Thursday, 2 August 2007


The word ethical is thrown around a lot today but, to me, it is just the norm. It is like calling organics 'alternative' and chemical agriculture 'conventional'. We have what is advertised as 'ethical investments' but other investments don't advertise as 'unethical' or even 'conventional'. Since everything was organic for tens of thousands of years, until chemicals came into being primarily during the world war years, how did the chemical companies get hold of the word 'conventional' and why did people adopt it ?? In the same way, how did life ever become unethical ? Sure there are always goodies and baddies in society but to accept unethical as the norm and ethical as 'alternative' tells me that the world is truly stuffed up, big time. .

I was shocked recently when a friend of mine laughed at the idea of making money through ethical investments ! It comes down to many questions, which this person and almost everyone else fail to ask themselves. The first is discussed above. Here are some others:

  • How much money do you need?

  • Do you feel good about supporting environmental destruction ?

  • Do you enjoy spending money gained by investing in casinos, sweat-shops, child labour, human sacrifice ?

  • Do you know what companies you have investments in?

  • Would you be happy for your children to be employed in each of the companies you support?

  • Do you accept responsibility for the unethical behavior that may be happening everyday in some of the businesses you invest in ?

  • Do you receive unbiased, detailed information, written in everyday language, about the good and bad aspects of each of the businesses you invest in ?

There are many more but this is not supposed to be an advertising spiel. Ethics is what people mean when they say 'in the good old days'. In the depression people were poor, often destitute, but a recent book on life during those dreadful times states that most people were happy because they formed communities that shared with and cared for each other. People took responsibilty for themselves and those nearby and living this way provided people with a sense of self-reliance, based on give and take. Ethics just was. Our son Hugh worked part-time in the 'Good Life Organic Pizza Restaurant' when he was in year 12. It was great at first but after a while everyone started leaving - the pay was low, the hours expected were ridiculous and he was expected to turn up with 1 hour's notice on a school night, and stay until after midnight. Every week there would be different staff and sometimes no chef. When he left they wouldn't even give him a reference even though he stuck it out all year and put a lot into it. They said they too busy. Now they are winning awards for their food but we don't go there any more.

Today so many people think that the government owes them something. I still think it is amazing that someone comes and takes our rubbish away and that the bin can, and usually does contain foodscraps, prunings, grass clippings, paper, cardboard and glass.(So much waste). We don't have to worry about how much plastic wraps securely around 6 nails you might buy from the hardware shop or how the Organic Gardener and other magazines now all come wrapped in plastic. The Commonwealth bank and Telstra both send junk mail in thick, glossy envelopes with writing on both sides, in colour, so I can't even use them to write my shopping lists on ! I send them back.(I know this is useless but if everybody did then it would eventually cause them a problem...maybe). I am a hypocrit - I have Commonwealth Bank shares too - and it is impossible to justify them ethically. Economically, they have gone up more than 5 times what I paid for them - this is the dilemma. When is enough, enough ?

What made me want to write about this is the TV show 'Carbon Cops', last night. They recommended that the woman, who cooks a lot, use her microwave more instead of the oven. Here I disagree. I cook everything and always try to use the oven responsibly. Everything means all meals, jams, chutneys, preserved fruit, tomatoes as pasta sauce etc, cakes etc etc. I buy very little from the supermarket and we don't eat out much. It is way better to do this, even in just a carbon-related way than to buy packaged / processed food, no matter how much you use the oven. This is the difference between viewing life as a whole picture and making a TV show with very limited understanding of the whole picture. I was very angry that it was seen as a bad thing that this woman stayed home and cooked for her family, thereby using her oven more than someone who ate out a lot or bought ready-made meals.I feel like writing to them but I am writing to you instead as I am shy at heart ! (Don't laugh, it is true !).Maybe someone else will do it.

"She is a bit odd... she thinks outside the square.." When I was born they forgot to tell me where the square was and this used to bother me but now I am old enough to know that I don't want to be in it !


Maggie said...

Well I was going to go to the garden until the building noises next door started up. The house is almost complete and they are now cutting millions of cement pavers to cover all the soil on a double block.!!!!
A world gone crazy!.
How great Christy will be able to bring her baby to Fern Avenue and to garden at home with Mum.
Remember deep breaths everyone.

Anonymous said...

I realy think you should let the program know what you think( they would have a web site ).We did not bother watching it after the first couple as it was so superficial.
You would be in the same boat as us- as Quentin always says- were just not a representive example just too different. Imagine what the carbon cops would make of what i'm doing at present as well as writing this- The anzac biscuts for the biodynanic meeting tonight are in the oven, dinner is simmering away on top of the stove, citrus peel is drying in the bottom oven (to become firelighters) the room is warm, cloths are drying on the ceiling rack,the hot water is really hot - all down to my (oh no the carbon) wood stove fuelled by homegrown/planted wood. not realy Joe Average!!!

But check out 891 Drive with Grant Cameron & join the green team.(Register on line) & may be you'll have an opportunity to have a say & mention International Kitchen Garden Day.