian Conservation Society asking them to stop commercial hunting. 

Reduce the demand for whale meat by avoiding restaurants that serve whale meat while visiting any whaling region and encourage others to do the same. Join a whale watching trip to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. 

Adopt a Whale and support the work of the WDC in campaigning to help save the whales.

Contribute towards the fight by supporting one of the many organisations who are working tirelessly to stop the resumption of commercial whale hunting.


Sea Shepard. Sea Shepherd is an international, non-profit marine conservation organization that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.

Greenpeace Working to defend the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting. 

WWF World Wildlife Fund works to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. 

Ryunosuke Sataro

Rights And Wrong – Standing Up For The Rights Of Women and Girls

The fundamental human rights we enjoy today have been won over many years. These rights are held up by international agreements and largely depend on our leaders working together for the protection of these rights. However, recently we have seen it only takes a few nations failing in this duty to turn back the clock on many of the hard-won human rights we are accustomed to in this modern world. 

The idea of losing fundamental human rights seems farfetched as we sit in our comfortable first world seats. But, some of the most basic human rights are being lost for the most vulnerable in our world. This loss should concern us all. How can we sit quietly when the rights of the most vulnerable can be lost so easily?

In this post we want to highlight the loss of the basic right of choice for a woman or girl over matters concerning their body and their reproductive health. The rights we as women have over our bodies were hard-won rights that women over the centuries fought for. These are rights we cannot lose. And, we cannot stay quiet when these rights are being taken away from any woman or girl, but especially those who are most vulnerable.

The world can be a very difficult place for women in a developing country. The UN estimates that only 52 percent of women in developing nations are free to make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. These women live in a world where the basic decisions about their sexual health are made by others. In these most difficult places for women, you can find some of the most dedicated organisations working tirelessly to provide access to sexual healthcare, education and support. Unfortunately, this task has been made increasingly difficult for many agencies over the last year. 

The most basic sexual and reproductive rights of women internationally are being threatened by the US gag order, otherwise known as the Mexico City Policy. This policy requires NGOs to certify that they will not perform or promote abortions anywhere in the world as a condition of receiving US family planning funds. This policy has been in place since 1985 but has been dramatically expanded in 2017 to include any recipient of US global aid funding. This aid, worth close to USD$8 Billion annually, is now only available to agencies and NGOs who promise to exclude abortion education or services from their programs. This expanded gag order has a massive impact on NGOs working with the most vulnerable women and girls in developing nations. 

The expanded global gag order also forbids any funded organisation from working in partnership with or referring women to any other organisation which provides abortion services or information. With one signature the US gag order has blocked funding any NGO offering a woman a choice about her reproductive system. This one signature impacts the healthcare provided to pregnant women, leaving them without a choice. The consequences of this decision are real; more unintended pregnancies for women who are struggling in poverty, higher maternal mortality rates and a surge in unsafe abortions. How is this fair on these women? 

The NGOs who have dedicated their work to helping these women and girls are now faced with a tough choice. They can choose to reject US funding and reduce the scale of their programs, or they can deny women access to the sexual healthcare they need.  Both options mean that access to health services and information is now out of the reach of marginalised women living in poor and rural areas in developing nations. 

We strongly believe all women and girls have a right over their own body. No one else has the right to make such important decisions on behalf of another person. Taking away a woman’s right to choose is wrong. Removing access to education and resources needed to keep women and girls healthy and safe is wrong.  Yet, this is not only happening in developing nations in Africa and South Asia, it is also happening in some of the most modern nations too. The recent abortion ban passed in Alabama threatens the lives and health of women there. The ban excludes the option of abortion even in cases of rape or incest and threatens to imprison any health professional trying to help women access an abortion. Alabama is being joined by the states of Georgia, Ohio and Mississippi making abortion illegal within their borders. It is appalling that in 2019 the basic rights of a woman over her own body are being criminalised. 

