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Monthly Archives: June 2018


 

dumpster-with-boxes-and-plastic-crates-600x400Recently I have been looking at all the ways that I can decrease the ways that I contribute to the problems associated with the American lifestyle. Last week, I wrote about how we can escape from the plight of living pay check to paycheck. {Here’s the Link to the Article}This week’s blog is about decreasing our garbage output. Every week, I noticed how the dumpster outside our housing project is packed full to overflowing every week with stuff that people are throwing out. Though I cannot change the habits of others, I have decided that I was going to do whatever I could to decrease what I throw out.

Reduce

The first thing that I have learned is that I need to first reduce the consumables that I bring into my own home. There are numerous ways that I can do this. First, I can reduce the packaging that I bring in with the groceries. I can buy from bulk bins and make food from scratch.

In addition, I am learning that I don’t need keep a lot of stuff around to enjoy life. I have been getting rid of things that I don’t need so that I no longer must store them. Our consumer-based society is based on the collection of a lot of junk and I have decided that I am going to free myself from that American obsession. I am starting to get a better grasp of the concept of “less is more”.

I can also reduce the number of miles that my food travels. This summer I have started buying from local producers rather than from grocery stores that truck produce in from California. Our current Republican government is trying to get us to consume more fossil fuels and encourage us to believe that climate change is a hoax. Some people try to make us believe that the earth is flat too, but that doesn’t make it so. By buying local I not only am helping reduce carbon emissions, I personally like the idea of helping out the local economy.

In addition, reading and writing articles, emails, and books online, I am able to reduce the need for using paper. I am not the only one who sees the benefit of using the computer and the internet to save trees.

Reuse

Though there are some things that you never want to buy used like underwear, pillows, and mattresses, there are still others that are just as good used as they are new. They also cost a lot less and are often better quality than those things that are bought new. Children’s and women’s clothing are at the top of the list of things that can be bought used. Children grow out of their clothing quickly and women often prefer to change out their wardrobes so there is a lot of good clothing out there that can be found at yard sales and used clothing stores. In addition, flea markets are a useful place to get many items that can be repurposed in your own home.
Things that you no longer need can also be given away or resold. These items can be donated to charity as well. Reducing the need for storage space to store those things can also make a positive impact on both the environment and your wallet.

Recycle

There are those things that you cannot avoid bringing into your home or allow others to reuse. Recycling takes on many faces. Aluminum cans, plastic, tin cans, glass, cardboard, and paper can all be separated and taken to the local recycling center to made into other products. You can also recycle tires, electronics, and batteries and avoid sending them to the landfill.

One of my favorite ways to recycle is to recycle organic materials by composting. Composting is a way that I can recycle organic materials right on my own backyard. I have composted for years and it is easier than many people think. Almost every home could compost almost all their homes organic household garbage and use it as sustainable fertilizer to produce 50 percent of their daily vegetable intake. Recently I took composting one step further by setting up a vermiculture system where worms are break down the compost into castings that make an excellent nitrogen source for plants.

Just the Beginning

This is just the beginning. As I make these habits a part of my every day life, I feel as though I am more in control of my life by controlling what does and what does not come into my home and what does or does not go into my home.

 

 

 


moneyLast week I wrote about how slavery is still alive and is a sickness in the world today. (Here’s the Link) There is, however, a different kind that no one really calls slavery and it is much more prevalent today. This type of slavery is called living from paycheck to paycheck. The majority of Americans–8 out of 10–live paycheck to paycheck. There are basically two causes for this type of slavery and that is either not earning enough money or having so many financial obligations that individuals are unable to spend their income in the ways that they want.

Most families have no reserves for emergencies. Fortunately, my husband had the foresight to give us a cushion in case of emergencies. Back in October, my husband became ill and was out of work until January. Most families would have had it extremely rough, but we were fortunate that he had the forethought to have a full six months of his income in reserve for such an emergency.

The solution to the slavery of paycheck to paycheck is simple, but not always easy. You either must spend less or earn more or a combination of the two.

