Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Chocolate elitism

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  • Sacha,

    Ask a cow.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Is there not one single thing I can buy at the local supermarket which doesn't exploit someone vulnerable or deforest something or exterminate an endangered species?

    Wehn in doubt Danielle, always consult the Great wisdom of punk...

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    A question perhaps best answered by potty-mouthed readers: does the beef-based soap taste any better than the palm-based?

    Clearly it needs a warning on it "not for washing out the mouths of vegetarians".

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Does beef-based soap represent the Tallow Peril?

    No, that's Indonesian and Malaysian soaps, ( sinetron ). They're perilous. But also quite clean.

    Oh sheez. Soap? Washing my nether regions is now fraught with guilt? Is there not one single thing I can buy at the local supermarket which doesn't exploit someone vulnerable or deforest something or exterminate an endangered species?

    It's not worth doing if it doesn't exterminate lemurs.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    You need Tyler Durden's special liposuction left-over soap.

    fight club soap

    Sustainable and renewable. W00t!

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    RIghto, That's enough stirring. Just trying to point out that these single issue campaigns sometimes miss the point. And the soap thing is an interesting spin on it.

    Back to my steak/roast/cheese/vino/choc covered wafers. Yum.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Russell, I tend to agree that NZ's farming practices aren't too bad in the industrial sense - but, yes, they could leave out most of the bloody superphos and do something with cow shit other than washing it into rivers. I was also shocked to learn recently there's a feedlot or two around the place. Disgusting. I don't want to see farming go the US route.

    As for active deforestration and general shonky practices in non-Western countries, sure. And who set up many of those companies, who still runs many of them (look at the Aussies in PNG, for example), and who (in the main) continues to buy the shonky goods?

    But yeah, it's difficult - Marilyn Waring was writing about environmental capital 20 years ago, and we still haven't got much of a clue about how to tackle those issues (her solution, as I recall, was recasting national accounting rules to value what was there rather than its exploitation). How do we reward "stewardship"/sustainability over slash/burn/pillage?

    Hell, I'm far from pure myself, because here I am typing on my lovely computer in my Aussie flat, working for the aviation industry. At least I have soy milk in my latte. ;-)

    And Logan, yep, seconded wrt single-issue campaigns - trouble is, they tend to be used because the punters find it easier to relate if problems are broken down into seemingly-manageable chunks. And maybe that's a perfectly reasonable strategy if there is some concern for the forest as well as the trees (not to labour any analogies or anything).

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    I was also shocked to learn recently there's a feedlot or two around the place.

    Me too. Appalling and unnecessary. A dreadful shame, and hopefully - given that it's so alien to most of us - something that can be quickly done away with.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    You want chocolate snobbery? Course you do. Now you can buy Schoc on-line.

    I'll see your chocolate snobbery and raise you: I don't especially care for Schoc. Their shells are too thick for flavor balance, the chocolate is nothing amazing, and they don't seem to pay all that much attention to detail (eg, surface bubbles. pah.).

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    Do you happen to know which suppliers of soap use beef fat?

    There are a few which are primarily beef tallow based such as the "Simple" brand of soap, but even this still puts in a good slug of palm oil - just not as much.
    There are others - and some are quite surprising. Neutrogena for instance do a very good transparent hypoallergenic soap which they call a "Transparent Facial Bar". It is palm-free with a base of beef tallow though not surprisingly their marketing department don't exactly make a big fuss about this to their target market of middle-class women (though incidentally it also makes a brilliant shaving soap).
    This and many other soaps will also use stearic acid which is a saturated fatty-acid normally derived from animal fat.
    Essentially all you need to do next time you are at the supermarket is to check the list of ingredients on the soap wrapper and learn how to interpret them keeping in mind that they are listed in order of quantity used. Sodium or potassium tallowate means animal tallow, Sodium stearate (from stearic acid) is also (normally) tallow derived.
    -Palmate or -palm kernelate is from palm oil, -cocoate is coconut oil, -ricinoleate or -castorate is from castor oil, -olivate is from olive oil. Glycerin / glycerol (another common ingredient in some fancier soaps) is a carbohydrate rather than a fatty-acid but is also often derived from animal fat.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    So if you're hard enough you can wash your nether regions with ricin? Awesome.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Oh sheez. Soap? Washing my nether regions is now fraught with guilt? Is there not one single thing I can buy at the local supermarket which doesn't exploit someone vulnerable or deforest something or exterminate an endangered species?

