Happy Human Rights week!
When your child asks you "mum, where does milk come from" I expect that you say it comes from cows, right? Your older child who is more aware might jokingly dispute that and say your milk comes from the local supermarket. I suppose you'd both be right. But there is a greater picture of how products are made and how they make their way to you — it's a long way from a cow to your local supermarket. That's what I want to discuss this week.
What all companies care about more than anything is getting our money and they will do that by all means necessary. Let's call it teaching the companies we support what matters to us and how to treat us. The fast food industry is the way it is because all that consumers of fast food are saying is that "we value fast and cheap."
Where is it written that fast food has to be fatty and unhealthy? It's like that because that's how fast and cheap is made. If the mandate from customers changed to them trying for healthy meals that are cheap and fast, surely corporations would do their best to comply. Sealy has a green range because people care about their carbon footprint and what impact their consumption has on the environment.
Back in 2010 Tiffany & Co. and Cartier were amongst a few retailers to publicly boycott diamonds from Zimbabwe, this cause was driven by Human Rights Watch and the campaign has been successful because nobody wants to be walking around wearing blood diamonds. To eliminate the risk and put their customers at at ease the retailers blocked trade with a known source of the diamonds.
You might feel that it doesn't make much of a difference but try it, boycott that "free-range" chicken company you've read is not so free-range, it all adds up. Tell your friends about that factory that uses labour brokers to manufacture its products — eliminate ignorance. Most people will tell you that the reason they didn't do anything is because they didn't know. Write to the public protector if you feel there's something that's not right at your local council.
As much as you have rights you have a responsibility to protect those rights and as Doctor King said "injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere." Today a small tuck shop and tomorrow a multinational conglomerate. How will we be able to fight the big battles if we don't start with the small ones?
Our biggest responsibility is to protect this freedom for future generations and do our best to help others attain their freedoms.