FAIR PHONE, HONEST MOBILE

I was researching this a few weeks ago preparing to write this blog, wondering what is the carbon footprint of my phone usage and of my mobile brand(Huawei) and found an article from Honest Mobile, which said that even ‘’sending a text message (SMS) produces 0.014g of CO2 and using 1GB of data uses 0.3kg of CO2’’ because all those restaurant food, face, outfit of the day selfies add up considerably over the course of a year. Honest Mobile is the first carbon neutral mobile network who plants trees for its customers who help them offset their own carbon footprint. How come they aren’t more popular? *considering how many people want to lead more sustainable lifestyles and all that. Maybe if they had just a bit of PR, you know? A few press mentions? I’m sure they’d appreciate being written about in at least one student blog(—>).

So what is a Fairphone? Fairphone is a B Corp company (just like Honest Mobile), who produce repairable, low impact android phones, so I’m taking a guess they don’t slow down the phone operating system to ‘’make you’’ buy a new phone if you have a three year-old iPhone(Tech Radar 2021). The cool aspect here is that you can return your old phone to them, in an effort to reduce e-waste. If you replace a phone, you can’t just throw it in the bin, it’s an environmental sin we’re all guilty of committing at least once. I honestly do not remember how I disposed of my old phone, but committing to being more careful now that I know about phone recycling.

How food selfies will look on a fairphone concept – Photo by Blue Bird for @Pexels

The sad part about smartphones is that there is modern slavery mined raw materials for them to be built, If we knew how many slaves worked for us(Ethical), we’d be pretty shocked(38 slaves worked to make goods for me according to quiz). Tungsten, cobalt, as well as ‘’Coltan is an effective capacitor found in electronics. A U.S. State Department official was interviewed about Coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He pointed to the reporter’s smartphone and said, “The likelihood that one of these was not touched by a slave is pretty low”(Slavery Footprint).

The cool thing about Fairphones is that they sell spare parts, and these phones seem to have a removable battery, which new phones on the market moved away from(at least my Honor 8s). Apart from Honest Mobile, they should also partner up with Pela Case, for custom Fairphone cases. Honestly these should have a wider coverage, as I want these available in Romania, where I live, I want access to these! I think an Honest Mobile sim would go pretty handsomely with a Fairphone. If you are based in the UK and want to make a difference, give this a go! Do I have to move to the UK now? In a world full of iPhones and Android mobiles, I’d like to be a Fairphone, and I’m open to relocate.

PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

I see a lot of parents even famous ones create social media accounts for their children, but do they take the dangers of social media into account? Several years ago I came across a video posted by Bark, a tech company, who decided to show parents what can happen to kids as young as 12 on social media. These kids are easy meat to pedophiles, who will work hard to coerce, abuse, collect photos and videos of these kids and use that to get more.

Once this 37 year old mom transformed into a 11 year old girl, they immediately received inappropriate questions. In the video, they mentioned a lot of these lurkers go unreported, which I think contributes to this problem’s perpetuation, but also due to lack of understanding and awareness. The authorities cannot build a relationship with your children for you, you have to build trust, honesty, and teach them about the dark side of using social media, considering that a statistic collected by Guard Child states that 67% of teens said they know how to hide their online activities from their parents.

According to Statista, 35% of Romanian women experienced sexual harassment since 15 years old, compared to 55% of British women with 29% of sexual crime relationships were initiated on a social media platform. Even if you are millennial, a YouGov 2017 survey discovered that 29% of women received unwanted body pictures(I’m being classy for the sake of this post) from strangers.  

Photo by Sora Shimazaki for Pexels.com

It’s not just Instagram and Snapchat which were mentioned by Bark’s video, but also Twitter, where porn also doesn’t get removed, despite reports from users, even if you report photo manipulations (celebrity faces pasted on porn pics for example – I tried it). Your minor boys aren’t safe either. ‘’Influencer’’ James Charles flirted many times with minor boys on TikTok, and defended himself saying he will ask for ID next time he will have a conversation with a guy, among other things, and had no charges pressed because he’s rich.

