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How Indigenous cultures preserve sustainability and fair trade practices

How Indigenous cultures preserve sustainability and fair trade practices

Industry today

Rapid consumption has deteriorated the environment´s sustainable cycles because enterprises are obligated to produce in mass in order to fulfill the product’s demand and to be on the vanguard of the world trends; not even to speak of the unfair conditions that many workers have to undergo in the factories of the industry. 

The United Nations has declared that the fashion industry is the second most pollutant in the World above manufacturing, energy, transportation, and food. A study made by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), reveals data indicating that "being fashionable" has a very high environmental impact and the cost of it is much more expensive than the price we pay for it.

Paradigm shifts

To slow down the speed of the deterioration process and achieve sustainable development and equilibrium, according to the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations, it is urgent to reduce the ecological footprint by changing the methods of production and consumption of goods and resources.

Fortunately, there are other ways to make products with an ecological and natural conscience in order to preserve the environment and the cultural practices in the territories. Fairtrade practices, for example, promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. 

3 ways indigenous communities preserve the environment through sustainability:

1. Their traditional agricultural practices are resilient to climate change

2. They safeguard and restore forests and natural resources

3. They manage over 25 percent of the world’s land surface and support about 80% of the world´s biodiversity.

In this sense, ancient cultures are on the vanguard of preserving the World’s future and environmental conservation. 

A Hopeful future

Indigenous peoples are an important part of any structure, and contribute to building territories with environmental sustainability; in fact, they are the guardians of nature and our ecosystem. 

Indigenous cultures have a value of conservation in the environment in which they live, so they are interested in creating ethically-made and fair trade crafts with no chemicals and processes that can harm the ecosystem. This means a conscious use of cultivated natural fibers and resources. 

For example, for the Eperaara Siapidaara in Guapi, Cauca, Colombia, basketry transforms daily objects into ancestral, traditional ones. One of the most popular is the "canasto 4 tetas", a handwoven basket that requires no other equipment but the material itself. It is one of the earliest crafts to develop in primitive societies. Colombian basketry today comprises a variety of techniques and designs, which are the result of strong, well-developed traditions that have endured and evolved to incorporate new shapes and forms compatible with contemporary needs. (Source: Artefactos: Colombian crafts from the Andes to the Amazon). 

Preserving artisanal products through fair trade structures and negotiations include an initiative to create commercial channels, in which the relationship between each part is aimed to achieve sustainable supply development. This type of commerce is oriented towards integral development, with economic, social and environmental sustainability, respecting idiosyncrasies, cultures, traditions and human rights.

Fairtrade and sustainable practices incorporate a mixture of methodologies and parameters that seek greater equity in international trade, as well as transparency standards. The avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance is the gift indigenous communities continue to offer. 

 



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