Another thing I absolutely adore. I love the people who can't simply shrug off the struggles others have. I would even say bystander syndrome is the downfall of the world. I think it was about a year ago that I made the decision that every time that I was faced with a choice, I would stop and ask myself what the right thing to do would be, then I would try my best to do just that. It sounds simple, but it really hasn't been. Whether it's deciding whether or not I should risk a limb to get a chunk of wood and nails off a busy road, or telling a stranger they dropped their credit card, I still hesitate sometimes. There are still some times that I don't do what I decided I should do. But I keep trying.
Anyway, this post was inspired by a conference I went to earlier this week at Ohio University called The Dark Side of Chocolate. I honestly had no idea there was one. But boy, is there. In case you didn't know, most cocoa is produced on plantations in West Africa. Because the big name chocolate producers try to sell their products for the lowest possible price, people in West Africa try to offer the cheapest possible labor. So that they are able to offer these cheap services, there is a business of child labor and child trafficking. People steal children from their families and sell them to these cocoa plantations. There, the children become slaves and work for no pay until they try to run away. Then down the road, the rest of the world pays 99 cents for a chocolate bar. That's not a fair trade. There are people working for little or no pay so that we can pay a quarter or two less for some chocolate. If these big name producers would investigate who they're buying products from and ensure that there is no child labor, trafficking, or slavery involved, then they could be a fair trade company. If just one of the companies would become fair trade, who the heck wouldn't support them? Then the other companies would eventually have to follow suit, right?
So then I had to stop and ask myself, What should I do? First of all, I'm going to avoid buying chocolate that isn't certified fair trade. Next, I decided to start a petition. If I could convince Nestle to become fair trade, that would make such a huge difference in a lot of lives. I know it's not simple to take on someone like that, but it's a lot more difficult to make a change by doing nothing. My fingers are crossed.
It's so much easier just to buy things without worrying about fair trade, and without thinking about where it might have come from. It's easier to forget about what some people go through only because we're not ready to make a change. It's easier to only worry about yourself. But for some reason I just can't bring myself to do that. The people who dedicate their lives to spreading awareness about things like this. The people who understand how real this is. The people who know it's possible to make a difference. The people who truly care. They're who keep me going.
If you'd like to pledge your support for fair trade chocolate, please take a moment to sign this petition!