28 January 2010

Dr Seuss sums up Copenhagen climate talks

Marcus Brigstocke on BBC Radio 4’s Now Show reporting on the COP-15 meeting in the style of Dr Seuss.

I think it's genius!

Shows exactly how childish and petty we were. What a wasted opportunity! If you like it - pass it on to your friends... your MP! Sheesh, hasn't he world's leaders watched Dr Seuss's The Lorax?

If you can't see the video below click here.

15 January 2010

Blast from the Past!

By Rachel Muraca

As hard as it is to believe, 2010 marks The Body Shop’s 34th year in business! What began as a little shop in West Sussex, England in 1976 has grown into a company that spans countries and continents. Not bad for what started with a dream and $6,000 for founder Anita Roddick! So, to celebrate the reemergence of our some of our old time favorites with our Originals line, we’re going to revisit some blasts from The Body Shop’s past.

First of all, look at this photo from 1976 of Anita Roddick standing in front of the first The Body Shop store in Brighton. Check out all of the baskets and bottles of product in the background! The story goes that she used to drizzle scent trails in order to entice people into the store. If you’ve ever walked by one of The Body Shop stores that is burning fragrance oil outside of the door, then you’ve noticed that we still adhere to Anita’s tradition!

Anita’s flagship store was located right next to a funeral home, which gave her lots of free press because of the dark humor of the coincidence. Anita handled it with her characteristic quirkiness and good nature, spinning it into a boost for The Body Shop’s PR.

A frugal conservationist, Anita saved money and avoided waste by having customers return their empty bottles to be refilled. The company was still using this practice when it made the jump across the pond to the United States. Most of the products were wrapped in hand-written labels, and they were offered in 5 sizes so that she could fill her shelves! You may recognize the bottle in the photo below if you’ve been a Body Shop fan for awhile.

What are your favorite memories of The Body Shop and our products? Leave your responses in the comments below, we’d love to hear them!

13 January 2010

Thousands of animals perish in live export tragedy

By Deb Baxter - The Body Shop
It was devastating to hear the recent news that nearly 30,000 animals – 10,224 sheep and 17,932 cattle – were drowned when the Panamanian-flagged ship Danny F II sank off the coast of Lebanon. While the tragedy has taken an immense human toll, with more than half of the crew members missing, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and animal welfare organisations around the world have been highlighting the plight of the animals that have met this horrific death after having suffered a needless journey.

There have been numerous tragedies of this kind throughout the history of the live export trade. It is a harsh reminder of the perils of transporting thousands of animals across long distances – not to mention the often inhumane conditions on board such ships during these journeys. Previous WSPA investigations on the Danny F II and other similar cargo ships have shown how animals are packed tightly into the ship’s hold, with limited access to food and water, suffering great distress, injuries and dehydration before they arrive at slaughterhouses at their destination.

The live export industry claims that 99% of Australia’s exported animals arrive fit and healthy at their destinations and that we set a global benchmark for the rest of the world in terms of animal welfare. As the world’s largest exporter of animals for slaughter, Australia cannot continue to ignore the evidence that live exports are cruel.

We know that every year tens of thousands of sheep die on the journey from Australia to the Middle East alone. And for many of the sheep that survive the trip, a terrible fate awaits them in countries with no or unenforced animal welfare laws, where they are handled and slaughtered in ways that are neither legal nor tolerated within Australia.

As WSPA has repeatedly shown, the live export trade can be phased out and replaced with chilled and frozen meat products derived from animals humanely slaughtered at their point of origin. Apart from significantly improving the welfare of the animals concerned, this move to chilled meat products would also bring economic benefits to countries at both ends of the trade.
When will the Australian Government recognise the inherent risk and cruelty of the live export trade?

07 January 2010

Body Image

By Adam Valvasori - Values Manager.

Image: Fairfax

"Arguably, the ''real women'' concept began with Anita Roddick's 1997 Body Shop campaign featuring Ruby, the size-16 Barbie doll, and the tagline, ''There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only eight who do''. That year, then Cosmopolitan editor Mia Freedman instigated the mag's famed ''Body Love'' policy, allowing ''real women'' of sizes 6 to 16 to feature in fashion stories.

"Dye v Hawkins: a fatuous argument over slim women"
- CLEM BASTOW, Fairfax.

Thanks Clem for the nod. If anyone would like to find out more about The Body Shop's Real Beauty campaign, go here.

So, wow... lots has been happening on this issue over the summer break. I guess there's never been a better time for us to reinforce one of our core values of striving to activate our customers' positive self esteem...

BTW: The Body Shop does not use models who are very young or thin, nor do we extensively retouch our model shots. We always ensure our models look as natural and realistic as possible and do not digitally alter or distort the true image of the model.

The Body Shop doesn’t want to change the way you look. We want to change the way you feel about the way you look.

"Self-esteem is truly the route to revolution. We are not in the habit of making the connection between self-esteem and democracy, dignity, political activism and freedom of sexual expression – but in the future we will be."
- ANITA RODDICK 1997 Full Voice Magazine

For anyone reading this who thinks body image isn't important, listen up!