We worry about the future of global women’s rights when a decision made by an international leader can directly threaten the health, dignity and well-being of women and girls everywhere. 

We envision a world where women and girls have a voice and a choice. And, we stand together with others, joining our voice to the growing outrage at this dismantling of women’s human rights. 

What can we do?

Get Informed

Find out more about the international gag order and the impact it is having. Read real stories of women affected by this decision. 

International Center for Research on Women

PAI Global Gag Order Information

Support 

Find and support NGOs who have rejected US funding and continue to provide sexual health and reproductive services to all women and girls. 

International Planned Parenthood Federation

Maria Stopes International

Join 

Add your voice to the growing outrage by joining a campaign and finding out how to make the noise a little louder: 

International Women’s Health Coalition

Global Fund for Women

In a World Where We Can Be Anything, Be Kind

At ILNI we firmly believe the saying ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind’. We all have the potential to be and do anything we set our minds to, so why not set our intentions towards kindness. For being kind is a choice that we can make each day. We consider that kindness falls into four main categories; Kindness to ourselves, Kindness to others, Kindness to the planet and Kindness to all creatures living on this planet.

As kindness is so important to us at ILNI, we wanted to share a post with our ideas of what kindness means to us.

Kindness to ourselves

  1. Being kind to ourselves means knowing when to take things a little slower. We are all in a rush to get to the next place, tick off the to-do list and do it all perfectly. We need also to know when it is time to take a break, slow things down and catch our breath. Show some kindness to yourself and make that cup of tea, put your feet up for a few minutes and relax into a good book for a while.
  2. Forgive yourself. Yes, we all screw up sometimes, we are all prone to making mistakes. But kindness knows that we should also let ourselves off the hook about things. If you made a mistake, apologise and let it go. Don’t dwell on past mistakes and continue to beat yourself up about an action you took hours, days, years ago. Forgiveness to others starts with being able to forgive ourselves.
  3. Fill up on good stuff. We can be kind to ourselves by choosing to eat nutritious food, drink delicious drinks, read about interesting topics or learn something new. Fill your body and mind with great things that are going to make you feel fabulous, informed and/or excited.

Kindness to Others

  1. The greatest way to show kindness is to take time to really listen to the people in your life. This means putting away your phone and focusing fully on what someone is telling you. Your time listening to someone can make a massive difference to that person.
  2. Actively speak with kindness and be quick to compliment someone on their qualities. Let them know you appreciate them and their honesty, their sense of humour or all the other great qualities they possess. Find a way to build someone up and feel great about who they are, not just what they look like.
  3. Reserve judgement. Being slow to form a negative opinion of someone else is another form of kindness in action. In this fast-paced world, we can be so quick to react negatively. This is especially important when interacting online. Hold judgement, and wait to find out more about who this person is and what they think. Perhaps you will be the one person to show them kindness and empathy among the sea of people who want to judge them. Be that one person.

Kindness to the Planet

  1. Ditch the one-use plastic. This means finding alternatives to that plastic cup, refusing the plastic straw and using reusable bags for your shopping. These small actions can dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that we use every day.
  2. Unplug. Get in the habit of unplugging devices that you are not using. We do not need to be continually supplying electricity to every device in our home and office. Just because we can use an unlimited supply of electricity doesn’t mean we should. By reconsidering our consumption levels we can play a part in ensuring there is enough for everyone and nothing is wasted. 
  3. Reduce, reuse and recycle. The world’s biodiversity is being quickly eroded by our levels of consumption and waste. Everything we use has to come from somewhere and must go somewhere once we’re finished with it. Kindness extends to how we use the resources we have access to. In a world of plenty, kindness is choosing to take less than we can to ensure there is enough for everyone. 

