An owner of a UK-based fair trade clothing company gives an anonymous post to TreeHugger - something for us to contemplate into the New Year.
I have some questions and I'm wondering if you might be able to help me find the answer. Many of us are looking to create a new world where the environment and human rights are deeply rooted in the products that we buy. We acknowledge that our prevailing consumer culture is generally damaging to the environment and to humans, as those of us who have disposable incomes look for better products at lower prices. There are some great ideas, great brands, great people making a difference. And yet the new world we are looking for seems so far away. Brands with radical roots are sold to the highest bidder. Former-radicals become self-publicists and/or sofa-sitting multimillionaires. Is this our collective destiny? Are we just another choice in the hypermarket of ideas where only the strongest survive? Will 'successful' alternative ideas always be forced to choose between the devil of filthy lucre and the deep-blue sea of lack of style and mediocrity? Is an alternative world even possible within our consumer culture? How do we breakdown the barriers between producer and brand, product and consumer so that we are no longer just supporting by buying, but actively engaged in the struggle towards the better world?