Do What You Can with What You Have
70% of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa. Big companies knowingly buy this cocoa where child/slave labour is rife. Then they process it and package it in to pretty little wrappers for us to consume. If we buy that chocolate we are actually a part of the problem. In recent times a light has been shed on the dark side of chocolate and big companies are taking notice. So they have started creating fair trade products because that is what customers are demanding. We vote with our dollar!
Another thing I learned was that it was the demand for new, cheap goods that was driving slavery in other countries. An example of this is the fashion industry. How is it possible to buy an item of clothing for $5? Someone on the other end is being exploited while the middle man profits from it! Australian made ethical fashion is not always affordable, so wherever possible, I buy things second hand. The reason is, I’m no longer a part of that demand for new, cheap things. Imagine if everyone in the world did this! There would be no more slavery in other countries that produce our goods. Plus when you buy from an op shop you are supporting charities! You can listen to my song Fair HERE.
I often get compliments about my outfits which are always second hand! My dress in this photo by Natscha Billington Photography was found in an op shop by Paperdolli Vintage. Ashleya has a hand me down dress on. Jewel is wearing a flowergirl dress which was bought new for her by my lovely friend. We just do our best with it!
So after learning all of this, I tried to encourage people around me to buy fair trade things. The general answer was a pathetic, ‘Yeah well that’s just what happens in other countries and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ I got so mad about this I wrote a song called ‘Don’t Trade Lives’ inspired by the World Vision Australia Don’t Trade Lives Campaign. I recorded this song on my first homemade CD ‘Stop Traffik’. Guess what? All of a sudden, those same people were asking me where to get fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate from!! And asking which op shops I bought my clothes from!
This is me performing 'Don't Trade Lives' at The Ellington Jazz Club for the 'Stop Traffik' CD launch.
I realised that music is INFLUENTIAL! I said the exact same thing to them in words and they didn’t listen, but for some reason when it’s in a song, people take the message on board! Music is a like a magical power that can change people’s minds about things and imagine the potential of such a power when used in the right way to benefit others! A word of caution- be careful what music you listen to because it has the power to influence you, your thoughts and how you live your life. This is especially important for children.
So you don’t need to be a millionaire, the owner of a big company or be kid free to make a difference. You just need to be yourself and do what you can with what you have!
Checkout the chocolate scorecard on the World Vision Don’t Trade Lives Campaign.
Download the Shop Ethical App
Buy fair trade goods from Oxfam Shop