Monthly archives "December 2009"

Final Week

The final week
It’s the last week to place your order for delivery this year. For Cape Town customers, the site closes for the final time this year on Monday December the 14th for delivery on Thursday December the 17th. For courier orders countrywide, orders received on December 17th will be dispatched on Friday 18th. Any orders on Friday or after will be dispatched on Thursday January 7th.

We re-open for Cape Town orders on Friday 8th January, for delivery or collection on Thursday 14th.

Gift ideas
In my family, everyone talks about not buying each other presents, about not falling into the consumerism trap, and then rushes out to buy each other loads of presents. If you’re equally unable to resist, here are some gift ideas from our range.

Top of the list must of course be a box of cow patties. What can be more desirable than a box of quality biodynamic cow patties for the gardener in all of us. If for some reason the recipient hasn’t (yet) got green fingers, perhaps some unbleached, locally-produced toilet paper will do the trick. Some toilet paper marketed as “green” is imported, and some bleached, and in our opinion, especially with such a bulky, low-value product, neither are acceptable.

I realise though that not everyone has the same dream gifts as me, so perhaps there are other options more to people’s tastes.

The 2010 Conscious Living Diary, made of 100% tree-free paper, contains yummy recipes, fun ideas, soul-full poetry, planting guides and more. There are various toys from the Green Shop, and a great range of soaps. None on a rope, as far as I’m aware. There’s various solar-powered lights, from small lanterns for internal use, to motion-sensor ones for outdoor use, Himalayan Salt lamps and a quality range of incense, Fair-Trade, packaged in recycled packaging, and of course free from the usual synthetic additives.

Have a safe, joyful and generally fantastic festive season, and we’ll be in touch again in the new year.

To order, head on over to,
the Ethical Co-op team.


Some weeks it seems more challenging to find good news than others, and this week is one of them!


Getting to the truth is a complex issue, and most of choose what we want to believe based on our own psychology rather than any delving into the detail. You see two reports. One says cellphone emissions are harmful. Another says they’re not. Most of us have already made up our mind which one is the “truth”, we “know” the answer without looking at a shred of evidence.

Most of us too can’t handle change that’s too rapid. We’re even afraid of it. We vote for oppressive political parties (better the devil you know). We behave self-destructively, eating food or taking substances we know and feel are harmful to us. But then a report will come out saying it’s OK, and we choose to be re-assured.

Many of us have a tendency to reject bad news (others choose to seek it out!). Perhaps we know our relationship is failing, but we choose to ignore it, hoping it’ll go away. We know our tax affairs are a mess, but we bury our head in the sand.

We know we cannot continue to pollute the earth, to destroy the forests, to use the atmosphere as a sewer, but we continue to do all these things because we always have, we don’t want to confront them, or we choose to feel powerless.

Our effects on our climate have long been politicised. The facts about the effects of greenhouse gasses on the atmosphere are not controversial, but the game is played out in the murky world of political dealmaking.

Have you heard of the Global Warming Policy Foundation? The group aims to “help restore balance and trust in the climate debate”. Chaired by Lord Lawson, Margaret Thatcher’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, this esteemed group of scientists (actually the trustees are six British Lords, a banker, an economist and a bishop) is in essence a right-wing think-tank aiming to avoid all measures that would attempt to halt global warming, and they do so by denying there is a link between human activities and global warming.

Or the Advancement of Sound Science Center? Another group claiming global warming is “junk science”. This one was funded by tobacco company Philip Morris, and generally supports industry-friendly positions on topics such as smoking, global warming, smoking and pesticides.

Or the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change? They take a slightly different tack, claiming that global warming will be beneficial to humans. Still, the goals are the same, let’s not do anything about it! They’re funded by ExxonMobil, the oil company.

Or the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, which claim that the science behind global warming is uncertain. They also take other industry-friendly lines, campaigning against Open Source software, for the tobacco industry, and got together with Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheney and others in support of the B-2 bomber program in the US.

Or the Global Climate Coalition, an organisation (now defunct) that opposed action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This one was funded by Shell, Exxon, BP, and others.

I’m sure most have heard of “Climategate“, the stolen emails that supposedly show the nefarious scientists have been up to no good, lying and manipulating data. Conveniently stolen shortly before the climate change summit in Copenhagen, they’re already being used by the world’s oil producers to bolster their position. Saudi Arabia has claimed the leaked emails show “that there is no relationship whatsoever between human activities and climate change”. Convenient isn’t it, for the country with the world’s largest oil reserves, and the world’s largest oil producer. Burning oil is OK, they say, it has no effect, don’t believe those doomsayers! The emails prove nothing at all except give another glimpse into our flawed human nature. The science remains unchanged, but the politics goes on.

The list goes on and on, organisations with agendas that have nothing to do with truth, and everything to with money. Unfortunately, a few of these organisations, and some stolen emails, make a lot more noise than countless technical reports listing statistics on melting ice.

The goal for Copenhagen is to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, with all the muddying of the waters, too many are focused on arguing about whether it’s happening or not, rather than the solution. And many of the solutions being proposed at Copenhagen are not very good at all. They range from a carbon tax to cap and trade schemes to offsetting emissions by supporting contraception in developing countries.

Frankly, many of the solutions being proposed are ludicrous, unworkable, or do more harm than good. After all the haggling, the likely ones are unlikely to be effective enough. James Hansen, one of the scientists who helped put global warming on the agenda, has gone so far as to say he hopes Copenhagen fails. The whole idea of offsetting too often in reality means business as usual, while, say, donating a few condoms to Africa offsets the greenhouse gas emissions. Ludicrous!

Hansen compares this to the medieval custom of paying the bishops to give one redemption, a system that was “patently absurd but suited both sides”.

What’s new

So, if there’s not much good news to find “out there”, we’ll have to make some ourselves! We have Pioneer red plums from Esperance farm in Riviersonderend, a variety which usually herald the start of the plum season. There’s also rhubarb, and, back after a short break, a variety of produce from Appelsdrift.

Other new items back in stock include lentils, quinoa, alfalfa sprout seeds, Thai red rice, Luscious Lemon cordials (very limited quantity), Natracare tampons, beetroot salad, carrot & almond preserve, pickled onions and more seeds

Relax or Pleasure?
Being human in a community exposes us to a wonderful range of points of view and preferences. I was reminded of this last week when trying a cup of Pukka tea, their range now also being back in stock. I’m normally a big drinker of tulsi teas and green teas, but I was trying a bag I hadn’t tried before, Pukka’s “Pleasure”. Cocoa, licorice and roasted chicory, I lifted it to my mouth, took a sip, and was immersed in ecstasy. After I’d emerged, I turned towards the person I was with, ready to rapture about this fantastic tea. Her face was contorted and screwed up in disgust!
If you’re willing to risk ecstasy or agony, the Pukka teas can be found amongst our wide assortment of herbal teas. Unfortunately, our organic black and green teas are out of stock.

Abandoned Apricots
We’ve been receiving numerous reports of abandoned apricots left behind in cooler boxes at collection points. Please remember to pick up your cold items when you pick up your box – cold items are listed separately at the top of the sheet. We store apricots (and one or two other lines) in the cooler box with dairy items, as they’re particularly sensitive and can’t be left out in the warm box while they wait for you!

Closing for the festive season
There’re 2 more weeks before we close for the festive season break. Our last delivery this year is on Thursday 17th), so make sure you stock up. This’ll be the last week we’re offering Vondis Pet Food, so make sure too you have enough to last your pet into the new year.

To order, head on over to

Have a fantastic week, filled with Pleasure, joy and good news,
the Ethical Co-op team