Friday, June 21, 2013

Shopping for Good

Do you ever find yourself in a transition? A place where you know you are growing and changing? A place of learning and awareness? I am in that place. Some days I feel like a cartoon character with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. A place where the decision to do good is not easy or convenient. But the feeling when I actually choose the good, now that is amazing.

Have you ever thought about the footprint your dollars leave on the world? It is easy to tell ourselves that buying cheap and convenient stuff is good. We save money. We get more stuff. How is that a bad thing?

The ripple effect caused by all that cheap stuff is where we are choosing the devil on our shoulder. We keep telling ourselves we are doing nothing wrong. Ignorance is bliss. But, The Story of Stuff tells us something different. If you have 20 extra minutes, you should watch this.

I am certainly no saint when it comes to shopping. I LOVE a bargain. It is thrilling to shop and get a lot of stuff for a little amount of money. Score! Right? I am sorry to say, but often it is really, really wrong. Our dollar is creating injustice in the world. Our desire for abundant cheap stuff creates a demand for cheap labor and resources. That demand for resources opens the door for corporations to rape the lands rich in valuable resources but lacking in stable and responsible governments.

High demand for cheap labor creates a market for slavery. People of all genders and ages are forced to work for very little or nothing at all. The prettier label is human trafficking, but that is just a fancy way of saying slaves. And the reality is that there is a disparity in the volume of women and children forced into slavery. Our first world entitlement completely disregards third world suffering.

So how can we change? Simple awareness, refusing to be ignorant, that is the start. Buy fair trade items. Refusing to buy coffee that is not fair trade is the easiest place to start. This is probably the easiest item to find in the marketplace.

Here are a few other items I have bought recently that are fair trade.

Good & Fair Clothing Company's hipster panties. These panties are seriously comfortable and great quality. They come in blue, black and pink. I have the blue and black and wear each pair at least twice a week. 

Global Goods Partners offers Bracelets for Change. Each bracelets is $10 and helps "a Guatemalan woman to split the cost of providing clean water, healthy food, and a safe home for her and her family."

Photo courtesy  

I purchased the dark blue bracelet to wear as part of a summer Bible study I am participating in. As part of the study we are supposed to wear blue bracelets throughout the summer. I love this bracelet. It is fashionable and sturdy. Plus it is for good.

Finally, my favorite place to buy stuff is Sevenly. Sevenly gives $7 of every purchase to charity. Each week Sevenly selects a different charity and creates products that tie into the charity's theme. Plus the best part is that Sevenly sells only fair trade clothing. 

I have a few shirts from Sevenly and they are great quality and super cute. I also have this print hanging in over our master bathroom's tub. This helps me remember my privilege.

These are just a few options for shopping responsibly. With just a little effort you too can choose not to participate in the slave trade. If we all make a pledge to honor what is right, I have hope that we can make the world a better place. Shop for good. The reward is wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. I really do love this post. So so true on so many levels. But you hit the nail on the head with noting that our first world entitlement completely disregards third world suffering. We are all on the same planet and our decisions and actions do leave a ripple effect. We clearly need to get together soon. Miss you dear friend.