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Independent information to help you make consumer choices that are better for you and your world.

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October 2, 2013   


It's up to us!


Consumer choices are what drive business decisions. One of our highest impact choices is where we put our superannuation - Otter's short guide gives you some options. Also in this issue: how to avoid toxic sunscreen, tips to recycle better,  an interview with Fairtrade Australia and NZ's Craig Chester, and concerns about a crazy proposal to ban consumer boycotts.

We're delighted to announce Otter's first event It's Up to Us, to be held in Sydney next month. Hear great speakers, meet great people, be challenged to take action. Details below.

Are any of your friends missing out on Otter? Invite them to join up! And feel free to share your  feedback or any topics you'd like covered. We'd love to hear from you.

Otter interview: Fairtrade

MSC's Maylynn
Fair trade helps the world’s poorest farmers run successful businesses. Sustainability writer Deborah Andrich talks to Fairtrade ANZ’s Craig Chester, with a focus on chocolate. They cover Fairtrade's role in sustainable development in PNG, what a chocolate supplier needs to do to be certified, and which certified products are available in Australia.

Read More

Otter picks


Information you can use today
Toxic sunscreens: how to ensure a safer 'slip, slop slap'

While it may be protecting you from the sun's harmful rays, your sunscreen might not be all that good for you. Some sunscreens contain harmful chemicals. We've summarised key sources to help you buy a safer sunscreen this summer. Read More
Meet your local farmers with Locavore

Concerned that you don't know where your food has come from? Meet 'Locavore': a website that introduces you to regional growers and producers, giving you the opportunity to get to know your food just a little bit better.

Read More
I didn't know I could recycle that ..
Ever found yourself hovering over a bin wondering whether the package in your hand is really recyclable? Or wanted to recycle stuff that doesn't belong in your kerbside bin? We've got some answers, including State and Territory guides. Read More

Your superannuation is one of your biggest opportunities to change the world!

Animal Cosmetic Testing
It's not just how you spend your money, but also how you invest it that makes a difference.
 
“Invest?”  I hear you saying “I don’t have any spare money to invest!”

Well, actually, if you are working more than a few hours a month, you very likely do! The median Australian employee earns about $4,600 in superannuation each year. That's more than you're likely to spend on Fairtrade chocolate or enviro-friendly cleaning!

Read More
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Quick tips

Can you improve your fuel economy by 15-25%? 'Shrink that Footprint' offer eleven tips for improving your fuel mileage. Read more

Check out these tips to sustainable gardening from the NSW Government. This site has great links to other informative resources. Read more

Spiced Beetroot, Walnut and Date Cake

Strawberries

Advocate of real food and low toxic living, Alexx Stuart, has whipped up this good-food spiced beet, walnut and date cake. With faux (but all natural) cream icing, this is a real food treat!

Photo: spiced beet and walnut cake, Alexx Stuart.

Events and actions

Sydney


Book now for your place at Otter's first event 'It's up to us'. Meet like-minded people and hear from four great speakers: Food Connect's Julian Lee, company director and sustainability advocate Sam Mostyn, Simon McRae from Ethical Clothing Australia and Melinda Dewsnap from Green Villages. 


Melbourne


The Organic Expo: A natural and organic lifestyle show.  Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton (19-20 Oct).


Australia-wide


Buy Nothing New is a one month challenge to buy nothing new with the exception of essentials like food and medicines. 

'Create From a Crate' competition! Each year in Victoria, 600,000 tonnes of wooden pallets are disposed of. Re-purpose one with this fantastic competition from Planet Ark. Registrations close 31 October (and you have until January to get building!)

Don't forget, next week is Sustainable Table's Give a Fork!. Host a sustainable seafood dinner to raise awareness for overfishing and fisheries mismanagement.

Ban on consumer boycotts? Really?


Amazingly there's talk of a new law that would make it harder for consumers to be informed about their choices. That legislation would make it illegal to call for people to avoid buying a product if it is unsafe or unsustainable! You can read more about what this means in this article in The Guardian Australia or join a Sum Of Us petition, asking the government to bin this restriction on your ability to vote with your spending dollars. Read more

About Otter


Otter is brought to you by Ethical Consumers Australia; an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to making it easier for consumers to make choices consistent with their values. 

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