Kindness to all creatures who live on the planet

  1. Choose cruelty-free products. This means getting in the know about the impact of our choices on animals. Avoid products made from animals as all animal products are linked to suffering. We can show kindness by contributing as little as possible to the suffering of animals. Staying away from animal products is the only way to do this.
  2. Switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. We all know that the human race needs to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy. The production of meat and dairy contributes to greenhouses gases as well as using up a disproportionate amount of resources for the production of each kilo of meat or liter of milk. We don’t all need to give up meat/dairy altogether, even adding a few vegetarian/vegan meals to our week is a kind step in the right direction for our planet. 
  3. Vote for kindness with your wallet, by choosing to buy from companies who also care about showing kindness to all creatures. By supporting cruelty-free companies you can send the message that companies won’t be getting your business unless they stop testing on animals or using animal products. If enough of us make this conscious vote for change via our wallets, we can truly make a change and encourage more companies to go cruelty-free.

No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many. 

K. Heath

Words of Gratitude For Mother’s Day

As Mother’s day approaches we at ILNI wanted to take some time to show our gratitude to our Mothers, Grandmothers, aunts, sisters and mother-figures who have raised us. These special people are the ones who have helped shape us into who we are. They are the ones who have shared their wisdom with us. And, they are the ones who have loved us unconditionally since the beginning. 

From ILNI to these special women. We are so grateful that: 

You taught me that we should respect each and every individual we come across. 

You taught me there is no solution through conflict. If we want to find the solution, we shouldn’t push towards conflict but look for the way forward through communication.

You showed me what it means to be untiringly available. You were always available to give me time and attention when I needed it most.

You showed me what unconditional love means. You loved me through my best and my worst and taught me to do the same for others.

You taught me good actions always mean more than words. And showed me how to give with kindness and compassion to those in need.

You taught me how important it is to appreciate the finer things in this life. Life is full of beauty if we know how to see it.

You showed me the importance of family time around the table at every evening meal; taking time to talk and listen to each other every day. 

We hope our gratitude thoughts encourage you to share your own with that special person who has loved you from your beginning. This Mother’s day take a moment to show that gratitude in action by doing something thoughtful for your mother or special person in your life. As my mother taught me, we should always find time to show others how much they mean to us. 

‘Call your mother.

Tell her you love her.  

Remember, you’re the only person who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside’

Rachel Wolchin

Seven Spring 2019 Fashion Trends We Love and One We Don’t

Spring is in the air and with it a delicious change of wardrobe. We have been watching the trends for the new season and have already fallen head over heels for some of them. This spring we are seeing the return of femininity combined with the strong confidence that comes with empowerment. These trends are about feeling self assured and comfortable and we have picked out our favourite seven trends and one that we can do without.

Ruching 

This Spring we can get our clothes in a bunch as we welcome back ruching. No, this is not 80s prom style poof, instead this season’s ruched pants, skirts and shirts, are fun and flattering. The ruching adds a beautiful gathered and rippled pattern that is so feminine and fresh. The best way to wear this trend is to pair it with a more structured top or bottom. 

Lavender

While Millennial Pink is still a big trend heading into Spring, there is a nice move towards pastel with the soft purple hue of lavender. It is showing up in suits, blouses and whimsical dresses. After a grey winter, lavender is a welcome change that whispers of summer on the way. We predict these gorgeous hues of lavender/light orchard are going to be here for a while. 

Black and White Polka Dots

We love the classics and Polka Dots fit perfectly in that category. Reminding us of the outfits from a 1950s movie siren, polka dots are arriving on the scene this spring. We have spotted this trend in black and white maxi dresses, dreamy sheer blouses and stylish pants. Adding polka dots to your outfit instantly gives it a fresh spring spin. 

Square Necklines

It is very hip to be square this spring with renaissance inspired square necklines. This flattering style is appearing in dainty cotton tops, retro style wiggle dresses and puff-sleeved shirts, which are also on our list of top trends for this spring. 

Puffed Shoulders

Delicate puff shoulder tops have been made popular again by vintage-loving trend-setters and are now appearing everywhere. This puff sleeves style is ‘princess meets 2019 empowerment’.  Make a puff sleeve top the star of your outfit, by pairing it with simple jeans or a skirt.    

