Covid Journal, Feb 17, 2021
Chocolate: So Good, But So Bad
It’s about time.
Sadly, so many of us love chocolate, especially in the wake of our gluttonous ‘Valentine’s Day’ festivities, but it’s come time to re-evaluate the demands we place on a limited resource that enslaves children to turn profits.
The class action lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition to Nestlé, Hershey and Mars, the lawsuit also names Cargill, Mondelēz, Barry Callebaut and Olam. It marks the first time that a class action lawsuit of this type has been brought against cocoa companies in a U.S. court.
Child labor is a major and ongoing problem for cocoa production in West Africa. NORC at the University of Chicago found that 1.56 million children were harvesting cocoa in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana during the 2018 and 2019 growing season, up 14 percent from 2015, IRAdvocates said. At the same time, 1.48 million children undertook dangerous tasks while working.
The defendant companies have long pledged to end the use of child slavery in their supply chains, but continually extend their deadlines for meeting this goal. In 2001, they signed the “Harkin-Engle Protocol” promising to end child labor by 2005; more than 15 years later, they are now promising to reduce the use of child labor by 70 percent by 2025.
Until the companies get their act together, please do what you can to avoid their products.
If you’re specifically interested in chocolate, Cocoa Camino has still been doing its best to limit or avoid human rights abuses.
INRUPT and SOLID: A ‘New’ Internet?
Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet.
With a new startup called Inrupt, Berners-Lee aims to fix some of the problems that have handicapped the so-called open web in an age of huge, closed platforms such as Facebook.
Building on ideas developed by an open-source software project called Solid, Inrupt promises a web where people can use a single sign-on for any service and personal data is stored in “pods,” or personal online data stores, controlled by the user.
“People are fed up with the lack of controls, the silos,” said Berners-Lee, co-founder and chief technology officer of Inrupt, in an interview at the Reuters Next conference. This new, updated web, Berners-Lee said, will enable the kind of person-to-person sharing and collaboration that has helped make the big social media services so successful while leaving the user in control.
Empowerment seems to be the central message.
Now, in light of all of the ‘platform switching’ that was happening with the fallout of the terrorist attacks on US Congress and Donald Trump’s failed coup, it’s hard not to see that a privacy-protecting platform will not get abused by idiots.
BUT … at a certain point, we’ll have to ask ourselves if we’re worth more than just the bits and bytes that we contribute to massive media companies on a daily basis. Protection of personal data and privacy will go a long way to putting power back into the hands of the users and taking it away from conglomerates.