Activist Mommy











Spending moneyI read a great post this mrning called Are You Falling for Green Consumerism? over at Green SAHM and it reminded me of a rant I had started and saved. So I pulled it out from the drafts and polished it up a bit.

I was on the phone with a friend and she bagan telling me about her latest purchase. Swept up by the environmental movement she dropped a nice chunk of money on several new shirts, pants, skirts, and a jacket. “They’re made from organic material!” she chirped, clearly excited. But she already had a closet full of clothes, really nice clothes. More clothes than most people have owned in their entire lifetime. I asked what she did with her old clothes. “Oh, you know. Some I dropped off at the charity shop. I sold some on Ebay. And the rest I put in a couple boxes out in the garage.” My head was spinning. Here was all of this perfectly good clothing, sitting in boxes in the garage, just collecting dust so that my fashion conscience friend could add the word “organic” to her label.

Shopping green with no concern for how much you’re consuming is the easy way out. It’s an improvement, but a small one when compared to what you could achieve if you are ready to make the sacrifices and try to really make a difference.

Why waste so much money, and the materials used to make the new clothes, when her previous wardrope was perfectly fine? Most of it had hardly been worn. Some of it still had the price tags on them, a fact she mentioned casually later when she told me how much she managed to make on Ebay. Perhaps I’m uber-frugal, but wouldn’t it have been more eco-friendly to have not bought anything new in the first place? It would have at least saved the resources spent making, shipping, and packaging the new clothes.

While I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy more eco-friendly products, buying them just for the sake of buying them is kind of pointless. No matter how many pounds of fair-trade coffee you buy if you’re not a coffee drink it is still wasteful. Green consumerism is still just consumerism, only wrapped in a different package. There is a great post called Buying Our Way to a Cleaner World that is definitely worth a read. One of the goals of living more eco-friendly should not be to buy more green labels stuff, but to buy less stuff over all and just make the things you do buy are greener choices.


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{July 11, 2007}   Nestle = BAD!!!

boycott NestleMy post yesterday on water bottles lead to a great comemnt and a link to a post of 13 news stories worth checking out. Scroll down to #8, a great piece on Nestle yet again making money at the expense of others.

Many people don’t know that there is a boycott on Nestle and their products going on. One that has been in effect since 1977. The reasons for boycotting Nestle make a pretty long list. Check out What’s Wrong With Nestlé? to see for yourself. Irresponsible marketing, exploiting employees, supporting brutal / repressive regimes , and abusing animals are a few of the ways Nestle gets its kicks. Doing a full boycott of Nestle can be difficult for some, especially since they own everything under the sun. As the company grows and grows one almost has to stop going to the store at all in order to avoid the stretch of Nestle. In the future the world will be owned by Nestle and sold by Wal-Mart. *shudders*

 If you want to know more you can check out the Boycott Nestle blog, which has an interesting post up right now about the Boycott Nestle week and mothers in the Philippines being misled into think that processed formula is better than their own milk. Much in the same way women here in the US were told the same lies. There is a great post here about the according to the World Health Organization, some 16,000 Filipino children die as a result of “inappropriate feeding practices” every year.


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The Star had a great article on Friday called Toymakers are missing the green revolution that I absolutely loved. It really hit an important point that many parents seem to be missing. Toys, our modern toys that parents buy today are ecological nightmares. Tons of packaging on plastic toys made and shipped from half way across the world that break in a week are overflowing out of our trashcans. Those cheap plastic pieces of junk shoved inside ever kid’s Happy Meal or stuffed into goody bags at birthday parties are quickly broken or forgotten about. And then what happens to them?

We teach them to flick off the lights when they leave the room. They’ve mastered the habit of turning off the tap while brushing their teeth. And they’re fluent in matters of separating the garbage, litterless lunches and eco-footprints.

But open the toy box, hit the birthday party circuit or stroll down the aisles of the nearest Toys R Us and the whole notion of raising greener kids seems to disappear in a cloud of noxious gas.

My sons have one set of grandparents who fall more into the books and clothes as gifts range. Unfortunately, my mother thinks that more is always better. And this includes toys. Until I finally put my foot down and got rude our house was overflowing with junk toys every day. I was bagging them up to drop off at the thrift shop at least once a month. It was disgusting to think about, and even worse to actually see.

Now we are a bit pickier on our toys. We have a nice set of finger puppets that we play with often. Wooden blocks, wooden puzzles, a wooden toolbox with play tools. My mother even bought us last year a handmade and hand painted wooden trainset from a local crafter. It was pricey, $70, but oh so worth it. It even came in a beautiful handmade wooden box for storing. Buying handcrafted, nonplastic toys from local people is high on our radar of gifts. We also make sure the toys are sturdy ones that will last though multiple kids, and ones that won’t be tossed aside when the next fad comes along. Tranformers will go the way of the Ninja Turtle, but trains are here to stay.

