The Future is Green: Equity, Fair Trade, Health and Happiness

Filling out the big top 10 is the catalyst — both good and bad — in all of this: people. Each of us plays a role in the way the world works, and we each have the power to change it; that’s why we can’t underestimate the value in human equity, fair trade [] labor and overall health and happiness.

Here’s the challenge we face for a greener future when it comes to every human who inhabits this planet: “Some in the industrialized world live in relative poverty, while many in the developing world cannot meet their basic needs from what they produce or sell.” Wealth, resources and power are generally not equitably distributed throughout the planet, and, while this is a planetary problem, there are local solutions. The two (equity and fair trade) go hand in hand; with more of one, we can have more of the other. How can this happen? Ensure that your community’s (and not just your neighborhood, but your office, your family, your online community and wherever else you tend to leave your footprint) impact on other communities is positive. Promote equity and fair trading relationships to ensure that all of these communities have a beneficial impact on other communities both locally and globally. This means: supporting fair trade labor practices by buying Fair Trade-certified goods (often commodities like coffee and chocolate); not supporting those who are not equitable in their distribution of wealth (like many big corporations in the US, like Wal-Mart) and really considering what it must have taken to create your apparel and garments and other dry goods that require labor before arriving in your home.

At the risk of sounding a little out there, let’s consider the final piece of this green puzzle: health and happiness. Notions of what make us happy and healthy as individuals mean many different things; for some, it’s money and financial health; for others, it’s fulfilling work that insures more equity in the world. There is also a significant portion of this equation that can be tied to where we live; not only locale, like city vs. country, but location, like apartment vs. farm. Living in well-designed space and community is a big part of contributing to our general well-being, since we spend so much time in our homes and in our communities. The solution, according to One Planet, is a good one: “Promote healthy lifestyles and physical, mental & spiritual well-being through well-designed structures and community engagement measures, as well as by delivering on social and environmental targets.” Again, we’re all connected, and it all comes back to us.

Lastly, this will be the final entry here in the TreeHugger blog at the Sundance Channel website. It’s been a great year here, blogging about all things green, and we’ve really enjoyed it. TreeHugger will march on, as ever, endeavoring to bring sustainability further mainstream and reporting on the latest and greatest in green; we hope that if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen here, that you’ll visit us at TreeHugger and continue to learn about the green world. As we sign off, we’d like to repeat something from the very first entry, way back in March, “Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more of the best in green!”