Have An Ethical Engagement
Love and no conflict diamonds are all you need.
A wedding is a happy time, a time for drunken strangers to come together in Vegas, a time for Internets to catfish lonely spinsters out of green cards, for gold diggers and horny octogenarians to get their hands on what they want, for cousins to shrink the gene pool, for closeted homosexuals to make an ill-fated stand against the inevitable. I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.
If I know your partner (and I do, intimately) I know their heart’s in the right place. I know when you pop the question and offer unto them the ring that will forever symbolise your union they’ll have but one thought running through their mind: what are the moral implications here? It’s a good question. After all, the key to a successful marriage is to start as you mean to go on. For example, if you plan to cheat repeatedly on your partner it’s best to mention it up front, see how it goes down. Equally, if you plan to be insufferably self-righteous your starting point is an ethically sourced engagement ring.
Assuming you’re following tradition rather than thinking for yourself your ring will need a diamond. Here’s where the butter starts flying: in the late 1990s and early 2000s the world noticed diamonds were often mined and refined in appalling conditions and used to fund conflicts in Angola, Côte D’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Buy a rock from your local ring emporium, you could be funding weapons for child soldiers or chipping in for pitiful wages and supporting inhuman working conditions.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is the industry’s safeguard, aiming to ensure conflict diamonds are removed from the market. Established in 2003 and supported by United Nations resolutions, KPCS boasts 55 industry members from 82 countries accounting for an estimated 99.8% of the rough diamond market. That’s nice and all, but like everyone with a couple of brain cells and a half decent memory we don’t have much faith in industry self-regulation. Despite progress, Global Witness and Amnesty International say the Kimberley Process’s definition of conflict diamonds is too narrow, leaving loopholes for tons of human rights abuses in supply chains including child labour, summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances and looting.
None of which is helping you. Their dad’s loading shotguns and you’re no closer to an ethical ring. So what’s to be done? First, you could check Human Rights Watch’s ranking of retailers, grading them according to how much attention they pay to their sourcing and supply chains. Having settled on a retailer you could ask them what guarantees they can give you you’re not buying a conflict diamond. If nothing else it’ll show it remains a consumer concern. You could go for lab-grown diamonds that remove any doubt of conflict or environmental horror. Or you could go for Fairtrade jewellery or for rocks sourced from areas free from conflict: online stores sell diamond rings from Canada, Wales and other glamorous spots. That won’t bring money to the world’s poorest people who could do with the business, but it also won’t bring them harm through conflict. This is one of those cases of easy choice/few options/lousy solution so we’ll just take the best of what’s on offer. Worst case, if you don’t get it right the first time there’s always your second marriage as a do-over.
Have an ethical engagement
Avoid conflict diamonds
Wipe out the industry
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The thing with this do-gooding lark is it’s a difficult habit to break. Once you’ve committed to a life of meddling, Butterflying and getting stuck in there’s no backing down, no slacking off, no chance of respite or downtime. So although I’ve been on holiday for a couple of weeks and not actively Zeroing, my do-gooding hasn’t let up a bit.
I am not a free man; I am a number
You will recall one of my new year’s resolutions was to run a 10K for charity, an effort of such clichéd lameness I may as well have joined Weight Watchers while downing a pack of Jammie Dodgers. Since then I have been absolutely bombarded by one request for an update, and only a fool would deny the wishes of his entire audience.
The running man
And so to new year resolutions, a pointless exercise given my current greatness but one I dabble in for the sake of my inferiors and their fully justified inferiority complexes. The challenge here is to find some tiny improvement I can make somewhere. After all, even history’s great humans have had to tweak the odd thing here and there. Rumour has it every January Ghandi would make a fresh effort to cut down on crack.
Social networking not working
One of the difficulties about this changing the world lark is it’s not really on me to change. I’ve already ascended to moral perfectuality, leaving you and others in an ethical gutter like the thoughtless wasters you are. It’s all about getting you to catch up now, inspiring you to positive change by slagging you off and calling you gutter-dwelling thoughtless wasters.
And so the call goes out: Meddle
Life is all about the meddling. It’s all about the getting stuck in and the not just standing by murmuring to yourself about how things shouldn’t be like this and how if only someone would do something maybe things would be etc. If Zeroism is about anything – and it isn’t – it’s about how we have to be the stucker inners.
The foul stench of failure: closely resembles worm poop
And so to the latest adventures with the wormery. You’ll recall how in the absence of a garden I couldn’t get a composter and how I’d gone for an indoor wormery that would turn worms into my slaves, forcing them to eat my scraps and poop out a rich, nourishing compost. It’s not been the most successful of my many successful successes.
Left cheek unused in uncharacteristically weak effort
It can be hard at times, fitting Zeroism into a busy life. Turns out this whole masters thing is less about watching Supermarket Sweep and more about reading every word ever written about social work. Meanwhile the world’s missed out on a blog entry and my usual epic do-gooding, delaying the revolution for 7 days and putting us back to October 2014. But while changing the world from the confines of the library is not without its challenges, it can be done. I’ve spent the week signing online petitions.
The whole point of this Zero lark is that with a little bit of thought we can do good in whatever we happen to be doing, be it eating a banana (Fairtrade/organic), eating veal (not doing) or embezzling funds from a Lebanese orphanage (carbon offsetting your extradition flight). And so it is for yer man today as he starts back at university.
(Blank) sweat and tears
We find ourselves in the middle of National Blood Donor Week and it’s given me an idea:
Instead of always referring to seven consecutive days commencing with Monday and ending with Sunday as ‘seven consecutive days commencing with Monday and ending with Sunday’ I’m going to start calling that period of time ‘a week’. That’s what I’ve been doing this week and so far it’s been going down pretty well.