Tag Archives: power

“Sweatshop” – Ready to see the (sad) story of your imported clothes?

I talk a lot about pollution, shipping and waste on this blog, as it is the reason why I am on a shop local mission! The health of this planet has such a big place in my heart, so for me, that’s the motivator.

However, I know many people around me relate and are more motivated by injustice, cruelty or by gaining insight into other people’s stories and their welfare. Many donate to save starving children or to better situations for people in need, while I would donate to an environmental organization. The world needs all of us.

That’s why I am sharing this link to a 12 minute episode today, (trailer below) which I first saw on the blog The Delicate Tension a couple of weeks ago. It scared me, but also made me feel like I am definitely on the right path. Long story short; three western youngsters who live to shop, go to Cambodia to experience first hand, the life of a sweatshop factory worker making about $100 a month, in order to understand where and how their clothes were made.

I feel like I am taking a stand against this kind of industry with how I shop. Are we at risk of putting garment workers out of work temporarily if we stop shopping? Probably. But how else do we show the big chains (who use sweatshops) that we don’t accept it? What do you think?

Maybe you have noticed that while this is a “not made in China challenge”, when it comes to clothes I try to buy 100% US made. This is because I consider all clothes to be luxury items; things I want but don’t NEED. (I think we all need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to what clothes we actually need). For me, buying a top from Bangladesh or Cambodia just because I think “it looks cute on me” is not ok per this challenge either, even if the tag per definition doesn’t say China; it’s just not worth the import. (Factory workers in USA don’t make great money either, but there are regulations here I do feel more comfortable with.)

I hope you feel inspired to look at your consumption after watching this clip, just in case my pollution propaganda ain’t working. I’m pretty tough, but this series made me tear up.

If you want to watch the whole series (there are five episodes and it’s worth the time), click here. If the link above for some reason doesn’t work, here’s another to that same video.

Thanks for reading.

Money is everything – it isn’t how you play the game

Friday fun at our house: Watching a marathon of awesome documentaries (Fed-up, Park Avenue, Pump) which lead me to think a lot about money this weekend.

Money is the single, most powerful tool in this world, and in this country. Money rules the Senate. Money rules the House of Representatives. Money rules the President (I bet he made a nice bonus last week announcing that he will allow drilling in the arctic). Whoever invests the most money gets their bills passed.

It so happens that some of the nastiest people in this country have billions of dollars. Like the Koch Brothers. They are in oil. And yes, they fight environmental regulations and, yes, they push their own agendas thru cover organizations, bills and by buying politicians (mostly Republicans!). They know that money means power and that lots of money means lots of power. So they use it for their own benefit, like pushing for bills that gives tax breaks to themselves and the investment bankers, because that’s the kind of stuff oil tycoons looove (“I love it bro’ ”. “OMG, me too”).

What consumers seem to forget is that collectively, we have power too. We have more power in our wallets than we can ever obtain by voting.

In order to make things better and shift the power, we have to play the same game they’re playing, where money is everything. Together we have the power to bring large corporations out of business (bye, bye Wal-Mart), and the power to help ethical, green, local businesses grow. That’s pretty cool, when you think about it! Right?

What you buy is your political stance and ultimately your “vote”. Don’t just sit back and say you can’t change things, because that is not true. Here are some examples.

  1. When you buy American made goods – your vote says that you don’t approve of sending work overseas.
  2. When you buy all natural bath, body and cleaning products – you’re telling the manufacturers that it’s unacceptable to add parabens, petrochemicals and other toxins to these products.
  3. When you buy organic produce – you help support organic farms and clearly stat that you won’t accept chemical pesticides and GMOs in the food that your family eats.
  4. When you buy local – you vote for strengthening your own community.
  5. When you say no to Coca-cola and Pepsi – you tell the marketplace that you don’t accept highly processed sugars being added to your drinks.

The list goes on (and on, and on).

If we already know that the political game is corrupted by wealth, isn’t it time we all started playing? We may not like the game, but we can still be the winning players.

Start using your power this week! Put that processed food back on the shelf and leave that made in China sweater on the rack.

Be the change.