Fair trade does not just mean fair wages, John Taylor, a member of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), said Tuesday.The lecture titled “A Piece of Fair Trade” focused on the benefits of fair trade among Central American countries.The talk was held in Carroll Auditorium at Saint Mary’s. “For each of us who have jobs, or for each of us who are working within a structure … we really care individually about each of these steps,” Taylor said. Taylor, along with fellow CRS member Jessica Howell, said fair trade is beneficial for impoverished nations. “What’s different about the fair trade system is that it’s added value,” Howell said. Taylor said the beans are sent to an exporter, who works to find a place to sell the beans. Howell encouraged students to get involved in fair trade practices. Other ways students can become involved, Howell said, is to discuss fair trade with families and friends, change the purchasing practices of stores in the area and call on the College to provide fair trade products. “Fair trade is to make sure that these five principals are not shoved aside in order to provide the lowest price for the consumer,” he said. Taylor also said there were five main principals in the fair trade system. Those principals include fair wages, cooperative workplaces, long-term relationships, good working conditions and environmental sustainability. A broker then works with the exporter to connect with an importer, who brings the coffee beans to the roaster. After the beans are roasted, they are taken to a distributor, who ensures the beans are put in a store to be sold. A retailer then sells the beans to a consumer, and the revenue from the beans is distributed throughout each member of the chain. “It’s pretty powerful to know that when you buy a cup of coffee, or a chocolate bar, or a handcraft that is fair trade certified, you know because there is a fair trade certification system that what you are buying with that money is again not just a living wage for someone, but that there is no exploitative child labor, no harsh environmental conditions,” Howell said. Taylor said typically, the goal for the consumer for any transaction is to pay as little as possible for the products purchased. However, in a fair trade system, consumers look at the wages that the producer will receive instead of the cost of the product. Howell said fair trade is much more than just creating fair wages for small farmers. Howell said the fair trade system is far less complex and provides more value to the products. Taylor said CRS began to assist refugees coming out of Europe in 1933. Today, CRS focuses on international aid and development. She also said selling fair trade products and hosting fair trade sales around holidays would be beneficial for fair trade communities. According to Taylor, CRS currently is working in over 100 countries throughout the world to promote fair trade. According to Taylor, free trade is far more complex than fair trade. Taylor explained the process of free, or conventional, trade in relationship to coffee farmers. Coffee farmers begin the process of free trade by producing coffee beans. The beans are then sent to intermediaries, who are responsible for negotiating the price with the farmer. Once the intermediaries agree on a price, the coffee beans are then taken to a processing mill. There, the hull of the bean is removed. “After all, the bottom line is to pay as little as possible, regardless of what the producers or the farmer gets out of it,” Taylor said. According to Howell, there are a variety of ways to encourage fair trade within local communities. Howell said to organize fair trade tastings, film nights or informational events. Howell encouraged students to purchase fair trade products. Another way to become involved is to learn more about fair trade. “Fair trade ultimately is the realization that there’s a person behind every item that we purchase, and how we choose to buy that item affects that person in a positive or a negative way,” Howell said. Howell added that fair trade worked to strengthen communities by utilizing all of these principals. According to Howell, fair trade also begins with the farmer. After the beans are raised, they are sent to a cooperative, which is a democratically run resource that allows the farmers to receive more money per pound of product. The beans are then taken to a processing mill and then sold to coffee companies. From there, consumers have the capability to purchase the product. Additionally, Howell discussed the ways in which students can participate in the fair trade system.
Holidays call for family gatherings and, to get there, plenty of travel. With a major increase in traffic on the roads, make sure you and your families are safe.“Thanksgiving is the deadliest holiday out of the year in the U.S.,” said Andrew Turnage, public information coordinator for the University of Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute. “On a normal day there are about 100 fatalities due to traffic accidents, but on Thanksgiving there are over 500 fatalities nationwide.”On Thursday and Friday during Thanksgiving week, there are about 50 percent more people on the road. Added to that is a jump in alcohol consumption. Both factors increase the chances for things to go wrong.Wear your seatbeltTurnage’s No. 1 travel tip: Wear your seatbelt. Seatbelt use saves lives for drivers and passengers. If a crash occurs, car occupants are three times more likely to survive if they’re wearing their seatbelts. It’s also extremely important to make sure children are traveling safely, too. Kids tend to do what their parents or grandparents do 93 percent of the time, he said. If they see a driver not wearing a seatbelt or wearing it behind the shoulder, they’re more likely to do the same. “Make sure to not only share” the reasons for wearing a seatbelt, “but also demonstrate the importance of safety by wearing a seatbelt,” Turnage said.Use a child safety seat or booster seat if needed. Seats should be checked to make sure they are installed correctly. Safety seats should be used until the child reaches the height where they are no longer needed. Georgia law requires child safety seat use until age six. However, six-year-olds may not be tall enough to safely use car seatbelts, which are designed for people taller than 4 feet 9 inches.Before traveling, check your car’s tires, oil, brakes, critical fluids, headlights, taillights and turn signals. Make sure all loose objects are placed in the trunk or secured, as they can become deadly projectiles in an accident. Sleepy drivingDuring the trip, be aware of how tired you are. Driver fatigue should always be taken into consideration on long, late night or early morning trips. “Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving,” Turnage said. “If you feel that you are getting tired, pull over and get the rest needed. It’s more important that you get rest and drive safely rather than fighting sleep and fatigue trying to arrive on time.”The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are 100,000 drowsy driving accidents reported every year. People are more likely to feel fatigued and the risk of drowsy driving accidents increases in the early afternoon between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and nighttime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. The seasonal time change will also make a difference when driving because it gets darker earlier. To keep drivers more alert and safe, Georgia law requires headlights be used from dusk until dawn and any time it is raining.Driver distractionAlong the trip keep children and passengers entertained so they don’t distract the driver. Turnage suggests having books, crosswords, movies and video games on hand. Another driver distraction is the cell phone. Georgia law bans texting for all drivers as well as cell phone use for teen drivers. “Keep your eyes on the road and don’t drive distracted,” Turnage said.Make sure you and your family are prepared for safe travels this holiday season, and every day.“Don’t let safe travel take a backseat,” Turnage said. “Traffic accidents are still the number one killer in our country. Buckling up and being prepared can keep your holidays a joyous time for everyone.” For more information about traffic safety, visit www.ridesafegeorgia.org
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