Friday, 13 October 2006

(Impact?) Shopping for Africa

Trying to, in the words of Bono, "get people where they're at," he and Oprah have begun a campaign of consumption in the name of African AIDS prevention. As Bono said, "Shop 'till it stops"!

You can buy you red ipod today, along with tons of other booty that will raise money for The Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on the African continent.
Dozens of "(Product) Red" items will go on sale in the coming weeks by Gap Inc., Apple Computer Inc., Motorola Inc., Converse Inc. and Emporio Armani.
This is a more than worthy campaign, by two philanthropists I admire, but did anyone consider the irony of buying things that most people who this will benefit are not only too poor to own, but also impacts the world, most likely Africa, in negative social and enviornmental ways. How many African or Asian kids made these items in sweatshops? How much fuel went to shipping these things rather than to villages that have to clear out forests just to cook their food; or walk half a day to the hospital, giving up a day's wages, so they can get the treatment they need? 

I wonder what this means in the context of impact shopping. Any reflections?

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