December 11, 2013

hey chocolate lovers! (yep, you. and me.)

So this is a little crazy, but something that absolutely needs to be shared.  A few months ago (October to be exact, because it was right before Halloween), I was reading Jacqui's post from Dusty Country Road, which lead me to this post about chocolate.

Now, I'm not going to get in too deep here, because it's much better worded and all the information you need to know is in the post, so I'll just give you a summary, but please, click over and read it for yourself (lots of link choices for ya, just so you don't miss it ;).

I'm always amazed at how I've just been cruising through life, here I am at age 27, and I'm still learning things that astound me and I have no idea that I have been contributing to horrific acts almost all of my life. Seriously, why don't we learn this stuff in school, and why don't more people talk about these issues?

Anyway, from this post I learned that almost all of the chocolate we consume comes from forced child labor. Here's a snippet from the post:

"In 2001, various news sources revealed that children were being used as slaves or cheap labor in West African cocoa farms, where the majority of the world’s cocoa is birthed."
"Most of the children are also required to spray hazardous chemicals on the crops, where they ingest it into their lungs, and they are unable to attend school while they work, which is in violation of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Most of these children can’t read or write, they subsist on corn paste and bananas, and needless to say, they have never tasted the chocolate they help produce for our own families."

Since reading this post, I've stopped consuming chocolate (& other candies distributed from supporting companies) from the brands listed: Nestle, Hershey, Mars, and Cadbury.  As tasty as these things are, and believe me, I'm a self proclaimed candy addict, I cannot stomach supporting behavior such as this.  Please read the article for great ideas of how we can help, not only from not purchasing from these companies, but by spreading the word, & by buying from smaller ethically based companies.  There's also a movie at the bottom of the post that I have yet to watch, but certainly plan to.  I'm sure tissues will be necessary to have at the ready...

All this said, have no fear, chocolate lovers, we may still partake!  Just be choosy about which brands you support, and check the labels for certifications and wording such as fair trade, direct trade, and bean to bar.

I hate to be a downer, but ignorance is not always bliss.  Let others know, and together we can all make a difference!  And with Christmas right around the corner, it may be difficult to stray from the norm while stuffing that stocking, but I think it'll be fun to find some new and interesting treats to try!

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