Sunday, May 25, 2008

Intergenerational Support of Fair Trade

In the wake of World Fair Trade Day--did you hear more than 12,000 North Americans participated in the World's Largest Coffee Break??? Check out the slide show!--I am brimming with blogging ideas. Also, this weekend I saw episodes of the Tracey Ullman show, State of the Union, on Showtime and I now have a wacky desire to be match the work of Arianna Huffington. I mean if she blogs daily, shouldn't I????

But I have this "order in which they were received" attitude about email messages, and a friend alerted me in early May that the AARP Bulletin recently featured Fair Trade shopping as a way to be economically smart. Initially I kind of winced because sometimes "outside of the industry" blurbs about Fair Trade can be riddled with errors. I was surprised to find on target comments like, "Generally, fair trade products cost the same and sometimes less than mass market items, because the large percentage taken by the middleman is removed from the equation. For example, FTC coffees and chocolates are generally priced competitively with specialty coffees and chocolates—but they are more expensive than mass-produced varieties."

As more people start looking carefully at their personal budgets, I wish we would take this as a wake-up call to reflect on our consumption patterns. Can we fixate less on the price of a gallon of gasoline and more on why we drive so much? Why don't we take these moments of economic uncertainty to consider life priorities, economic justice, and care for the planet?

Absent those kinds of queries, if the American Association of Retired Persons wants to promote Fair Trade as a way for seniors and others on fixed income to be frugal, so be it! In fact, the premise of the article is "you can save the world by changing your shopping list." Saving the world is a motivator for many age groups. On my travels I have certainly met many a retiree who is making Fair Trade advocacy a second career....let's welcome AARP and to the movement!

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