“The Earth is not dying, it is being killed,
and those who are killing it have names and addresses”
- Utah Phillips
Today's TLBG topic is Morsebags. Have you heard of them? I did, 2 years ago when they were featured in Sewing World. I made a few and gave some away. I have since made lots of other types of shopping bags, and I have given some away as presents, and I know lots of you have too, and continue to do so. I can't really add much to what's already been said about this campaign by Rachel over at TLGB, or by Morsbags themselves on their website which makes tragic reading .... but I can ask the question - what of the things we use our bags for? We may have ethical bags, but what about our shopping?
How can we shop ethically and where do we draw the line?
We all live within the boundaries of our own ethics, whatever they may be, and becoming an ethical consumer is a gradual process. It is also different for everyone and whilst the accepted definition of ethical purchasing is: “buying things that are made ethically by companies that act ethically”, the concept of “ethical” is a subjective term, both for companies and consumers. In its truest form it means “without harm to or exploitation of humans, animals or the environment”. In practical every day life for example, this could mean that it is ethical both to choose a meat free lifestyle or to only eat locally produced organic meat, or to buy your petrol from BP instead of Esso, etc. etc., Finding your own ethical limits is the first step. Sticking to them is the difficult part.
I don’t believe we should spend excessive amounts of time compiling lists of who makes what, and therefore what to avoid. As I have said before, this is a lifestyle based upon choice, not denial – look at all the things you CAN have instead of the few things you can’t have. Look elsewhere. Do some research. What are the alternatives? Who are the companies who pride themselves on their quality and their ethics? And who are the ones who are covering up? There are many small companies who make goods of a much higher quality and for not much more money than anything you can purchase from a supermarket shelf or a high street store. Organic Box Schemes, farm shops, markets and health food stores are ways of shopping for groceries which avoid the weekly horror of the supermarket – and although these options may at first glance look more expensive, consider how many things you buy at the supermarket that you don’t need when “double bonus points” or “buy one get one free” offers make certain goods irresistible. It's all about quality not quantity (I've said it before and i'll say it every time!). Ethical shopping can save money and finding ethical products can turn into quite a fun challenge, made even easier by the internet, with many goods and services being available directly from the manufacturer. You will soon find just as much choice – if not more – than before. One of my biggest bugbears in life is when I hear someone saying "I can't afford to shop ethically - it's too expensive" when they have 3 cars on the drive, and/or enjoy 2 holidays a year... Choice... it's all about choice.