Saturday, November 18, 2006

local, organic, fair trade, ethical....consumer

I really appreciate all of you leaving comments and apologise for putting the moderation button on but I do receive an equal amount of unsavoury spam which has to be deleted.
I try the links on what appear to be bonefide comments only to find that they lead to other websites where I certainly would not wish any of you to go to! So please, even if you leave me an anonymous comment, rest assured that it is appreciated...I hope this blog will enable others to gain from the experience and information on downshifting that is available between us.
My inbox and mailbox are lighter, since I took myself from automated lists and I receive less paper in the house to recycle.
Information to get us to consume is everywhere and are also targeted at our vulnerable young children.
The good news is that the Uk will be banning food adverts with sugar etc to children before 9 pm which at least will mean that children no longer get brain washed as to which cereal they fancy when they go shopping. As adults we may be oblivious to these subliminal messages ( or at least we have more control over choices) but as a child whose brain is still developing, these messages are dangerous as they do not know the difference between reality and can take what is shown on TV as read. I cannot say that my children do not watch TV, but less of it now and when they were little and accompanied me to the shops, they would give me the exact words of the advert at aged 3 about which washing powder was the best to buy as well as cereals to buy. Just pays to be protective of their young immature brains. A lot goes on in them and if you can stop advert junkmail from blocking their neurons, you may have a bigger chance to get them to notice other things that may be more important, such as individual thoughts. As with junkmail comments in my inbox, even when they keep coming, some of the information is registered somewhere whether I like it or not, if as an adult I find these distracting then it has to be the same for any young child. We are not sheep, aimlessly following where the crowds take us or even where others want us to follow...we still have the ability to make individual responsible choices we can make and it pays to give our children the confidence to to do the same. It may be irritating when your teenage son wants to be different and is testing his own beliefs and values that create a conflict with yours. In the end analysis it also proves that he has the capacity to try and make up his own mind and form his own views of the world that surrounds him and how he wants to take his place in it.
I used to tell the children that they were adverts and the words had been put in their head and that they had a choice as to whether they thought it was a good product.....easy on washing powders, more difficult on other things but as they have got older they are aware that they have individual thoughts and can make individual choices. This also has fostered a sense of responsibility and follows through that when we choose to continue to buy a piece of clothing that is cheap and manufactured using child labour, that that is also a choice to enable that to continue. What value does it have?

As consumers we can make choices or choose not to consume which is also a choice. When we buy something, let it be something we need and let us make a responsible choice as to where it comes from, who made it.
This means the debate widens from organic, fair trade, local to ethical shopping on all fronts and that is a big change to tackle all at once. As with everything, each journey starts with a small step and each one of us can take a step in the right direction......if we choose to do so.


lizzie said...

You are SO right. We can all make better choices as they present themselves. I make granola several times a year and now buy the honey I use in it from a girl down the road who has a couple of hives on her small holding. She also sells lip balm she makes and I buy lots for Xmas presents. It is a bit more expensive but not that much when you take into consideration the cost of gas, wear and tear on the car to drive the five miles and back to the supermarket. She is a stay at home mom who home-schools her children (who are a real credit to her ) I would much rather my money went into her pocket than to some huge concern.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I like how you are listing the things that you are doing now and going to do in the future. It is really one step at a time. I know that I forget and try to do everything all at once and then I wear myself out. I linked to your blog because I want to hear more. Thanks for writing.