A Money Coach in Canada

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Hey blog-pals,

my friend and blogosphere-mentor Tanya of netchick fame is training to run a half-marathon (*faint*)  in early 2009.   It’s a fundraiser for Diabetes.   I chipped in $25, and if you would like to support the Cdn Diabetes Association, you can chip in too (whatever amount you like):

La La La

It’s time to have some fun again —  Isabella, the blogging therapist  (whose Wordless Wednesdays are a gentle highlight of my week) nominated my blog for this award:


and the deal is, I get to carry on the tradition (errr, meme?) by nominating 7 others with a note about why I think they’re brilliant blogs.  That’s easy!   Here goes:


lion.jpgMaraTriangle is an extraordinary blog out of Africa.  Written by park rangers, it contains photos and videos of park wildlife and  their struggle to prevent and arrest poachers, and encourage conservation efforts.  Lions, cheetahs, wildebeest … all there.  NOTE:  they’re looking for a donation of a digital camera, so if you have one to spare, click the “gallery” link.  Also, you can follow a ranger on twitter: @maratriangle.

2. Apartment Therapy inspires me to unplug from the grid and enjoy my home.

3. BadHuman is a warm, fun blog from a couple in the states serious about eco-lifestyle changes.

4. GusGreeper – another warm, real blog by someone with depression.  I linked to a recent post that left me grinning with a bit of a misty eye.  I’m so impressed that she tells it like it is and I hope it encourages others with depression to know they are not alone.

5.  BeyondRobson is in-your-face and controversial.   All I can say is:  Life ain’t white picket fences, and thank god someone takes the mickey out of propoganda.

6.  Hummingbird604  a  mix of environment, food, intelligentsia and social media, Raul’s blog is simply delightful, like him.

7. Give Me Back my $5 remains my fave cdn personal finance blogger.  I’ve “watched” as Krystal got out of debt *yaayy!*, left a job, got a new job, left it for something better, broke up and found a new guy … and consistently writes naturally and easily about the dynamic between her life and her money.

Those are my nominees for the Brilliant Blog award!  Thanks again, Isabella, for your nomination 🙂

Nominees, you are invited to carry on by:

  1. add the logo of the award to your blog
  2. add a link to the person who awarded it to you
  3. nominate at least 7 other blogs
  4. add links to those blogs on your blog
  5. leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

Honest to goodness, I don’t know why we yawn at the word “economics” when there are stories like this. Beats the pants off any Britney Spears blah-blah-blah.

(for some of you this is old news. sorry – new to me. and read on; there may be some new details here).

Dec. 3, 1984, just past midnight. Bhopal, India.

Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate (a chemical used in rubber). None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Worse, the plant had been built close to a dense population instead of the other side of town.

The gas cloud, composed mainly of materials more dense than the surrounding air, stayed close to the ground and spread outwards through the surrounding community. The initial effects of gas exposure were coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation and a feeling of suffocation. People awoken by these symptoms fled away from the plant. Those who ran inhaled more than those who had a vehicle. Due to their height, children and other people of lower stature inhaled relatively higher concentrations. Many people were trampled trying to escape.

Thousands of people had succumbed to gas exposure by the morning hours. There were mass funerals and mass cremations (approx 8000) as well as some bodies being disposed of in the Narmada river. 170,000 people were treated at hospitals and temporary dispensaries. 2,000 buffaloes, goats, and other animals had to be collected and buried. Within a few days, leaves on trees went yellow and fell off. Supplies including food became scarce due to safety fears by the suppliers. Fishing was prohibited as well which caused further supply shortages. (source: bhopal.org)

In short: a freaking industrial disaster of biblical proportions.

Dec. 7, 1984
Indian police arrest CEO Warren Andersen, and release him on bail. He hightails it back to the good old USA.

Dec. 14, 1984
CEO Warren Anderson promises US Congress that it won’t happen again.

Spring 1985
India passes the “Bhopal Gas Leak Act” and acts as the legal representative of the victims.

CEO Warren Andersen retires, and lays low.

Out-of-court settlement kinda/sorta reached – Union Carbide to pay $470 million in damages. I say kinda/sorta because while the Indian Gov’t was cool with this, the victims weren’t (keep reading) – it worked out to about $2200 per dead person.  What do you think:  if a US corporation had done this in the western world, would they get away with $2200 per dead person?

Bhopal police charge Andersen with manslaughter and order him to appear in court. He doesn’t, of course, so India starts exerting pressure on the USA to turn him over (or in formal parlance, “extradite”). Nothing really happens, but then, Greenpeace hunted him down.

Union Carbide offloads the plant by selling it to EverReady (yes, as in the batteries. Think of THAT next time you turn on your flashlight) and in …

Dow Chemical buys Union Carbide (now sans the plant) and claims they have no responsibility for what happened way back in 1984 when they didn’t even own Union Carbide.


and Dow has not found itself off the hook:

Dec. 2004
a fake dude (a precursor of the fake steve jobs?) got himself on BBC claiming to be a DOW spokesperson (brand hi-jacking, hello) and claimed full responsibility on Dow’s behalf for the disaster. He even announced a $12Billion plan for the victims! (vid is totally worth watching! Wish I had guts like fake dude!)

and then there’s the disconcerting website dowethics.com . It will take a while before you realize … hey, wait just.one.minute!

And there was this:
(yay, internet!)And finally …. there’s GOOD NEWS. On August 8, 2008, the prime minister pledged to meet the survivor’s demands. And DOW? Seems like they’re able to continue washing their hands of buying a lame-ass company, despite this. Same with CEO Andersen enjoying retirement in the Hamptons. As for you and me, well, we can buy Energizer batteries, xnay DOW -chemical based products like SaranWrap and Fantastik Cleaner, and donate directly to help.

151772000_b14ef7f16a1.jpgThis Saturday I visited no less than Five places of worship. I saw a 13 year old Jewish boy’s bar mitzvah. I saw a portion of a Sikh wedding. I saw the preparations for Krishna’s birthday in a Hindu temple. I visited a Buddhist temple. And I went to a Muslim mosque.

We received a booklet about Islam, and here’s something I found interesting: One of the five pillars is as follows.

It is the religious duty for every Muslim who is prosperous enough to accumulate and retain a sufficient amount of savings to give a portion of his or her wealth to the needy each year. These alms are called Zakah in Arabic, which literally means “purification”. All things belong to God, The Most Merciful, and wealth is held in trust by human beings. Paying these alms is a way for people who are financially able to purify the ethically gained wealth that God has bestowed upon them. In addition, it is a means to directly distribute wealth throughout society and help the poor and needy. Zakah (alms) also purifies the soul of the giver, reduces greed, and strengthens compassion and generosity among humanity. The basic rate of these alms is two and a half percent of the wealth that has been held in savings for an entire year. These alms are levied on savings, not income.

I found this extremely interesting. My own faith tradition (Anglican, Christian) has a similar concept, called tithing. Ours is much muddier which has good and bad points. I like the Muslim plan – it’s based on savings; in other words, on what you have in excess – although given our savings rates in Canada, that may not amount to much! – rather than on income.

I also like that it’s non-negotiable. We Christians are not accountable. If we give, we give, and if not, no one notices (or if they do, they don’t say anything). (and do I give? Yup, regularly to a couple orgs, and spontaneously to my neighbours living outside, but not even a fraction of the traditional 10%, even on my post-tax income, frankly).


1. Does your faith tradition, if you have one, say anything about giving money to the needy?

2. One question that arose for me is: Is faith-based giving assuming we don’t already pay taxes which go to helping those less fortunate among us?

photo credit: horizon

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