A passion for change…”Where did I get this idea?” It all started about a year ago on a hot and muggy late summer morning in Bellaire, TX. My husband and I attended a Sunday church service(www.cpointchurch.org) . The pastor was enjoying time off with his family before the school year kicked back into gear and we had an unexpected message from one of the assistant pastors. His message was jolting and unexpected. He crossed a line that we were not prepared to consider. His message was simple and informative. There’s a powerful current of consumerism in the western world that directly affects the plight of the third world countries. Yes, our every day mindless habits(purchases) can adversely effect the lives of other people. Wait a minute, did he just say that? What is he talking about? We are good considerate and compassionate citizens! We are sitting in the pews! What did we do???
I think it’s more about, what we don’t do! We get into a rut. We get comfortable in our daily, weekly and monthly routines. We find a breakfast cereal that we like and we buy it again. We find a route to work that is fast and comfortable so we drive it everyday. We need our coffee/chocolate and we buy it! We like routines and we like comfort. Of course we do! There’s nothing wrong with that. But what we don’t think about is life beyond “our little world.” I am so guilty of this! I am so wrapped up in my life that I never consider the other side of the equation. The consumer supply chain is a complex system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from the producer to the consumer. This structure is something that I would like to investigate further in the future. But, lets stay on this subject a little bit longer-Chocolate! For example chocolate is one of the products that we all enjoy and is severely affected by the challenges of Fair Trade.
After days and weeks of haunting thoughts about how my “worldly” comforts and purchases have devastating affects on other human life, I started doing some research. I was quickly drawn into the idea that there is a movement to help focus on Fair Trade. We can make a difference, one purchase at a time. As the consumer, we can choose to purchase a Fair Trade product over another product. We the people, can make a difference in the way that companies choose to do business! It is a very simple process. We change our buying priorities and the companies will change theirs. We do have the power($$$) to alter the supply chain.
To be aware of the alternatives and pay attention is the first step for change! Most people want to consider themselves as thoughtful, considerate and generous. I would say that for the most part we are, as long as we are aware of how our actions are contributing to others around us. But this is where it gets tricky… not all of our actions are in the best interest for the lives that we don’t see! Our intentions are good but our actions are devastating for someone else. For example, this spring, several American companies were involved with unsafe working conditions that lead to the death of hundreds of workers in Bangledesh. “Companies are looking for the cheapest possible places to produce their goods, and they’re not asking, why are these places so inexpensive?” Bader-Blau said. Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/04/30/Retailers-face-new-calls-for-change-following-factory-collapse/5581367358338/#ixzz2Y9lCSu5R Change can be tough. I agree! But if we are aware of the choices that are available it can become easier.
And, yes, there is an APP for that! The good people at Not For Sale (http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/news/2012/04/30/from-free2work-the-attitude-behavior-gap/) have made an app, Free2work for all smartphones! I have downloaded the app and love to scan the barcodes of my favorite products! Although, I have been crushed to find some of my favorite products are some of the worst perpetrators! There is an option to send feedback to the producers of the APP to help make improvements. I strongly encourage you to try it and give active feedback to help us all develop a stronger tool for change!
Please let me know what you think of this app and if you have any experience with any other similar tools. I know there are some similar ones out there, but this one is pretty solid. What do you think?