Cotton, Coffee, Ideals and being Human

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I just returned with my family from Friends General Conference Gathering, an annual Quaker event. It was energizing and inspiring, highlighted for me by a talk by George Lakey, a Quaker peace activist since the 1960s who is literally world renowned. I can’t say enough good things about George, he is just amazing, and still going in his sixties (though semi-retired).
While there (FGC was in Bowling Green, Ohio this year), I went to a local big-box store called Meijer to buy a hammock. Found some nice ones. Cotton. Imported from India. Where they have a lot of slavery, in agriculture and other areas.
It is certainly a pain to be constantly brought up against the global economy and the realities of the modern slave trade. But I didn’t buy the hammock.
A Friend remarked this week on John Woolman’s commitment not to buy anything made by slave labor. I would like to make that same commitment. It’s tough, with globalization and the various unknowns of corporations and their supply chains. I feel like the best I can do is to make that commitment with caveats: I will do my best not to knowingly buy anything made or grown with slave labor.
But I did drink a Starbucks coffee while traveling yesterday. Falling asleep at the wheel isn’t going to do anything to end slavery.
On the other hand, looking at the prices for fairly traded coffee at Equal Exchange, I realized that it’s actually quite reasonable, so I can start ordering it from there, and stop my own dependence on a slave made product.
One step at a time.


About esidener

I am a dangerously creative and as yet unpublished author, middle aged former teacher with 3 wonderful kids and a pretty good wife.
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