Statement Straw Hat

Style and sun protection come together in this Spring trend. An oversized statement straw hat is the must-have accessory for the warmer months, the bigger the better! 

Fringe

Boho styles have been trending for a while and this spring the fringe is everywhere!  Pretty tops with trimmed tassels look fabulous for welcoming the sun, especially when paired with classic jeans or fitted skirt. This season fringes swishing are from hemlines, sleeves bags, shoes and necklaces. There really is no limit to how this trend can be used, so embrace your inner gypsy and go with it. 

Vintage florals

As you may be able to tell from our list, spring trends are leaning heavily on vintage influences this year. This shows up again in floaty floral prints with vintage inspired blossoms and bold spring colours of yellow and greens. Skirts, blouses and dresses all go vintage floral with this trend, so get ready to bloom as the sun comes out. 

Rubber

Rubber, as in looking like it was made from rubber cleaning gloves, is the one trend we have to call out. Rubber showed up on in the fashion shows in skirts, bags and shoes, but we just don’t like the idea of spending a moment of a warm spring day wrapped in rubber, sticky and uncomfortable. So, this trend can stay on the catwalk.

We enjoyed pursuing the trends for Spring 2019 and sharing our favourites with you. As we head into the warmer months and update our wardrobes with fresh items remember,

“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”

Oscar de la Renta

What We Are Reading This Month

You can tell a lot about people and what interests them by the books they read. Behind the scenes at ILNI we are a diverse group of readers who love to dive into new books. Here are some of the books we are deep diving into this month.

The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World – Peter Frankopan

Frankopan’s new book is less of a history book and more of a commentary of our globalized world exploring the major upheavals and shifts happening right now.  He argues that while the West fixates on Brexit, European Politics and Trump, major decisions being made in Russia, China and the Middle East that are shaping this century as their influence rises. An interesting read for a different perspective on the way our world is changing.

Talking the Winner’s Way: 92 Little Tricks for Big Business Success in Business and Personal Relationships – Leil Lowndes

The ability to communicate skilfully is key to personal relationships, business and generally steering ones’ way through life’s obstacles. Talking the Winner’s Way presents readers with 92 solid communication techniques for achieving maximum interpersonal success. This book will help even the shyest reader in gaining confidence and acquire more effective communication skills. 

Jean-Michel Basquiat (Foundation Louis Vuitton) – Dieter Buchhart

This book is the catalogue of the exhibition “Jean-Michel Basquiat” at the Foundation Louis Vuitton. The exhibition covers the painter’s whole career, from 1980 to 1988, focusing on 120 defining works. Perhaps no single artist throughout history has been more influential to the establishment of the street-obsessed, logo-driven, digital age in which we now live. Be inspired by Basquiat’s work with this beautiful book of the exhibition.

Dark Side of the Light Chasers – Debbie Ford

“You must go into the dark in order to bring forth your light. When we suppress any feeling or impulse, we are also suppressing its polar opposite. If we deny our ugliness, we lessen our beauty. If we deny our fear, we minimize our courage. If we deny our greed, we also reduce our generosity. Our full magnitude is more than most of us can ever imagine,” writes Debbie Ford.  The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is all about the importance of recognizing our alter egos and understanding why we keep meeting the same people and situations that push our buttons over and over again. This is a book that will challenge your views and ideas of good and bad.  

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever – Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a Japanese ‘organizing consultant’ turned author and Netflix phenomenon. Her book promotes the benefits of having a minimalistic, well-ordered home. She encourages us to identify those things in our homes which have served their purpose by expressing gratitude to them and bidding them farewell. She teaches the importance of only keeping things around you that ‘spark joy’. Be warned that reading this book will cause bouts of decluttering to occur!  

