Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blood Chocolate

No one in this world loves chocolate more than I do.  NO ONE.

I didn't give myself Type II diabetes out of my deep-seeded love for okra (which I hate).   Every time I take a breath, I secretly hope that somehow scientists have invented chocolate air.  Once, I thought they had, but it turned out to be something in complete contrast to what I had hoped.  I believe that at one point in my life I ate through half of the world's supply chain of cocoa because of my suffocating, unbridled love affair with the stuff.


Even the word itself tastes good!  When I hear the word chocolate, I think of love, goodness and of every foxy day of my life.  But, take a word like "spinach."  It is like green terror, fear and all things not stamped "Nestle" blasted into a leafy flatness that is completely despondent and tastes poorly like sadness.
Don't get me wrong.  I'm not pimpin' chocolate.  OK, maybe I am, just a little...
At one point, I wanted to build a house made completely of chocolate, fatally slathered in rich cocoa frosting and completely furnished with dark fudge furniture.

But, after weighing all of my options, I realized I would be homeless within two months.  I would have to choose between chocolate or shelter.  Obviously, shelter is optional...
There have been (sad times) in my life where I have thought about giving up chocolate, but then that would make me a quitter.  Maturity, though, has taught me one important lesson in life and that lesson is that quitters never win, unless you are playing the game, "Who Can Quit First."



Lately, though, I have felt bad about eating it.  Oh, how I wish I could believe or understand that!

But, it is true.  And it is not just because I can't fit into my jeans anymore, which I can't.  Studying history and world events a bit more early on probably would have saved me from being an exhaustive human chocolate vacuum completely unaware of the excess burden that I was placing on the world's cocoa industry.

Recently, I really have had some issues with supply chain practices that chocolate companies are using.

In our heads, we probably imagine a whimsical man dressed in purple-garb skipping through fields of dripping chocolate patting tiny people on their heads.

In reality, it is a bit more like this:
Child labor (slavery) bothers me a lot.  I'm not sure if it bothers me too much or not enough.  I know it bothers us all, but I feel this stabbing need to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.  I have never been good with solving things, which is why it is such a difficult conundrum.

I realize that I have metaphorically made a deal with the devil.  By the devil, I mean Hershey or Nestle or whoever is in the cocoa bean buying business.  By metaphorically, I mean, "Put down the bag of M&M's, Tracie!"

I look at myself in the mirror now and it is like looking directly into the sun...a really, really awkward sun.  How can I be proud of myself sitting over here in my blogging chair, feet propped up, snacking on snickers while some poor kid is carrying around a sack of cocoa beans weighing more than he does in 100 plus degree heat, barefooted and getting beaten every time he falls or slows down?

Wow. Something that makes me so happy makes someone else so sad.  Life is full of ironies that daily trample on the weak or poor, but being the astute mathematician that I am, I did the math.

It doesn't make me happy, anymore.  If something that I do makes someone else unhappy, it doesn't matter who it is or where they or at, then that is my cue for me to stop in my tracks and examine my actions and the consequences they have on others.

I have officially nominated myself for a new award and I am accepting it on behalf of myself.  I suppose I am behalfing it:
I can honestly say I deserve this one.

During my childhood I never won any significant awards, as I suppose I didn't deserve them.  I did, however, proudly win a handful of insignificant ones such as:

Apparently, the large chocolate manufacturers are aware of the child labor practices and continue to do business with these plantation owners. An awful lot of heads are being turned.
Well, here is where I come in.  I am not a head turner, well, I don't look away.  I suppose that I could over-expose them to my awesomeness and they will be solidly blinded into oblivion by my awesome rays and not have to turn their heads anymore on this blood bath of chocolate that they have created.
Or, I could pull out my secret Kung Fu skills, which by the way, are the stuff of legend. 


But, I think I will solve this issue with my usual style of grace, class and diplomacy.  

