Fairtrade gold medals for Rio 2016?

RioLondon 2012 offered the UK a significant opportunity for green leadership. The question is, will the country’s leaders making the most of it today?

The gold medals at Rio 2016 might contain a drop of FairTrade gold, as part of Solidaridad’s (working towards sustainability) ‘On Our Way to Good Gold’ campaign, which promotes the compliance of artisanal and small-scale mining groups with the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards.

Four years on from London 2012, public debate about its legacy is taking off again. Are fair gold medals the sort of initiative for which its efforts to raise the bar on sustainability can claim any credit? Not directly: Solidaridad, the European Youth Olympic Festival and the city of Utrecht were working to improve the social and environmental impact of the sporting landscape long before 2012.

There were disappointments in London – notably the scrapping of a 130-foot wind turbine in 2010, which robbed the Olympic park of a highly visible symbol of sustainable energy. The environmental credentials of some of the sponsors were also questioned.

LOCOG fell short of its target to recycle 70% of the waste arising from Olympic venues (managing around 62%).

The ambassadors for Solidaridad’s campaign, is calling for the gold destined for the medals at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be mined in a fair and responsible way. If their campaign is successful, the sustainable procurement standards pioneered at the London 2012 Games might just have played a vital role.


Keeping Teens on Your Side

by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

I spent a good and constructive day with the City Women team. They were tackling a national concern entitled “Keeping Teens on Your Side.” The day was spent listening to the personal stories of parents and teenage guests, and valid information from a senior youth leader from City Gates Church  who spoke about the best way to keep relationships with teens is to keep it real, as well as:

1. Get to know their friends
2. When you are going through something it can really effect young people.
3. Teens biggest struggles is Relationships.
4. Be friends, yes, and set boundaries.
5. Balance form views with true understanding.
6. Monitor internet use and phone calls, eating disorders, alcohol consumption, and signs of self-harming.

Child Development

Sport Helps solve our Social Problems Too


by Jennifer Valentine-Miller via Evening Standard

The biennial Sport Relief Initiative, run by the BBC’s Comic relief since 2002, has done much to combat deprivation. Its success highlights the central role that sport plays in our culture but has also laid bare problems that arise from the lack of opportunities which prevents many people from playing sport.  Watching the football in the pub is all very well but is vital to the nation’s health that people can get involved in sport beyond being a spectator.

Obesity levels have made the UK the “fat man of Europe”.

In London, childhood obesity is a particular problem: figures last year showed one in five children are classed as very “overweight” by the time the leave primary school.  Sport is one way to help fix things.  It can also do much more than promoted better physical health. It can also do much more than promote better physical health: it can improve concentration levels; it can encourage interpersonal skills; it can bring joy to the dispirited.

The rise of multi channel television, easy internet access and endless social media mean that sport has much to compete against.  The short-sighted sell-off by councils of school playing fields in years past has hardly helped matters.  So to those taking part in events to raise money for Sport Relief “good luck”.  To those who choose to be a sponsor  “dig deep”.

The Jewish fear of Intermarriage


Intermarriage – when Jews wed non-Jews – has been called a threat to the future survival of the Jewish nation. So what happened when there were reports that the Israeli prime minister’s son was dating a Norwegian non-Jew? The Norwegian daily Dagen reported that Ms Leikanger and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair are a couple, to which the office of Mr Netanyahu has responded – according to Israeli media – by insisting they are only college classmates. But the damage has already been done. Leikanger is not Jewish, a fact that has sparked outrage in Israel, a Jewish country which since its inception has fought to have its Jewish character recognised throughout the world. While Judaism is not a proselytising religion, Leikanger, like any non-Jew, does have the option of converting should she wish to become Jewish.

Intermarriage and assimilation are quintessential Jewish fears and have been called a…

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Why Must You eat Tomatoes


from InStyle:

Tomaytoes, tomahtoes, whatever you prefer to call them, are more than a key to great flavor. They’re also packed with a wide array of nutrients that are great for your skin and — believe it or not — can make you look younger.
Feeling a little sceptical – InStyle spoke to Dr. Karin Hermoni, to get the full scoop. “Tomatoes contain high levels of the plant pigments called carotenoids, such as lycopene, that gives tomatoes its red color and is known for its many health benefits, as well as phytoene and phytofluene that absorb light in the UV range. When we eat these ingredients we are actually getting inside-out protection that helps our skin all year round.”
While the shiny red fruit should never replace your topical sunscreen methods, a tomato-rich diet can help to prevent sun damage and painful sunburns. The expert also notes that “tomato lycopene can reduce the level of proteins involved in skin aging,” helping to keep fine lines and wrinkles from showing up on your complexion.

Though the best way to reap the benefits of tomatoes is to actually eat them.

Prayers: The Light for Syria

15 March 2015 marked the third anniversary of the ongoing conflict in Syria. It’s hard to comprehend the degree of suffering and devastation that these three years have seen. More than 100,000 people have been killed, and every hour now, more than 300 people flee their homes in fear.

As the conflict drags on, the people of Syria need our persistent and determined prayers more than ever. We know that, even in the darkest places, God can shine the light of his love and hope.

The Points of Prayer are in association with Tearfund and Christian Aid.

Points for prayer:
Pray for those who have and are fleeing their homes into an uncertain future.

Pray for Christian Aid partners working in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Pray for Christian Aid partners working in Greece, Hungary and Serbia.

Pray for those in authority to make wise, cooperative and compassionate decisions.

Pray for change and a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria.

‘Heavenly Father, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25, 37-41)