Monday, October 15, 2012

The Chocolate Problem

Here is a heads up; the moral of this story is: Let's please not buy and hand out slave labor created chocolates on Halloween (or any other day). 

I know, I know... it's hard.  When I start to think about the sometimes sordid or sad sources of my clothes, my shoes, our furniture, our phones, our food, the stuff I put on my face, the stuff I put in our hair... I may as well rend all my clothes, tear out my hair and run screaming from our house.

It's hard. It's hard to live out our deeply held values in this world right now.  Everything we buy, everything we use... somewhere along the line somebody, or some animal, or some planet, gets hurt. We live in a complicated, ultra-connected world.

But using the philosophy that perfect is the enemy of good... or the "starfish" philosophy, it's not that complicated.  We have to start somewhere. Right now I focusing on sticking to our values when I buy what is going in our bodies, with the goal of expanding our conscientious shopping to clothes and toys and on and on...

Every choice I make while shopping, eating, using or re-using has an impact.  Every choice. Some of the choices we make as a family are easy, some not so...

Sometimes when I'm feeling very motivated to eat organic, humanely sourced food a diner menu can reduce me to frustrated tears. Eggs? Nope, those poor tortured laying hens who never see the sun! Bacon? Tortured pigs with their little tails cut off! Pancakes? Now is that organic flour or the mix with all that sugar and additives? Fruit? How far has that melon been trucked?

I'll just have a cup of coffee. Oh dear, that is fair trade shade grown organic, right?

I'll just have a glass of water. Oh, they aren't fracking near the reservoir are they?

You see what I mean? Everything is tainted. Nothing is clean and simple. So I get it. If ordering breakfast in a diner can be this complicated... grocery shopping? Online shopping? Christmas shopping!?!

Here is something very simple:

Most chocolate is harvested and processed by child slaves in Africa.

(Hershey's, Cadbury, Nestle... all the big names do it.  Those kisses started with little African kids picking and pounding cocoa pods. How do you think such a labor intensive food can be so cheap?)

Here is the BBC video about the slave trade.

 Here, here, and here are some great articles and blog posts with lots of details.

We don't need to buy this chocolate. Not when there are wonderful, affordable candies or chocolates to buy.  Like Trader Joes brand, or Whole Foods brand, or these, or these, or these.

So, how 'bout giving out a little freedom on October 31?

1 comment:

  1. thank you for bringing up this important issue. i only learned about it from reading one of the blogs on your blogroll a few weeks ago. i don't know if you have seen but there have been lots of comments on my and other friends' facebooks about this lately. it just infuriates me that this treat for american children to enjoy is made by african children's slave labor. it can be very frustrating to try to shop according to our values (and also to be economical) but it is so, so important.


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