My son wanted a new baseball glove last week so off we went to try and find one. We went to the evil empire, Walmart. No luck. Then we went to Canadian Tire and did find one that he liked. Here’s the thing; not one glove we looked at was made in North America.
Now I am sure that these gloves are well made but I am becoming increasingly concerned about the conditions they are being made in. Are the workers being paid a fair wage? Is the leather being cultivated in an ethical way? And so on.
It seems to be almost impossible to find ANYTHING made in Canada or the United States anymore. And that is a real shame. My parents have an old electric knife that is still in use for carving the turkey. Made in Canada!
And what about the clothes we wear. The United States imported about 17 billion dollars worth of t-shirts last year alone! And most of these shirts are produced in sweat shops where the workers are child laborers. Not cool.
I actually want to spend my money on quality items that will last. I want to buy goods that are made here in Canada or if need be the United States. I want to know that the goods were produced in an ethical manner.
And what about all the computers, laptops, smartphones, and music devices that use rare earth metals. Companies are raping the environment to find these rare elements. From what I read Apple is one of the worst offenders, but I am sure all companies are bad.
Hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius are in the same category. We are led to believe that buying a hybrid makes us a better person but I suspect that the materials used in making this car make it LESS friendly to the environment than a regular vehicle. Not that any car is good for the environment.
How do I shop for ethically produced goods?
I need to realize that a t-shirt will cost more than 5.00$, a dress needs to cost more than $20 for it to be made under safe and sustainable conditions. Low prices are the result of discrete policy decisions undertaken over the last decades by the U.S. government and the W.T.O. to favor outsourcing to countries that lack environmental protections and basic labor laws. A $20 dress represents both a tremendous waste of resources and the mistreatment of garment workers, who are overwhelmingly young women.
I need to go the smaller specialty shops and ask where and how the goods are made.
I need to check the labels to see if the say Fair Trade, Sweatshop Free, or Organic.
I can search out ethical companies online.
These are just a few of the things that can be done to help make more ethical choices when purchasing goods. Now of course my minimalist lifestyle says that I am not going to be out shopping but if I do I want to spend my money wisely and in an ethical fashion.
So I am sure some of you feel the same way about how you spend your money. Maybe you know of some great resources for ethical shopping. If you do please share your tips with us.
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