writing from life

Writing is a daily habit I’ve had since I was a child. I had my first article published when I was 15.  Between 1975 and 1978 I wrote for and edited New Zealand’s feminist magazine, Broadsheet. 

My first book, Up from Under, was published in 1985. My most recent book, Food@Home,  was published in 2012.  Read about it – and my other books – on my Writer page. Since 2010 I have been writing a blog on gardening (see the Eco Gardener Blog) . 

Between 2013 and 2018 I was mostly researching, writing and producing documentary films.  In 2019 I got back to writing about topical issues – see Climate for Change.

climate for change

I have always cared about the health and flourishing of people and nature. Also for finding and enacting just, peaceful and democratic ways of making national and international policies and resolving conflicts. I have been active in the feminist, peace and green movements. In the 1990s I wrote a Ph.D. thesis on the origins of Green politics – From Earth’s Last Islands: the global origins of Green politics – which is on-line here >>

Times change, and so do ideas and practices. In the twenty-first century the truths about the limits to growth which were first raised in the second half of the twentieth century are coming horribly true as the climate becomes chaotic, pollution of all kinds is found in ocean trenches and outer space as well as on every street, and species are dying out daily. If ever there was a climate for change, it is now.

But how do individuals and communities live – well – in such times? My answer to that is to keep growing and preparing good food, and sharing any surplus.  What’s yours? My philosophy is that we can only use the talents and inclinations we are given, and enjoy sharing whatever comes from them. As the Maori whakatauki goes – Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi – With your food basket and my food basket, the people will thrive.

making films

was my ‘late career move’. In 2014 director Hugh Macdonald and I started work on a feature documentary on the remarkable writer, illustrator, natural historian and outdoor adventurer Sheila Natusch, which premiered in the New Zealand International Film Festival in August 2017 and went on general release around New Zealand in October 2017. Go the No Ordinary Sheila website to watch the trailer and read more about the film and how it was made.


The CNN Freedom ProjectEveryone loves chocolate. But for thousands of people, chocolate is the reason for their enslavement.The chocolate bar you snack on likely starts at a plant in a West African cocoa plantation, and often the people who harvest it are children. Many are slaves to a system that produces something almost all of us consume and enjoy.The CNN Freedom Project sent correspondent David McKenzie into the heart of the Ivory Coast the world’s largest cocoa cheap jerseys producer to investigate what happening to children working in the fields.His work has resulted in a shocking, eye opening documentary showing that despite all the promises the global chocolate industry made a decade ago, much of the trade remains unchanged. There are still child slaves harvesting cocoa, even though some have never even tasted chocolate and some don even know what the word means.

In the documentary Child Slaves, CNN discovers a human trafficking cheap jerseys china network and farmers using child laborfor an industry offering low prices and little more than broken promises. Watch an excerpt above about Abdul, 10, who has been working in the fields for three years.

Below, watch as Toure, a leader of a Cocoa cooperative deep in the Ivory Coast, readily admits that children are working in the area:

The documentary first airs on Friday, January 20 on CNN International. As you now ponder the injustices chocolate can cause, are you considering checking your next chocolate purchase for a fair trade label? Can that seemingly inconsequential action of looking at a label spur a chain of events? Or do you think it takes more than a label to change an industry? We also find out what the chocolate industry says about all this in a discussion airing after the documentary.

Chocolate’s Child Slaves premieres Friday 20th January 2012: 8.00pm GMT, 9.00pm CET

I stopped eating chocolate months ago bc of this, and now enjoy only fair trade chocolate.

But all my friends and family that I shared this info with and even shown pictures of the mutilated backs of the child slaves couldn care less, they refuse to join me in the boycott.

I bet all of them pretended they were against slavery when learning about the civil war in school.

People don really care if others are enslaved if being against it means changing their lifestyles.

January 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm Reply

Im a 14 year old girl who lives in Kenya and I have to say that Africa is the continent where corruption will never end. Fairtrade has tried to help these kids future but nothing has so far happened. With Ivory Coast having free education these kids would have been going to school and building their own future but instead they are on the farms harvesting things that they will never ever taste in their lives. But I dont blame the kids, they have to get the money for their parents raise the family well which rarely happens since the parents keep the money to themselves. How about we blame the country itself and the parents themselves who allow this for their children? Who is really cheap nfl jerseys china to blame for this shame?

January 22, 2012 at 9:51 am Reply

To Ayala it is all fine to be dismissive but you never know until it is your offspring on the receiving end of injustice. Once one considers that, one can have true empathy and real compassion. Also, like most Americans, you are probably obese and would benefit from getting off your corn syrup laden cheap chocolate habit. If you must indulge your fat cells and feed the drug companies, at least eat something that actually satisfies your ease buds and does someone else a bit less harm. I agree that sometimes these sorts of reports just give a ton of awful information but with little information abut what you can directly do about it.

However, I do think that change can be made by consumers too. One thing you can do is choose to buy from companies who display the fair trade logo, indicating that they have abided by fair practices, not used slavery, and paid a living wage.

Of course, most chocolate in the USA does not have the fair trade logo and so your choices are quite limited. ALL of Starbucks coffee is fair trade there because it such a popular issue. Also, some of the major chocolate companies use all fair trade chocolate (Cadburys are moving that way, and all Kitkats are fair trade). I think there is great potential for consumer power, if people let companies know that this matters to them.

Imagine if , say, Hershey adopted such a policy and made sure all their cocoa was from fair trade sources. It would make a huge difference, and give consumers a real option. This article has given me the push to write to some companies and let them know that this matters to me.

January 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm Reply

I agree, yeah their government could do something but the problem is the country is very poor, and they do what they must to get money to survive. Large corporations see this as cheap labor. If everyone starts buying only fair trade products, then more companies will start moving to those practices or else they won have any business anymore. Fair trade might not be as common in the US but there are plenty of places that sell cheap jerseys it, at least on the east coast where I at.

January 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm Reply

Unfortunately, you have to put your trust into SOMETHING. The Trade symbols aren necessarily aligned with what I believe Free Trade should be (nor likely you, if you took the time to investigate just exactly what that means).

I, as a consumer, am not going to devote my entire life researching where EVERY SINGLE product I consume is made, and by what means. You may be aware of chocolate today, but that table in your dining room? The mattress pad on your bed? Did you research whether THEY were manufactured by Trade certified companies?

Wow. You like to assume a lot about people and those who post online. I actually do my research when making a purchase like a mattress or table. I know where it comes from, who made it, and what processes were invilved. Its not actually all that difficult to find out. Took about an extra hour of my time. also, there are actually quite a few fair trade options for groceries, produce, clothing, games, toys and many other things. Again, just do a bit of research. Ues your public libraries and librarians. Use the internet. Use these wonderful e resource tools available to us today. Make better choices and both you and those who made the product will benefit. They are not nuclear in nature. Their purpose is their density. They are so dense that when they strike vehicle armor at a high velocity they litterally melt it and in the process create a tremendous amount of heat that not only sucks the oxygen out of vehicles like tanks, but actually sets the armor on fire. For some reason when people hear uranium they think the bullets are nuclear in nature when in fact they are just super dense. As such, and I not 100 certain about this, I don think they are used in Afghanistan as the Taliban really doesn have any armor.Articles Connexes:

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