Saturday, November 21, 2009

cracks in my conscience

The trouble with campaigning for causes is that you are bound to trip up at some point. It's inevitable. The decisions we make around spending, energy use and food are all complicated, as if there is a sliding scale between extremely bad choices and angelically good. At times there is no valid explanation for my movement up and down this ethical scale. If I'm tired I am more likely to give into cravings and desires. If I'm miserable I comfort myself one way or another. If I think life is just too hard I'll give in to the easy choice. Maybe that's shallow, or maybe it is just the reality of living in a complicated world where every decision I make effects another person somewhere, or warms the earth that little bit more.

One of my campaign platforms is buying fair trade. Frank and I stopped eating Cadbury chocolate because it was not fair trade. We even went so far as to reduce our overall chocolate consumption because, funnily enough, it is too expensive to eat fair trade chocolate in vast quantities - something to do with people not being exploited and instead being paid a fair amount for their labour and products.

I've had many an interesting conversation with people about this issue. Some get it, some don't. Some like Lindt and Nestle and Cadbury chocolate too much to give them up. That's OK - at least we're all thinking about the issue now.

It's easy to get up on my giddy little high horse sometimes. Aren't I so good doing all this fair trade, healthy eating, reduced carbon footprint living?

And right there she falls in a heap.

I was at work. We'd just had a big discussion about fair trade chocolate. The Gen Y's of the room claimed they did not care. They lived for themselves and that's the way they like it. We Gen X and baby boomers decried such selfish, insular living before we all got on with the work in front of us.

Later in the day a generous, kindly soul came around with chocolates from the departing nursing students. I was busy with a patient and thought I'd get one in a second, but by the time I was ready, the chocolates were gone.

Gasp. I was salivating - bring those things back!

The chocolates were quickly returned, I made my selection and the chocolate bearer apologised. "I didn't think you'd want one because they are not fair trade," she said.

Oh yes, there's a crack in my conscience there alright. And another one over there. And, oh yes, the other day I bought something else from the 'forbidden' list.

Decisions, decisions. It's impossible to get it right all the time, sometimes because it truly is impossible, other times because of the cracks, when I twist things around to suit myself and do what I want. I guess the only thing to do is keep plugging away and aiming to improve all the time. If only I could, I'd make the world a better place, and I think I can, but only a bit at a time.

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At 10:18 am, November 22, 2009, Blogger Cherie said...

"I guess the only thing to do is keep plugging away and aiming to improve all the time."

It's all any of can do.

I know what you mean about eating less chocolate since the fair trade stuff is more expensive. But because I eat less now, I savor each little bite. No more mindlessly shoving it in. I eat bitty bitty bites and swirl it around in my mouth and feel it's creamy goodness slide slowly down my throat.

Chocolate. A category separate from all others in life.

At 2:01 am, November 23, 2009, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

I would prefer not buying anything unless it was manufactured by people who actually got paid a fair price for making it, however, I would be naked, hungry, and dirty almost everywhere. I have to give in too, only to hope that we all get a little wiser.

My word verification is messes:-) Sure is what we're in right now!


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