Saturday, 23 June 2007

No milk, no sugar, plenty of black!

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I love coffee. There I’ve confessed, it’s out in the open. I’ve loved it for all of my adult life. Not instant, freeze-dried powdered stuff, but the full on flavoursome, aromatic, no holding back stuff.

Just because I love it doesn’t mean that I over-indulge (any more). A couple of years ago I realised that my health was much better after I straightened out some of my habits – getting regular exercise, eating regularly (no more than 4 hours between food), drinking plenty of water AND reducing my coffee intake. Nowadays it’s about 3 cups a day, with no coffee after lunch.

However, the point of this posting is to consider the issues relating to fair trade. I’m not a militant anti-capitalist who thinks that Starbucks is the spawn of the devil. Remember I like good coffee (although personally I prefer Costa to Starbucks). For a long time, I’ve only bought fairly traded coffee.

“In America, the Moral Majority’s leaders and politicians tend to focus on single issues such as abortion and gay rights, but the Bible places greater emphasis on justice for all – focussing on poverty, the call to be peacemakers, to be truthful, to confront the bad in ourselves as well as in our enemies.”
Brian Draper, LICC

Is buying fair trade enough? Or is it, in fact, just a way of salving my middle-class conscience?

I hope that my own position is a bit more advanced than that. The fair trade approach is one way to remind myself of the big picture about poverty and exploitation. It’s also allows me to raise the topic at work - by abstaining from the non-fairly traded (and vile) coffee that they serve.

But more fundamentally it’s part of my desire to see social justice in all areas where I can have influence. Yes, I can and do support overseas development charities, I do support the objectives of ‘Make Poverty History’ and I write to my elected representatives to prompt them into action, and I’m passionate about social justice in Scotland.

I’m still left with the question – “Is it enough?” And I hope that I always will be left with that question – unless we manage to eradicate poverty and injustice everywhere during my lifetime.

One more thought – what kind of coffee do they serve at your work, church and home?
And finally,check out the trailer for the new movie "Black Gold".

No comments: