I was pondering consumerism in the shower today after returning from a trip to the store. According to NewCommunityProject.Org, the richest 20% of the world earns 86% of world’s income, consume 80% of the world’s resources, create 83% of the world’s waste. This January 30th, after the thrill of the holidays has passed, those fuzzy socks that your co-worker gave you and the Christmas neck-tie your brother sent you, will go strait into the garbage (see below).
Ok, now that my rant is over… I can tell you my ideas about what we can do to help this insane problem.
1. Buy Local. Walmart does not do much to stop this problem of waste. Take a stroll through the isles and look at the amount of products sold… there is no way every single one of those items are purchased. Where do they go? See picture above. By purchasing locally, you are not only helping your local economy, but also ensuring that the products were not made in mass quantities by hands that were underpaid.
2. Purchase Fair Trade. From the food you put on the table for Christmas dinner, to the coffee you send your uncle for a present, to the scarf you bought your sister… Fair Trade applies. When you purchase products with the symbol shown below, you are ensuring that the wonderful people who made your product were paid fairly, and were treated as a human being while they put their hearts into creating the product.
3. Do your research. Did you know that companies like Apple use minerals in their electronics which are perpetuating a conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo? “The main part of minerals used to produce cell phones are coming from the mines in the Eastern DR Congo. The Western World is buying these so-called conflict minerals and thereby finances a civil war that, according to human rights organisations, has been the bloodiest conflict since World War II: During the last 15 years the conflict has cost the lives of more than 5 million people and 300,000 women have been raped. The war will continue as long as armed groups can finance their warfare by selling minerals.” -Synopsis of International Documentary- Blood In Your Mobile. Please take a second to think about the necessity for the purchase of your 4th Iphone.
4. Think Outside the Chain. There are countless programs across the United States that are helping people in third world countries by providing them with a source of income while giving them a sense of pride for creating a product of their own. I recently found a program in my town called, the UCount Campaign, where the women and girls who were rescued from the sex slave trade make products that are sold online and in a church in Fort Collins, and receive funding from their sales. Wouldn’t it feel so much better purchasing a gift that will provide someone with hope, faith, strength, as well as shelter and nourishment, than to buy all your gifts from a chain like Walmart?
5. TOMS! I am a huge TOMS fan. This company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need, for every pair of shoes purchased; one for one. The name of the company is derived from the word Tomorrow, symbolizing hope for a glorious future for the people who receive the shoes.
6. “Adopt” a child. No, I don’t mean bring home a child from the orphanage, I mean sponsor a child in need. The company through which my family sponsors a child is called Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. This is just one of the many programs that places children in need across the world with a family who can help them. You can help children have a meal each day and attend school. Our sponsor child, Reyna, who lives in Guatemala, is the first in her family to attend college. We are so proud that we have helped change her life. What a wonderful Christmas present you could give to yourself and to the world, versus spending that $100 on your 116th pair of shoes.
It warms my heart knowing that my never ending need to purchase, purchase, purchase could actually be helping someone else in this world instead of harming them. Who’s with me!? Let’s change this world.