Posts filed under ‘Fair Trade Helps the Planet’
Hi Fair Trade Helps friends! Liz here again. Finally – we are done with Christmas, New years, the winter trade shows, Valentine’s day – and so i am back! Maybe not quite if full swing yet, but back nonetheless. In fact, this post is prompted by the airport trip on my way home from NYC. You see, I saw this amazing looking ad. It was beautiful. It had native peoples in fields. It read “Improving agriculture, improving lives.” I thought “how wonderful” and looked for the website to learn more, http://www.improveagriculture.com. Cool. BUT THEN, in the far left corner of my eye, I saw who was running the show – Montsanto Corp.
Now for those of you who don’t know, I have a fierce dislike toward this company. Not because they are Montsanto so much as they are the biggest player in the food engineering hunger games. I would like to hope that they have no idea that what they are doing to farming is unsustainable and wreaking havok (article here as the most recent example) around the world, but I will willingly admit that they just might be money-hungry. In any case, Montsanto is a multinational agricultural biotech company responsible for a number of strong pesticides, bovine growth hormone, and about 90% of the genetically altered seeds sold in the US. Montsanto strongly advocates that the use of their GE seeds and pesticides are what will help poor farmers across the world to flourish.
But I have heard story after story that this is not the case. Here are a few cases i have heard: – Poor farmers burning GMO seed in protest. GMOs banned in many countries for being deemed unsafe. Native crops being wiped out. Farmers reducing variety of crops, making droughts, floods, and pests more dangerous (as they can wipe out everying instead of maybe just a few crops). Pesticide poisening. Farmer debt because they must buy seed every year. Farmer suicides. Food that is not as nutritious.
There are a number of good documentaries and articles on the GMO scene, like King Corn, the GMO Trilogy, Food Matters, The Future of Food, Food Inc to name a few. The Organic Consumers Association tracks all kinds of articles.
Granted people are still for it. But here, we support the farmers. the workers. the indigenous peoples. the environment. Therefore, we do not support GE foods. I encourage you to learn learn more and do the same.
On a long shot, I emailed the founder of the “Institute for Responsible Technology” who speaks abroad about GMO seeds to governments, lay people, & farmers. I’m hoping they’ll have a chance to provide us more insight specifically on how GMO crops are affecting 3rd world countries. Keep your fingers crossed.
And, final thought… remember, just like with all of your dollars… YOUR DOLLAR COUNTS! SO DOES YOUR VOICE! Learn more and ask questions, at gift stores, at grocers, wherever. Europe just recently had a victory against GMOs because consumers cared. Read the article here.
More on GMOs here.Cheers!
So I have a passion for a couple of things. Passion #1 : community. I love things that bring people together (which is probably why I think fair trade is so important on a cultural level – it allows people groups to work together and maintain their cultural identity).
Passion #2: Food. (self explanatory).. So you can imagine my glee as I’ve managed to stumble across some great fair trade commodities (food) companies. And for the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce you to them.
To me, food & community go hand in hand. And in many places, communities are being destroyed by our food practices. Subsidies & globalization displace farmers and often end up destroying (through demand of one particular item) the variety of many fruits and vegetables.
LearnaboutPeru.com summed it up nicely, "…saying, “When the chips are down, the world may one day owe a debt of gratitude to a group of potato farmers high up in the mountains of Peru.” Why? Because of Peruvian potatoes. As agriculture has become more commercialized in the past century, the practice of farmers saving their seeds and therefore preserving a large variety of crops has decreased tremendously. As a result, over 90 percent of the tree, vegetable and fruit varieties found in America in the beginning of the 20th century are now gone. The same phenomenon has occurred in many countries around the world, meaning that we are all depending on a few select varieties of vital crops such as corn, beans, wheat, and potatoes. This increases the chances of food crises in the future, due to pests, population growth, and climate change.
To combat these scary statistics, scientists are now working to preserve diverse crops as part of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.”
But just in case that last line is promoting genetic engineering, ignore it. Around here, we’re only for GMO’s of the “God Made Organisms” fashion. All genetic engineering is SCARY! But i will not jump on a soap box for this post.
In any case, the quote does give you an idea of just how much plant variety is being destroyed, which is a great lead into an article I’d love you to read which is about globalization and farming. I think you’ll get a good sense of how trading fairly is of increasing importance and how upcoming companies are truly making a difference in the third world. Happy reading here. and for more on how potatoes can help the poor, it the vis International Potato Center.
Isn’t that a great question! Today’s post is, in short, a link to another article (dont’ you love how I do that?) on CSRwiretalkback.com. The post is written by Dean Cycon from Dean’s Beans. He talks about the Arhuaco people and their experiences with the earth’s warming in just the past years. This climate change thing is more subtle to us in our air-conditioned homes and food from the grocery store, but it’s something to have on our radars for sure. I read more and more articles on how it is directly impacting the third world.
So in regards to coffee and climate change, as Dean says it, ” We’d better wake up or we won’t be able to smell the coffee anymore.”
Check out the article here
Until the past few years it has often seemed that “fair trade” and “green” were different issues with little connection. But now that “Socially Responsible” and “Green” are all the rage among companies from wall street to main street, what’s a normal person to do. Who has three weeks to research every purchase?How do you spot green washing?
Fewer trees = less shade, less water stored in the forest, more soil erosion and more carbon in the air. More carbon = warmer weather. Warmer weather = big trouble, especially in already dry areas!
As much of the industrialized world is increasing its carbon and fuel emissions into the atmosphere, there is a growing concern for caring for the environment. One way that Fair Trade companies are helping the environment is by working to reduce deforestation. By allowing craftspeople to retain cultural traditions (such as gourd carving, knitting and weaving), by promoting sustainable farming, or by developing new crafts out of renewable or recycled materials, we help alleviate the burden some indigenous people feel to farm trees for lumber and livestock. Fair trade often provides an alternative business opportunity – one that is renewable from year to year.
Don’t yet see how this all fits in? We hope this gives you a sense: Trees breathe in carbon dioxide, so as many forests are being stripped from the earth, more carbon is staying in the atmosphere. Many people – scientists, laymen, government officials, etc – consider this a huge problem as it influences the warming trend on earth. For example, many scientists are predicting most of the glaciers in the Andes will be gone within the next 30 years. If the idea that the source of the Amazon river drying up does not concern you, then we hope that the idea of millions of Andean people losing their supply of fresh water for drinking and irrigating their crops will. Now, cutting down trees isn’t the only cited cause for the warming trend, but more trees means more shade and less carbon. And that helps to make the world a cooler place. Besides that, deforestation often leads to desertification and soil erosion, which often spoil the farm or range land created by deforestation in the first place.
Help us protect forests and promote alternative businesses for our producer partners! Encourage furniture recycling, support fair trade shade-grown coffee, teas, and cocoa, and support Certified Wood Programs. There are many ways to help!
We encourage you to learn more about your favorite brand of fair trade coffee and ask them what they are doing to encourage reforestation, terracing, composting and other environmentally sustainable practices.
In small villages near the city of Huancayo, Peru people make a living carving gourds into fine art. They also live in a valley where the water and soil have been contaminated by heavy metals thanks to the mines in the area. Fair trade and hard work give these people a chance to clean up their valley.