Sunday, August 17, 2008

Going Green Update - Clothes

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

I'm not a clothes-hound. Anybody that's met me can attest to that. But occasionally, I need to get some new clothes (or at least new to me). Recently, we've decided that, as much as we are able, any new clothes purchases we make should be organic, comprised of recycled materials, or used.

Trying to disregard the fact that a mall is an ugly symbol of consumerism, we decided to go to our closest one because several major retailers are starting to carry some organic lines. Bought a few t-shirts at Macy's and a woven organic shirt at JCPenny's for work. We even found a few cute shirts for Alex:

Being a little activist already at age 7, they were fitting.

Despite the growing "green" movement, organic clothes are still pretty hard to find. And when you ask the help at any of these places, responses will range from:

  • "What's organic?"

  • to

  • Rolling of eyes and the implied, "Here we go, some freaky liberals trying to save the planet."

  • to

  • "Yes, we do have organics. We can't keep them in stock because so many people are asking for them."

As time goes on, hopefully the last response will be more common. Even end of days religious freaks and "slash and burn" conservatives see dollar signs. If enough people express a desire to buy something, retailers will ignore that fact at their own peril.

I've really been researching shoe brands trying to find ones that use recycled materials. We saw these at the Birkenstock store (big shocker) but I'm not quite ready to fork over $120 for shoes yet. I've seen a few online that I think I'd like for half that price, but I'm a bit reluctant to buy something that I wear without having seen it.

Honestly, no big company (or anybody else, for that matter) really cares what the hell I wear or where I shop. The world doesn't stop spinning because dbackdad in the big AZ decides to not shop somewhere. But it matters to me. By the choices we make each day, we are approving or disapproving of the practices of those companies. When you shop at Wal-Mart, you are saying that it's OK to treat your employees like crap and to tell them who to vote for.

But we live somewhere that we can choose an alternative. Some don't always have the luxury of choice. My folks live in a smaller town and shop Wal-Mart regularly. They have a fixed income and Wal-Mart is one of their only low-cost alternatives. I tell them we don't shop there but I don't try to preach to them that they can't.

And not all big companies are the same. You can choose the lesser of evils (Wal-Mart vs. Costco).

It's not about cutting yourself off from civilization, eating nuts and berries, and selling all your earthly possessions. It's just about thinking about what you are buying. What went into making what you buy? How far did it have to travel to get to you? Is there a local or organic alternative? If you can afford to, choose that alternative. Recycle and buy recycled items.

"Your descendants shall gather your fruits." -- Virgil

1 comment:

Pharaoh Bonehoffer said...

I managed to get my hands on an organic t-shirt in Marks & Spencers.

It has 'I <3 my planet' written on it.
I'm thinking of writing 'But I hate everyone on it' on the back XD