City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

FEATURE: After Live 8'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 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 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.




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At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fair trade is a useful start,it brings home the actual fair price of goods as opposed to a subsidised heavily wieghted price set by major players,we can make a difference,so start now!

At 4:25 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

I agree...we have got to level the playing prevent even greater poverty, death and damage to us all and if that is inevitably going to harm us in the long-run then we can lessen that blow by spreading that inevitable change over a longer period of time.

Thanks for your comment.



At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Truth Seeker said...

Personally I do see the whole Live8 event more critically and have my doubts that the aim increase record sales and a commercialisation of protest to make people feel better about themself and the capitalist system as a whole.
I doubt the artists themself know much about Africa. The root causes 'why Africa is actually in such a state' was also never adressed. Africa being full of resources for the West, that's their 'death sentence'. That's why the West (governments and MNCs) is interested in destabalizing various areas on the continent. And now they (Tony Blair being the front man) as if they come to rescue Africa. Bull$hit. The depts have been paid many years ago by most 'developing countries'. But due to the high interests rates they just keep having debts and can't get out of the cycle. It's a great source of profit for banks.
The West has benefitted and still does benefit economically trememndously from the African continent. But still in the media it is always being presented as if Africa is a hopeless country with people being to stupid to bring some law and order in there. What causes most conflicts in Africa? Resources. Who wants those resources? The West. Simple.

Anyway, I totally agree that consumers need to become more aware of their responsibilities and powers! The consumers as a whole are the most powerful dictators on the planet. But they need to realize that and have sources that inform them independently about the whole manufacturing process. But once people really start to care about the whole 'chain' and actually selectively boycott and say 'No!' to manufacturers that exploit and destroy, then we don't have capitali$m anymore. Because capitalism is not based on sympathy for others, but egoism and self-centredness.
And of course there are many powers on this planet who just love the system the way it is now, cos they profit tremendously from it.
In order to compete and survive in this world most need to be self centred. The current system needs the poor people that can be exploited, it needs the HUGE gap between the rich and the poor.

Change is necessary, and I try to do everything I believe I can to push the world towards change, but it won't be easy.

But life is not meant to be easy anyway.

Viva la revolution!



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