    Sorry but I couldn't help but read that in a bad way. You've got what living where?, I shudder to think.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    It shouldn't be this hard to be green and vegetarian and non-stinky.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    It shouldn't be this hard to be green and vegetarian and non-stinky.

    We have guest soap ( we use shower milk) which is called Bali soap. The sandalwood one has the following:Palm oil, coconut oil,Alkali, water,sandalwood powder, saffron powder,clove powder and saffron flowers. That's it and there is a cinnamon one and a nutmeg one,all with the same ingredients (except the sandalwood powder)These have not been tested on the animals. I guess the palm oil is the only contentious ingredient ? Well, they smell gorgeous.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    It shouldn't be this hard to be green and vegetarian and non-stinky.

    What you want to track down is a pure Castile or Marseille soap. These are green coloured soaps sometimes sold in large cubes and are made from 100% olive oil. More likely to be found in a fancy-pants French goods / gift shop than a chemist or supermarket. Note there is also a white coloured Marseille soap which is palm + coconut based. The only problem is that pure olive-based soaps tend to go mushy very quickly when wet.

    Despite its name, "Knight's Castile" is not a true Castile soap and is actually beef tallow based. However as long as you don't have any issues with animal products, it is also probably the easiest to obtain palm-free tallow soap there is.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    I guess the palm oil is the only contentious ingredient ?

    Heh! Check out the record of the sandalwood industry.
    Like Isabel said...

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Heh! Check out the record of the sandalwood industry.
    Like Isabel said...

    I guess it is good we don't have many guests.I'll inform the Bush Fairy Dairy next time I am up that way because they like to support the friendly stuffs.:)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    And then there's the growing dairy production in NZ where they feed the cattle with palm oil.

    I wonder if that milk tastes soapy?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    According to Wikipedia (which is probably well managed by the palm industry) one of the main byproducts of producing palm oil is crushed leaves, stems and the pith of the fruit and kernals, which are used as stock food.

    Compared with other things (like cattle) palms seems a pretty efficient use of cropping land. The problem we rich folk have is the land they choose to grow it on.

    I can't see how that isn't hypocritical. Which is why change has to start locally:

    Here's some positive things that we can do: Stop flying off on overseas holidays, stop buying airfreighted goods (including books and stuff bought online), start supporting reforestation projects in NZ, support native wildlife, euthenase feline and canine pets.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Here's some positive things that we can do: Stop flying off on overseas holidays, stop buying airfreighted goods (including books and stuff bought online), start supporting reforestation projects in NZ, support native wildlife, euthenase feline and canine pets.

    If you could not suggest I get rid of members of my family, I think you might get a better reception for the rest of your suggestions.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    We live in a country of endangered birds, and we're attached to their most dangerous predators.

    Your pets are even so important to you that you would ignore my other suggestions. Even though they are all positive in their own right.

    And yet we criticise the Indonesians for placing their endangered species at risk. Not for the sake of mere pets, but to earn money to have even a fraction of what we take for granted.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    euthenase feline and canine pets

    Yeah, good luck with that. (I'm not saying all the other things I'm thinking here.)

    Also: a well-looked-after family dog in a fenced garden is really unlikely to kill a native bird. Mine spends most of her time snoring on the foot of my bed, and during walks she is far too well-supervised to have the opportunity, even if she were to think of it (which I'm pretty sure she hasn't, ever).

    Of course wild dogs and feral cats are a different story. But they aren't pets.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Here's some positive things that we can do: Stop flying off on overseas holidays, stop buying airfreighted goods (including books and stuff bought online), start supporting reforestation projects in NZ, support native wildlife, euthenase feline and canine pets.

    Wear hair shirts, fast, pray...

    (Come on, books shipped from overseas? That's just nonsense, unless you're already a vegan who walks everywhere. Pretending that various penances will make a difference is daft; if you really care, give money and time to a group campaigning for the environment and vote accordingly. Try and use public transport as much as possible.

    And I don't like the idea that we can or should change the world by a bunch of consumerist choices; that's not how this works.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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