Have you ever wanted to change the world? I know an ‘apprentice world-changer’ who is taking positive steps to do just that.
After creating an award winning film about shopping responsibly, Susan Wardell recruited her friends to put the philosophy into practice. They opened an ethical boutique, The Cuckoo’s Nest, to sell Fair-trade and up-cycled clothes, jewellery and shoes.
In creating The Cuckoo’s Nest, Susan and her friend Annika sought to provide a shopping outlet in which everything is sourced from ethically sound providers.
The shop is guided by the principal that every dollar spent is effectively a vote not only for the item purchased but also for the business practises that drive the production of that item. Much of what is for sale in our shops is made of materials requiring environmentally damaging processes to prepare, assembled in factories where people are treated as the human equivalent of battery hens, for companies with the sole objective of maximizing short-term profits. In general, retail outlets are similarly driven by the profit motive.
In a democracy we accept that a single vote may change little but once thousands or millions of votes are counted the destiny of a nation can be changed.
Economics works the same way (despite the fancy theories) — my one dollar, or even $100 dollars, will make very little difference in the world. But count up the billions of dollars spent on consumer products and you have powerful influence over unethical practises.
At The Cuckoo’s Nest, Annika and Susan are multiplying the effect of individuals making wise, ethical shopping decisions. They actively support fair trade co-operatives in Ghana (Global Mamas), Nepal, Thailand, and Pakistan, along with local artists who add value by up-cycling materials in their creations. They also stock Etiko Fair Trade shoes, the only outlet the South Island.
The shop covers it’s costs but is not operated to generate profits. In fact, knowing the amount of work invested in its creation, no profit-driven person would have bothered! To me this adds to the appeal of what they sell; when buying from this shop you know your money is paying for the real cost of getting the product to you, not lining some fat cat’s pocket.
I am inspired by these apprentice world-changers who take Micah 6:8 very seriously. They have taken their own talents, recruited those of their friends and made a mechanism to amplify the talents and hard work of the most needy in order to bring justice into trade. This is the sort of thing that happens when the fire of Christ burns passionately in the hearts of His disciples.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ESV)