What did I buy into?

So I was reading the Mercy post  Everyday Choices Support Slavery which links to a very cool quiz which I took.  I was astonished to find out that there are most likely 31 slaves supporting my lifestyle!  That realization came with a very guilty feeling.  I know I ought to live simply, especially with the vow of poverty in my future, but its so hard to decide to buy fair trade certified things when Walmart is so much cheaper.  Fortunately slaveryfootprint.org has a Next Steps page, so after you get over the shock that your everyday choices are intertwined with human trafficking you can actually do something about it!

I think the hardest thing to wrap my mind around, as I think of the 31 people whose lives are negatively impacted by my own, is their facelessness.  These people who could be men, women, or children could be from many different countries.  What do they look like?  What happened to them?  Were they trying to leave their country for a better life?  Were they kidnapped?  I don’t know!  So my first step, seeing as I couldn’t do one more thing with the idea that I could be hurting 31 people, was to find out how this still happens in this day and age.  Based on my survey results most of the slaves that support my lifestyle are in China which is were a lot of metals are mined for things like electronics, my bike, and makeup.  Additionally, clothes and materials for clothes are grown and produced in China.

The first thing I did was to start sending notes to companies I buy from frequently asking them to at least look into where their, and thus my, money goes to make sure it doesn’t support slavery.  The next step *deep breath* is to only buy fair trade coffee and tea… sorry Starbucks but you are going to have to do better, or I’m going to have to give up my gold membership card.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. blackconstance
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 19:26:49

    Just a little follow up to this post, I looked into Starbucks and found this:
    http://www.scscertified.com/retail/docs/CAFE_GUI_EvaluationGuidelines_V2.0_093009.pdf

    C.A.F.E. states that “The use of any forced or involuntary labor, either directly or indirectly, by our suppliers, contractors or subcontractors will not be tolerated. This includes the use of slave labor, bonded labor, indentured labor or involuntary convict labor. Workers must be free to leave the workplace at the end of their shift and to resign without repercussion. Suppliers must not use corporal punishment or any other form of physical or psychological coercion.” I am glad to hear this but I am wondering if this is all talk. Who checks up on the C.A.F.E. standards?

    Reply

  2. Dale
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 12:37:43

    Hey Mandy, finally got into your BLOG. Love it
    Dale

    Reply

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