Mark my words, if I ever get out of my blogging chair, off of my sofa, or out of my bed before noon, I will be completely unstoppable! Until that time occurs, I hope that you take the time share this message and educate your friends or family, especially any choco-holics you may know and help put the pressure on the big companies to take more responsibilities for their supplies by not rewarding ruthless plantation owners with loaves of cash.  Be a part of the solution.  In the meantime, I am leaving you with this:

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43 comments:

  1. Very well said - and not necessarily something I had ever thought about! I like chocolate, though am not in any way dependent on it. But you've given me something to ponder the next time I grab a Hershey's Kiss!

    Please oh please don't tell me there are any child labor laws being broken when it comes to brewing beer!

    SD
    TheSimpleDude.com

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    1. If there are no child labor laws being broken, I am quite sure there are environmental ones somewhere being addressed. We just can't win SD!

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  2. As you know, I can't fit into my pants either.

    I am weird I guess in that I don't really like chocolate and don't have much of a sweet tooth. I can turn down chocolate no problem. But beer and fries? NEVER.

    But lately I've been craving chocolate all of a sudden and eating a twix every day. It started with Valentine's. This doesn't help my "fitting in my jeans someday" life plan either. But wtf? How do you suddenly start craving something you don't like? And no its not that time of month nor am I pregnant.

    I do love spinach. With lemon, or sauteed with garlic and pepper. Or baked with basta and parmesan. But who the hell likes chard?

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    1. I just bought 3 pairs of jeans before the holidays and now it is like squeezing myself into a vice!

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  3. I think this will help me stop with the sudden and random chocolate cravings anyway, so thanks!

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  4. It gets hard to stand up for these things. The precious gem industry, chocolate, many clothing manufacturers and almost anything you buy at Wal-Mart. What are we supposed to do?

    Most don't know how good they have it.

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  5. What about the 'endangered species' chocolate? It's supposed to be fair-trade, donates proceeds to yadda yadda, and tastes amazing...

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    1. There is not a lot of "fair-trade" chocolate and it's hard to tell what is without a magnifying glass...

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  6. I ate some chocolate not too long ago.

    Now I feel like some kind of confectionery Hitler :(

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    1. I actually do feel bad and am trying to go "cold turkey" on the stuff! But, it is part of my everyday food group...

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  7. This is a great piece of hilarious activism, Tracie!

    I will now girlcott choco's that arrive somewhere they do that. There are free trade ones, like coffee and diamonds, right?

    I would love a description of your Kung Fu moves. Those interest me.

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    1. I can't afford diamonds, so I am good there! My Kung Fu moves are amazing, but unfortunately I don't move like I used to:/

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    2. Well, I hope you can move on over to my blog, where I nominated you for the Liebster award. I guess I just like giving things to you. Too bad I don't have a spare million dollars laying around, ha!

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    3. Oh, my very first significant award! You are way too good to me and I can honestly say if you had a spare million dollars laying around...I would take that, too! Thank you for this, I appreciate it!

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  8. I hated chocolate for years... yes, I was a STRANGE child!

    I enjoy it quite comfortably now though! White chocolate and peppermint at Christmastime is divine...

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  9. I love chocolate, my fave being Lindt. I probably should check it out

    (did you know that the captchas are now double? Your blog but they are a bit annoying)

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  10. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-brownies/

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  11. yikes, this post made me very sad (and a little bit hungry). Now I will research which companies use safe and fair labor practices (with no child labor) and only buy those chocolates. I am already knowing that those will be the expensive ones, like Godiva and Ghiradelli. thanks for ruining my bank account, Tracie, but also improving my conscience. You are just a wealth of contrasts and contradictions.

    by the way (this part is serious), you should label this post with better tags that will pop up in a search engine. Here are some ones I suggest (the type of thing you would type into google to find out about this topic):

    child labor chocolate
    child labor exploitation chocolate
    fair labor laws chocolate

    You get the idea. That way, if people are looking for that info, your blog post will pop up since it is tagged as such.

    xxo
    MOV

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    1. Thanks, I made the changes! I was actually hoping someone would Google how amazing I am. No search results for that...very strange.

