Saturday, June 19, 2010
One of my life dreams is to be "green." Not "in the green," or Kermit green, or even what many people consider to be "green." My definition is a bit more personal than that... I long to be fair, organic, all-natural, ecological, tuned in to the environment, and socially aware of the world around me. To me, living a stewardly life is about much more than pinching pennies and recycling my cardboard boxes. In fact, my definition of a socially and environmentally conscious life probably has little to do with reality since it is so vast and loosely interpreted... When I hear an idea that resonates with me, I adopt it wholeheartedly. And yet there are many areas of my existence that are as of yet untouched by my fledgling desire to live beyond myself.
For example, our family refuses to buy anything but fair trade coffee. Our second son was born in Ethiopia and after seeing the poverty of that coffee-producing country we vowed we'd never buy "cheap" coffee again. And we haven't. However, after seeing the even more devastating poverty in Liberia, and realizing that the rubber tree farms in and around Monrovia produce rubber for American consumption on the broken backs of overworked women and children, I still bought myself a pair of cheap (rubber) sandals at the start of the summer. Guess where they were made? Bangladesh. Probably in a sweat shop run by women and children. Argh. It isn't easy being green.
I'm no saint, and I have much to learn (and even more to give up) in my ongoing quest to live a stewardly, green, organic, call it what you will life. But there are a few things I've discovered along the way, and I thought I would share them with you in case you also long for equality and global/environmental consciousness.
I'm a bargin bin shopper and there is nothing I love more than a great deal. However, what child had to work a sixteen hour day so that I could buy myself a $5 Old Navy t-shirt? I can't buy cheap clothes when I picture a starving child working the stitches. That's not to say that I don't sometimes turn off my brain and walk the aisles of my favorite stores anyway. But I'm trying... And I've found some great sites where I can buy fair trade clothing at a reasonable price.
Cute clothes and fair prices, especially if you shop the clearance site. When I have this little one and need some new (less roomy) clothes, I plan to do much of my shopping here.
Revive Fair Trade
An independent boutique that connects buyers with talented artisans from around the world. You can buy anything here--from great clothing for the whole family to shoes and home items.
For every pair of shoes you buy, Toms will give one pair of shoes to a child in need. How fantastic is that? As an added bonus, the shoes are funky and fun, and they've just introduced a wedge.
Believe it or not, though we used to buy our coffee online or in specialty stores, we've discovered that our local Wal-Mart carries fair trade coffee. I'm not a huge Wal-Mart fan, so it's a bit of a concession, but when we're in a pinch (i.e. out of coffee) I can buy their organic, fair trade without hating myself. However, buying direct is better and these are some of the sites I like.
We love this coffee, especially because it can be ordered in an Ethiopian roast. A local store also carries this brand, so we don't have to order it online.
The Fair Trade Coffee Company
We've never ordered from this company, but I like it that you can order flavored coffees and blends from quite literally all over the world. Definitely worth looking into.
No, we don't order our food online. But the Baart family is trying to buy local, fresh, and organic. Instead of purchasing store brand breads, we opt for loaves from the local bakery. A weekly farmer's market provides fresh veggies, and strawberry picking and sweet corn season are just around the corner! Unfortunately, we haven't quite convinced ourselves to swallow the expense of organic meat (hormone-free, free range beef and chickens are readily available but quite costly). But hey, baby steps, right?
Anyway, it's your turn! Are you concerned with global/environmental issues? Or not so much? Is there anything you do or don't do (or buy or don't buy) that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear of any websites, tips, or products you love...