AUTHOR: Larissa Kanhai
FEATURING: Cécile Rouzel de Université d’Ottawa
When trying to change the habits of people, you need to deconstruct the social, economic, political, and spiritual institutional values that are attached to norms of organizational, cultural and practical behaviour. We need to be disciplined and intentional when telling our stories and have a specific purpose. Today we creatively practiced collectively storytelling using pictures for inspiration and taking turns to tell the story of why we are here at the 8th annual Canadian Fair Trade Conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Stories such as this…
So, there was a big bad, unethical retailer that rode in selling products from multinationals and creating havoc in the fair trade world. That big bad really thought they were king and that they could control everything all with of their power. On the surface, much seemed good and calm. But there was a great deal under the surface that went deeper. Much like unfair treatment of producers, environmental impacts, and social inequity. All of this the big bad was unaware of…or maybe they were and didn’t want to see it?
We have to think of our roots and the way things had been created in the past. One grandmother’s coat came from the Ukraine where people there had connection to the land. They trapped the furs that created the coat, and that coat was passed on from generation to generation. Being treated fairly even in poverty is very important. This is what got people thinking deeply, to see what is the key that we can use to open the door to human dialogue. The key is not just going to the roots; and that’s our humanity. They all realized that the way back was fair trade. Carrots and other produce, coffee and chocolate were the way to be fair and to honour traditions to connect with each other and demonstrate respect. Even though those goals seem very large we keep each other buoyed together to take on the task to overthrow the multinationals and see the light and working together. Planting seeds is how we do this. We do this with trust knowing that some of the seeds will bear fruit and some sadly will not. But we also trust in a shared vision that our future will be a lovely field of flowers, made up of those seeds planted – the work we all do.
Sometimes in a world that’s so constructed we feel like the future is constructed for us, but the truth is that the future is a blank slate and it is what we create.