Saturday, December 08, 2007

#9 -- 963 the "Top Ten Gifts That Give"

#9 -- 963 Coffee Project

You Java. Black Gold (or, is that oil?). In America, we consume 2.3 billion pounds of the stuff a year! That's the equivalent of 4 football stadiums, 620 African elephants, 12,500 gallons of 2% milk and 62 average-sized female baboons. (It's important to note that this measurement is not at all precise.)

However, for the 108 million coffee-drinkers in the U.S., fair trade options still aren't top of mind. When the big dogs like Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Dunkin Donuts, etc are still offering "slave trade coffees," it's a problem.

963 Coffee Project offers a half dozen blends of fair trade coffee (and hot cocoa) on their website. You can even purchase whole bean or ground. They also offer fundraising kits, mugs and apparel. 963’s purpose is twofold: to provide a fair wage for coffee farmers in poverty-stricken communities and to allow groups and individuals to use the coffee to raise funds for mission projects (like Blood:Water Mission) and relief initiatives.

Why Care?
Behind oil, coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world. However, the trade system does not work in favor of developing countries; unlike the oil industry, coffee producers live in extreme poverty, bringing in an average of only $500 per year. For every American coffee drinker, there is one worker elsewhere in the world who depends on coffee for their day-to-day survival.

Because the rules that govern trade favor rich countries, the potential to reduce poverty and support economic growth for poorer countries is being lost. As a result, most of these developing countries are dependent on outside aid for their survival. If Africa alone could increase its share of world exports by just 1%, it would generate $70 billion – about 5 times what it already receives in aid.

Families do not have enough money to send their children to school, nor can they afford basic medical care and have access to clean water. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to escape on their own.

A bag of beans is only setting you back $10 Washington's. A fair price for fair trade. So, get to gifting it!

Friday, December 07, 2007

craZy talk

For whatever reason, Landon started playing around with a new language the other day. We started calling it crazy talk and he gets a real kick out of doing it and making us laugh. We're hoping he doesn't opt to only communicate through this means. Should that occur (as you'll see in the videos below), that could make the next few years a bit jargled.

Crazy Talk #1 (yeah, that's milk on his chin)

Crazy Talk #2

a day full of fun!!!

Lots and lots of pictures!!! We had 2 photo shoots after his morning nap and his afternoon nap. You wonder what we do all day??? We take lots of pictures!! Will I take this many of baby #2?? I hope so!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

#10 -- Instant Karma

Let's get this countdown started with...
#10 -- Instant Karma - The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur

This Christmas give someone the gift of music and a life saving cause with a rockin' dual disc (or one bohemeth sized download if you prefer) of audio skillz. Composed of John Lennon tracks and heavily promoted by U2, this album is a heavyweight of artists...R.E.M., Lenny Kravitz, Snow Patrol, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, etc (even Green Day, which Amos really doesn't care for, but it's about the cause). Proceeds from CD and digital sales will support Amnesty International and its campaign to focus attention and mobilize activism around the urgent catastrophe in Darfur, and other human rights crises.

Why Care?
Hundreds of thousands of people have died since 2003 as a result of the violence raging in Darfur. Some 4.5 million people, or 2/3 of the population of Darfur, are currently at risk of death or displacement. Read more here.

Depending on which version of the album you purchase, it seems to cost as little as $11.99 and never more than $19.99. Remember when buying music it's always good to support local music stores (not the mega box stores). Remember when buying music it's always good to support local music stores (not the mega box stores).

Introducing the "Top Ten Gifts That Give"

More so than ever, we at The Haffner Home have found that this year our distaste for "stuff" has reached new heights. Which might be an indirect way of saying we "want less." In fact, Amos would admit, he's downright upset at the notion of bringing home one more unecessary item in the next few weeks in the name of the Christmas spirit. Not because of a lack of appreciation over reciept of a loving gift, but because he doesn't need anything.

The Facts...

There are only two potential historys behind the reason for the season. One is the birth of Jesus Christ. One is the life and legacy of Saint Nicholas. Both of which relentlessly gave to those less fortunate. One of those guys even died for the cause.

Research tells us that if we make over $48k household income a year, that we're in the richest 1% of people in the world! Those things considered, Christmas is about giving to those less fortunate, which we have determined is not us. "Us" meaning that if you're reading this, you have a computer and therefore are rich...or at least employed by the rich.

We don't claim to be staking new ground with this topic. And, this is no War on Christmas, either. We're just feeling a bit more personally accountable to respond to the Christmas Consumption Mindset our culture seems to be promoting. Thankfully, others have gone before us in the effort. In the days to come, we'll outline our Top Ten Gifts That Give. So, here's to saving one less receipt, wearing "that" sweater Aunt Pollie gave you (but, only when she's in town) one less time, keeping one less crystal turtle in the closet for the next white elephant gift exchange and putting a bullet in Secret Santa's head...

Crystal would like to go on record in saying that the bullet-in-Secret-Santa's-head comment was 100% not her idea.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Responsible Celebrity - "Make It Right"

As the year comes to a close, two things come to mind very quickly...

1) Celebrities have never been more in the news for their idiotic behavior as in 2007. However, I question how much of that idiocy is really that outside the norm.

2) Social Cause is the responsibility of every person...especially the institutionalized Church.

This hopeful article from the New York Times today addresses both as Brad Pitt acts on his desire to help rebuild New Orleans. My favorite quote as a precursor to a forthcoming Haffner Home blog regarding Christmas Consumption...

"Mr. Pitt is asking foundations, corporations and individuals to contribute to the project by adopting one house, several houses or a portion of a house through the project Web site, 'You can adopt a tankless water heater or a solar panel or a tree or a low-flush toilet,' Mr. Pitt said. 'You can give it to someone for Christmas,' he said — instead of another sweater."

Read the whole article here.