The coffee industry is one the most closely scrutinised industries in the world in regards to it's treatment of people and the environment. And this is a good thing, despite it often being over simplified. One of the most common questions I get while doing coffee tastings at farmers markets is about if the coffee is certified organic. If only it was that simple. Sometimes the coffee is, sometimes it isn't. But it's great that people care about how it's produced and we can open up a conversation about it.
I don't imagine the staff behind the counter at books stores get asked too often about if the paper the books are printed on is from sustainable sources. I've certainly never asked them, but it's a fair comparison and an example of how we cordon off certain types of commerce to be worthy of moral judgement, and ignore the rest.
I was recently heading to my favourite bookstore, Matilda Bookshop in Stirling, to find a Christmas present for my nephew. I'm a regular in the shop and have picked up many great books there. However down the alley is another bookstore, Chapter Two Books, and this time I thought I'd take a look inside. It's a secondhand bookshop, which for me conjures up images of tatty copies of Women's Weekly cookbooks and pulp fiction. But Chapter Two is nothing like that. I ended up getting a couple of vintage hardback children's story books, one of them nearly 70 years old.
Secondhand goods don't have the sparkle as new ones, but buying them is one of the best things we can do for the environment. It's also a good measure of quality - only well made goods last long enough to even be offered for sale a second time around.
There's a certain romance to products that have a history. I like it that children born during the second world war were drifting off to stories that can now have a second life through the imagination of my nephew.