Costa Rica doin’ it in style!

I was amazed by all the weird and wonderful teeny tiny frogs I saw.
I was amazed by all the weird and wonderful teeny tiny frogs I saw.

I visited this beautiful country in 2003 on a backpacking trip with my then fiance (now husband). We spent three weeks in this small but impressive country. Costa Rica is blessed in many ways. It has beautiful forests, both cloud forests and tropical rain forests. It has geothermal activity as we discovered in Rincon de la Vieja national park with bubbling mud pools and geysers. It has Caribbean beaches and it has more wildlife than you can poke a stick at. We saw Toucans, sloths, monkeys galore, weird and wonderful frogs, coral snakes, turtles laying eggs, crocodiles and the list goes on. It has volcanoes too. I recall a very wonderful night watching lava bursting out of and streaming down Volcan Arenal. We sat in a thermal bath James Bond style drinking cocktails with the fireworks display in front of us.


Some facts about Costa Rica:
– It abolished the military on 1 December 1948! that’s 65 years ago!
– Costa Rica is home to about 12,119 species of plants, of which 950 are endemic.
one fourth of Costa Rica is under some form of national park protection and 9.3% is protected under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
– AND it has the most chilled out children I EVER came across in my 1 year backpacking trip. Like seriously laid back, relaxed chilled out ‘Pura Vida’ Style (Pure Life, the national catch phrase, just like G’Day is to Australia). Nothing phased them and I wonder ‘what was it? how do these parents do it?’ I have no answers for that.

Now why am I here gushing about Costa Rica. Well because they want to add another feather to their cap. They have the audacity to want to be the first country in the world to be Carbon Neutral and do you know what, they may very well do it!

Here is a short report about how wind is helping on them on this journey. Now how can a small coutnry like Costa Rica just decide – hell let’s stop talking and start doing? whereas most of the rest of the world is still talking and arguing.

I say ‘Salut’ to Costa Rica. You have shown us again how it should be done!

Happy Mother’s Day


To all the mummy’s around the world ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.

If you’re a mother,how did you spend today?

For me, I was woken up early by my son who is always an early riser. Today he was in my bed twitching excitedly before 6 am. I then left him to it and went into his bed and got back to sleep. My husband later told me that my son did not sleep and spent the whole time talking and wanting my husband to play with him. So some sleep was my first gift!

We then had breakfast prepared by my husband with my kids helping. After some play, I got my gift of a massage and a book on the natural wonders of the world. I ended up spending my afternoon at my mother’s house and with the glorious day was itching to get into the garden. When I did get into the garden I discovered that part of my brick fence had fallen down and I also discovered that even a little bit of physical labour in the garden seems to upset my wrist. Grrrr……

I did however want to take a moment to recognise the mother of all mothers ‘ Mother Earth’ and the wonderful world she has given us. Also I wanted to share this link to photos of mothers from around the world.


An Open Letter to KMART

Dear Guy Russo,
I am a KMART customer and feel compelled to write this letter to voice my concern over KMART’s purchase of clothing ‘Made in Bangladesh’. The inhumane conditions that workers face in Bangladesh confronted me last November (24th of November 2012) after a fire at the Tazreen Fashion Factory killed 112 workers. Around this time I went to KMART to look for some pyjamas for my son, as it was heading into Summer and he didn’t have any summer pyjamas. I was attracted to some sale items with a price that was hard to beat. I then decided to look at where the product was made and saw that it was ‘Made in Bangladesh’.
I have previously seen ‘Made in Bangladesh’ clothing and was curious about this, though I didn’t fully give it a lot of thought. What did I know about Bangladesh at that time? I knew that Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (population of 120 million people and 1,142.29 people per square kilometre compared to 2.9 people/sq. Km in Australia source: I knew that Bangladesh was one of the poorest countries in the world (in 1990 56.6% of people lived below the poverty line, but now that number is 31.5% source: Malnourishment of children is a significant issue (over 54% of pre-school children are classified as underweight). I also knew that Bangladesh is prone to flooding (because about 80% of Bangladesh sits in an alluvial delta barely 10 metres above sea level and is intersected by 230 rivers, flooding becomes a frequent occurrence after annual monsoons).
Now in this situation, having an industry like the clothing manufacturing industry may be seen as a way to alleviate poverty, to have an established industry and address some of the issues I’ve already discussed. Clothing manufacturing is said to account for 80% of Bangladesh’s annual exports.
But it is this very industry that has resulted in about 1,000 people dying in the last few weeks (8 people died resulting from a fire at Tung Hai Sweater Ltd. factory and 920 deaths resulted from the building collapse at Rana Plaza, source:
While I am not saying that KMART is directly associated with these factories, by having much of its clothing ‘Made in Bangladesh’ KMART is responsible for ensuring workers are paid a decent wage, are treated fairly and that their work environment is safe. The proper management of KMART’s supply chain is your responsibility.
I share this story, because as a mother of two and KMART customer, last year I made the decision not to buy the pyjamas and I have not purchased a ‘Made in Bangladesh’ garment from KMART since. As a customer, I would like to know the clothes that I purchase not only contribute towards the economy of a developing country, but not at the cost of human life. Mr Russo, I ask you to:
• Please sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. The Agreement, developed by Bangladeshi and global unions and labour rights organizations, provides for independent inspections of supplier factories, public reporting, training and mandatory repairs and renovations.
• Send a representative to Bangladesh to meet with the trade unions and labour organisations working directly with the affected workers to agree on next steps.
• Voice your concerns to the Bangladeshi government and demand that trade unions and their representatives are protected and consulted with to ensure the safety of your suppliers in Bangladesh.
By taking the above steps, not only will you see me return as one of your customers, but you will also be promoting KMART’s corporate social responsibility in a public manner. I am sure many other customers would love to see these positive steps taken and you will likely be rewarded by their trade and new customers.
Thank you

Elham Monavari