Every day there are so many things on my mind that I would like to write about, exciting topics like Baloney Is Slimy and How Can Mice Be So Cute, But Completely Unwelcome In My Home?, Why Moms Always Have To Answer Texts, Will Minimalism Destroy The Economy?, the great book I’m reading by John Mark Comer, titled Garden City, Why I Don’t Want To Play Ball Every Time I Sit Down, Hannah, More Stuff I Cooked Over The Weekend, Do You Ever Have Insomnia And What Do You Do About It?, The Package That Arrived In My Mailbox Today, Why Am I Still Hungry When I’ve Gained Five Pounds In A Week?, My Debt Story, Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers The Way I Want Him To? and Why It’s Okay To Make Potato Salad in late October. There’s more, of course, but I’m getting tired of typing things in title case Because I Have To Think Before I Type Every Word.
There will be a time for all of those topics and more, but with Halloween just a few days away, I think I’m supposed to write about being conscious consumers. If you’re like me, you had no idea that up to 40% of all chocolate produced is done with child labor. It says so in that tiny little life ruiner book I keep talking about, The Better World Shopping Guide.
Equal Exchange, Divine, Alter Eco, SweetRiot and Theo all have A+ ratings, followed by Shaman, Sjaak’s, Coco-Zen, Endangered Species, and Rapunzel with an A. On the opposite end of the scale with an F is Nestle, Wonka, Perugina, Toblerone, Mars, Ovaltine, Cadbury, Dove, and M&M. Yeah, that’s pretty much every company that makes those convenient snack size treats we give out on Halloween. Hershey, with a solid D grade, announced in January of 2012 that they are working toward using 100% certified fair trade cocoa by 2020. Is it just me, or does it seem like it’s taking them a really, really long time to do something that other corporations are already doing?
You don’t have to take my word for it. Shawn Smucker, Tsh Oxenreider and Kristen Howerton have all written well researched articles about the issue. Go ahead and read them – I’ll still be here when you’re done.
I know, I know. I love my chocolate too, and probably eat some every week, sometimes every day. But it’s not that hard to find chocolate from companies that are fair trade and organic – local grocery stores often carry these brands. Yes, it’s more expensive, but that’s because it costs more to pay adult workers than it does to enslave and use children to grow and harvest the crop.
If you already bought a big ol’ bag of treats from Sam’s Club or Costco while you were out last weekend, it’s okay. You can return it to the store, or if that’s out of the question, make sure you make a different choice moving forward. It’s my fervent hope that even if you think I’ve gone off the deep end in being a conscious consumer, you will say with your dollars that you support companies who agree that it’s wrong to exploit children and stop supporting those who still do.