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  12. Great post - love how you blended humour in to a serious message. I had no idea that chocolate was one of the child labour issues. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Fair trade chocolate, friend! It's good for everyone: you get to enjoy the chocolate AND support a farmer's cooperative in the developing world. Just make sure that the bigger pants you have to buy weren't made in a sweatshop...

    You can buy cheaply, you can buy ethically and you can buy lots of stuff...but you can only do 2 at a time. Cheap and ethical? Sure. But you have to be choosy and minimalist. Ethical and lots of stuff? Sure. But you'd better have a padded bank account. Cheap and lots of stuff? NO PROBLEM! But all three...cheap, ethical, LOTS...highly, highly doubtful.

    It can be a struggle to be an ethical buyer, and the more you know about the global economy, the harder it is. And I am now officially writing an essay about consumerism on your humour blog. I apologize for that. And also...okra is a bad, bad thing. It's very high of my list of Things That Are Creepy.

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    1. Yes, thank you for the essay Stephanie! It's like a post withing a post...very stealth! I know, everything is tainted now with some type of labor or environmental issue. How to choose between all of the wrongs now is very difficult.

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  14. Humorous, yet very serious. I think you can pull anything off with your amazing writing style! Thank you for sharing this!

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  15. I like chocolate and buy the ethically sourced stuff. It does cost a little more so I can't buy so much but that's probably a good thing for my weight and health.

    I like spinach too - not okra though. Eeewyuck.

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  16. Yummy yummy. Believe it or not, I actually like spinach and don't like chocolate :0

    But I agree that people should buy fair trade, and I try to do so whenever I can!

    Great post!

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  17. Most excellent post. I tend to purchase fair trade chocolate, but is that even the same as child-labor-free chocolate? Now I have to get up off of my fat arse and research it. Or I could just eat the spinach.

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  18. I only wear bloodless diamonds, underwear made by certifiably happy Chinese factory workers and now you have inspired me to grow my own chocolate!

    Um, I live in Idaho though, so any tips on how to grow chocolate in arctic conditions (aka zone 4) would be much appreciated. :)

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  19. I'm not a big fan of chocolate, but well said. It's nice to see a serious subject addressed with humor!

    Thanks for coming by my blog. :)

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  20. I found you on Linky followers and am now following you! Please visit my page when you have a chance http://queenofsavings.com

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  21. I only like a little bit of chocolate. I hate brownies, but I like fudge. I don't how but I do.

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  22. A lovely piece of writing with a gr8 message too...I like it how you subtly brought in the subject of child labour into the piece and the message came across with being too preachy!!

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  23. I like your approach to dealing with a serious issue. But no need to stop chocolate altogether. There are plenty of companies that make a point of being fair trade.

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  24. Dang! Here I am loving chocolate, read this blog, now I feel all bad about it. LIke when we went to the circus a few years ago. Was pretty excited, a little nervous that there may be an episode of animals gone wild or something, but still excited and BAM the protestors ruin the whole thang. :) Dang!

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  25. what a cute blog!!! really put a smile on my face :))

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  26. I definitely should put my chocolate stash down and break out the spinach! It's horrible about all of the child labor. Thanks for finding me and I really enjoy your writing style! Julie

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  27. Beautiful art work. I lol'd at the becoming homeless after 2 months of living in a chocolate house, so true. :P

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  28. I enjoyed reading this blog. Maybe you will find a way to produce chocolate without child labor in the future and then eat it all then.

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  29. Again, genius. And thanks. Now I'm craving chocolate.

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  30. I didn't know ANY of this. How did I not know this? Well, that will certainly help me put down that chocolate. I'm going to do some research and only buy from companies who allow no child labor. (excellent move making me laugh and teaching me something at the same time. Very ninja.)

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