What’s Your Slavery Footprint?

A shocking but relevant site has popped up recently: Slavery Footprint, which, after a series of lengthy questions, calculates how many “slaves” you’ve used through the use of food, electronics, clothing, and more. The calculation is intense, and starts as follows:

Your TOTAL SLAVERY FOOTPRINT represents the number of forced laborers that were likely to be involved in creating and manufacturing the products you buy. This is determined based on information regarding the processes used to create these products as well as investigations of the countries in which these stages of production take place for known slave labor (within these specific processes.) This number is compiled from multiple individual product scores (see below).

The “score” for each product is compiled through looking at what they determine as the minimum number of slaves (defined as “[a]nyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and is unable to walk away”) forced to produce a generic product of a certain type. “Generic” however, actually means pretty specific – you can track the slavery all the way down to how many smart phones versus video game consoles you have, or how much cumin you season your food with (me: a lot) versus how many mangoes you eat. The data comes from our government (see this report) as well as the International Labor Organization, Transparency International, and Freedom House.

My number was 46, which, according to my Facebook friends, seems to be average. The biggest culprit? It wasn’t electronics or food…it was clothing. Now, thrift shop sourcing wasn’t an option, but I have to admit, the percentage of clothes I have with “made in [insert Asian country here]” is probably high. I guess I’m paying the price, literally and figuratively, with such a high “slave” count. The largest areas include India, Zambia, Australia (really?!), and China, who’s record is grim:

Coal mines, brick kilns and factories in the poorest regions of China operate illegally, using much of China’s estimated 150 million internal migrants as slaves. Raw materials from slavery include: Acrylic, Cashmere, Coal, Cotton, Gold, Graphite, Leather, Limestone, Linen, Mercury, Nylon, Pearl, Quartz, Silicon, Silk, Silver, Tin, Tungsten, Wool, Pig Iron, Lead, Lithium, Polyester

Luckily, the website has a socially integrated “Take Action” page, complete with badges and games for the younger ones, and volunteer opportunities for those of us who can. You can search a company directory and send a well-worded e-mail to anyone from Apple to Calvin Klein with the click of a button that asks them to stop funding slavery immediately. They’ve released a mobile app, and are asking people to donate to Free The Slaves, a group working primarily in Africa to end slavery and stop business from sourcing slave-produced products, as well as draft anti-slavery legislation, and research what methods will work to end slavery, “forever” as they boldly state.

Thanks to @aprilf for the heads up on this incredible site.

Instagram For Android Drops, Two Years Later

Finally! I’d been waiting for the Android version of Instagram for months, no, years (!), after finally making the switch to Google’s more customization-friendly and open-source OS. I gotta say, it’s pretty nice. I was using picplz in the interim (and it can do some nice work!), but it’s just not the same. Kelvin, X Pro II…all the wonderful filters that Instagram uses, and the super-wide fan base that they enjoy: it all adds up to a aesthetically-rich, social photo experience. As to what the critics are saying, here’s PCMag‘s take:

Instagram for Android’s strength relies on its robust photo community, rather than photo editing utility. It’s a simple, fun way to discover and instantly share photos with friends and strangers, but in terms of editing it’s even less useful than the stock Android camera. Stilll, after playing with Instagram for a while, I could start to feel the pull of addiction. It’s just so quick and easy to create and share a folksy snapshot of my life. Instagram isn’t a perfect app, but its popularity is easy to understand.

Agreed! As soon as they smooth out the bugs (a recent update added WiFi and tablet support), it will claim its spot as Android’s #1 photo app, I’m sure. Below are some of my favorites from my meager instagram collection:

Health Activism: 30 Days of Inspired Posts (Day 1!)

Over the last year I’ve had a bad habit of blogging less than average; when I started the blog I was averaging 20 to 30 posts a month, which I felt was good, and there is certainly enough content to warrant that every month. But “life” interjects and the truth is my motivation or patience wanes as well. I signed up with WEGOHealth’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge, or HAWMC (“haw-mick”) to force myself to blog continuously for 30 days straight, inspired by their prompts and my own feelings on health. WEGO is a social media company whose goal is to ” empower the top 10% of online health social media contributors to connect with each other and with healthcare companies.” Am I in that 10%? Who knows; but veganism needs to be represented, and the whole idea of eating plants as health food (yes, plants, all of them, and only them!) is often lacking in “health activist” circles. Exercise, portion control? Sure, and these are valid, but how about less meat and dairy? We are going to see these mantras repeated more and more in the next decade, and I plan to be a part of that.

So, without further ado, here we are at Day 1! And just barely as it’s almost midnight…ha! The prompt is: “Pretend you’re making a time capsule of you & your health focus that won’t be opened until 2112. What’s in it? What would people think of it when they found it?”

