Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bring Fairness to the Table

If Wal-Mart is a prototype for the destructive power that interconnectedness can wield, then fair trade is the counterpoint: a hopeful example of how our purchasing power ripples through issues of corporate globalization, big business, and agriculture.

Thanksgiving is a fitting occasion for promoting a sustainable global economy on a local level by encouraging the supermarket where you shop to stock more fair trade products. Co-Op America and Oxfam America are asking consumers to use Saturday, November 19th as a fair trade day of action at supermarkets since it’s one of the busiest grocery shopping days of the year. Inspired by green LA girl's post about not being able to get a fair trade chocolate bar at Trader Joe’s and having looked for them many times myself, I wrote a letter to the east coast headquarters. It would be a worthwhile first step if, in our Thanksgiving grocery shopping, we purchased some fair trade coffee or tea to serve after the meal. Even better, we could go beyond this act of conscientious consumerism by encouraging the supermarket chain where we shop to carry fair trade products. If the chain where you shop is like Trader Joe’s and stocks fair trade coffee and cocoa, you could compliment them on those products and ask for others. If we all bought one fair trade product, wrote one letter to our supermarket’s headquarters (addresses for major supermarket chains are here) and filled out one comment card at the market, we could possibly come a step closer to a fair economy in a tangible way. Taking one but preferably all three steps this week expresses gratitude for the work of the farmers who make your morning (and afternoon, and evening....) brew possible. And believe me, these farmers need more than gratitude. Being able to purchase fairly traded items is a norm that we should expect, but our society is just not there yet. Let's be thankful there are ways that our expectations can help shape a new reality...and then let's do something about it.

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