Back in February 2022, Pink News reported on a man who created a fake account on a dating app posing as a lesbian and was caught by the Cumbria Constabulary, who worked undercover. The groomer denied accusations, but they had too much evidence, like the times the man asked for explicit photos and s*x acts, all of which led to his 27 month sentencing, but now looking at what he did, clearly is not enough, even if he has to sign sex offenders register and abide by sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Virtual kidnappings are also an increasing trend and the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI)’s special agent Siobhan Johnson issued a warning to the public about it in March 2022. The definition of virtual kidnapping is ‘’An extortion scheme wherein people receive phone calls telling them their loved one has been kidnapped and will be killed or harmed if they do not immediately go to the bank and wire money’’. One of the ways to identify a virtual kidnapping is asking how the victim looks like, which they were seen to struggle answering. The special agent gives parents tips to prevent the scam, like having a password if one of your kids is indeed in trouble, and to never share travel details(location, dates) online, because scammers search for victims that way.

This is why I think the internet needs to be policed more, for safety reasons. I wonder what Elon Musk will do now, after he made an offer to buy Twitter for $41.39 billion and got blocked. After news that he became the platform’s biggest shareholder, Vanguard upped their stake in the platform, so clearly someone was upset not being number 1. That put aside, this post is just a reminder to have fun with social media responsibly.

FRANCE BANNED PLASTIC WRAP FOR FRUITS AND VEG – AND SO SHOULD WE

Back in 2019, I saw this story and thought just how beautiful this Asian supermarket looked, with all fruits and veg wrapped up in banana leaves, and the difference it makes! Our global stories are chocked by plastic containers and wraps, and this is one of the solutions which worked for them, so I wonder why our European stores can’t switch to beeswax food wraps which are natural and reusable, and they are easy to find on Amazon for example.

Photo credit: Perfect Homes Chiangmai

It would make a tremendous difference in the pocket of plastic manufacturers, I’m sure of that, but since we’re phasing out plastic might as well switch to manufacturing beeswax wrappings, if they would actually do market research and listen to the results(give them a hand Kantar). France is ahead of the sustainability game, as the country banned plastic wrap for fruits and veg to eventually go plastic free by 2026, and so should we! This ban took effect on Jan 1st, 2022, according to GMO Free USA’s Facebook page. Spain is also set to follow suit in 2023.

Free the cucumbers! Now if you happen to shop in France, you won’t see around 30 types of fruits and veg in plastic packaging, like peppers, cucumbers, leeks, which are my pantry favorites. The Guardian reported that producers are allowed to take their time to find alternatives to plastic packaging for chopped and processed fruits, which is disappointing, do we really need chopped fruit? Moïra Tourneur advocacy manager at Zero Waste France(NGO) had the same feelings saying ‘’ Giving more time for certain fruit and vegetables is a bit of a shame.’’ You really can’t buy whole fruit and chop it at home? Let’s tackle all aspects of consumerism not just the convenient side.

Soon to be historical photograph of strawberries in plastic cups, by
Julia Filirovska for Pexels.com

Last December, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers that ‘’State’s ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and ‘packing peanuts’ begins Jan. 1, 2022’’, and learned from Commissioner Seggos that ‘’Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers already live in communities that are ‘foam free’’ and I think we can learn from how they do it. Plastic wraps and packaging are mostly unnecessary, and don’t prevent waste, but the contrary, Wrap UK found.

