Your shopping list
When you make a shopping list for yourself or peruse Amazon for items, do you give thought to how much you’ll spend on those items, where the items are made, what they are made of, and whose life may have been effected in the process? If not, perhaps you should. For starters, it’ll help narrow your seemingly endless choices for the one product you are shopping for and even more importantly, positively impact the world – yes, you and the world are synonymous. It benefits all of us to work in harmony with the natural world and all of its inhabitants. While this is a very large topic that I have no intention of exploring to the depths or breadth that it deserves, I think providing you some thought sparks will be a great place to start.
The Environmental Working Group
For years I have relied on the research of the Environmental Working Group to provide me with readily available information I need to know when buying everything from produce, cleaning products, to personal care products. With a motto of “Know your environment. Protect your health” you can be assured that they have both you and the environment in mind when they conduct their research. If you’ve never heard of the EWG and all their amazing work and free resources, please check them out at www.ewg.org. They provide you with easily accessible lists and ratings for personal care products (see their skin deep database) and even have their own Health Living App you can install on your phone, making it convenient to scan products while you are shopping to see if it’s been researched and what score it has been given from 0 – 10. A score of 0 is the best and a score of 10 is the worst. I have learned so much from the EWG and I really encourage you to be a more informed consumer as well.
Next up – clothing, jewelry, and other such items. This is one area that I know I have more to learn, but what I do know has definitely opened my eyes of variables to consider in my purchasing options. There is so much waste and terrible unethical practices in the clothing industry. Fast fashion is just about as scary as it sounds. Do we need our fashion to be fast? What is the cost of making something cheap and fast? Somebody, some place, is paying the price. More than likely the workers of the factory are being exploited and are paying with their own health and well-being. Companies such as ABLE are challenging the culture of the fashion industry. One way they are doing this is by publishing the wages of their employees for all the public to see. Find out more about why they have taken on this important task and what it means for the women that make their products: https://www.livefashionable.com/pages/publishyourwages. ABLE takes pride in the working conditions of the women that make their products, empowering them to be able to provide well for themselves and their families.
Have you heard of fair trade or wondered what the big deal is since there are more and more options popping up that refer to this? Here is a definition of fair trade:
Fair trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. It advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards.
Essentially, what is good for you, is good for me. We are all better off if we consider the source of our food, clothing, and household items. Where we put our money is what we are voting for more of in this world. Each time you make a purchase, you vote. The more of us that vote for publishing wages of factory workers by purchasing items from those companies and then sharing that with others via social media, word of mouth, or a blog post 😉 the more other companies will take notice of where we are spending our money and what is important to us. We have seen this happen with nutritional labels on packaged foods, which has made all of us better informed consumers of what we are purchasing and what nutrition we can expect from that product. For sure we may still purchase items that we shouldn’t, based on the nutritional content, but it’s our choice. Prior to the nutritional labels, we just didn’t know. Ignorance really is not bliss in the long run and especially when we are talking about our health.
The Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect is a term that originated out of weather prediction which purports that a small ostensibly insignificant action, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, on one continent can have a dramatic effect on the weather on a completely separate continent. For more on this and its origin in chaos theory, visit www.wisegeek.com. My purpose of bringing this theory up here is as a metaphor for a seemingly small choice that you make where you are has a drastic effect on someone else’s life on the other side of the state, country, or even world. We really have no idea how far our actions reach, but rest assured they are definitely beyond our sight. Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” It is my intention that this post is a reminder to you of just that. Be mindful of what you are voting for when you make your purchases and how you are helping shape the world around you.