Hey, welcome back to Hayat Soulful. This is a second part of the blog posts on modern-day slavery. If you haven’t read it already, you can check out Slavery: Not In The Past to catch up on the existence of contemporary slavery, how it is caused and still active around the world today, and what is being done to stop it. I urge you to not be a bystander-reader, but rather take this information as a reality of the world we live in and find a way you can make small differences towards ending slavery.
There are about 46 million slaves around the globe today, which is the largest number we’ve ever had in history, however we can choose to free these people and communities completely within ONE GENERATION if we work together as individuals and call for collective action.
In the previous blog post, I explained the 4-step community based model to effectively fight slavery from an organizational platform. However, in this post I will give tips that you, the individual, can incorporate right now into your lifestyle. These are actions that I have personally made in the recent months and therefore, I can pledge that they are totally practical.
Tip # 1: Find out how you are contributing to the problem
Take the My Slavery Footprint Survey to discover where you stand in the problem of modern-day slavery. Without knowing how you are actively a part of the problem, you cannot possibly know how and what decisions you need to make in order to be part of the solution. Makes sense?
When taking the survey, be sure to fine tune your answers so that you can have accurate and concise results. Once you take the survey, share your result… if not in the comment section of this blog then do it within your own networks of family and friends (and urge them to take the survey and share their results too). If we become overpowered by our shame, then we cannot spread awareness on this issue (that is already a hidden matter) and open dialogue on the realities of contemporary slavery. So please, do share what you discover.
When I originally took the survey in May 2017, I found that my slavery footprint was 61 but after making the following changes in my lifestyle, the number went down to 28.
What did I do in a couple of months that changed the number of slaves involved in my life? Keep reading the tips to find out.
Tip # 2: Make conscious decisions on what you are buying
So, you must have heard about the Fair Trade and Organic “trend”. Before judging the people who support these labels of being trendy or hipster, try to find out the facts behind these products. Why Fair Trade? Because it certifies that what you are about to buy is ethically sourced. Meaning, the labour that went behind in producing the product was treated under ethical working conditions and everyone in the supply chain was paid fairly. There is no forced labour, child labour, or anything related to slavery under Fair Trade.
Certified Organic products also ensure that the working conditions of organic farmers and everyone else in the supply chain were also treated/paid fairly. Not to mention that these products are also made with efforts to save the environment.
It’s important to be a conscious consumer and not blindly give in to the gratification of the capitalist market. You can read more about this in an older blog post found here.
Tip # 3: Break the illusion that you need commodities by making your own everyday products at home
Yes, you can Do-It-Yourself. One of the biggest changes I’ve made in my lifestyle has been to make my own homemade products with ingredients that are much safer than the toxic ones found in market brands. I started making my own lotions, shampoo, all-purpose creams, hair masks, household cleaning items, and more!
Of course, you can find these types of everyday items under Fair Trade, but I found that mixing my options of buying and DIY-ing was more economically efficient. Fair Trade and natural brands can be more expensive, but this ensures that the money you spend on them is actually being given back to the employees and supply chain.
Some of the benefits to making your own items at home are:
- Safer ingredients: there are so many chemically-harsh ingredients (i.e. SLS) in personal care items! You can research more about it, or stay tuned for a future blog post, but the beauty of making your own is that you can use natural ingredients that you actually know of and are safer for your body and general health.
- You are in control of each and every ingredient and how it is sourced. Some products may say that they include organic items, however, the rest of the ingredients involved may not be organic or natural at all.
- It’s far more cheaper to make your own personal care items at home than to purchase outside – almost a fraction of the cost! Try it out and do the math yourself.
- When you make your own items, you realize that you’ve been playing into a marketing scheme possibly your whole life – you don’t need so much variety of products. With such few and holistic ingredients, you can go a long way with their purposes. For instance, we use face wash because body wash is too harsh for the sensitive skin on our face – but why is body wash so harsh in the first place? Just use an all-purpose wash with natural ingredients that is safe for your entire body!
Tip # 4: Research your favourite brands and company policies on their sustainability models
More and more companies are now being compelled to share their policies with consumers since the recent call for action worldwide, i.e. the California Transparency Act. The industry is naturally shifting towards transparency and sustainability because consumers are demanding to know more, making it very easy for us to find their policies available online and to filter the companies that are sourcing their products and materials ethically.
Tip # 5: Push other companies to do the same
The companies that have not signed on to any transparency act yet can be pushed by you to do so. As a consumer, you always have a voice! Use it.
You can sign petitions to push some of your favourite brands to join the (sustainable) industrial revolution. You can also sign the petition with 50 for Freedom Campaign to get more countries to agree with the International Labor Organization’s protocol on ending forced labour.
Tip # 6: Be in the know-how
Don’t go back to being comfortable in the dark again. Now that you know the facts of contemporary slavery and are making small – but impactful – changes in your lifestyle to support the abolition movement, don’t go back to ignorance (even though it may seem “blissful”). Stay informed about current events surrounding modern-day slavery. Stay in the loop.
Almost every thing has the hands of slaves in it’s manufacturing process and we cannot escape from all of it, as much as we want to BUT these efforts in living an ethically-sourced life can reduce the number of slaves that are playing a day-to-day role in our lives SUBSTANTIALLY. Do not take it lightly, friends. Research shows that slavery is actually not needed in our current world economy but we still use it as a system because it has been built that way for centuries. The economy can in fact function just as well without it, so we must do our part to make that happen.
Peace & Love ♥