Ethics Over Convenience



"I'm going to have this last banana," my mother said, grabbing the single banana on the counter. 

"The Iona Community has given up bananas for October as they consider the ethical issues surrounding their main supplier," I told her. "Including the fact they apparently hired a paramilitary security company to keep their crop secure."

She frowned at me, then she frowned at the banana.

"You can eat that one," I said. "You don't want to waste food."

Did I take all the fun out of her banana? Do people like me, like members of the Iona Community in Scotland, people who talk about the ethics of how our food is produced and where it comes from, do we take the fun -- and convenience -- and affordability -- out of food and eating? 

That's the problem. Long ago, we traded convenience and cheap food for doing -- and eating -- the right thing. We turn a blind eye to facts, to truth, because we want to eat our bananas, our oranges, our beef, our eggs, our dairy products. We want them cheap and we want them easy. 

(This goes for clothes and electronics as well. How much do you know about where and how that product is produced? We've known for years how damaging the clothing industry is -- from the conditions in the factories where the workers make the clothes to the garbage dumps full of our cast-off garments.) 

It's hard. Living ethically -- doing what is right for all people who produce food and work in food services -- is a challenge. I'm as guilty as anyone and everyone. I ate two bananas this week (after not having one for a year or so, for no reason other than I felt I was eating too many) before I saw this post on Facebook from the Iona Community. 

And their attempt to live and eat ethically is going to cost them -- it might cost them bananas all together, and it might cost more to provide the bananas. But won't they enjoy providing and eating bananas knowing the people who grew them and harvested them received a fair wage? That no one harassed or threatened or hurt? 

Whether it's food, clothing or the latest tech, convenience and cost wins out every time (the same as "jobs and the economy" do in an election). 

We know what the right thing to do is; we simply choose not to do it. 


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