Brandon and I subscribe to a Relevant Magazine which offers thoughts on “God, Life, and Progressive Culture”. The cover story of the issue that is going to hit stands tomorrow is one of the best magazine articles I have read in a long time. The article really challenges the reader to think twice about what they are buying, where their money is going, and what statement their purchases make. I know it isn’t really popular to talk like this, but I have never been one for popularity (just ask my mom what fifth grade was like for me!). I am hoping that once the issue hits stands they will have the story online so you can read it too, but for now let me give a brief recap and then I’ll give you a few more pictures to reward you for listening to my unpopular soapbox :o)
Let me start with a confession. I rarely pause to think about where my food came from before eating it. I rarely wonder who stitched together the jeans I am wearing or what effect my money has on the world once I exchange it for whatever the latest purchase was. However, the fact is that all of that stuff didn’t just magically appear on the store shelf (or hanger). My money doesn’t just remain in the cash register or the bank. Multiple people were involved in getting my goods to the store, and once my money leaves my hands it is going to be used for something else.
Who are these people involved and what is that something else that my money will be used for? Were my bananas picked by people earning a fair wage or were they picked by humans who are barely making enough to live and feed their families? When I go for that “value” purchase, what is the true value of it? Do I save a few bucks and sacrifice a life? Or do I buy the fair trade coffee because what I value is other people being able to make a living wage? Or do I just not think about any of this as I look through my closet trying to figure which of my multiple pairs of pants I want to wear that day? I’ll admit that ignorance really is blissful when it means having to look at this grotesque can of worms opened up by questioning what you consume!
This is such a complicated issue, and I am by no means trying to start a boycott or make folks feel guilty. I just hope that we will be thoughtful as we go through our daily activities realising that there are real people with real lives out there who make it possible for us to have our groceries, clothes, or whatever else it is we are purchasing.
I hope to think through this with you and will continue to post more thoughts on this over the coming weeks (especially with Christmas and the big spending season coming upon us!) I know that one thing I will be thinking a lot more about is all the fabric I purchase…where does that come from? (Hint: I have no clue!)
And now, as promised, I would like to share a few things you can feel good about purchasing (they’re handmade, so you can know where the items are coming from!)
Sweet violet and sassafras soap from SoapStore.
vintage dress from Sweetangible (also try your local thrift/consignment shop!)
Limited Edition Print from Oladesign
I would love to hear your thoughts and questions on this as well.