Feb 8, 2014

savior or consumer? is that the choice?

I appreciate that this video makes fun of stereotypes and, as they call it, the 'gringo cliche' of white savior solidarity. I'm not a fan though of being a good consumer as the other option.  It still has plenty of savior dynamics.  For more on "shopping to save lives" see Roberta Hawkins' work.

The particular certification plugged in this video, the rainforest frog, is widely critiqued as a form of greenwashing.  The standards for the certification are low - and only 30% of the product in the can has to meet even those! Their response is that getting big multinationals to be even 30% (sort-of) fair and green is a step forward.  But it may actually be a step back, as many are now buying 'frog' certified instead of truly fair trade certified. 

And what happened to the street protests shown in the beginning of the film? Or even online actions? All of the money spent to develop this video and they don't even ask you to send a quick click email? Not only might the frog be cutting in to more truly ethical consumption, but the way this video is pitched, it makes me wonder how much ethical consumption cuts into more direct solidarity actions people might take.

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