October is Fair Trade Month. Good timing too. As we head into fall, we will soon hear the holiday season’s call: consume, consume, consume! This is a good time to pause and reflect upon how we want to spend our hard earned cash this season, before we’re reeled in by the sparkle of “bargains” (a.k.a. cheap goods).
Do we want the most bang for our buck? Of course we do. But why settle for the hollow thrill of cheap goods when we could send a heartfelt message through our gift – a message of goodwill, hope and love? Isn’t that what the season is all about anyway?
Considering how powerful our dollar is in determining how the world works, we have the choice to purchase ethically and responsibly this season. Beyond buying locally made goods, or not buying goods at all (consider donating to charity in the name of someone you love, or offering your time or a special skill), we can purchase items that are Fair Trade certified.
Fair Trade offers an alternative to top-down capitalism and global trade practices, which primarily serve to increase the profits of the already-wealthy, regardless of how poorly they treat the workers or the environment. When you see a Fair Trade label, you can be sure that the workers who produced the product are offered a fair price for the item and earn fair wages in the process. These factors greatly affect the stability of people’s lives and work, and also lead to improving other social issues within communities (like providing more opportunity, education, empowerment, and better living conditions).
When we buy Fair Trade, we’re getting more for our money and it affects more than just us and the recipient of our gift, it affects people throughout the world! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the upcoming season, a birthday or other special event, or even (and perhaps most importantly) everyday events, than by making humanity-driven instead of money-driven choices. Now, that’s powerful!
To find out more about Fair Trade, and to search for stores near you that offer Fair Trade products,
visit Fair Trade USA’s website.