 Small Data: The Small Clues that Uncover Huge Trends – Martin Lindstrom

Lindstrom has been hired by many of the world’s leading brands to find out what moves their customers. He has spent hundreds of nights in strangers’ homes carefully observing their actions to uncover clues about what motivates buyers to buy.  He connects the dots in this globe-trotting book that explores the endless variations of human behaviour and how they translate into trends. This book is the human-centric alternative to Big Data for marketers who want to really understand their customers.

 

We hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about us via our book selections this month and we hope that you have found a book or two in our list that piques your interest too. Happy Reading!

Have Less, Do More – Could This Be The Secret to Lasting Happiness?

Sometimes it feels like life is one big advertisement, with a million different messages trying to convince us we need more stuff. Our daily lives are bombarded from waking to sleep with advertising in one form or another. All of these messages are designed to tug on the very human trait of always wanting more. Advertisers promise we will find happiness in their products and promote the idea that having more stuff will bring us fulfilment! But, does having all this stuff really make us happy? Looking around at the world today, it doesn’t seem to be the case.


We all know that the joy of buying something new is only fleeting. And, that a new phone is not going to fulfil us in any meaningful way. Yet, we build up anticipation for a new item, and when we finally buy it, we do feel joy. But, after a short time, we get used to having this item and it doesn’t bring us the same excitement as the next new item we desire promises to. This pattern is a normal human trait called hedonic adaption. Basically, we get bored with new things, and the joy they bring can quickly reduce to nothing. By falling for advertisements that promise us happiness comes with more stuff, we are set to remain in a negative spiral of expecting that stuff to make us happy, and being disappointed when it doesn’t. Filling our lives with everything we desire will not bring us fulfilment or happiness over the long-term.

Luckily, hedonic adaption doesn’t affect experiences. We are happier when we think about a great experience we have had or when we look with anticipation towards a new one. This could be a holiday, a catch-up coffee with a friend or working on a project we are excited about with a co-worker.  When we share these experiences with others, we can further increase our sense of happiness.  And, this happiness lasts longer than the joy of a new item.  The best part about sharing experiences is that both the giver and the recipient end up with more happiness and will continue to look back on the experience with joy. Think of the joy when you gave something of yourself to someone. The gift of time to a child or friend is always more cherished than a store-bought gift. Cooking a special meal for your partner may be more treasured than a box of chocolates.



Next time we feel that tugging desire to buy something new, perhaps we could instead consider doing something kind for someone else and seek happiness in doing rather than in having. Here are three easy ways to create an experience with someone else that could bring you both joy in less than five minutes:

Build someone up.

Encourage someone in your life who has a great idea or is doing a fantastic job. Let them know you think they are great. Be a positive influence and use your words to build someone up.

Take time to listen with full attention.

Give someone your full attention for a few minutes. Actively listen to them instead of only half hearing what they are saying while being busy thinking of something else.

Pay it forward with a five-minute favour.

We love this idea of performing a quick and easy favour for someone. It can be as simple as an introduction to someone who can assist them, sharing an article or idea that we think might be interesting to them or just sharing and commenting favourably on one of their social media posts.

We love the idea of making it a priority to do more, rather than have more. Focusing our time and energy on doing something for others can bring us much more satisfaction in life than the latest new thing ever can.



We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give

Winston Churchill

#MyFreedomDay: Raising Awareness About Modern Day Slavery

March 14th is #MyFreedomDay, a daylong event organised internationally by students to raise awareness about modern day slavery and the need to abolish it completely. As part of the fashion industry, we at ILNI abhor this horrific practice that has been allowed to exist, hidden from sight, in many textile businesses. Therefore, we stand firmly together with #MyFreedomDay and other organisations against all practices of modern slavery.

What is Modern Day Slavery?

Sadly slavery was not completely abolished in the 19th century. It has instead continued to impact the lives of millions of victims; children working in sweatshops, women forced into prostitution, men enslaved to work in construction and agriculture, all part of exploitation that takes away their freedom of choice. These are the modern slaves, and #MyFreedomDay is the day to shed more light on this horrific practice.

