“It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet.”
― Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
As the world’s governments, scientists, farmers, industry representatives, and activists get ready for the next round of UN climate talks in Paris this December, hundreds of declarations, statements, proposals, and treaties are being drafted to address the dangerous situation in which humans have gotten ourselves and our planet. There are many proposals out there but two pathways are clear: First, we must divest from the fossil fuel industry in all its facets (mining, drilling, burning, etc.), and instead invest in renewable energy sources. And secondly, we must break away from industrial agriculture, and in its place invest in small scale, organic, regenerative farmers. Ultimately, any path toward a climate change solution is going to require that we work together to rebuild and reshape our economy. It is more than time to move away from our current system which encourages and rewards corporate greed and control and work to create a new, solidarity economy, of co-operatives and socially responsible businesses, that places people and the planet above profit.
Equal Exchange is proud to launch our new Climate Justice Initiative, focusing on this two-fold approach: Soil not Oil. Our farmer partners are doing their part. Read what Equal Exchange is doing and how you can join us to help our partners mitigate, adapt, and build resiliency all while taking steps to help combat the greatest challenge we may face in our lifetimes and those of future generations.
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By Leif Rawson-Ahern, Tea Supply Chain Developer
On September 8, the BBC posted a heartbreaking account of the living and working conditions at the Doomur Dullung plantation, in Assam, India. BBC journalists uncovered tea plantation workers and their families living and working in shocking conditions. They found workers living in dilapidated homes with no access to toilets and drinking water contaminated by raw sewage. Child labor violations, dangerous working conditions, and rampant malnutrition and disease were all too-commonly reported and verified.
Unfortunately, we know through our work in tea, that this reality has been going on for far too long, is widespread, and well known. Dominated by large multinational companies, the tea industry remains one of the last vestiges of the British colonial era. It’s outrageous that this system of vast exploitative plantations has remained unchanged – and unchallenged – since the 1800s.
That’s why Equal Exchange is working to build an alternative tea model, one that challenges the conventional industry and supports small-scale tea farming co-operatives and their communities. We’re proud to partner with growers in India, South Africa and Sri Lanka to forge a more equitable system that is built on farmer empowerment, ownership, and control. You can read more here about our revolutionary tea partners, like the Potong Tea Garden in Darjeeling, India. Once a colonial plantation, the Potong Tea Garden is now collectively run and majority-owned by its workers. Together, they are paving a stronger, more democratic path forward for their families and community. Groups like Potong show us that a more equitable model in tea can be achieved.
The Equal Exchange small farmer tea line was created to prove that a different tea model is possible. We invite you to join with us to raise awareness about the inequalities and injustice in the tea system and to make a positive choice when you make your next tea purchase.
Read the full story and watch the videos from the BBC here.
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Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2015|
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What does it mean to create change with your everyday choices? We believe that something as simple as the coffee you drink or the chocolate you eat can have an effect on the planet and our global community, and you have the power to make that effect a positive one.
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