We also look for good toys second hand. A few months ago I managed to find a box full of metal cars circa 1970. that my sons have fallen madly in love with. They have a huge outdoor play house with slide that I found at a garage sale for less than a quarter of the cost new. Buying them toys second hand means there is no new packaging made, and it doesn’t take anymore gas to get to me than what I use driving to the thrift shop. Rather than perfectly good toys taking up space in landfills, we give them a second life with us.


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I, unfortunately, live in a pretty small area. One where shopping choices are not very plentiful, and the few we have have been forced to raise their prices through the roof to make ends meet. Why? Because we have a super Wal-Mart. The huge, open all-night shopping meca complete with a fresh deli, bakery, food court, nail and hair salon, arcade, and photo center. Almost everyone you know works there or has at one time or another. The pay stinks, the hours are terrible, and the chance for promotion is virtually nonexistant. Yet that does not stop people from crowding into the store at all hours of the day and night to shop, shop, shop.

I read this blog post yesterday, The big bite of Wal-Mart, and felt a little more queasy than I normally do at the mention of Wal-Mart. She mentions that one of the reason that Wal-Mart stands to gain is that they can afford to chas paychecks for $3, rather than the larger percentage that some other businesses charge. They will also be offering a reloadable Wal-Mart Visa card that you can put your precious paycheck into.

“Wal-Mart MoneyCenters will assist customers who are outside mainstream banking with convenient, nationwide access to low-cost money services, including check cashing, money orders, bill payment and money transfers.” – “Wal-Mart Rapidly Expands Access to Low-Cost Money Services For Millions of Customers Nationwide,” Wal-Mart Facts, June 20, 2007.

Of course we should all know by now that you can’t get anything for free, or for a seemingly low price. So besides offering this great new service which will no doubt make them lots of money (I mean, who is going to Wal-Mart just to cash their check when you could get all your shopping done at the same time?) and offering these snazzy new reloadable Visa cards, what else does Wal-amrt have up its sleeve? Oh, you mean the hidden fees. You know, suddenly $3 seems a lot bigger.

The WalmartWatch blog has a great selection of posts with more about this in their Friday Blog Round-Up. But there is a little more than just new banking plans posted there. According to the news Wal-Mart is all about screwing people, but only if they are the opposite gender. Apparently after a bit of arm twisting (likely, none at all) from the Conservative Right Wal-Mart has pulled out what little GLTB support they were offering. They stopped donations to support groups though it seems that Wal-Mart is so huge that even some gay activists can’t turn their backs.


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The number one rule of marketing anything is that sex sells. Cars, clothing, even burgers make commericals featuring hard bodies and suggestive images. People pay more attention to the heavily sexual images being broadcasted than the actualy message they are trying to sell.  

Imogen Bailey PETAIt is something PETA has taken advantage of themselves to help sell their message. Celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Alyssa Milano, Joss Stone, Bonnie-Jill Laflin, and Imogen Bailey are just a few of the beautiful women that have posed for PETA’s campains. As more Celebrities shun meat, get kudos from PETA we see more and more of the ads that that seem to sell PETA by flashing some skin and giving a wink and a nudge to the viewers. Sure “Nobody Likes an Eight-Second Ride“, but can sex and animal rights really be combined?

Tim Mcilrath Peta2On the other side male rock stars seem to be talking the PETA pledge without needing to take off their clothes. Mars Volta, the Flaming Lips, The Darkness, Black Eyed Peas, The Used, and others are using their names to generate support for PETA. Their more rockin’ site, PETA2, even gives the chance to win Warped Tour tickets this summer. For some (like myself) the men of the Warped Tour are sexy in so many ways.

But what about PETA is so damn sexy? Or are they just playing off the sex appeal of the celebrities bring to the cause? In my opinion, which really doesn’t mean much, PETA gets to play the sex appeal card because A) smart is sexy, and B) more intelligent people are going vegetarian. Sally at Living Without Meat posted something a while ago that stuck with me. I Think Therefore I Am Vegetarian. Where she shared studies showing a correlation of children with higher IQs are more likely to become vegetarians as adults. See that, smart=vegetarian. And smart=sexy. So perhaps sexy=vegetarian. Maybe more conservation organizations should be following PETA’s lead and finding some hard bodies to tell us why saving the planet is a good thing. Or maybe I just want to see good looking eco-celebrities like Brad Pitt on my TV telling me why I need to use solar pannels in his boxer shorts. That could be a very good thing.


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