According to the Global Slavery Index, there are an estimated 40.3 million people caught in modern slavery around the world, including more than 10 million children. These modern slaves are forced to work through coercion or threats, they are considered to be owned by their ‘employer’, are dehumanized, treated as commodities, and bought and sold like property. These women, men and children are not free to leave their situation.

How does this still happen?

Most often slavery occurs when people are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. In India, many slaves are in debt bondage trying to pay off the money they have borrowed for medical treatment or food. Young girls are often sold into early marriage to help a family financially.  Many women and children work in forced labour in textile mills under appalling conditions. Further compounding the problem is the belief that children born to slaves are also considered in bondage and the property of the slave owner from birth.

Unfortunately, slavery does not only exist in poorer countries, the UK government estimates there are more than 10,000 modern slaves in Britain, while in the United States this figure is almost 400,000.

What can we do to help?

There are many ways we can work together to face this problem in our world. #MyFreedomDay is about raising awareness. Here are some other ways you can help.

Gain knowledge

Find out more about the scourge of Modern Slavery and what organisations around the world are doing to help halt it. We found these websites to be full of excellent information:

The 50 for Freedom Campaign

Freedom United – One Voice Against Modern Slavery

Hope for Justice

Slavery Footprint Calculator

Shop informed

According to a report by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), many of the items we buy every day are made by modern slave labour. Many of the clothes being sold in well-known fast fashion shops come from textile mills where young women and children were lured to work with promises of good wages. Instead, they find themselves trapped in modern slavery and child labour. With no payment for their work, no contracts and no one to complain to, these victims of modern slavery stay entrapped. By becoming more informed about the items we buy, and actively choosing to avoid products made by the hands of slaves we can make our consumer voices louder and encourage companies to be more aware of where they are sourcing their products from. Here are the most useful websites and apps that can help us make informed choices as consumers:

Good On You App

Shop Ethical Website

BuyCott App


Support

Many great organisations are working tirelessly towards a world where slavery is abolished. Find one that you can support and get involved with helping them make a difference. Anti-Slavery Organisations active internationally:

Anti-slavery: Today’s Fight For Tomorrow’s Freedom

Freedom United – One Voice Against Modern Slavery

Stop the Traffik – People Shouldn’t Be Bought and Sold

The International Justice Mission

La Strada International – European Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings




Be Social

Students wanting to raise awareness about modern slavery started #MyFreedomDay. We can follow their lead by adding our voices to the movement through sharing information about modern slavery on social media and by telling others about this problem. Change begins with knowledge, which raises awareness and, most importantly, calls for closer scrutiny of companies and individuals engaging in this practice. This terrible practice of slavery should have ended centuries ago, and if we don’t speak out against modern slavery, who will?


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior,

The Key to Everyday Kindness and How to Find It.

We all would like to think we are kind all of the time. But, we also know that we can actually struggle to act with kindness sometimes. Something happens and our thoughts trip us up and cause us to react in a not so kind way. This is because our thoughts are extremely powerful and can impact greatly on how we show up each day, and interact with those around us. If our thoughts are to blame, then it makes sense that the key to everyday kindness is learning more about our thoughts and reactions.

Understanding Ourselves

The more we notice and understand our feelings, the more we are open to understanding the feelings of others. Yes, we are talking about self-awareness, as we believe a little more self-knowledge is the key to being kinder, nicer people more of the time.  After all, when you are happy in your own skin and are comfortable with your own shortcomings, you tend to be more understanding, more forgiving and more empathetic.

Our Not So Kind Reactions

We all have come across that person who just seems to want to be mean to everyone. They are mean to the person serving them coffee, they are mean to their co-workers, and you can bet they are also mean to themselves. Before we start judging that person, we should remember that we all have the tendency to be this person. If something has gone wrong in our day, it is easy to take out our pain on others. We snap at our kids or swear at the driver who cuts in front of us. As embarrassing as it is to admit, we can definitely be that mean person too. The key to everyday kindness, therefore, lies in breaking out of this mean-cycle whenever we feel it happening.