How to Save Money

The most important thing for anyone to do is to try to limit their discretionary spending habits. I am not going to give any specific details on how to do this. I will just say that the place to start is to write down everything that you spend your money on for a month. What spending habits can you change even if it is just temporarily? Write down your monthly bills. Look over your list. Are there any there that you can eliminate or reduce? Are there bills that you could pay using automatic payments that will reduce your rate? Are there payments that you could pay every quarter, every six months or even annually that would save you money as well? Plan your purchases. Don’t buy on credit unless absolutely necessary. The object is to spend less money than you bring in and avoid adding any credit card charges. A great goal that will help you getting out of the slavery of living from paycheck to paycheck is to pay off any credit card balances at the end of each month. Using credit cards isn’t the problem. Having credit is good when you need it.

Seven Ways to Earn More Money

Sometimes, just saving money isn’t enough. Sometimes what’s needed is more income. However, taking the step of getting more income without first getting control of your spending could lead to a being more of a slave than you were in when you made less money. So, once you get control of your bills and know what you have to spend, then you can determine how to make additional income.

Get a Raise

The first way to get additional income is to leverage the experience that you have in your current job. If you have worked hard and done a good job, then asking for a raise might be an option for you.

Get a New Higher Paying Job

Another thing that you could do is to get a promotion or go out and look for a higher paying job.

Get a Second Job

If getting a higher paying job is not possible or you like what you’re doing but it’s not paying the bills, getting a second job might be a better option. However, having two jobs is not always a sustainable option. Burning the candle at both ends can wear a body out, keep you from your family, and can turn you into even more of a slave to working for some else.

Sell Your Excess

Today, more than ever, there are ways to sell the things that you no longer use. Go through your closets and storage areas and garage and go through the stuff that you are just storing and haven’t used in a long time. If you have storage units that
Now find the best places to sell your stuff. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. For most clothes and household items you could have a yard sale and clear things out. You might also consider having a stall in a flea market. You can also sell some things to specialty shops. You can also sell on local Facebook selling sites or on eBay. For bigger things there’s Craig’s list.

Clearing out storage lockers that you are paying rental on not only pays you for what you sell out of them, but it frees up that money to invest.

Invest Wisely

One of the best pieces of financial advice is to invest in yourself. Once you have sold your Excess stuff and closed storage lockers that you no longer need, take the money that you saved and invest it in some way that will pay you back.

Start a Business

The final way to increase your earnings is by starting a business. There is a science and art to starting a business and it is the best way to get free of the slavery of living paycheck to pay check. With starting a business, you will use many of the principles already stated when developing personal finances. The difference between business expenses and personal expenses has to do with the art of utilizing credit. Credit in business should be used for moving your business forward.
Money guru Dave Ramsey has observed that “80 percent of personal finance is behavior” not education. Therefore, make positive financial behavioral changes on a regular basis. Replace bad habits with good ones and set yourself free.


slave-sale-posting-POn January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln put the Emancipation Proclamation took effect where he freed the slaves forever. However, that day, no slaves were set free. It wasn’t until after the end of the Civil War that through Constitutional amendments, the practice of the slavery of African Americans was finally put into law. Though legally free, many of the struggles of freedom and equality continues to this day.
Unfortunately, slavery still exists to this day in one form or another. According to American professor Kevin Bales, co-founder and former president of Free the Slaves, modern slavery occurs “when a person is under control of another person, who applies violence and force to maintain that control, and the goal of that control is exploitation”. According to this definition, research from the Walk Free Foundation based on its Global Slavery Index 2016 estimated that there were about 45.8 million slaves around the world in 2016, with 58% of them live in India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan. Of these 45.8 million, it is estimated that around 10 million of these contemporary slaves are children. Bales warned that, because slavery is officially abolished everywhere, the practice is illegal, and thus hidden from public authorities, making it impossible to obtain exact figures.
Modern slavery is a multibillion-dollar industry with estimates of up to $35 billion generated annually. The United Nations estimates that roughly 27 to 30 million individuals are currently caught in the slave trade industry. According to Walk Free Foundation, there were 46 million people worldwide enslaved in 2016 in the form of “human trafficking, forced labor, bondage from indebtedness, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation”, with an estimated 18 million of those in India. China is second with 3.4 million, followed by Pakistan (2.1 million), Bangladesh (1.5 million), and Uzbekistan (1.2 million). By percentages of the population living in slavery Uzbekistan tops with 4% of its population living under slavery followed by Cambodia (1.6%), India, (1.4%) and Qatar (1.4%). 4.3% of the population of Mauritania remains enslaved.
Slavery also exists in advanced democratic nations, for example the UK suggested 10,000 to 13,000 victims in December 2015. This includes, forced work of various kinds, such as forced prostitution. The UK has recently made an attempt to combat modern slavery via the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Large commercial organizations are now required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement in regard to their supply chains for each financial year.

