When Fair Trade Meets Earth Day…

Earth Day, 1990

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day – one of the few days of the year that all of us, internationally, come together for a common cause: to help further initiatives to protect the environment.

A movement that started as a grassroots movement in the 60s (the official Earth Day event was held on April 22, 1970!) has led to the development of hundreds of environmentally-conscious organizations nationwide!

Earth Day, April 1970

Today, the Fair Trade movement follows the Earth Day mission in working hard to  foster both social and environmental responsibility. After all, Fair Trade plays a huge role in not only advocating for the human rights of laborers worldwide, but also in the promotion of more sustainable agro-ecological practices.

Fair Trade’s commitment to sustainability promises, among many other things, the reduction of toxic chemical usage and the protection of complex ecosystems. As the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) states:

Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.

This means that roughly thirty-percent of Fair Trade farmers dedicate their premiums to powerful initiatives that promote community development, reforestation, environmental education, and water conservation! So, choosing Fair Trade-certified goods means that we care about both the people & environment where our food is produced.

On campus, our Laboratory for Civic Engagement is encouraging everyone to get involved by answering the question, “Where on Earth is your favorite outdoor destination?” via Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #PSUEarthDay in your tweet when answering. All tweets will be gathered at the end of the day and posted on the Laboratory’s Facebook and Twitter pages to find out some of Penn State Brandywine’s favorite destinations!

If you’re interested in volunteering for the day, check out the EPA website to find exciting new options in your local area! Here is the link: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/take-action.html.

Contributed by Labanya Mookerjee, Fair Trade Intern

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