FEATURE: After Live 8
So...it's been a week since Live 8 - what a week!
The concerts were great and the G8 saw and heard the people...ish. They said they understand and they commit to doing what they can to address our concerns.
We got more aid to the poorest countries on the brink of, if not all the way in, total collapse. How charitable of them to forgive debts that could never be paid.
We also got a promise to give more aid to slightly better off countries, the ones with just enough of a market left to tap into. They will only get aid IF they open up their markets and let us flood their economies with subsidized cheaper goods. So more poverty for them in the long run then as we destroy what little local economies they have got left. Genius!
We got a commitment to free and fair trade without unfair subsidy at some point in the next million years. Hurrah!
We got the mildest wink from the US that global warming even exists. SUV anyone?
But all of the above is nothing new that we did not know before the G8. Their finance ministers met and announced the increased aid before the actual main event.
So that's it for another 20 years then...you can put your white bands away until a 71 year old Bob Geldof zimmers his way onto our TV's in 2025 to rouse the masses once more.
But wait...just because Live 8 has happened does not mean it is over. Now that the blisters are gone and the hangovers have been slept off...there is much real work to be done. Now you can support its goals without feeling alone. You know that millions of people agree with you. That was the start of a movement not just a one-night-stand with 'Making Poverty History'.
Whilst the governments figure out ways to shift our economies to become less oil-dependent and consumerist it is upto us to change our ways. And the best thing we can do is to be as ethical consumers as possible. The way you spend your money is much more meaningful in the long term than the way you cast your vote every few years. We have two choices:
1) Keep driving down prices all over the world and tearing apart growing economies. Then when the cost of manufacturing something in the UK or US is 100 times more expensive than in China or India because they have less worker or environmental protection than us AND they have workers who work harder for less and you lose your job because foreign workers will work for less/your company relocates (delete as appropriate) at least you will have got that plasma TV for a great price. Then what?
2) Buy fair trade NOW - don't wait for Tony Blair to tell you to do it. Give your money directly to the people that need it. Reward them for their hard work. Demand more from all your suppliers in terms of care for the planet and all it's peoples. Don't force costs down...you have more money than most people have ever had so don't get so greedy that you 'choke the fire and put it out'. Be a responsible consumer when you can. You will be amazed at the change that happens...and in fact if you just take a look around you will see that change is already happening.