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05 March 2014 @ 09:21 pm
In which I am a cranky old cow  
Change.org started out as a brilliant idea, which has actually achieved some good results through its user-generated petitions. There are however two recent petitions that make me pretty annoyed, but wondering whether it's just me.

The first one is a petition to get McDonalds to offer a vegetarian choice. Why? If you are vegetarian why would you go to Maccas in the first place? Seriously, if you don't like the menu, go somewhere else.

The second one just leaves me shaking my head. Apparently the food colour used in M&Ms has been linked to ADHD and hyperactivity in kids, so the petition is asking the manufacturers of M&Ms to... change dyes? Leave them uncoloured? I'm not sure on that point. But I'm thinking there's a really simple solution there, which doesn't involve getting all activist-y on a social media platform.
Current Mood: crankycranky
sunray45: Doyle leaning LLSsunray45 on March 5th, 2014 12:40 pm (UTC)
I haven't come across Change.org, but do sign petitions run by Avaaz and a couple of other organizations, as they really do some good.

I agree. Don't go to Maccas if you are a vegetarian, and don't buy M&Ms for your kids. So bloody simple! Some people just like to stir things up for the fun of it or to get their names out there.
miwahni: Boosh I don't like cricketmiwahni on March 6th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC)
It just seems like common sense, really, doesn't it?
entropy_houseentropy_house on March 5th, 2014 10:31 pm (UTC)
Now, I'd gladly sign a petition to force either the elimination of the practice, or at least the clear labeling of gluten sprayed on fresh fruit.

It's easy enough not to buy M&M's but I do so miss being able to eat fresh apples and tomatoes!
miwahni: Boosh Soup crimpmiwahni on March 6th, 2014 11:14 am (UTC)
Gluten should be warned for, it can cause terrible reactions as you know. My niece is sensitive to gluten and she often struggles with food that's supposed to be gluten free. One place we went for lunch recently had the GF symbols against some dishes, but when we asked (just to be sure) we were told their kitchen was too small to guarantee there was no cross-contamination.
entropy_houseentropy_house on March 6th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
At least they were honest about it. I was persuaded to go out to lunch last Jan. in a restaurant that had a gluten-free section of the menu & I got confirmation from the wait staff that GF was prepared in a separate part of the kitchen, that all spices & sauces used were GF, and all GF was served on specially decorated plates so there was no confusion.

Well, my moo goo gai pan arrived with SHRIMP (never heard of that in that dish, and it wasn't mentioned on the menu, and it's a well-known SERIOUS allergen, that has killed people who simply SMELLED it) so that should have been a hint to me that they really weren't reliable. I sent that back & got an all chicken version.

I inquired again about the dressing on the salad, etc.

At the end of the meal I was given a REGULAR fortune cookie, which of course I didn't eat, but it just proved they weren't thinking things through.

And of course, I got home and discovered I was glutened and in for at least of month of recovery.

So really, if you're gluten-sensitive, you can not be too paranoid.
miwahnimiwahni on March 8th, 2014 05:07 am (UTC)
People just don't stop and think of the consequences.
I'll never forget the time I had my niece over for lunch, along with her parents etc. I was so proud that I'd remembered to get a new, unopened butter for her, and a new peanut butter, and I had salad stuff to go on sandwiches... but I forgot the gluten-free bread! Luckily I had corn thins in the cupboard which were gluten-free.
entropy_houseentropy_house on March 8th, 2014 05:15 am (UTC)
I recall one GF'er's blog comment about going to her parent's house for Thanksgiving, and how EVERY dish was unsafe, and she was planning to just eat a little turkey.

And looked at the turkey in its oven bag & said, 'what's that white stuff'... 'Oh, you know, it says to keep the bag from bursting you put in a spoonful... oh... of regular white flour.'

