Van Jones on Environmental Justice and why this matters to each of us

TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch – Van Jones – Environmental Justice

A great environmental justice talk about the price poor people pay for us to have so much disposable plastic. But we have CHOICE: we can choose not to use disposable plastics, we can choose healthy products. As an example, if we follow that little water bottle along its way, when it winds up not being properly recycled and what that means, we know we can shift our habits for safer, healthier products, like refillable bottles.

ecogal Vote with your dollarsThe entire talk is very informative but also gives us real solutions we can apply right here, right now, from our small vantage point. Because we are all on one planet. Eventually we will breathe the air and suffer from pollution coming from the rest of the planet. To solve the problems we must join forces.

In order to trash the planet you have to trash people, but if we create a world where we don’t trash people, we can’t trash the planet. Ecology and social justice can become a single concept to base our choices on.

A 1-step way to a better, healthier world with Fair Trade

By Linda Cornelius
ecogal Author & Designer

FairTrade - Every purchase mattersFor many years now, I’ve consciously chosen to buy Fair Trade whenever it was available in the supermarkets I visit.

Because it doesn’t feel good to know that your great bargain prices come on the blood and sweat of poorer, weaker human beings, does it? It is a bit more expensive, yes, but as a consumer I get to win twice: the quality is great and I know I’m participating in other people’s survival.
Fair Trade Certification empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Fair Trade – The Story: a great wartch to quickly understand the key advantages
For Fair Trade Certified products, the most toxic chemicals are not used and there are no GMOs.
Fair Trade organizations develop a strategic approach to integrated pest management, the safe use and handling of agrochemicals, responsible waste management, protection of soil and water and biodiversity, and reduction of energy and greenhouse gas emissions.


I like to know, when I drink my coffee, that by buying Fair Trade I’m helping a father bring up his children and a whole community thrive. And with the later years’ evolution, I can choose to buy organic, so it’s a no-brainer!

Similarly, when I see products around that are too cheap, I restrain from buying them. How could I love to wear a t-shirt that makes people suffer? I’d rather not go down that dead end street.

Fair Trade and proper wages are here to stay, and growing by the day, so it actually gets easier and easier to make that choice.

I view it as a political and humanitarian choice that we can all do, even if we are not rich. Because it’s a question of loving this universe, this planet, nature and the people inhabiting it, and sharing with others.

It’s a funny thing I so often observe, that poor people tend to be more generous with what little they have. It must be because they really know how difficult life can be.

And we can learn from them. Do I really need an item that is a bit too expensive for me? Would I choose to have it anyway, even at the cost of exploitation? Or would I just say: well, not now, later on I can buy it at a proper price, I’ll save some money for that…

In all this, it’s an interesting exercise that each one us can do, in conscious living.

Do we really need that many things in our lives? Or – as I see – do they just pile up as clutter around us?

And if so, is it really worth it to have something at all costs, even if it means that you live off the pain of others? So I just buy less, and buy Fair Trade and proper prices. And I am just as happy, if not more! Because I know my actions, bit by bit, are actually changing the world, even from my tiny, tiny vantage point.

As I see the Fair Trade shelves grow in my local supermarket chain I feel so great:

I know I’m part of it, I helped make it happen, I talked to the supermarket attendants to make them know we – the consumers – are interested and want Fair Trade. I bought it, so the supermaket could see the economic advantage and keep it there. And all of us, together, have this power to change things around us.

Find out more about Fair Trade here:

Note: Transfair has now changed name to FairTradeUSA

ecogal Vote with your dollars

It doesn’t take much…

The one-step action: Buy Fair Trade products instead of big corporation equivalents – the planet and environment will also thank you. Because Fair Trade is also more environmentally friendly

… or a little more you can do:

  • Watch the video, very inspiring, get the knowledge about Fair Trade in an entertaining way
  • Talk to people around you, make them aware of what Fair Trade is
  • Look up and find Fair Trade around you: in shops, in supermarkets
  • Ask for it if it isn’t there. That’s my way of making shop owners aware of new opportunities: I just ask them: do you carry…? even though I can see they don’t! It gets the talk going, it opens for new ideas.
  • Know that the little extra price you pay is not wasted money: it’s food on the table, schools, doctors and future for people that are not as fortunate as you
  • And eventually: know that Fair Trade is for all of us, even if the label isn’t there — taken as a concept, it promotes proper exchange for the work of anyone, anywhere. Look around you: everywhere we have less fortunate people: the cleaning woman, the lowly worker, the garbage man… We interact with them all the time, do we ever look at them? Really talk with them?

The one step way is to simply reclaim our power as consumers, no matter what we consume, and decide we need to pay a proper price for products and services. Or just go without (believe me, it’s not difficult!)

And then, also, look at the needless waste: money that goes to corruption, lobbying and powermaking, instead of as an exchange for work and products. With Fair Trade and conscious consuming we can even help stop that.

Welcome aboard!
Just take that first step: start buying Fair Trade and be part of the change — together, we matter..

Take a Step for Fairtrade

This is a wonderful little animation video from FairTrade UK‘s 2012 campaign, worth a watch

And even though the 2012 campaign is of course ended, the information is still valid and compelling.

As they say:

It can be a simple step, like swapping your tea to Fairtrade, or a bigger step, like asking everyone in your office to do it too.

Every step counts for millions of farmers, workers and their communities in developing countries who urgently need a better deal from trade.

Also see Fair Trade USA