Day 122 / 365

Part of becoming more mindful about the way we live is being grateful for what we have. In the creation of this #GoneGreen2016 series and during the #EwcZeroWaste challenge I've become more aware of the things I do and products I use, but I often forget to give thanks to what I consider to be 'givens'; turning on the tap, the heating, the stove, and flushing the toilet, amongst other things. I'm guilty of taking for granted all of it and more, when in fact, they're gifts which would make the life I so often complain about (for stupendously stupid reasons) much more difficult, and at points dangerous, to live without. 

My friend Vincente (author of some amazing books which you'll find HERE) wrote a guestpost for me at the beginning of this series about an experience he had during an internship at the French NGO, ADIE (Association pour le Developpement de l'Indépendance Économique). He visited a refugee family who had welcomed him with warmth and generosity, to the abandoned structure they were living in which was crumbling, had no heating, and had floors covered in nails and rust. Knowing this place was unsafe for children under certian standards, Vinny asked as olitely as he could: "I'm sorry to ask and I really hope you don't feel offended by my question, but, how can you live here? Are you happy? The building's conditions? You're whole family is here". What the gentleman responded in a way that forever changed Vincente's perspective, and when I heard the story, mine too. He said: " Here we have water. We have water in the house. Not only water, but water *that is safe to drink. Where I come from, we have to walk for an hour with a bucket to get to the closest well, and then pray it isn't dry, infected or what have you... I tell people back home I have running water *in my house*, and they think I'm rich..."

Such a simple and logical statement, which for us privileged children of the first world, is hard to comprehend or relate to.

Though those of us in 'the West' are aware that people live with less, we've become so distracted (myself included) we don't necessarily realize how many people there are, nor how simple most these problems are to fix with the right efforts and intentions. Today, 663 million people worldwide live without clean water to consume. For most, it is a multi-kilometer trek numerous times a day to collect water which is, for the most part, contaminated by human and animal waste, causing illnesses and sometimes death. 

It is one of the most basic human needs, yet it is so often hard for these communities to find the funds without support. Numi Organic Tea, a brand I'm quite proudly an ambassador for, produces premium organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade Certified teas with some of the communities affected by lack of safe water. Part of their philanthropic activity (a genuine part of the company's circular story), is working on rectifying this situation, starting with the communities which farm their ingredients. They recently raised $90,000 from generous contributions from their supply chain, retail partners, employees, tea-loving consumers, and other donors, to build wells for the farmers who supply them turmeric root, a key ingredient in their Turmeric Teas and Turmeric Golden Latte mixes. These farmers and their families live along the banks of the Rianila, in Madagascar where a contaminated river was the community's only source of drinking water. 

“Ensuring the health, well-being and prosperity of our farming communities has always been core to Numi’s philosophy. With Together for H2OPE we are putting that ethos into action,” said Ahmed Rahim, Numi’s CEO and co-founder, "with these new wells right outside their homes, each family—and their children’s children—has access to clean water for the first time."
With H2OPE for Madagascar completed and implemented in less than a year, now the Numi Foundation is moving forward with their second H2OPE initiative focused in the Northern Assam region of India where Numi’s most popular black teas are cultivated. There are over 6,000 people living on India’s largest tea community there, and currently, every one of them is drinking water contaminated with E.coli and lead. To ensure the effectiveness of their efforts, Numi is working with farmers, local NGOs including Women’s Earth Alliance, and the Assam management team to change their current reality and make a difference. Not just for a year or two, but for generations to come. 

Numi Organic Tea is a perfect example of a company which consciously creates a cradle-to-cradle story that not only encompasses products which consider the Earth but also includes ethical treatment of their workers. What really moves me about this company is they go beyond that, investing, like they do with H2OPE, Action Oakland, and their other social initiatives in the communities which have in turn invested their time and future in them. 

Numi Foundation’s mission is to nurture and empower thriving communities. They envision a world where all basic human needs are met and people have the resources to fulfil their greatest potential. By purchasing from brands like Numi, you're directly supporting their farmers as well, which from investing in fair trade certifications like Numi has done has allowed them to go from earning $10 a month (producing for non-fairtrade brands like Tetley, PG Tips, Liptons, Scottish Blend, Twinings, Tea Pigs, Good Earth ... the list literally goes on for ages) to $260 for brands like Numi

Actions speak louder than words they say, and from what I can see, have experienced and learned, working with Numi and their positive endeavours are actively being the change I wish to see. Making them an exemplary business, run by exemplary humans, producing exemplary tea. 

Please Note: I work with Numi Tea's on a (paid) freelance (paid) basis to write two - three posts per month on subjects of my choice - either their blog or my own. I've chosen to do this as my second post related to them one on my blog as I was moved by their H2OPE actions and the change they're choosing to be. As with all my posts, all my opinions are my own and story direction is of my choosing. You can read other posts I've done for them on their blog, HERE