Spend some time with children and even some adults and you are bound to hear these words ring out, sometimes followed by the rejoinder “who ever said life was fair?”. Children are born with a strong sense of what is fair and what is not. An older sibling is allowed to stay up later – “No Fair!”. An entire classroom is punished for the bad behavior of a few students – “No Fair!”. Circumstances change and a promised treat must be delayed – “No Fair!”.
As children our sense of fairness is centered around our own personal comfort and desires. As adults we can begin to look outside ourselves to recognize injustice done to others. A coffee farmer works hard all year to bring in his harvest only to have the middle man pay him just pennies a pound. He may lose his farm. He can’t afford to send his children to school. Health care is non-existent. No Fair! Children are lured into jobs harvesting cocoa with promises of fair pay. Instead they are enslaved. No Fair! Women, often child brides, trapped in abusive situations have no way to escape or support themselves. No Fair!
I am shocked and horrified to read the stories of struggling, abused and marginalized people all over the world. But is it enough to simply acknowledge social injustice? Or can we help to balance the scales of fairness by making a few minor changes in our everyday choices? We can change lives, empowering people to support themselves. I’m not talking about charity, but the classic “teach a man to fish” philosophy really does work. You don’t have to sacrifice all your comforts to do this. Simply buy fair trade products. What could be easier? You get great organic, sustainable and/or handcrafted items and the producer gets paid a fair wage. It’s so simple, but will you do it?
Of course I would love it if you would buy fair trade products from Fair Trade Mission , but the important thing is that you make the switch. If you haven’t shopped for fair trade items before, you might be surprise at the wide array of products available. It’s not just coffee anymore! But that’s the title of another post.
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