It’s the opposite of unfair trade, see.
If you’ve been here for more than about four seconds you’ll be aware of the official Zero position on late-stage capitalism: It’s dogshit. We’ve ballsed up whatever shot we had at living decently in this borderline paradise, choosing instead to kidnap humans for workers, screw the poor in sweatshops, keep people down and dumb and dirt broke, and set the planet on fire for lols. Happily, while waiting for the world’s conscience to kick in we can model a better way of doing things by buying Fairtrade.
The Fairtrade movement sets standards for trading with people in developing countries as an alternative to stripping the place like aliens invading the earth. It demands such novelties as decent working conditions, paying farmers enough to cover the cost of production, and a premium to invest in business or community projects so at some point people’s lives can actually improve.
Buying Fairtrade is a belter of a Butterfly because we get to change the world just casually trotting through the supermarket. We all remember the classic Sesame Street thing: “A loaf of bread, a quart of milk, a stick of butter and some sugar to radically change the lives of the world’s poorest people and show the developed world’s corporations we ain’t taking their shit no more.” It’s that easy, Butterfliers!
Here at Zero Towers we buy Fairtrade chocolate, sugar, chocolate spread, jam, chutney, bananas, oranges, apples, satsumas, grapes, sweets, brownies, cookies, cereal bars, socks, T-shirts, jeans and teabags. It takes no more effort to bung a Fairtrade banana into the trolley than it does your classic or “horribly immoral” banana but the difference is huge: Change lives or do harm. The tiny price difference – about 7p for a pack of seven bananas – is worth it and goes a long way. That long way being several thousand miles, to the farmers who can now afford to do the little things in life that make life worth living. Like actually staying alive. That’ll do until the world properly gets its shit together.
You'll pay people even to live on
We'll wipe out poverty forever
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Like most of you, when I first saw WALL-E I assumed it was a documentary and was relieved to find we had at last discovered a solution to the madness of short-term landfillery. However, on attempting to contact and marry EVA, Pixar security guards informed me not just that I would be charged with breach of the peace but also that the film was a work of speculative fiction.
Devoted as you are to yer man The Zero, and as closely as you monitor my good works, you’ll be aware I do the odd bit of fundraising in spite of hating it almost completely. The past few years I’ve been meddling with Yaknak Projects, a small charity set up by a few friends to run two children’s home in Nepal. They need £16,000 a year to keep the homes running, a delightful spot of constant pressure that cheers them greatly.
As you’d expect from a man in my position, I have literally thousands of children. The groupies that gather at the foot of Zero Towers are as fertile as they are up for it, and the rise of my master race is progressing nicely. Sadly, due to the sheer size of my collective progeny, all of whom are disabled rad-fems, I am unable to support any of them financially or emotionally, thus creating twice as many social problems as I was hoping to solve.
So there I was a few weekends back, minding me own business, spending a reasonably pleasant day in the company of friends, or at least people paid to be friendly towards me on account of how my fame prevents anyone getting too close, when I witnessed what can only be described as a road traffic accident, being as how it was an accident involving traffic that took place on a road. I won’t lie to you: it was full on proper scary.
With the Olympics all done with and the Paralympics prepping itself for interest considerably less feigned than usual, it’s time to reflect on the heroes at whom we marvel, the champions who capture our hearts, the icons who inspire a generation. Jessica Ennis. Usain Bolt. Me.
That whooshing sound round the back of your head was February going past us and past me and past this blog in particular. Being as how I’m spending my days chained to the desk writing essays and my nights chained to the desk drooling on them, the old do-gooding has taken a back seat of late. Unless you count the social work. Which no one does. Tell people you want to be a social worker, they make like you’ve offered them a glass of cancer flavoured piss.
The problem with this social work lark is although I’m getting stuck in to solid gold do-gooding on a daily basis, the confidential nature of it all means it ain’t worth shit for blogging. I go out, I do good, I come home, I write essays, I use every drop of energy and I’ve got on non-blogging activities and meanwhile this place gets neglected and cobwebbed and dusty and forgotten, going all potty and Miss Havisham and playing bridge with Buster Keaton.
You’ll recall how last year I finally worked up enough balls to give up a safe job in the middle of recession and go back to uni. And how I’m now training as a social worker, taking my meddler status from amateur to professional. You’ll recall all of this because you are, in the act of reading this blog, engaging in the last legal form of stalking. You’re watching me from afar, waiting for the right moment to ask for an autograph, tell me you’re my biggest fan, or take me to your underground den of torture and have me as your bride.
They say the word ‘hero’ is overused these days, applied to anyone who kicks a ball into a net or resists the metric system or rescues orphans from a burning paedophile ring. But I’d argue in some cases the word ‘hero’ is not used enough. I’m thinking particularly here in the case of me.