Ah, the time capsule….my town has one that I hope to see opened in 2076 (they buried it in 1976, I think). What we people look back on in 2012 and say “wow…I can’t believe they did that”? Well, eating animals for one. But really, what needs to be documented is the overall status of our health system. We are eating crap, tons of it, and whether this ugly train full of diabetes and heart disease is going to turn around, I don’t know. One shining star is the recent escapade on sugar and the criticism it’s been receiving, but the stigma of a full of vegan diet remains steadfast.

So, in my time capsule, I suppose I’d like to represent the minority; one of the few who “got it” before the tidal wave of heart attacks kills so many people that we really do re-think our focus on eating. My health focus is eating plants, whole fruits and vegetables, grains, and proteins like legumes, nuts, and beans, while still occasionally enjoying the various vegan junk food that exists out there. Fitness, mobility, and exercise play a big role too: walking places, biking, running – these not only play a massive role in health but also in reducing our dependence on oil and cars. And, I’ve as I’ve tried to institute with standing desks, we have to modify the way we simply live. No longer are we out chasing after food on the plains, or working all day at survival. Our lives are easy and lazy; and we pride ourselves on ingenuity that makes things “easier.” To that effect I suppose I could document the fact I still vacuum my own house, mow the lawn, and do my own laundry. Will that be a non-issue in 2112? Will robots do everything? I shudder to think; all that comes to mind is the movie WALL-E with the spaceship of moribund humans kept alive by droids.

But hey, this is supposed to be positive, right? Health is awesome: it’s awesome to learn about our own health, and how we can improve the health of others. I hope that a time capsule relating to my health would show I cared a lot about the one life I get, and that maybe there would be some lessons to pass on to others. Our world will be vastly different in 2112, but unless we’ve completely transformed into robots by then, keeping our bodies and minds clean will still be a priority.

Note: Some “regularly scheduled content” will still appear during the 30 days of April, don’t worry! But a lot of extra health-oriented stuff too.Tomorrow’s prompt deals with a inspiring health quote…and I have a doozy for you! Interested in doing #HAWMC yourself? Sign up

Photo: d76

Ten Incredible Animal Rights Ads

Design site Hongkiat.com put together 60 of the best “public awareness” advertisements from all over the world (indeed, they are hosted on adsoftheworld.com), but striking to me was the inclusion of several that are very AR-themed. From predators in the ocean (us) to treating your dog like a soccer ball, here are nine of the best. There’s no similiarty between them except the message and the delivery; each one is from a different ad agency scattered across the globe. (Note: if the ad doesn’t make sense, mouse over for some helpful text. Click the ad to go to its page on adsoftheworld.com.)


The Beginning Is Near: The Art Of Occupy

I’ve always been a fan of well-designed propaganda, even if it’s not for a cause I particularly care about. Some of the crazy Soviet-era Russian propaganda art is just gorgeous, even though the message is kind of insane. With Occupy, I got the best of both worlds: beautiful, revolution-inspired art, plus a cause that I am involved in and care about. The rad folks at Sparrow Media recently highlighted an Occuprint exhibit in NYC that showcased Occupy-themed art from around the world. Occuprint in itself is a pretty cool, too:

…a collaborative project that curates, collects, prints and distributes various posters and graphics by and for the global Occupy movement. The Archive grew out the personal collection of its co-founder, artist Josh MacPhee. This unique space houses an impressive volume of print objects created as part of various social justice movements. One of its goals is to allow this kind of art to exist outside of dominant institutions (that may not be sympathetic to OWS) and instead take it into “the commons”— making it thereby more accessible to a greater range of artists and activists.

As it so happens, Occuprint is soliciting for funds to take their message far beyond an art show: they want to print the “best of the best” posters and distribute them to Occupy movements around the country, as well as screen print or print a “limited edition portfolio of screen printed images, which will ultimately live in the permanent collections of museums, libraries, and other arts institutions.”

Occupy Wall Street and its consequent factions are a big deal: they’ve changed the course of our discussion on wealth, government, and corporate influence, they got millions to switch from corporate banks like Chase to smaller, local credit unions (see Move Our Money for more on this), and the Occupy movement mobilized America to get behind a social cause in numbers that we haven’t seen since the civil rights or anti-war movements of the 60s.

And so with any great movement comes great art and great symbols: the 99% facing off against the 1%; the silent protester being tear-gassed; the Wall Street bull being taken down; and the fearless journalist with camera in hand. These and more present Occupy and the future of our revolution in America. There’s a reason Time named “the protester” their “Person of the Year” for 2011. We are making a difference.

So check out Occuprint’s Kickstarter page (they have less than a day left and are fully backed!), their website, and revel in the wonderful art that we have to represent an exciting time in American history.Some of my favorites are below; download high-res versions here.