So what do organisations do with all this plastic swimming around? Two friends were on holiday in Julie’s hometown of Marseille noticing that the sea looked different than the postcards, and decided to collect plastic found in the sea and turn into magical sneakers, under the name Corail. Corail is a brand that employs fishermen to pluck out plastic waste which then is processed and turned into sneakers by an artisanal workshop in Portugal. What’s even more beautiful is that once the sneakers are at the end of their life, worn out, they can be recycled and processed again by the brand. It lights up my soul that there are people out there working on making the world a better place for us all, a shoe and a cup at a time.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER SHOOTING IN THE US

Sacramento, California had a rough Sunday last week. Then Dallas, Texas saw a shooting a few days later. So how many more shooting should happen before gun ownership is restricted? Apart from the mass shootings we see happening in the US, according to data provided by gunviolencearchive.org, in 2019 there have been 23,941 suicides by gun alone, for 2020 that data is pending. A graph shown by The Trace revealed that gun deaths have risen, from 16,000 in 2019, to over 20,000 in 2021, using data from Gun Violence Archive.

In the Sacramento shooting case arrests have already been made, where one of the suspects had an early prison release, convicted on domestic violence and assault. The Dallas case is looking for suspects. My immediate thought was how come they can get a gun so quickly out of prison? Surely, psychological testing needs to be made mandatory when a citizen applies for gun ownership as well, and to frequently pass these tests, to prove they are mentally stable. Access to guns shouldn’t be so easy either. The American Psychological Association(APA) thought the same and developed a framework for practitioners when conducting firearm psychological evaluations. My question is whether this framework is actually used?

Photo by cottonbro for pexels.com

People who are mentally unsound still own a gun in the US despite the federal law prohibiting it, and around the world, some are political leaders, playing with weaponry like toy. The problem with the USA is it is comprised of 50 states and each state has its own laws like you can see here. It is probably a headache to get all state governors to agree on one law for all states, because they are mostly men ‘’in charge’’, AP reported as of 2021, only 9 women served as governors. We can only dream of a world led by women, it would look and feel amazing.

My second discovery happened to be from Statista, the ‘’Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2022, by race’’ – that graph has an unknown race section that I’m more intrigued by, particularly the 2021 spike indicating 608 deaths people in charge and researchers should know more of, but it doesn’t disclose whether we are looking at police gun violence or accidental shooting. I don’t think we as a collective forgot about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

I mentioned psychological evaluations for citizens when they apply for gun ownership, which should extend to police officers, as it makes sense to have tests every 6 months, not just when they start their careers. If they already do, why did George Floyd and Breonna Taylor happen, and continues to? I take a guess that nothing will change until it turns into a personal crisis for politicians. Until then, American children(but not of the rich) go through active shooter drills in school to prepare them for ”in case when”.

What your favorite part of this post? Let me know by dropping a comment!

Photo link: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-yellow-and-white-labeled-paper-3926747/

PESTERING WOMEN TO BECOME CRIMINAL OFFENCE

I can’t remember anything else to shake and shock the internet quite like Sarah Everard’s murder, last year. She was a 33-year old woman, a marketing executive, who walked home from her friend’s house, the same evening a police officer decided to kidnap, rape her, kill her and dispose of her. Nobody is ever safe, no matter the time of day and location, especially if you are a woman walking alone.

Good news is that new laws are going to be introduced to tackle violence and sexual harassment against women, question is – when? I found that penalties for non-compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 will be introduced ’’when Parliamentary time allows’’(2021 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery, p.9) so God knows what physical laws governs Parliamentary time, especially when it comes to protecting women, we all know Justice is blind.

Photo by Anete Lusina for @pexels

Victory does come true sometimes, like in Gina Martin’s case, who made upskirting illegal in the UK and it is a criminal offence. She really told women ‘’Don’t accept assault as ‘part of life’ as a woman.’’ which inspired my choice of the photo. Because too often women choose to stay silent, because we’re gonna think nobody takes us seriously, or that we won’t be believed, but that because we talk to the wrong crowd!

Pestering women is set to become criminal offence too, and it would be perfect if Parliamentary time would accelerate for the new laws to be passed, as ‘’a public sexual harassment offence which doesn’t currently exist’’(Ladbible) and it’s about time it did exist. Women should be able to walk alone in the evening and not worry about their safety, but when?

