Thursday, March 27, 2008


Those of you who have spent any time with me are familiar with my passion for the environment and purchasing of fair-trade items. I now, thanks to Ten Thousand Villages, regularly purchase fair-trade olive oil (the purchase of Zaytoun olive oil also supports Palestinian farmers), sugar, spices, chocolate, tea, and, of course, coffee. In addition to the awesome textiles and crafts at Ten Thousand Villages you can purchase fair-trade clothing at MEC and other awesome stores (lower Johnson Street in Victoria rules for this). Although some major outlets, such as Costco Canada now offer fairly traded coffee (it's not a joke), the mighty Wal-Mart has not. Wal-Mart with its huge purchasing power and demand for ultra low prices from suppliers goes against the very principle of fair trade. Read The Wal-Mart Effect to get some idea of the extent of its power. Many I talk to find Wal-Mart's allure hard to resist, but it can be done: I have yet to purchase an item from a Wal-Mart. Who needs all that cheap plastic crap that purchasers rarely recycle. To see how scary the Wal-Mart effect is watch this:

Awareness is key. Do you think it is possible to produce products super cheap without exploitation and extreme environmental degradation? Vote with your dollar and say yes to fairness. In addition to fair-trade and organic products you can look for businesses participating in the onepercentfortheplanet program. If you need some more motivation calculate your ecological footprint or travel to a developing country.

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