It is 3am and I am wide awake. I have toothache, the dog insists on sleeping on my head (showing utter disregard toward efforts to deter him) and I cannot seem to find the ‘snooze’ button for my mind. Thus, thoughts regarding studies and what I will cook for dinner war against my desire to return to a state of peaceful slumber. Yet, despite current frustrations, I am feeling particularly inspired and enthusiastic about the year ahead. This past weekend I attended the Global Poverty Project Ambassador training. Around one hundred of us were equipped and trained to give the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation as well as briefed on how to successfully campaign within our local communities. My biggest concern is really for my long-suffering friends and family. As if they have not endured enough of my tangents regarding social injustice, now they have to withstand my enthusiasm with a side of determined zeal. I am now more sure than ever that we are making a difference in the lives of those who live in extreme poverty but we can do more.
Many of us might feel that we are separate from the issues that face those living in poor communities. However, this is simply not the case any more. We live in a world that is so interconnected that our actions can affect those on the other side of the world and vice-versa. Distance is no longer an argument for inaction. That is why I am really excited about the start of Fairtrade Fortnight today. Over the next two weeks thousands of people up and down the UK will take action to raise awareness of Fairtrade. I am such a firm believer in the necessity for farmers around the world to get a better deal from trade. And we can all play a part in such a simple way. According to the Fairtrade Foundation currently 1.5 million farmers around the world benefit from Fairtrade. Great news. However, if we all just put one more Fairtrade item in our shopping basket we could double that number and make our call for trade justice stronger and louder. I have already committed to buying Fairtrade chocolate and coffee but there are a vast array of products available, including cotton clothing, cosmetics, wine, fruit and tea. This fortnight is all about taking a step for Fairtrade and you can find some inspiration here.
While the aim of this blog is to do something small each week, I figure that this year I need to take a leap for Fairtrade, considering that 29 February falls within Fairtrade Fortnight (See what I did there? Leap year?). So, rather than just buy Fairtrade, I am committing to think Fairtrade. This means that if I am aware of a Fairtrade option, I will opt for that product over the non-Fairtrade one. One of the most frequent misconceptions I have encountered, whenever the subject of Fairtrade is raised, is that many believe Fairtrade is always more expensive option. This is not the case, as this document outlines. Buying Fairtrade is something so easy we can all do and it has the ability to literally change lives; lives of people just like you and me who deserve a fair deal. What step will you take today?