Thursday, August 26, 2010

I've been thinking...

I was thinking about how much my perspective has changed from 3 years ago.  Back then, I never would have wondered about where sugar or coffee comes from.  I believed the pictures on the packages of the happy farmer, the pristine landscapes, and the overall good feelings that come from those thoughtful marketing execs and their misleading slogans/jingles.  In reality, so many products come from the hands of slaves and forced laborers.

I started thinking about how through time, man has enslaved others to get stuff done.  I've read about how the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians to get those pyramids built.  I have ancestors that were slaves here in America.  The British were in the slavery business as well as most European nations.  The thing is, I always thought of slavery as something that happened a long time ago, way before I was born.  Slavery was something that was archaic and was only to be read about in history books because no one would enslave others now, right?

Another thing that has changed from 3 years ago is buying organic food.  I wasn't really sure what the difference between conventional and organic products were back then.  Every time I bake cookies now, I make sure the sugar I buy is Fair Trade/organic sugar.  Children and adult slaves are used to harvest sugar, coffee, chocolate, and cotton, just to name a few.  Child slaves are used in fields to harvest food and in factories to make toys, clothes, and other textiles.  When I buy my children toys, I never used to think, hey maybe a child slave made that toy. Maybe a child worked 10 hours in one day, with little food, no safety procedures, on little to no pay so this toy could entertain my kids.

I've read all about how slaves were beaten and mistreated and either not paid or paid as little as possible, in the history books.  It's crazy to think that people are still being treated in this way so that I can bake some cookies or put toys under the tree at Christmas.  So, yes organic products are a little more expensive and yes cooking from scratch is time-consuming but cutting back on some things to help someone else in the world have a better life is worth the sacrifice.  My kids are learning that just because the package makes a product look wonderful, doesn't mean that it is.  The story behind the product is what is important.  I am teaching them how to care about the world around them, that things aren't always as they seem and not to judge a book by it's cover.  If organic shopping can do that much for my kids, imagine what changes can take place in the world if everyone decided to make a change and demand products free from slave labor.

No comments:

Post a Comment