There’s nothing quite like a good cup of coffee to get you going in the morning. I know whereof I speak because I am attempting to wake myself up with just such a thing right now. I am off to work in a bit and am trying to shake off the sleepless night I had (no doubt as a result of the late night java fix I had last night so I could get some other work done).
In about 30 minutes I will head off to work, secure in the knowledge that I will offer a days work for a fair days wage. Thanks to my union, I will receive hours that work towards my health benefits, will be covered by insurance should I be hurt on the job, and will have money paid into a fund that will hopefully be waiting for me when I someday retire. All in all I have it pretty good.
While I sit here sipping away however, I can’t help but think of the large number of people the world over who don’t have it nearly as good as I do. Take this cup of coffee for instance. Who grew the beans, who picked them, who washed them? Truly I don’t know, but I am at least secure in the knowledge that they were paid a fair wage for their efforts. Why? Because my wife and I made a decision a long time ago to buy fair trade products whenever possible.
I’ve written about fair trade before but having just come across this great little video, I thought it was worth bringing back to the forefront again. Fair trade certification means that you can rest assured that the people who make your products are being paid a livable wage and are being compensated in a manner that allows them to continue and in most cases improve their livelihood. I like the video because it addresses the benefits to the farmer, the retailer, and the consumer, in a simple digestible manner.
Let’s face it, everyone wants a bargain these days, but at what cost? You may save a few pennies here and there buying otherwise, but do you really want to do it at the cost of another’s livelihood. I know I don’t. Fair trade is one of the few ways you can make purchases secure in the knowledge that your money is reaching the people it should. So sit back, pour yourself a nice cup of fair trade coffee, and enjoy.
Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. “Give people the facts, and they’ll choose to do the right thing.”