Chocolatey Goodness and Why I’m Avoiding It.

About three weeks ago I realize that I had been avoiding awareness on a topic that I know I had seen before: chocolate. Anyone who browses articles and info on fair trade has probably seen both tea and chocolate mentioned along side coffee as it relates to discussion on fair trade.
It’s been easy for me to boycott drinking non-fair trade coffee and tea, because I don’t drink tea and coffee anyways. What I had been avoiding is looking into the chocolate industry. Why? Because I like chocolate. But a brief inquiry, proved that if I was going to live my life in a way that keeps me from being involved directly in the injustice machine of consumerism, then I was going to have to stop eating chocolate.

It’s been harder then I thought. I don’t think about it very much, and in the first week I had mint chocolate chip ice cream, hot chocolate, and a chocolate donut without thinking twice, only to realize later that day. I’m getting better though. I also have a box of fair trade chocolate bars to help me slowly wean myself off and avoid major withdrawal symptoms.

I know Valentine’s day is coming soon, and that’s why I wanted to throw this topic out there before people do any major shopping over the weekend. If your thinking about Valentine’s gifts I would encourage you to think about fair trade as it relates to coffee, and conflict free as it relates to diamonds (that’s a whole different ball game).

If your looking for some more info on the Chocolate issue, I enjoyed this creative kid friendly book called:
Chaga and the Chocolate Factory (PDF)

Here are two other links:
Stop The Traffik

Global Exchange, Valentines Day Action

17 thoughts on “Chocolatey Goodness and Why I’m Avoiding It.”

  1. Uh-oh, Ariah. Better be careful digging deep like that and worrying about our wretched ways of consumerism…. Before you know it, you’ll be vegan too πŸ™‚

    Love that you’re bringing attention to this subject!! Nice post.

    Ohav Shalom,

  2. I appreciate the discussion you have initiated and I will post this blog entry on the Washington DC Fair Trade Coalition blog,, to encourage others to check out what you have to say.

    This Coalition is for all people wishing to support Fair Trade on Capital Hill in Washington DC.

    Elizabeth Gilhuly
    Washington DC Fair Trade Coalition

  3. Jamie,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I’m ready to head down that path, be it slowly.

    I do want to find a way of life that seems sustainable for all the people in the world. Maybe you can help me find that direction.
    by the way, I’m hoping you’ll chime in on the housing discussion some.

  4. Jamie – Well said, but I would take it further: dig deeply enough in to the chain of events that preceed our consumption of any good or service, and you’ll find yourself paralyzed and unable to eat a morsel, buy a pair of underwear, or leave the house for that matter. Of course, going hungry, going naked, and becoming a layabout has its consequences, too, so what are you gonna do?

  5. pk,

    I hope your “what are you gonna do?” isn’t a cop out.

    I think Jamie will tell you and others will to, that there are other options. There are ways to go about life making a serious effort, and finding healthy and ethical “chains of events” preceeding our consumption choices.

  6. Ariah, that’s so exciting!! I’m definately willing to share my experiences with you and help in any way I can. Feel free to e-mail me anytime. πŸ™‚

    Ohav Shalom,

  7. Jamie,

    I’d love to simply know more about why and how you’ve chosen to live a Vegan life. I’m sure you could write books about it, but maybe you can throw me the condensed version.

  8. Ariah –

    I did not mean to be dismissive. However, I do think that sometimes we spend too much valuable time in our individual quests to do what is right on things like, for example, dithering over chocolate choices at Whole Foods, when we could be out helping our neighbor in need with the money saved from not buying such an overpriced non-essential in the first place. That probably sounded dismissive, too, but it was not meant to be dismissive in a personal way. I am afraid that too many of these miriad micro-movements and -concerns and -causes distraction from the things that are more concretely and pressingly important.

  9. Good point, pk. If you get so caught up in always making cautious and conscientious choices that you’re spending entirely too much money or not living a life of love as you should be, it could definately be a problem.

    However, they are only distractions if you allow them to be. Living conveniently and comfortably can just as easily be a distraction, and in my opinion is much more likely.

    Also I want to point out that living a vegan life, if done properly, can actually extend your life and your resources, thus giving you more timeand ability to aid in living out the Kingdom here on earth. πŸ™‚


  10. PK,

    I understand there are people who spend a lot of time in the grocery aisle deciding what to buy, the majority of us (you and I included) don’t.
    I in no way am suggesting anyone replace caring for the needs of their neighbor with socially conscience shopping trips, I’m suggesting something far more radical: Do BOTH!

    But be careful about ignoring these purchasing choices in favor of “loving your neighbor.” The reason I gave up chocolate was specifically because I love my neighbor. The one half way across the globe who deserves a decent wage if I’m going to eat chocolate (fair trade) and not to be oppressed because I want cheap chocolate so I can have more pocket change to love my closer in proximity neighbors.

    p.s. Thanks for the links Jamie

  11. I am not an economist, or a “fair trade” expert. However, it does seem logical to me that if we decline to patronize chocolate or coffee or cotton providers that we deem unfair so as to hurt their pocket books, then those people who work for those companies may as a result receive something worse than an unfair wage, namely, no wage.

  12. pk,

    If you take a chance to check out the links the post references, you’ll find that there are a lot of slaves in the cocoa industry. So, choosing not to purchase from “free trade” companies will eliminate the needs for laborers (slaves) in that industry and allow them possibly freedom.
    Additionally, I’m suggesting, as you can check out the recent Corporate Responsibility post this week, that if you choose to purchase chocolate or coffee, you do it from a company that pays their works a decent wage. A switch to that sort of purchasing will result in a lot of decently paid workers, not a bunch of down and out workers.

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