Angela is a CAFOD volunteer from Beckenham and she share her how she was inspire by a recent CAFOD and Fairtrade foundation webinar
A couple of months ago I attended an excellent CAFOD/Fairtrade Foundation webinar on “Fair Trade and Climate Change”. The Fairtrade Foundation began work in the 1970s advocating Trade not Aid and that remains its mantra. A lot more products are now traded under the Fairtrade label and there is much wider recognition of the need to pay people fairly (justly) so they cover the costs of their production and can invest in their businesses and feed and sustain their families. We don’t think many of us would disagree with any of this.
The Fairtrade label is one we can all recognise and support. Many Supermarkets offer their products like Aldi, Lidl, the CO-OP, etc. And if you are a Coffee drinker, check out Fairtrade coffee at Greggs on the High Street and at AMT and Puccinos stalls which often feature on railway station concourses. There are of course other sustainable standards around so do read the small print to find out what they offer and to check their quality marks like no child labour, working with supplier chains, their approach to pesticides, how they are moving to lower carbon emissions, etc.
So far so good but the big elephant in the room is Climate Change. Many low-lying countries could soon be under water e.g., parts of Bangladesh growing its rice or in Ivory Coast they are increasingly being forced to grow their coffee crop in more mountainous areas. One way to help is to encourage the growth of climate resilient products which can mean diversifying into other agriculture. In Zambia local CARITAS partners of CAFOD are helping families to invest in a range of organic agriculture items after maize planting became less productive. As they start to grow a greater variety of crops better suited to the local climate and soil conditions, they are finding some act as natural pesticides, removing the need for additional chemical inputs. The trees planted have helped re-forest the land, reduce soil erosion and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Increased crop variety means better nutrition and reduced spending on healthcare, as well as more produce to sell and more money for school fees.
The Fairtrade Foundation and CAFOD are both campaigning right now in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow. It would be marvellous if Nations could take responsibility for their whole carbon footprint. You can lobby your MP and the UK Government about this and to get your views across.
If you are still not persuaded what about the Bishops of England and Wales’ Pastoral Letter at Pentecost? The Bishops say:
- “….we cannot leave the healing of our common home and the wellbeing and care of our brothers and sisters in the World merely to a response from industry and governments. ……We all have a part to play, each and everyone of us, in the routines, choices and decisions of our everyday lives and our aspirations for the future”.
So individually we can all choose sustainably produced food, think more deeply about the household items we buy, and make decisions about energy and travel, etc. It just takes a bit of thought and time.
We can also band together in our Parishes, Schools and local Communities, with other Churches and Faiths and with our families and friends to have a bigger voice in restoring our common home.
The power really is in our hands. Let us grasp the opportunity to be Stewards of Creation now.