The above quote shows Anita knew just how vital self esteem is before all other issues. It hadn't clicked for me until I met with Julie Parker - General Manager of The Butterfly Foundation in 2009. Julie wisely pointed out that without a healthy self esteem, people find it challenging / impossible to focus on any other external 'global' issues such as human rights, animal welfare or the environment (topics we so passionately campaign on).

This is evidenced by Mission Australia's National Youth Surveys - where young people have been consistently rating body image as one of their top three issues of concern to them. At first I was surprised and frankly angry. How selfish of them to put their own vanity above other life and death issues like climate change and poverty. But I'm slowly learning and it makes sense to me now... if you can't love yourself, how can you love your fellow man, animal or nature? I think this is true regardless of age.

So, we're really looking forward to working with The Buttefly Foundation on a public campaign in May 2010 for positive self esteem, with a focus on body image. Who knows, maybe Ruby will even make a reappearance.

Read Julie's Blog; Beautiful You for more informed commentary on the debate. Check out this great Public Service Announcement I found by: Vianca Lugo from the USA... it touches on some interesting facts and more truths about Barbie and even G.I Joe. I love the quote at the end!

Body Image PSA from Vianca Lugo on Vimeo.


05 January 2010

Demand Dignity

Photo from Amnesty International

Poverty is a violation of human rights. Every person, everywhere in the world, has a basic right to an adequate standard of living – the right to food, water, housing, health and education.

The Amnesty International Demand Dignity campaign aims to hold national and international leaders accountable for the human rights violations that drive and deepen poverty; and it will defend every person’s right to live with dignity.

The experience of people living in poverty is defined by a lack of income, but also, very importantly, by a combination of deprivation, insecurity, exclusion and powerlessness. These are abuses of human rights.

Birth and Death in Sierra Leone
The birth of a child should be a cause for celebration: of new life and of women’s sacred role as mother and nurturer. Tragically, many women in Sierra Leone spend the final months of pregnancy and agonising hours of childbirth fearing for their lives.

Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world - one in eight Sierra Leonean women dies from treatable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

"These grim statistics reveal that maternal deaths are a human rights emergency in Sierra Leone," said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Irene Khan. She travelled to Sierra Leone in September 2009 to launch the report Out of reach: the cost of maternal health in Sierra Leone (pdf 1.1MB).

"Women and girls are dying in their thousands because they are routinely denied their right to life and health," she said, "in spite of promises from the government to provide free healthcare to all pregnant women."

Low status
Women in Sierra Leone confront discrimination in all aspects of their life. Their low status is refl ected in the lack of priority given to their health needs and the denial of their right to make decisions about how, when and where they want to have a child.

Laws prohibiting domestic violence and child marriage are routinely flouted. Girls as young as 10 are married. These girls are at particular risk of complications - pregnancy related deaths are the leading cause of mortality worldwide for girls 15 to 19 years of age.

It is widely believed in Sierra Leone that an obstructed labour is caused by a woman’s infidelity. Time is often wasted trying to extract a confession instead of getting the woman, in agony and unable to deliver her child, access to emergency obstetric care.

Broken healthcare system
Healthcare centres and hospitals across the country are woefully understaffed and ill-equipped for managing emergencies. Amnesty International’s research found that not one primary healthcare facility provides basic emergency obstetric care because staff are not trained to perform assisted natural deliveries.

Many hospitals also have no running water and only 10 per cent have a reliable electricity supply. Doctors and nurses told Amnesty International that they frequently wait many months for their salaries, which means they have no choice but to charge for their services. Corruption is rampant but desperate patients have little choice except to pay the fees demanded.

Poverty barrier
The decision to access healthcare is made more difficult by crippling and pervasive poverty.

More than 70 per cent of Sierra Leone’s people live on less than $1 a day. Yet according to the UN Children’s Fund, Sierra Leoneans pay more for healthcare than anyone else in sub-Saharan Africa. This is despite a 2002 Presidential decree exempting pregnant and lactating women from having to pay for healthcare.

Women in Sierra Leone need access to good quality antenatal care and need prompt access to emergency obstetric care when complications arise. They also need the government to ensure that their family’s poverty will not prevent them getting the life-saving treatment they need.

As a signatory to many of the human rights treaties that guarantee a woman’s right to healthcare, the Government of Sierra Leone has an obligation to take targeted steps to guarantee the highest attainable standard of health.

Needless loss: Adama Kamara
Adama Kamara was 25 when she went into labour prematurely in December 2008 in the village of Kapairo.

She struggled in agony to deliver the baby for two days before her family took her to a government hospital.

The trip cost $16, which her husband borrowed from neighbours. At the hospital Adama Kamara had to pay $1 for registration and $4 for a hospital bed, in addition to charges for medicines. There was no doctor on duty.

Adama Kamara delivered her child the next day, but it did not survive. She was bleeding heavily. Despite the fact that this was an emergency situation and despite the government’s free healthcare policy, the nurse in charge told Adama’s husband, Pa Abu Kamara, that he had to pay for medicine for Adama or "she will die".

Pa Abu Kamara told Amnesty International: "I didn’t have any more money. I just took Adama out of the hospital and took her home. She did not look good, but also I did not want to pay the hospital charge for her body, which is at least $26".

Adama Kamara was too delirious to speak for herself. She died at home the next day.
Article by Katie Hamann for Amnesty Interntional Australia

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