Causes

So why is there still slavery? Modern slavery is a by-product of poverty. Countries lacking sufficient public education, economic freedom, the rule of law, and societal structure create an environment that fosters the acceptance and propagation of slavery. Slave-owners only have to pay for sustenance and enforcement so slavery is an attractive investment because paid laborers demand more than just sustenance. Modern slavery can be quite profitable and corrupt governments tacitly allow it, despite it being outlawed by international treaties such as Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and local laws. Total annual revenues of traffickers were estimated in 2004 to range from US $5 billion to US $9 billion. American slaves in 1809 were sold for around the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Today, a slave can be bought for $90.

Slavery in contemporary Africa

Slavery in contemporary Africa is the form most often associated with the word “slavery”. It stems historically from either conquest, where a conquered person is enslaved, as in the Roman Empire, or from slave raiding, as in the Atlantic slave trade or Arab slave trade.

Debt bondage

Millions of people today work as bonded laborers. The cycle begins when people take extreme loans under the condition that they must work off the debt. The “loan” is designed so that it can never be paid off and is often passed down for generations. This form of slavery is prevalent in South Asia. People become trapped in this system working ostensibly towards repayment though they are often forced to work past the original amount they owe. They work under the force of threats and abuse. Their helplessness is reinforced due to the large power differential between the “creditor” and the “debtor”.

Forced migrant labor

Some people are enticed to migrate to a country with the promise of work, only to have their documents seized and are forced to work under the threat of violence to them or their families. Undocumented immigrants may also be taken advantage of. Without legal residency, they often have no recourse to the law. Along with sex slavery, this is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy countries such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East.

Sex slavery

Along with migrant slavery, forced prostitution is the form of slavery most often encountered in wealthy regions such as the United States, in Western Europe, and in the Middle East. It is the primary form of slavery in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Many child sex slaves are trafficked from these areas to the West and the Middle East. An estimated 22% of slaves to date are active in the sex industry.

Early or forced marriage

In the culture in certain regions, early or forced marriage is a form of slavery that affects millions of women and girls all over the world. When families cannot support their children, the daughters are often married off to the males of wealthier, more powerful families. These men are often significantly older than the girls. The females are forced into lives whose main purpose is to serve their husbands. This fosters the environment for physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

Child labor

Children comprise about 26% of today’s slavery. Most are domestic workers or work in cocoa, cotton or fishing industries. Many are trafficked and sexually exploited. In war-torn countries, children have been kidnapped and sold to political parties to use as child soldiers. Forced child labor is the dominant form of slavery in Haiti.

Occupations

Modern slaves are often forced to work in certain occupations. Common occupations included construction, laying driveways, car washing, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, cosmetic bars, and teenagers are trafficked from Vietnam to work on illegal cannabis farms.

Signs that someone may have been forced into slavery include a lack of identity documents, lack of personal possessions, clothing that is unsuitable or has seen much wear, poor living conditions, a reluctance to make eye contact, unwillingness to talk, and unwillingness to seek help.

Governmental efforts against slavery

The governments credited with the strongest response to modern slavery are the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Norway.
In contrast, the governments accused of taking the least action against it are North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
What can we do about slavery around the world?
Start with this website: End Slavery Now http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect
Become a Modern-day Abolitionist: http://www.freedomcenter.org/get-involved

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