Fair Trade

6 Nov

Holy crap.  There are so many important things to care about.  As I write this, I’m feeling good about the cider I’m drinking from the farmer’s market and bad about the cinnamon coffee cake that I baked from a box (and is certainly full of commodity corn in one form and/or another).  Oh wait, the cider came in a plastic jug….. shoot.  I’m glad that my tee-shirt was made by workers who were paid a (debatably) “fair” wage, but sad that the company who made it is almost certainly run by douche bags who hate women.  It’s easy to feel like you’re always failing.  Like you’re falling short of getting things right.  I guess you could also say that it’s easy to feel like you’re always succeeding at least a little bit, but I was born and raised in the midwest, where passing up an opportunity to feel bad about yourself is frowned upon.

Anyway, a very smart friend of mine gives a bunch of craps about Fair Trade, and since she’s so smart and kind and caring, I decided that I should probably start caring more seriously about this too.  To be perfectly honest, this is the only way I ever grow to actually care about something – when I see someone I love and think is smart caring about the thing.  I mean, obviously, in one sense I care about fair trade.  When presented with stories about children sewing sneakers for hours and hours every day who doesn’t feel something tug at their insides?  I guess given our current political climate, I probably shouldn’t really try to find the answer to that question….. I digress.  The hard part for me is when I’m standing in an aisle someplace trying to talk myself into spending a few more bucks for coffee or olive oil or whatever.  It occurs to me that I completely separate the way I spend the money that comes my way from my overall inventory of Trying Not to Be a Jerk.  But all those old white guys (Hi, Dad!) are always saying that it’s all about money, so I’m going to try to start including this in my Jerk-Inventory – they can’t be wrong about everything.  I’m going to try to be more thoughtful about how I spend the money – about what I want it to do in the world aside from stuffing my insides with tasties and letting me board the red line.  I’m also going to try to embrace the mess and gray area of trying to do good things, rather than following my instinct, which is to just throw up my hands and say “oh well, this junk is complicated and I can’t figure out the perfect way to do this, so I’ll just opt out – look everyone else is.”  It’s so easy to just pass – to just wait.

But there’s my smart friend again, reminding me, without saying anything or putting pressure on me or anything like that, that maybe I could be doing a little bit more to be a little bit less of a jerk.  No pressure.  Okay, maybe a little pressure.  People’s lives are tied up in this stuff, after all.

This is my starting place for information: Chicago Fair Trade

Also – check out this:  The Seeds of Change Marketplace!


One Response to “Fair Trade”

  1. Beth Lucas November 12, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    I know what you mean… I’ve felt the same way about being environmentally friendly. Whenever I make a change, I’m not really sure it’s helping… like the compact florescent bulbs that last longer, but have toxic stuff inside that’s ridiculous to deal with; or using washcloths instead of paper towel/baby wipes, but then use lots more water to clean those things. Hmph. It’s good to be encouraged to try to do my best anyway, even if I’m in a swamp of confusion 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: