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February 19, 2007

A look in the mirror

In the comments section on a couple of older topics on this blog, we have been discussing environmental issues and how we can personally make a difference. This is really exciting to me because i think that it is really easy to make simple changes in your everyday life that reflect your true convictions and make this world a better place. We have all heard optimists call America "the land of opportunity" and in this area, they are right. We all make a range of choices every day that impact the world around us, and in making those choices, we have a range of options with different impacts.

In order to make a positive change, I think that it is important to recognize our current negative impacts. It can be easy to point the finger at other "less developed" countries and say that they are doing terrible things to the environment or to their workers, but in many cases, we are directly connected to those events.

Polluting factories in China and India are producing cheap clothes and toys that are sold primarily... in America.

People are clear-cutting the rainforest in brazil to raise beef that is sold in American Fast Food Restaurants. McDonalds buys this beef because they save $0.05 per burger if they buy it from South America where there are looser environmental regulations.

So when we shift the blame to other countries who are doing damage to the environment, we HAVE to recognize our part in fueling this. Every time you buy something, you are adding to the market statistics that demand certain products and services. The American market demands cheap stuff. When you buy clothes at Walmart you are supporting the practices of Chinese factories (very often terrible environmental and humanitarian standards). When you buy a Burger from McDonalds, you are supporting deforestation in Brazil.

If you want to make a difference, back up your beliefs with your actions.

Personally, I have decided not to eat fast food because I will not support their environmental practices (fast food is really bad for you anyhow). I haven't eaten fast food in a couple of years. I used to LOVE the way it tastes, and it sure is convenient and cheap, but it just isn't worth it to me.

Also, I don't buy clothes at Walmart or other big chains like that. This was an environmental and humanitarian decision. Again, they are really cheap and sometimes really cool, but just not worth it to me.

You have to change your habits a little bit, but it really isn't hard to back your beliefs with action. It isn't expensive either. When people say it is, that is a myth spawned out of laziness and unwillingness to change. I don't spend any more money on food or clothes now that I buy mostly organic and fair trade. Some things are a little bit more expensive, but still worth it. I buy wind energy for my home. True, it is a little bit more money, but it really isn't very much, and it gives me such a great feeling to be supporting my convictions in this way.

If you want to make some changes, I really encourage you to try. I would be more than happy to point you in the direction of some more earth friendly choices if you want.

P.S. I don't want to come across as self righteous or pompous. I am really excited about some of the changes and decisions I have made over the past few years and I have been really surprised about how easy and rewarding some of these changes have been. am really excited to tell people about them. Also I know that I have a long way to go to live entirely the way I want to. One step at a time.

Posted by collin on February 19, 2007 11:53 AM


I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
(Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change)
(Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na,
Na Nah)

Posted by: Anonymous on February 19, 2007 10:24 PM

Collin, I just want to let you know that you are one of the people of conviction who inspires me to do more everyday than just write off the environmentalist cause and the human rights cause as just so much overwhelming activism. You actually live according to your convictions, that's pretty rare and frankly refreshing. I do strive to make better decisions, especially now that my decisions directly impact my daughter. It can become very overwhelming to live for all of the people on the planet that our actions impact (though I agree with the point that our actions do have impact). I take a simpler approach because it's the only way I can actually change my behavior. If I try to live with a global conscience, I usually get overwhelmed and burnt out. When I live to make the world a better place for Zoe, however, I find myself making the same decisions I would with a global conscience, but I am driven by passion and love for one person. That's just my personal strategy.
Thanks again, Collin, for being transparent with your life and your beliefs. You are inspirational.

Posted by: Susan on February 20, 2007 11:11 AM

Wow, thanks for the kind words Susan. I think that it is awesome that Zoe inspires a global conscience. That brings to mind the overused but still great quote:

"We have not inherited this planet from our forefathers. We are borrowing it from our children."

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on February 20, 2007 11:30 AM

i only buy unfair trade coffee b/c i like it when big companies stick it to the little guy

Posted by: jaysonjaz on February 20, 2007 01:27 PM

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