WALKING OUT ON DISNEY

I am passionate about public relations, specifically interested in public affairs. I chose to write my dissertation from the perspective of public affairs professionals, and how they can help lobby and pressurize governmental bodies to improve and toughen laws to eradicate modern slavery(the research question) so all of this made my ears perk up, interested to see how companies handle a crisis and how they communicate.

Disney surprised internauts and their own LGBTQIA+ employees with news that the company made ‘’donations to the Republican legislators behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill’’(Vulture). It led their employees to organize walkouts to protest Disney’s involvement in the bill. I wrote my Ethics essay on them and they made the impression to be a company who works hard on being progressive, future-forward, yet this donation is contradictive, like Disney’s many other past actions.

Image credit @pamcakieehttps://twitter.com/pamcakiee/status/1506314754218131457

Disney’s own LGBTQIA+ staff must be feeling disappointed by this bill and CEO Bob Chapek, who apologized to them after a whole week of protesting, but what do apologies mean? Especially when Disney as a whole was supposed to condemn the bill not support it, knowing they have LGBTQIA+ staff. In response to Los Angeles Times, I think Bob would love to be considered/remembered as Disney’s ‘’full blown Mouse Messiah’’(I found that super hilarious) but love to see that it was Chapek’s predecessor Bob Iger who tweeted about the bill.

But Disney and its Board of Directors have bigger fish to fry because four Disney employees were arrested by Florida police as part of an undercover mission to expose a human trafficking ring, a retired judge was arrested and over 100 arrests were made(by the many articles it is mentioned in) I can say it was a success.

It wasn’t disclosed who did what in the human trafficking ring(understandable) just that four individuals were child predators and one was acted a human trafficker. The four Disney employees allegedly were placed on unpaid leave(Deseret News) which is unreal. In light of the P&O sackings in the UK, I reckon Disney’s HR would like to see the evidence provided by the Police of their involvement before firing them.  

What do you think of Disney’s employees protesting “Don’t Say Gay” bill? You can visit the Twitter account dedicated to the employee walkout here.

THE ROLE OF THE REALITY TV ‘STARS’

A day after International Women’s Day, Kim Kardashian decided to put women on blast by telling them to get up and get to work, in an interview for Variety. Her sister chimed in and agreed with her, ‘’so true’’. What is so true(in a valley girl accent) is that academics work so hard and deserve a raise and still worry about paying their heating bill, and will never be millionaires, like my lecturers, the librarian of my faculty.

The whole family was wealthy to begin with, with the internet saying she received a car for her 16th birthday, because don’t we all!? No Kim, we don’t. Women in business do get up and work, across all industries, if they didn’t – them/we being half of the population, I reckon the world would stop spinning. What is worse about this case is that stories of people who worked for them and were underpaid. Women really can’t afford not to work or live in a toxic environment, yet Jenner Communications had/has unpaid job listings(misamandary).

If I have to pick one pet peeve it would be unpaid work, be it part time or full time, across all industries, even if underpaying is just as bad in my eyes. They shouldn’t exist, particularly wealthy companies/people who have the resources to pay should not expect free work – no that qualifies as modern slavery made legal’’ and the users who commented the same. Like how can someone be available 9:30am to 6pm and still be a student? Isn’t that full time work labeled part time?

Me all dolled up writing my dissertation. Moose Photos from @pexels

We don’t need celebrities, stars, reality tv stars, starlets, public figures to preach to the world about work ethics particularly when everybody knows they have nannies, chefs, drivers, unpaid interns etc. The role of the reality tv stars, celebrities, public figures is to put a smile on our faces, make us laugh, inspire and motivate us and that is it! That’s why it’s called the ‘’entertainment industry’’. But nobody expects reality tv to actually be real, I don’t know about others, but I know it’s staged/scripted/filtered.

