Thursday, 30 April 2009

Ethical Shopping

It's a minefield out there. I struggle with the balancing act of packaging, organic, whether it's local, Australian, fairtrade, whether they've animal tested,it's genetically modified, whether it's toxic, or has exposed foreign persons to toxicity, or knocked down rainforest - it really is hard. I've always wished someone would do the homework for me. They have!

Ethical Shopping Guide You can buy the guide at a newsagent for $5 - ours doesn't stock it so I went for a download from the site - it makes for interesting reading. Though I finally made a connection I should have years ago. When they say vegetable oil on the ingredients, that usually means palm oil. I've avoided palm oil for ages because of the deforestation that goes on in order to grow it. The resulting lack of habitat for the orangutan and other locals. Extrapolated that means anything that says vegetable oil without stating which oil is now in the growing 'can't buy' section of the supermarket. Most varieties of potato chips ...


Kathryn said...

I have to ask... so what is the name of the book? or the website I download from?


Linda Cockburn said...

Thanks for pointing that out Kathryn, forgot to put placing text in my hyperlink (again).

Toria said...

I'll have a look for it. I've only fairly recently found out about the effect of palm oil plantations & have been trying to avoid it since. Unfortunately that means no more Tim Tams, but I've found I'm not really missing them that much.

Quasior (A. Harris) said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks so much for your wisdom. I've been following you this last month (and consumed everything your've published online).
Very impressive and very encouraging. I've since started a garden myself. I've started looking into Robert Hart's Forest Garden - and I really like that idea. I'm wondering can I incorperate that somehow into the southern climate (I'm south Tassie too).
Since being diagnosed about a month ago with Coeliac's Disease I've been looking at saving money on groceries and this is how I discovered sustainable lifestyles.
I intend to buy your book and lots of others!
Cheers, Quasior

Vixen 307 said...

problem with using palm oil, but most alternatives are too expensive, so I just try to use the minimum of products containing palm oil.We all have to do our best, and with the recession in Great Britain (and most other countries) its quite scary looking forward to the future. On a brighter note tho my veggies are doing well and the sun has been shining a little lately.

Romi Jensen said...

Once again Linda - you have (or will) change my life! After reading your amazing story a couple of years ago my course in life changed (sold the land we were about to build on and then bought another block that we could live more sustainably on...) and once again - this link! WOW! We struggle through the minefields of information not buying this and buying that and hoping that our ethical choices make a difference, now a handbook with all the info in the one place. I am going to tell EVERYONE I know about it.

I love your blog, and can't wait to see what you add next! It might change my life again! (by the way I am not some crazywoman...) :o) Just a gal trying to make a bit of difference with her family in the world!

HappyEarth said...

Thanks for that link Linda - I'd never heard of this site and ethical shopping guide before and it looks really great.

The site also recommends a couple informative looking documentaries I'm keen to check out (details at and If they're good, hopefully I can organise some local community screenings - you never know what you're blog is leading to!



kat said...

Hi Linda,

I've followed your blog for a long time since reading your book and admire your lifestyle and choices immensely. You make us want to be better people.

I wondered whether you had ever heard of aquaponics? I came across an article about this SA business and am quite intrigued by the process: I'm not sure how I feel about "growing" fish in such a confined and unnatural environment though, but I like the fact that it can be successfully set up in very small urban backyards and is such a mutually beneficial system. Anway, just some food for thought...

Thanks for sharing all your wisdom, knowledge, trials and tribulations with us!

mountainwildlife said...

I found out about palm oil last year- gave up all commercial biscuits and have made my own every week now for about 8 months. Only a small step I know, but a huge deal for me- I loved my biscuits and never baked before- Now I love it!
There is a good info site at

PS - loved your book! Now a fan of your blog :)

Michelle said...

Just found your blog tonight. I found it through another blog that is on my list Thyme For tea. I look forward to having more time to read it all, what I have seen so far I love.

I was aware of palm oil and my biggest concern was the loss of habitat for the orang utan due to replanting of trees for palm oil. What I didnt know and was surprused to learn that vegetable oil can mean palm oil..I was taken aback from that and will certainly be looking into the link u posted.

I have started to read from the start and see you have bees..very interesting,,,..among other things like goats...wondering if you would consider paying a visit sometime to a Hobart high school,,,animal studies classes ?

Linda Cockburn said...

Hi Michelle,

I'd love to come to your animal studies class, but sadly, Trev won't let me :-) He's right, I've taken on so much that the sides of my life are bulging.

I keep trying for the simple life, but through my own idiocy keep plotting myself back onto the wild side. Still, wouldn't change it for the world.

Maybe when I retire.