Be Green Challenge
When I first heard that this class required a whole month of self-constraint from shopping I was not sure if I could actually get through it. Since I do not shop very often I usually have to buy new items when an occasion arises.
I have been aware of the negative consequences from the production of cheap goods, especially clothing, from both personal relations and studying the topic. I know that the mass consumption of cheap goods has several negative effects but this did not stop me from feeling panicked before the challenge began. Although I am not an avid shopper, I feel pressured under restrictions and this prompted me to furiously online window-shop the day before I started the challenge.
During high school I became interested in globalization and have since read articles and watched documentaries on the subject. Documentaries such as Manufactured Landscapes and Maquilapolis: City of Factories depict the lives of factory workers, giving consumers a vivid peek into the exploitation of both the laborers and the environment. When thinking of exploitation, thoughts usually lean towards countries outside of the United States but this idea of exploitation happening elsewhere is not true, as supported by the film Made in L.A. Because of the exploitation of laborers, consumers must be aware of the purchases they make. Consumers have the power to change the way products are made because their dollars are their votes. This week’s reading, “Santa’s Sweatshop” emphasizes the fact that companies can lower the amount of exploitation by placing factories in countries with better labor standards and actually enforcing them. If consumers use their dollars wisely and voice their concerns for exploited workers, companies will make a change.
One method of becoming a greener consumer is to go thrift shopping; buying second hand means saving an item from the landfill while saving money. Thrift stores can be a gold mine for those who are dedicated enough to rummage through aisles of donated clothing, home goods, etc. Today I went with my friends who frequent thrift stores. Finding a great amount of clothing and knick-knacks made me realize how there are so many unnecessary items that are bought and tossed.
|Random Stuff Found at the Thrift Store|
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.”
Made in L.A. Dir. Almudena Carracedo. Independent Television Service, 2007. DVD.
Manufactured Landscapes. Dir. Jennifer Baichwal. Zeitgeist Films, 2006. DVD.
Maquilapolis: City of Factories. Dir. Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre. Independent Television Service, 2006. DVD.