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Fires and Fair Trade

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A personal account from Black Saturday

The recent bushfires in NSW, South Australia and Victoria has caused devastation to individuals, families, communities, wildlife and business. As the media move out and others continue to get on with their everyday lives, the real work begins. The shock, the rebuilding, the bureaucracy and the healing.

The road to recovery is long, arduous and exhausting. I know.

I am writing this on the commemoration of the Black Saturday fires. On the 7th of February 2009 wildfire ravaged my community, taking 27 people in its path from our small town. My partner and I drove out through spot fires and embers with a few photo albums and our dog, Rosie. We would never return to the life we knew.

The fires that day were unprecedented. We were the victims of climate change then. Sadly, nothing has changed.

Three years after Black Saturday I began my own small business. I wanted to create an online retail store, but did not want to endorse mass-production, sweatshop labour or the exploitation of workers. I certainly did not want to endorse any practices that were contributing to climate change. Enter Fair Trade. After researching Fair Trade principles, I was relieved to find another way to do business. The people and planet way.

We don’t have to wait for others to act on climate change. There are things we can do as consumers to make a difference. Vote with your wallet; buy fair trade, support local business and find ethical alternatives to products you need.

I’m sharing my story in the hope that it will get people thinking about the impact of their choices. Inevitably change will come from the people. My heart goes out to all those impacted by the recent fires. Wishing you all a positive community-led recovery.

By Kate Fawcett

Administrator and Communications Officer

The Fair Trade Association

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