For the Better Good: On Becoming Environmentally and EthicallyResponsible

August 16, 2014
I feel so disconnected with the world. It's easy not to think about where your clothing and other items that you use on a daily basis come from, or how they are made when you feel a disconnect with the world. It wasn't until I read an article called "Green Dreams" in the December 2012 issue of Vogue that I really started to seriously think about what I wear and what I use in my house. The article is about Livia Firth -- Colin Firth's wife -- and discusses how she's trying to create more "environmentally friendly and ethical working practices in the clothing industry" through the Green Carpet Challenge and "changing attitudes and practices within companies."

What really captured my attention in the article is where she talks about something called "fast fashion", and how "[w]omen are lead to believe that it's their right to buy a T-shirt for $5." She goes on to say "Do those women know who made that T-shirt?...[Y]ou don't want to wear that T-shirt after you've seen factories with no windows, no fire exits, people crammed in...They get one bathroom break a day. It's slave conditions."

And that's what got me. I don't want to be that woman wearing a $5 T-shirt made by someone that gets one bathroom break a day. My bladder would explode in those kind of conditions...and that's where the disconnect comes in. I had to decide if I was going to keep buying a $5 T-shirt simply because I could, or because I didn't want to think about who made it...or I didn't care. I went online to do some research on brands and which ones are environmentally friendly and made in an ethical way, but it was really difficult to find out until I discovered a website called Good Guide.

 My findings at a local shop that sells items that are environmentally and socially responsible.

Good Guide was founded by Dara O'Rourke in 2007. She is a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California at Berkeley. According to their website, the purpose of Good Guide is "to provide authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies." It has shown me companies outside the fashion houses mentioned in the pages of Vogue that are environmentally and ethically responsible that fit within my budget. Of course, I'm continually doing research to find other businesses as well, but Good Guide was a good starting point. It made me realise that companies I thought were environmentally friendly really aren't as friendly as I thought, and I've taken that into account during recent purchases.

I'm not here to preach, but to let you know that I'm starting small and that I really want to be more aware of where the items that I purchase for myself and my family are actually coming from -- and who is making them. I no longer want to be a slave to companies that make their employees work in slave conditions. I want to become more connected with the world. 

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