• Fair Trader

Back to the Future?

Updated: May 23, 2018

Will these, one day, be the only images that will remain of once-thriving civilisations?

One we know was 1000 years ago, the other may well be perhaps 100 years from now with these buildings emerging from an expanded North Sea. Amazingly the cause could be the same – humanity’s disregard for, or ignorance of, the consequences of destroying forests. 50% of the planet's forests were destroyed by 2005 and a further 25% will be gone by 2055 if the current trend continues.

Why do societies continue this self-destructive behavior? In his great book Collapse, Jared Diamond argues that there are four main reasons:

  • Selfishness – rich and powerful countries are insulated from the effects of their activities-in the short term

  • Corruption and denial – politicians are bribed by loggers/miners/industry to turn a blind eye to their activities

  • ‘The tragedy of the commons’ – If I don’t exploit it someone else will.

  • Consumers taking the attitude that it is someone else’s problem

Such disaster for our grandchildren is not inevitable. We can all have an impact on reversing this trend by voting, raising awareness through education and the media, boycotting irresponsible companies and their products, and supporting pioneers in sustainability.

Many small co-operatives in the developing world are in the vanguard of such activities. They know and understand how their future is being harmed and are trying to do something about it. Fair Trader helps them by buying the produce from over 30 such societies in Asia, Africa and Central/South America. There are over 15 million co-operative members in the UK alone and together they could make a real difference. Please become a member, buy your gifts here, and press your retail society to buy more from small co-operatives in the developing world.

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