Tuesday, October 9, 2012

And Then it Reached My Sweet Tooth

I learned something awful today. Life-changingly awful. Seriously crappy awful.

This month we've been focusing on the idea that less is more, choosing not to buy more stuff but to come alongside to meet each other's needs. We also wanted to research what products we buy that don't match up with a consistent ethic. If we are going to fight slavery, we want to do it in our everyday lives as well, not contributing to the systems that keep people enslaved. To be honest, I'm not the most informed consumer. I want to buy products that are not harming others, but it's easier to talk about than for it to become a part of who I am. I know this isn't a sprint either. I don't want to get overwhelmed (or annoy the heck out of my husband) by changing every aspect of my family's life and then just end up feeling like a big fat failure. The thing is, it's not about us working our tails off to get it right so we can say that we're totally awesomely ethically enlightened. However, it is about people around the world, created in the image of God, who are exploited in ways that we can't even imagine and choosing how we'll respond to this knowledge.

It's been interesting.

I can stay away from Target and not grab silly things that I don't need. That's not my big issue. My big issue is in food. Sweets and treats. We've been trying to live in the necessities and keep treats as just that, treats. I kind of suck at it. I read today that the average American consumes 11 lbs. of chocolate a year. I'm not the average American. I seriously think that I can consume that much chocolate in a few months. For real. I can suck down a whole bag of Hershey's kisses like it's my job. Ridiculous, I know. But I can't be the only one that does that, right? Right??

So here's where the horribly awful thing comes into play.

I started researching chocolate, and what it comes down to is that the major chocolate distributors in the U.S., such as Hershey, use cocoa that is gathered by children, some of whom are trafficked, who are subjected to horrible working conditions. There have been many attempts to get Hershey and others to stop buying from those in West Africa that exploit their workers. However, while they have said they will comply, their actions have proved otherwise. After a large marketing campaign during the Super Bowl that threatened to expose these things, Hershey promised to improve their standards with 100% certified fair trade cocoa...by 2020. So folks, in eight years Hershey may or may not have fair trade chocolate.

Pretty lame, Hershey.
I think I've finally kicked my chocolate addiction.
Please hold me to it.

As I said, I just started researching this today, so there's a lot to learn. If you have any helpful information to pass onto me, I'd really appreciate it. Here are a couple of articles I read today that were helpful.