I don’t mind they get this amount of coverage, the Kardashian-Jenners, but what I’m bothered by is that they use Marketing and PR to promote something that is not real. Weight loss teas don’t help at all, and I never seen any information on them working with nutritionists before promoting such products, I doubt they ever consulted with someone. I wish more people would look beyond plastic surgeries, fillers, and instagram filters and research to get the truth, in the digital era. Yet in the digital era, there’s few of us who still research and read, like the effects of weight loss teas. Keep working, Kim! I’ll be on my dissertation!

THE INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS INFLUENCERS

Back in October 2019, when I was approached by Lauren, who is now Head of Content at the Female Lead, and told me my page(emma-watson.net) was a positive example and that they want to collaborate, it reminded me of what I promised to do to my colleague, Michael, the webmaster of the site(promote, expand, create). We are now onto the fourth campaign.

The first campaign’s message told youngsters the importance of choosing a role model or influencer who is great for their mental health. The Female Lead run their own research because the founder is so smart she sold a global data company to Tesco and has many other great contributions(see here). Through a study ran in schools across the UK, they found that ‘’a causal relationship exists between following positive female role models on social media and having higher, focused personal and career aspirations’’(The Female Lead – 2019 Research).

The internet is in dire need of some sort of policing, we have way too many ‘’influencers’’ who sell weight loss teas which can cause kidney failure and other conditions, unhealthy beauty standards – tell me Jennifer Lopez doesn’t use filters! Yes she does, and she’s still beautiful, but tell me why most public figures are lying about their use of plastic surgeries? UK lawmakers did ban the use of filters from being used to promote skincare and cosmetics and were assisted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

#DisruptYourFeed this #IWD2022 – The Female Lead Artwork.

Youngsters need to be shown and taught the importance of logic when choosing a role model from the online environment because all these things and people are shaping their subconscious mind, which then trickles down to affecting their way of thinking, their character, behaviour and personality, their realities, with effects on their self-worth and self-image which you can see how deep it goes! It would greatly help their confidence if they are reminded that often heroes are right next to them, living in their boroughs, maybe teaching in their schools, they may never be seen or celebrated online or on television.

The internet won’t go away, but we can teach how it can be used in a good way. I remember my parents never used a pc when my father first bought ours, so they weren’t in a position to teach me and my brother about the existence of porn and its dangers to young minds, potential toxicity of social media. For example, I was a chat moderator on emma-watson.net around 18-19 years old and was baffled about young folks lying about their nationalities as if it was a shame to tell the truth. I was often asked why I am open that I am Romanian which blew my mind, like why shouldn’t I? My favorite was noticing internet relationships between people who never met.

This #InternationalWomensDay2022, we should be mindful where we focus our energy on, and in whom we invest our attention. I nominate @PRAcademy, @_EmmaDrake, @LynseyWatt for empowering me, for support, great content and teaching. Who do you nominate?

WAR SO CLOSE TO MY HOME

Dragobete day is celebrated in Romania as Lovers Day, and it symbolizes the beginning of Spring. Yes, it’s the Romanian equivalent to Valentine’s Day but has deeper, older meanings. It is connected to old Romanian traditions inherited from our ancestors – the Dacians, and nature. It’s also the day Putin decided to invade Ukraine, at 5:00am EET.

I was a 6 month old baby when the coup d’etat in December 1989(which they like to call Revolution instead) took Romanians by surprise. As a millennial, I thought that I haven’t seen many wars but it’s because we didn’t have a huge media influence, my father listened to the news on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty through his days in the army in 1980 and at home until 1989, because tv programming was only occupied by communist propaganda. We didn’t have the technologies, upgraded satellites, social media like nowadays…Lots of other conflicts in our area(Kosovo) made the news but life carried on.

Political mishaps always happened throughout history because men took the lead instead of women, I don’t see men accepting or following the advice from qualified women, especially in high matters like the military and politics. Do you see women leading armies anywhere nowadays? It was always a matter of who’s got the biggest muscle, the biggest flex which always led to worse situations with men ever the experts. War was always about personal and political interests of men in charge, never about us as societies. Thirst for power will never be quenched.

