Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fair Trade Fortnight

We’ll be adding new content to the Bluestocking Institute website throughout Fair Trade Fortnight from 1-16 May 2010. Fair trade ensures that farmers and workers in the developing world are paid fair prices for their goods and labour. We’ll be profiling fair trade NGOs and producers, promoting World Fair Trade Day events, and discussing the challenges of certifying and labeling fair trade products. New and existing members will also be eligible to win fair trade products.

You can support fair trade producers this weekend by choosing fair trade chocolates for Easter. For a list of fair trade chocolatiers click here, Fair Trade Easter or Global Exchange.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sourcemap: open supply chains

A friend recently linked to Sourcemap, an open-source tool for mapping ecological footprints, travel, and the supply chains of different products. The site's creators write: "We built Sourcemap so that everyone can access the information needed to make sustainable choices and share them with the world."

I haven't had a chance to play around with the site yet: I'm sure it's worth spending a few hours there browsing through the maps that other people have uploaded and creating your own. If you use the site, why not leave a comment telling us about it?

What did we do in 2009?

The Bluestocking Institute's Annual Report for 2009 is now available for download here

2009 was a big year for the Bluestocking Institute. During the previous year, a group of us came up with the idea for the Bluestocking Institute. We had been meeting informally for several years to discuss international politics, human rights and global poverty. Our discussions drew upon academic literature, media reports and work being done by nongovernmental organisations and activists to address global problems on a local level. Realising that these types of discussions could motivate more people to get involved and take action towards issues they care about, we decided to open our discussions to the wider community.

In order to begin this process, the founders decided to set up a Management Committee to oversee the Institute’s activities and become an incorporated association. We did so on 31 March 2009. In the year that followed, the Bluestocking Institute hosted several public events and launched its website. The website acted as an informational tool to raise awareness about the Institute and publicise its events. The website continues to grow and has been supplemented by a blog, and together these provide the public with reading recommendations, links to articles, and notifications of upcoming events. In 2009, blog posts also contained commentary on food and poverty, fair trade, ethical consumerism and nonprofit careers.

In 2009, we also began to develop relationships with several community groups in WA, including the Edmund Rice Institute for Social Justice. In 2010 we hope to continue to build relationships with local community groups by hosting collaborative events and sharing resources and expertise. This year the Bluestocking Institute will expand its work and launch the Lifecycles project. This project will educate the public about ethical consumerism, challenging people to think about where things come from and how they are made. The Lifecycles project will also give consumers practical tools to make informed choices in their daily lives. We look forward to an exciting year ahead.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upcoming Events: RawFest, Youth Week RRFM, Fossil Fools Day

There are a few events coming up that are relevant to Bluestocking's Lifecycles theme, exploring different approaches to what we consume and how we consume it.

RawFest 2010
The first of these is RawFest, which runs from 6pm to late this Saturday at City Farm.

Many Raw Food proponents focus on the health benefits of eating unprocessed and uncooked foods, and incorporating more Raw Food into your diet can also help to decrease the burden our food choices place on the planet and on your wallet. Raw foods often travel less before they get to our plates, take less energy to produce, and cost less.

RawFest will be a great chance to learn more about the Raw Food movement, and there'll also be drumming and dance performances by Akwaaba.

Fossil Fools Day
This Fossil Fools Day, the Safe Climate Coalition is focusing on Barnett's plan to build new coal-fired power stations:

National Youth Week Really Really Free Market

The next Really Really Free Market will be held from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 17th April at Hyde Park.

If you're interested in helping out or want to chat about running a workshop, you can phone Emma on 0403 952 365, or email

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sign up!

Become a member of the Bluestocking Institute for Global Peace and Justice today.

Membership is free and open to anyone who shares the Institute's values of informing and inspiring people to become active and engaged citizens in their communities and the wider world. As a member you will receive periodic emails about upcoming events and new resources.

All you have to do is click on Membership. Join now!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Really Really Free Market

Last year's Really Really Free Market was great: it was a mix of workshops, kids running around, music, free food, stuff (musical instruments, old puzzles, clothes, furniture, even a car was being given away), and a lovely sense of community.

This year, there are four Really Really Free Markets planned, and the first is coming up soon:

3-6pm, Sunday 21 March
Stage Area, North Side of Hyde Park, North Perth.

Bring useful items that you no longer need or want to share freely with other members of your community.

Browse through the things others have brought and leave with what your family needs, regardless of whether you brought something or not.

Bring your talent and give something of yourself: music, poetry, storytelling, lessons.

Or bring your unique service or expertise to share with others: haircuts, painting, knitting, bicycle repairs etc.

Bring a gift of food and share in a picnic lunch with other friends and families from your community or share surplus produce from your garden.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This year, the Bluestocking Institute's theme will be Lifecycles, specifically focusing on the production, consumption, and disposal of food, clothing, and electronics. We are often separated from the people and processes involved in what we consume. We don't know where our food is grown, who makes our clothes, where electronics go when we throw them out. This makes it difficult to see the effects of our choices on the environment and on people in other parts of the world. It also separates us from the pleasures and lessons that we learn from growing food, sewing, fixing, and engaging in other activities that sustain us.

These issues are complicated by class, race, global inequalities, gender, and the paradoxes involved in consumer activism. Over the next few months, we will begin to explore different perspectives on the lifecycles of key products and provide resources to help people make informed and active choices in their daily lives.

We're currently putting together a plan for our activities and publications for the year, so visit the blog again or subscribe to our RSS feed to find out more.