We've had a lot of fun this fairtrade fortnight, with all sorts of events, lectures and flashmobs! It was a lot of fun to try to create a 'human fairtrade banana' outside the main university building, then go into the Bridges shopping centre and serenade shoppers with a fairtrade version of Harry Belafonte's 'Banana Boat Song'!
We've had our laughs, with more to come at the Fairtrade Family Ceilidh on Saturday at the Minster (6.30pm - free for under 16s! £3 for student and low wage!) but there is a very serious side to all this. Most trade is certainly not 'fair'.
For most people in the poorest parts of the world, there is only a struggle to live in sometimes unspeakable conditions. Poor access to housing and education, lack of clean water and electricity and heating are endemic. Most peoples working conditions are horrendous, with low wages and a complete lack of long term security.
When we buy fairtrade coffee, tea, bananas, grapes, cotton etc - we are saying that we expect workers and their families to be able to live with dignity.
Every commodity picked or produced without that fairtrade mark, potentially masks the expoitation of women, child labour, environmental degradation, human rights abuses or just plain poverty.
That is why fairtrade is not just for a fortnight - fairtrade is for life!
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