As Spring slowly blossoms forth as we head into April, a fresh sense of purpose and energy follows among the student body. The sudden arrival of green serves as a friendly reminder of different “Go Green” initiatives which can be easily overlooked during the long and dark winter months. But of course having a “green” environment doesn’t just stop at recycling. It’s about having a sustainable world in many different spectrums from social, economic, to environmental.
One national organization in particular, Fair Trade USA, is a nonprofit that advocates for “conscious consumerism.” Here is a little about their mission: “We encourage people to educate themselves about the companies from which they buy, the origins of the products they consume, and the business practices of the stores where they shop.”
In particular, Fair Trade USA promotes high social, economic, and environmental standards and supports equal compensation for goods that are made throughout the world and sent to America. This organization puts its logo on products that fulfill their criteria. Uncovering the oftentimes mysterious sources that many of our products come from is a great way to start building a sustainable country. Often, when we see “Made in China” or “Made in India” stickers on jewelry or packed food, it means the product could have been produced using child labor or unequal compensations in a less than sufficient working environment.
It’s important to start thinking about where our products actually come from. Justice comes in many different forms, and supporting Fair Trade USA products ultimately means supporting equality among people and nations – the same type of equality we want in our UVa community. So, let’s get out of hibernation mode, spring into April, and go support local farmers markets like the one in downtown Charlottesville which opens back up next weekend or UVa’s community garden.
You can check out Fair Trade USA’s website here: http://fairtradeusa.org/
Additionally, here are just a few of the many resources for green initiatives at UVa:
- From the Grounds Up, UVa Sustainability: http://www.virginia.edu/sustainability/
- “Earth Week” April 19th-24th with many different events around grounds: http://www.virginia.edu/sustainability/wp-content/themes/sustainability/index.html#events-cal
- Greens to Grounds, “Produce Party” at the Amphitheater from 11am-2pm on Sunday March 29th
By Julia Scoper, Staff Writer (P)