28 January 2008

Generous Journal: My New Year's resolution

Oh dear, the Generous Journal has gone quiet due to my exile from my PC recently, and also because I must admit I haven't been doing anything generous. Well, no more than usual. I'm still refusing carrier bags, trying to buy local and ethical, giving to charity shops etc but I've not added anything new to my repertoire of generosity.

But - one of my New Year's resolutions is to learn more about the causes I back. Regular readers may know that a while back I had a debate about the effects of Fairtrade with a work colleague. Well, I say debate - I listened to her talk about her experiences in Africa where she believes she saw Fairtrade causing instability and conflict, and thought to myself 'I know that Fairtrade is right, but I don't know enough about it to argue.' It was embarrassing and, I have to admit, upsetting.

So this year, I'm going to get educated. Yes, I will never see first-hand the effects of Fairtrade because I can't drop everything and go do aid work in Africa. But I can learn more and find out whether my gut instinct that fair pay is always the right thing is the truth or just naivety.

I'm going to start by reading a book I stumbled across in the Geography section of Lincoln Waterstone's (don't ask why I was in the Geography section!) It's not as high brow as you might think - it's called 'Eco Chic' and is subtitled 'a savvy shopper's guide to ethical fashion'. While this is probably just a gloss-over of the ethical problems within the fashion industry, I'm hoping it will point me in the right direction to find more material to base my judgements on. In the meantime I'm going to continue with my gut instinct.

Knowledge is power.

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