Tag Archives: West Africa

Meera Subramanian: Resilient Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

MeeraChrisCannonAs major weather-related calamities like Hurricane Sandy are teaching us, decisions around where buildings are built and trees are planted are important, especially as they relate to the encroaching coastline and other impacts of climate change. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from Meera Subramanian, a writer whose recent piece in Orion Magazine explores post-Sandy restoration efforts that draw upon engineering insights from a hundred years ago, and may reach far beyond the shores of Long Island and New Jersey.

Then, we re-visit host Alex Wise’s discussion with Chris Cannon of Empower Playgrounds, an innovative non-profit that provides equipment to West African villages that converts the energy of playing kids into electricity for their families.

Global and Local Generations of Energy

ChrisCannonAshKalra2How many of us have ever watched the boundless energy of little kids playing and thought, “if only you could capture that energy, you could light up a whole city!” Well, our first guest this week on Sea Change Radio, Chris Cannon, is doing just that – his nonprofit, Empower Playgrounds, taps the kinetic movement of children at play and converts it into usable power in electricity-deprived locales in the West African nation of Ghana.

In the second half of the show we move from the global to the local. Working in California’s third-largest city, and the tenth-largest city in the US, City Councilmember Ash Kalra expends a large portion of his energy ensuring clean air, water and transportation are available in San Jose and the surrounding area for generations to come.

Fairtrade Cocoa Goes Big League


Cadbury, the popular British chocolate maker, just agreed to source Fairtrade cocoa for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the top-selling chocolate bar in the UK. The move effectively triples sales of Fairtrade cocoa for farmers in Ghana, where Cadbury sources from Kuapa Kokoo.  It was one of the first cooperatives there to be Fairtrade certified in the ’90s.  In the late ’90s, Kuapa Kokoo also started its own brand, Divine Chocolate, to keep more of the value that typically gets skimmed by middle-men and big chocolate companies.  Erin Gorman, CEO of the Divine Chocolate USA, welcomes the move, which validates its model of Fairtrade sourcing.   Bama Athreya, executive director of the activist NGO International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), also supports the development

Read the show transcript

How to End Child Labor on West African Cocoa Farms

Bama Athreya
Bama Athreya
CWR co-host Bill Baue speaks with Mil Niepold, senior policy advisor at Verité, a supply chain monitoring and auditing nonprofit that serves as secretariat of the International Cocoa Verification Board, and Bama Athreya, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, an advocacy organization that combats child labor and has collaborated with other NGOs and Fair Trade chocolate companies to propose a “Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing. Niepold and Athreya present diverse views on how best to address child labor in the cocoa supply chain in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana–Niepold promotes Verité’s multistakeholder initiative supported by industry and West African governments, while Athreya points to progress occurring outside of industry and government influence.


International Cocoa Verification Board

International Labor Rights Forum

Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing

February 4, 2008 Fortune article by Christian Parenti: “Chocolate’s Bittersweet Economy: Seven years after the industry agreed to abolish child labor, little progress has been made”

CWR Headlines:

–‘Kyoto II’ climate talks open in Bangkok,
–Carbon prices rising, carbon markets are booming
–Produce giant Ag-Mark settles a pesticide exposure case