FightingWindmills wrote a post today about workers rights; specifically about the coalition of agricultural workers in Florida. We’ve probably all heard at least bits and pieces of this issue, which is essentially that these workers want the fast food chains to pay them a higher (aka living) wage. These workers work hard, but the fast food chains have an immense amount of power, because they are so huge and purchase such a quantity of things like tomatoes that they dictate prices more than a smaller organization could. I’m not going to look up to make sure I’m accurate, since I’m running out of time tonight for blogging, but if I remember correctly one of the other issues with the fast food chains is that some of them owned some of the farms, and thus the tomato pickers are essentially direct employees. In an economically depressed area. Another way of saying this is that the largest employer in an economically depressed area has almost complete control over the wages it will pay.

Anyway, go read FightingWindmill’s post on the workers, and her own question of what can she do to make change, to support these people, to live in a way that’s more sustainable and less wasteful.

I made a really long comment on there, but the whole issue, the question, the post, it all made me think about consumption in general terms. I’m vegan, so I think about consumption A LOT. The animals I work to help are all victims of human consumption on some level. Religious sacrifice, milk, eggs, meat, entertainment, humans have found no end of “use” for these animals, who are given no choice in the matter. Humans are so driven to consume, it is scary sometimes. And at least in the U.S., we are so unbelievably wasteful. For political reasons, a huge amount of grain rots in silos in the midwest, farmers are paid to not sell these crops, and meanwhile children half a world away are starving to death. You don’t have to actually go half a world away to find children starving to death of course, but Darfur is a really huge example.

Did you know that during that horrible famine in Ethiopia in teh 80’s, they were exporting food?

Politics is at the heart of world hunger, yet sustainability is an ever increasingly important issue. The human population is ever increasing. We have to think about sustainability.

It isn’t just about food, though. It is everything we “consume”, by which I mean everything we purchase. We need to think about the “stuff”. Do we need it? If we need it, is there an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to the plastic junk that we’re looking at in the store? Is the wooden furniture and paper products from old growth forests? Are we conserving energy and water, are we thinking about our STUFF?

We need to. A couple links to check out:

But really, please go watch this video, The Story of Stuff . It is a 20 minute video that talks about, well, stuff. It is important for all of us, for all of these issues: environment, human rights, worker rights, sustainability, and on and on. It is all connected. WE are all connected.

wheelbarrow at ps