i don’t like it when people say they can’t afford to buy fair trade or organic stuff.
unless someone is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, they can afford it. i think what they really mean is, “i can afford to buy that stuff but it’s not as important to me as saving that extra money for other things i enjoy more.” what it comes down to is that most of us value our personal comforts and ‘getting ahead’ more than we do the global, big picture stuff that we can’t see. i mean, we aren’t face to face with the pesticides and chemicals being sprayed on most food, pesticides and chemicals that end up being eaten by us or washed into nearby rivers and water bodies. we don’t see the hormones and antibiotics fed to livestock that we eat either. we don’t see the toxic waste dumped on the ground in developing countries where our $5 flip flops are made.
and without seeing it, it’s hard to care much about that stuff. it’s hard to feel motivated to spend twice as much on an ‘ethical’ product when there’s a substantially cheaper version sitting right next to it.
but i think it’s worth it, and i think anyone with kids who is hoping to leave them a half decent world should think it’s worth it too. because our current buying habits are a slow march towards huge problems — pollution, cancer, slavery, antibiotic resistance, to name a few things that we are already contending with — and i can’t imagine not even trying to fight those problems, and leaving them for my kids to deal with.
most of us here in the first world aren’t as broke as we think.