Self-Awareness is the Key

Self-awareness is defined as having conscious knowledge of one’s character, feelings, motives, and desires. Basically, this means becoming aware that we are actually in control of how we react to any given situation. By knowing more about our character we can identify thought patterns that may be causing us to react in ways that are not always as empathetic or caring as we would like.

Knee-jerk Reactions

If someone is ticking you off, and you can feel your temper rising, stop, and consider what is triggering this reaction. Could it be that the actions of this person are highlighting a flaw in us or perhaps remind us of a time we were scared or felt out of control?

Self-awareness means taking a moment to consider our reactions and see if our first reactions are the right ones. Self-awareness helps us interact more than react. It means knowing your motives and being able to decide if they are reasonable or not. If we are acting on auto-pilot and having knee-jerk reactions to events, then we are not practising self-awareness and are susceptible to biases and stereotyping when interacting with others.  Life becomes very stressful when we are only reacting to events around us, so by being more aware of ourselves, we can learn to interact with kindness to others around us.

Understanding Reactions in Others

Not only does self-awareness help us to understand our reactions, but it also helps us be more forgiving and kind to others too. When we see someone reacting in anger or frustration, we can show more empathy and compassion, as we know that we also have the ability in us to react badly. We know we all have flaws that we are working on.  Self-awareness allows us to embrace these flaws in us and in others and accept that this is part of what makes us human.

The Key and How To Find It

Self-awareness is the key to more kindness for our world. When we learn to interact from a position of self-awareness, we find that kindness and compassion come more naturally. We all have access to this key. It simply requires us being kind and compassionate to ourselves, including all our flaws and mistakes. This is the crucial key from which kindness for others can flow.

Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Ten TED Talks To Keep You Motivated and Inspired Through Winter

Try Something New For 30 Days

Matt Cutts challenges us to try something new for 30 days. This light-hearted talk explains how to start achieving your goals in just 30 days. Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just haven’t? This might be the motivation you need to start.

 

 

How To Start A Movement

A short, fun Ted talk in which Derek Sivers explains how movements and trends get started. He challenges us to get behind the things we care about and have the courage to be the one who will stand up first.

 

Want to Change the World? Start by being brave enough to care

Artist and poet Cleo Wade reminds us to ‘be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth’. This talk is a moving poem about being an advocate for love and acceptance in a time when both seem in short supply.

 

 

The Magic of Not Giving a F**k

Sarah Knight, the bestselling author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K, inspires and challenges us to choose the things we really care about and learn how to give these our time, money and attention. This hilarious talk will have you rethinking your focus.

 

Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, shares the radical idea that, we all have a genius inside of us. She inspires us to find that hidden gift with this funny and moving talk.

My Year of Saying Yes to Everything

Shonda Rhimes, director of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder shares her experiment with saying yes to everything. And, how this simple shift in perspective unlocked hidden inspiration and helped her get her ‘hum’ back.

 

 

Weird or Just Different

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we all see things differently. What seems normal to one person is considered strange to another. In this short 2 minute talk, Derek Sivers offers the flip side view of life.

 

 

 

How to Seek Truth in the Era of Fake News

Christiane Amanpour speaks about fake news, objectivity in journalism, the leadership vacuum in global politics and more, sharing her wisdom and reminding us of the importance of being engaged global citizens who seek the truth.

 

 

Less Stuff More Happiness

In this short talk Graham Hill, writer and designer explains how having less stuff and taking up less space can lead to happiness. He makes the case and lays out three challenging rules for editing our lives.

 

 

Success is a Continuous Journey

Richard St. John talks about how success requires we keep working at it. If we relax once we get to the goal we can go back downhill very quickly. His short TED talk encourages us to stick at it, even when we feel we have made it.

 

 

 

We hope these short talks will inspire you and keep you motivated this year.

You can find many more fantastic, inspiring and Ideas Worth Spreading at https://www.ted.com