Holiday time is here again, and along with the fresh snow comes a frenzy of gift shopping decisions. Our shopping selections can go far beyond delighting the recipient and support our world into a healthier place. Conscious choices can also add enjoyment and fulfillment to giving.
Our culture is immersed in product options. As consumers we are often unaware of how gifts are produced and if their production supports or harms individuals and the earth. In the past several years numerous informational resources about what we purchase are more readily available and conscious buying has become a popular topic.
A conscious consumer doesn’t have to research every purchase until all pleasure is drained. More importantly one should think about how a product came to exist and if this is a process to advocate. Supporting with our dollars is a powerful vote. Simple ways that you can make a difference include:
- Buying locally from a small business that employs your community
- Buying products manufactured in a way that respects the earth
- Giving gifts that generate revenue for a charitable cause
Your method of conscious giving is completely your decision. Once the awareness is present, the decisions change automatically. Buying local and/or fair trade is a great place to start.
Boutiques that carry locally made and consciously acquired items are an amazing resource for beautiful gifts and personal purchases. Local shopping grows the economy and quality of life in a community.
Sustainable Connections is a forum where businesses come together to transform and model an economy built on sustainable practices. Click here for their list of ten benefits to buying local.
Pivotal is a full service event design and production company that creates celebrations that are environmentally and socially friendly. They offer up a local gift giving guide in their latest blog post.
Across the world diverse and beautiful products are made, and not all gifts can be purchased locally. A fair trade purchase provides for a family and community, increasing stability in the world. We can also have confidence that dangerous chemicals aren’t used during production. Buying a product with a Fair Trade seal means:
- Farmers, workers and artisans receive a fair price under direct long-term contracts
- Producers are small-scale in democratic co-ops or workers on larger farms who receive a living wage and can bargain collectively
- Abusive child labor or forced labor isn’t practiced
- Everyone involved is guaranteed national health safety and minimum wage
- Ecologically sustainable methods and conservation of natural resources are utilized
We are vividly aware of how stability and peace in any community of our world affects us all. Families, communities and our earth can be supported with our giving. It becomes more than a gift to an individual, but a gift to the world.
Below are a few fair trade resources for information and purchases throughout the year:
Ten Thousand Villages is a nonprofit program that creates opportunities for artisans around the globe to earn a fair wage. Artisans use this income to pay for food, education, health care and housing for themselves and their families.
The Greenheart Shop offers a wide selection of fair trade and eco-friendly products that support fair wages and safe working conditions for workers, and ensures environmental sustainability in production practices.
World of Good by eBay is the world’s first online marketplace to convene thousands of People Positive and Eco Positive sellers and products all in one place, empowering you to shop in ways that align with your personal values.
The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. Click on the title to find out how you can become more involved.
Photo: Craft Network for World of Good