Friday, November 14, 2014

Be Green Challenge, Blog #1: Tammy Hsu

When I first heard about the challenge, my initial thought was: no biggie, I can totally do it. I do not really need anything new anyway.

I actually do not like shopping. The only reason I ever go shopping is to get necessary items, such as food and school supplies. Even if I do go to a shopping mall, I prefer to window shop. For me, I find it more fun if I just look at the new items. I do not really have the urge to buy since I know I probably will not use the items if I do buy.

So instead of spending my Veterans Day on shopping, I spent my day off on homework and wardrobe. Since the weather is getting colder, I decided to get my winter clothes out. As I was taking them out, I was checking the tags on my clothes, which is something I had never done. I noticed that most of my clothes were made outside of the United States. Most of them were made somewhere in Asia, but there were some that were made non-Asian countries. As I was looking through them, I was surprised because I did not know that my wardrobe actually has clothes that were made in many different countries. I also felt that I fell under the general consumer category that is discussed in “Santa’s Sweatshop.” In the article, the authors talk about sweatshop workers’ struggles. They also talk about how consumers usually do not think about where their items come from, which is problematic because it contributes to sweatshop workers’ invisibility. Looking at myself, I realize that I also never think about sweatshop when I go out shopping. Certainly, I am aware of these issues, but there is a sense of detachment since I am not directly involved in the struggle. But after reading this article, I have to reflect on my own behavior and make sure that when I shop in the future, I have to remind myself that items in stores are usually products of underpaid labor who have no voice in society.

As a result, I decided to look up how to shop smartly. Most websites have the same advices as the ones listed in “Santa’s Sweatshop,” but there is a website that has a list of sweatshop-free places we can consider going. This link is pretty useful since it is specifically for the holiday season.

Holstein, Palmer, Ur-Rehman and Ito. “Santa’s Sweatshop: In a Global Economy, it’s Hard to Know Who Made Your Gift – and Under What Conditions.”
"Sweatshop Free Shopping Resource." Amnesty Inernational Creighton Chapter. Creighton University, 2014. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
Sweatshop Free. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., 31 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. 

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