If you're anything like me you have heard countless speeches about
the evils of our consumer culture and the toll it takes on the rest of
the world, but short of "don't buy things" the practical application is
pretty sparse. Obviously, "don't buy things" is pretty unrealistic as
most of us do not have the desire or the resources to head out to Pike
County and live off the land.
However, one of the most useful
pieces of advice I have received recently is to follow some of the
products I use back to their roots---who harvests the sugar in my Coke?
Who picks the tomatoes on my Burger King sandwich? Who dyes the fabric
in my Target clothes (ouch)? Where does the produce in my grocery
store come from? What are the conditions in which these people work? I
have discovered the answers generally make my heart hurt.
I checked in on the ReadyMade blog today and saw an interesting post
on "Shop-dropping" (essentially shoplifting transposed). A couple
of artists designed fake labels to place on products in the grocery store
to educate consumers about the real people behind their products. To
be clear, I'm not advocating that you do this (I don't think I can. Is
it legal?). I don't know that I'm ready to recruit for anything called
an "urban guerrilla movement" (yet...that may change. stay tuned), but
I think the sentiment is worth thinking about. How many things would I
refuse to buy if I knew the price being paid to bring them to me? Here
is the "What can I do?" resource on the peopleproducst123
website that has some helpful ideas to at least get started in the
process of becoming a more informed consumer. I thought I would share
it with you all.
"It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -Mother Teresa