Katie Godowski from Pexels

The Ukrainian president wanted his country included in NATO then the European Union, when it doesn’t work like that. To enter NATO, my father told me Ukraine would have to sign treaties with his neighboring countries and all neighbors have to have peace between them to avoid NATO embarrassment in case of war. Then the EU would accept them, but they aren’t at peace with Russia. A trade agreement with the EU isn’t the same with a full membership either so President Zelenskiy now struggles to do what his predecessors didn’t.

President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine made more sense seeing a list of resources they have which made them a valuable target and how dare they want NATO or EU membership! In recent days, Anonymous who is a collective of hackers, declared cyberwar on Russia and took down government websites,  intercepted military communications as well as tv stations, as reported on by The Guardian. I wonder what will happen next if the situation will escalate further, especially with Russian currency headed into the ground. What will happen to Russian civilians? Imagine trying to buy groceries now in Russia.

The Romanian government ignored, but I have never noticed more solidarity than now, from companies, NGOs and associations, who gathered medical and domestic supplies, civilians even organized shelter for mothers and their children who fled the grenades and smoke. Happy to see UK’s mobile service carriers stepping up, from BT who offered free mobile and landline calls to and from Ukraine, then Ireland waived visa fees for those who want to join their families in UK. I just hope we will strengthen unity and connection without needing war to force us. But a war so close to my home is still a growing worry. I hope everything will turn out allright for everyone involved.

WHAT I WORK ON AS A YEAR 3 STUDENT

My work now as a student in year 3 is divided in 3: the final major project(dissertation), a PR campaign for the Solent Business School and a report for International Marketing.

The dissertation. I am glad I helped my self in year 2 when I picked several topics and o they were ready to go in year 3, semester 1 when I was deeply clueless(oh so relatable?). My chosen topic is modern slavery and how Public Affairs can help lobby and pressurize governmental bodies to improve and toughen laws to eradicate it. Yeah, I chose level ‘’tough one, mate’’, but it’s interesting from an ethical and human rights perspective. For this research, I had to test interest and was surprised that Public Affairs professionals were willing to help me out. I will soon take part in the FMP survey internet flood Storm Eunice style, I’m preparing it for now*:P

PR campaign. Our brief is Help To Grow: Management and our client is Solent Business School. This one was a novelty for me because we got to meet our client via Microsoft Teams since me and a colleague are off-campus and came face to face with their needs and wants related to the campaign. Anne Gregory would be happy to know that out of her 10 step planning model the most useful were her book(Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns – A strategic approach) and the ‘’Review’’ step which the Wilson Model by Robert L. Heath didn’t have. Why wait and the end of the campaign to see that objectives could have been changed? That is why feedback is gold.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

International Marketing. We are asked to choose a company and a product to penetrate a new market(a country), then come up with a strategy, objectives, tactics, the whole lot as if we are working on that project live. I chose Disney with Disney+ streaming service because Disney was familiar to me from the Ethics essay I wrote on them and my opportunity is that they aren’t available in Romania. Out of the several lectures and seminars we had, I enjoyed the one on Globalization the most. Our professor Martin Senior, does quizzes at the end of the slides and the Globalization lecture had the most interesting quiz. It was fun to do as an off-campus student. You know when some professors are worth their weight in gold, right?

Personal life. I’m eyeing all those PR courses once I get my degree. I know I want to do a master in PR as well. I know I want to always be the best I can be. I’m always doing trainings for my own holistic business and the training I’m doing now are focused on how to sell on social media and oh, boy it’s an eye opener! I wonder what present PR professionals loved when they were in university, what modules they loved, their first job in the industry, who gave them their first break, their proudest moments, that would be so much fun, a great idea for an online event. Learning about the people behind the profession is what I am aiming for.