Will Apple take retail salaries to new heights?

Early on Monday, June 18th, Business Insider reported that all Apple Store employees would be getting $4 per hour raises. Later on the 18th, Business Insider edited their article on this subject and asserted that they weren’t sure anymore if all Apple Store employees would actually be getting raises of this kind.

Business Insider’s initial claim about the wide-scale increases in pay was based on information provided to them by one source at Apple, who claimed that the technology giant was giving its retail employees significant raises after many of them had expressed disappointment with their wages on Apple employee satisfaction surveys. Since Business Insider initially published the news story on this subject, other sources at Apple have publicly announced that they haven’t heard anything about the $4 per hour pay increases.

If all Apple Store employees do actually get a $4 per hour increase in pay, Apple will certainly make history in the retail arena, where 2% raises every year are the norm. In some areas of the U.S., Apple Store employees only make around $9 per hour. So, a $4 per hour raise would mean that their pay was increasing by almost 50%. If this happened, the Apple Store would certainly not only become a more attractive place for college students to work if they were trying to maximize their pocket change and minimize their student debt. It would also become an attractive place to work for just about everyone who’s unemployed right now. You couldn’t necessarily live in the lap of luxury on an Apple retail salary (even with the $4 per hour raise), but it would certainly beat many other minimum wage alternatives by a long shot in terms of pay.

Lots of Apple Experts

Specialists who work in Apple stores – known as Apple Experts

News sources had previously reported that Apple employees would be getting 5% increases in pay at some point this summer. A 5% increase in pay is nothing to laugh at, but it pales in comparison to a 50% raise. No one’s sure yet of whether any of the recent rumors about raises at Apple are true, but we can assume that Apple retail employees are hoping for the $4 per hour raises, especially after Business Insider and quite a few other news sources got their hopes up.

Although a $4 per hour raise for all Apple Store employees does seem unlikely, it’s not completely unrealistic. Apple makes a lot of money off of their retail employees, and working at the Apple Store does require some technical knowledge that working at other retail stores generally doesn’t require. Plus, Apple’s call center employees have noticeably higher salaries than most other call center employees, and Apple offers them outstanding health benefits and tuition assistance if they want to go to college. Apple treats its corporate employees well, for the most part. So, it might be time for Apple to show its retail employees some love too.

At this point, there’s no reason for Apple employees to expect $4 per hour raises, but here’s to hoping that it will happen!

We need to act on climate change for the sake of others

In the South Pacific ocean lies three tiny atolls that go by the name of Tokelau. These islands have a population of around 1,500 people, around the size of a big village.

The Tokelau islands

The three tiny atolls that make up Tokelau

However, bad news is on the way for the people of Tokelau, as climate change is threatening every single one of the residents lives. Droughts are a real problem in the area, as despite being surrounded by sea water, there is very little freshwater that locals can use. Climate change means that rains are decreasing in the area, and drought is increasing.

The second issue for this tiny group of islands is the sea itself. Sea levels around the world are rising for two main reasons: ice caps are melting, and thermal expansion (when water gets hotter, it expands) – these are both caused by climate change, i.e. global warming of the planet.

The final issue for these tiny atolls is that they are made out of coral. Coral is a very delicate substance, that requires very specific conditions to grow and survive.

Basically, these islands are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and it doesn’t look like their situation is getting any better.

It is rather unfair of one to say that the use of fossil fuels on these islands is what has sealed their fate, as compared with the likes of China, the USA and the EU, the islands have virtually no greenhouse gas emission – they probably are responsible for less than 0.0001% of global emissions, leaving the rest of the world responsible for the other 99.9999%.

Despite this, Tokelau has announced that by September 2012, there will be no greenhouse gasses produced there at all, they will run 100% on renewable energy! Photovoltaic solar panels will make up 97% of their energy, whilst the rest will come from local coconut oil made into biodiesel. What is really amazing is that its per-capita income is only about $1,000 per year, a fraction of that in many western countries.

Why is Tokelau bothering though? Their fate is sealed, sea levels will rise further, drought will increase and coral will decline. However, this tiny group of islands believes that if they make a stand now, maybe, just maybe the rest of the world will follow.

The people of Tokelau will most likely be taken in by nearby neighbours, however their home islands will be lost forever, along with their natural beauty and potential. But that’s not the point.

I believe that Tokelau is a warning for what is to come for the rest of the earth. Climate change is happening and it’s real. If we carry on the way we are, we will almost surely destroy the planet we call home.

I have read predictions that by 2050 most of the worlds megacities and centres of economic and political power will be underwater. That includes the likes of London, California, the Netherlands and Bangladesh. That’s a lot of people who will be affected.

We need to take a stand now, for the sake of the future of planet earth.

A Europe centred picture of the Earth

Why not install solar on your roof? It could heat your hot water or power your electricity, even creating extra which you could sell back to the national grid! Why not have a small wind turbine set up in your back garden, that could do wonders for your energy bills!

Think about it. It is our world, we need to look after it.

From the bottom of my heart I ask that you think green, save resources and our home. We really are so lucky that in the whole of space, the perfect conditions came about so that our planet were ever to exist, with it’s vital magnetism and ozone layer, which helped to create and now sustains life.

Earth suspended in spaceWhat’s your opinion on this?