by Margot Conover, External Relations Manager, Fairtrade America
Summer. Best spent relaxing by the pool with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Fairtrade ice cream – slacktivism at its finest. Every pint puts more money, on better terms, into the pockets of farmers and helps them invest in their communities. But we need to do more if we want to change the world.
With Fall ‘back to school’ time in sight, it’s time to pump your activist muscles and get so swole that you shred that Fairtrade cotton t-shirt!
Follow my Workout Plan for best results.
Step 1: Baby Steps
Sip your Fairtrade coffee from a reusable mug. Don’t overexert yourself! Small choices add up. Did you know that over 2.5 BILLION disposable cups are thrown away every year? Think about one small choice you can make every day that helps create the world you want.
Step 2: Get a Fit Bit
UNICEF’s Kid Power program links fitness to change for good. With every step, you can unlock food packets to be delivered to malnourished kids around the world. While you’re at it, step on over to UNICEF End Trafficking where you can take action to protect the rights of vulnerable kids right in your own backyard.
Step 3: Eat Clean
Real Food Challenge helps college students push for better food that’s good for their bodies and the people that produce it. No activist wants to work hard all day only to have their food options undermine all that progress! Make sure the food choices on your campus are supporting sustainable, fair food systems. It’s easy to get started with their Real Food Calculator: Find out how clean your school’s food is here.
Step 4: Get Accountability
Support from peers makes reaching your goals easier. Think about starting a Fair Trade Campaign on your campus. You can get support from like-minded Fairtrade champions and work together to make your school fair. #teamwork
Step 5: Crosstrain
Doing something different gets you energized! Learn about another movement or cause that supports what you care about, but from a different angle. For example, if you love Fairtrade, check out the Student Farmworker Alliance Encuentro this September where you can learn how tomato workers have gotten some of the United States’ biggest fast food chains to support better conditions and fair pay for workers.
Step 6: Upgrade Your Technique
Everyone loves to talk about their passions, but how can you be sure you’re being heard? Check out this interview with Per Espen Stoknes (say that five times fast), psychologist and author of What We Think about When We Try Not to Think about Global Warming to fine tune how you’re sharing your activist message with the unconverted.
Step 7: Challenge Yourself
Set a personal goal that’s a stretch. Maybe you want to support pandas while running the WWF Marine Corps Marathon. Maybe you want to save up and invest in farming communities through an organization like Working Capital for Community Needs. Write that blog. Make that art. Build that project. Pick a goal that feels special and unique to you, and work toward it!
Step 8: Track Progress
With NAFTA renegotiation coming up, you can be a direct advocate for fairness in our food system. So often, trade agreements leave producers and consumers in the dark, while corporations negotiate in secret. Don’t like the sound of that? Find out who your representatives in Congress are, and let them know what you think. (You can also check out how your reps have been voting on food issues at Plate of the Union.)
Step 9: Recharge
Even the ‘swolest’ activist needs to rest and refuel. Just one Fairtrade banana has 806mg of potassium (23% of your daily value)! To paraphrase Audra Lorde, caring for yourself help keeps you strong for the long haul. Sometimes you’ve got to go back to the pool and crack open that pint of Phish Food. You know, for health.
Extra Credit: Join the #FairtradeChat on August 22nd!
You can always learn more about how to effect change! Join our upcoming Activist-themed #FairtradeChat at 2pm ET on August 22nd with our co-hosts, Green America. Plus there's a chance you could win some great Fairtrade prizes! Click here to learn more!
Want to share your activist story? Tell me about your sweet gains, personal records, techniques and goals below.