The course that I took this semester, "Greening the Bible: An Ecological Reading of Scripture" has made me very aware that I want to have an Earth-Friendly lifestyle.* I've always been fairly conscious of the impact I have on the environment, but the main thing that I never paid attention to before is the way that I shop.
I have always been a clearance-queen. 30% off??? That's nothin'. I'm a 75-90% off kinda person. Well, since taking this class, I haven't been able to avoid thinking about what the profit margin looks like on something that is 75% off. And if the profit margin is low, then the person making the product (yes, in fact, a real live human being made your clothes) is receiving very low wages, right? Is it worth it to me to have a $5 pair of shoes if it means that somebody in China is making far less than $5 to make that pair of shoes? I mean, let's be real-- they're probably making cents on that $5, even before it went on clearance in the first place.
I could elaborate, and also talk about the pollution involved in the production of many of the products that I own, but for now, I'll leave it as a social justice issue about fair wages.
We may not be rich, but our money is power. The way we spend our money says something about what kind of world we want to have. From now on, I'm going to be much more intentional about what I spend my money on. I'm not gonna lie-- there will probably be an adorable skirt on sale at Target that I won't be able to pass up, and at our current income level, we're going to have to pick and choose a little, but as much as I can help it I'm switching to a second-hand, fair-trade, local-economy shopping style.
I want to get this book: The Better World Shopping Guide, which gives a grade to each company, taking into account their business practices, etc. Here is an example of the way the companies are rated, but in the book they are divided up into sub-categories that have more specific qualifications for the grades. Guys, I'm sorry, Oreos get an F.
I'm also going to purchase more of my products from Etsy, which is a community of independent artists, and my online August birthgroup, where a lot of the women are attempting to make enough money to stay at home with their little ones.
Most of all, I'm just going to try to purchase less. Evelyn honestly has enough clothes to wear until she's 18 months. Because I'm allowed to love dressing my little girl, I'm not going to stop buying for her entirely, but I am going to buy less and when I do, I'll buy second-hand or from an independent or local designer.
So, does anyone have advice? I need some.
* Not seeing the connection to religion or scripture? Check out The Green Bible. But, simply put, when we don't take care of God's creation-- the people in it, in addition to plants, animals, air, water, etc.-- we aren't taking care of God. Can you imagine someone treating your masterpiece the way we treat God's?
P.S. I've been really busy, so I'm sorry that I skipped Evelyn's 5 month update. She is growing beautifully and doing the stuff 5-month-olds do, such as sticking her hands in her dad's mac-and-cheese, sitting up on her own, and drooling a lot.