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Repaso: Free2Work, ethical travel, faithful city planning, Paul Simon on God, Native relocation

1. The story behind the bar code
I’m really encouraged to see this – Free2Work, an app that lets you connect the dots a bit and see where the product you’re considering buying came from. Seems like a win for those of us who want to support businesses that contribute to the well-being of their workers, and perhaps steer clear of the less ethical brands:

Be a conscious consumer! Learn how your favorite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. Free2Work provides consumers with information on forced and child labor for the brands and products they love. Free2Work grades companies on a scale of “A” to “F” based on their efforts to prevent and to address forced and child labor.

2. Ethical travel destinations for 2012
Speaking of ethics, the Polis blog highlights a new report from Ethical Traveler, listing the ten most ethical travel destinations, “based on their recent record of protecting the environment, promoting social welfare and human rights, and creating a sustainable tourism industry.” The list may surprise you; six of the ten are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

3. God’s (unexpected?) plan for cities
Here’s another interesting one from the Polis blog: a podcast on the “undeniable” connections between faith and city planning and why those preparing for careers as city planners ought to study religion:

Faith-based groups rebuild areas after disasters, they develop affordable housing plans, and they help the poor. Additionally, social movements that have profoundly changed society, like the civil rights movement, were guided by faith. Yet planning education generally does not deal with faith… Should the study of faith traditions and values be part of a planning education?

4. Paul Simon on God (by way of John Stott)
Kim Lawton, managing editor of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, recently interviewed Paul Simon. The video is available here. In a related piece for Christianity Today, Lawton says Simon was deeply impacted by the late John Stott, who he realized was different from the stereotypes of Christians he had known. He said:

I was interested in speaking to the John Stotts of the world and other evangelicals because my instinct was that the animosity is not as deep as being depicted in the media, and anecdotally speaking, I have found that that’s the truth.

5. The legacy of Native relocation
NPR, as part of its series on Native American issues, has a new story on a little known bit of American history, and its legacy, this time in Los Angeles:

Los Angeles County is home to the largest urban American Indian population — more than 160,000. In 1952, the federal government created the Urban Relocation Program, which encouraged American Indians to move off reservations and into cities such as Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. They were lured by the hope of a better life, but for many, that promise was not realized. “The boarding schools, relocation — I mean, everything that historically happened to American Indians — continues to impact them today,” Carrie Johnson says. Johnson is part of an effort to help those living with the consequences of the relocation program and build a new future for today’s urban American Indian youth.

Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!

[Photo credit: Barcelona aerial, Aldas Kirvaitis via Flickr]

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