Trepkostrepkos on March 5th, 2014 10:31 pm (UTC)
MacCrap used to offer a veggie burger anyway, didn't they? Maybe not in Oz? Wouldn't be seen dead in there myself!
miwahni: Boosh Tarantula eggsmiwahni on March 6th, 2014 11:16 am (UTC)
I don't remember seeing one, but I'm not a habitual diner there. The only time I'm seen in a Maccas is when I attend the meeting of a local cat club, it's held in the party room at the Maccas and we all buy our dinner and take it in with us. So, once every four months? And that's enough.
ali15sonali15son on March 5th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
I'm not a vegetarian so going to maccy D's doesn't bother me but I could understand if someone was .. Its not top of the list for veggie burgers and m+ms exactly you just wouldn't buy them .. Its simple really .
miwahni: Dr Who Bananamiwahni on March 6th, 2014 11:17 am (UTC)
I thought it was simple, too. If your kids are reacting badly to M&Ms - what's wrong with an apple or banana?
byslantedlight: Doyle tea thinking  (ilywela13)byslantedlight on March 6th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC)
Just to be devil's advocate (*g*) I can see (and mourn) that McDonald's is the kind of teenager hangout where someone might feel pretty out of the group if their mates insisted on eating there, but there was nothing you could eat cos you were vegetarian... same with the M&Ms - sometimes it's hard to stop children eating something when they're out of your sight. If I had kids I'd hope I could have brought them up to prefer other things, and to know that brightly coloured things aren't always good for us (red-backed spiders, but then vs bright oranges and yellow bananas!) but I know from having watched other parents that it doesn't always work like that... and that even though I often know one more glass of wine won't be any good for me, I still sometimes do it... *g*

That said, I'm afraid I eventually unsubscribed from Change and Avaaz, because every day seemed to bring some new petition, and I just couldn't keep up with knowing enough about them all to make an informed choice to sign...
miwahni: Pros Cuppamiwahni on March 8th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC)
Unsubscribing is looking like a good idea.Along with the ones you've mentioned, there's GetUp, and a trades union focused one, and SumofUs, all of which bombard me with requests to sign petitions. If I don't have time to look into the the subject then I just delete, delete, delete.
moonlightmead on March 10th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
Ah, internet activism, click a button and feel you have changed the world and you don't actually have to go and *do* anything. I still go on marches and demos, and hate every bloody minute of it, but these days, bodies on the road is significant, compared with clicking a button, and the civil service - who are the ones who deal with the counting - know this, and so it is worth getting out there and doing it.

Obviously, I have used the internet to make my case, but I write individual emails, and when I get responses from Westminster or Wales or European or local council representatives, it is immediately clear which are individual and which are formulaic. If I can tell that about theirs, they can certainly tell that about mine.

Where the internet *is* great for activism is organising in-person stuff, from publicising demonstrations to planning Climate Camp actions to tweeting changes in plan. And yes, I am a climate camper, I bet you're surprised... :)

On the veggie thing - well, actually, I do think that if you're a veggie it is still possible to get dragged along to places with few vegetarian options. Macdonalds, yuk (along with Wimpy and BurgerKing), but it is harsh to be a vegetarian who has to go along with the crowd and order the fries because that's the only possible option.

Although most of my veggie friends reserve their frustration for Mushroom Bloody Stroganoff, which around here is the veggie staple and generally pronounced that way. That or an omelette :)
miwahni: Random Rainbow Earthmiwahni on March 11th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
You're right, of course, that bodies on the street / at the barricades are worth more than letters, and individual letters are worth heaps more than petitions, and yet it's surprising to see the number of petitions that actually get changes happening.
I'm actually not surprised at all to learn that you campaign for climate action :-). And it's a Good Thing.
moonlightmead on March 11th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have just realised how slighting my comment must have seemed about petitions and the like - it actually wasn't intended to come out that way! I do apologise! I was mostly intending to agree that poorly-constructed petitions aren't useful, and that you need a petition to be clear about what it is campaigning *for* as well as against.

Ahem. Sorry about that!

Feeling slightly conflicted about the climate thing, because I took my first long-distance air flights in *years* recently, and I have spent all this time denying myself perfectly good holidays, conferences and experiences in an effort not to contribute to climate change too much, and - well - I really enjoyed my holiday, and want to think that perhaps I might be able to go again sometime. Oh dear. Principles, I had them once...

miwahni: Dr Who nyantardismiwahni on March 11th, 2014 08:35 pm (UTC)
No worries, I didn't read it as being condescending at all, just pointing out a truth. I've encouraged people to write individual letters protesting government change in the past, due to the fact that one individual letter carries about the same weight as 100 signatures on a petition.

It's hard, isn't it, when conscience meets real life. Does your airline offer to charge you a green levy or similar, where you pay a little bit more for your flight but the extra is put towards carbon reduction programs? Qantas does it on domestic flights, not sure about international ones, and the funds used go towards establishing new forests to act as carbon sinks. The idea is that you're reducing the carbon footprint of your flight. It's one way of assuaging your conscience just a little bit. :-)