4.07.2009

Am I Crazy?

Don't answer that. Well, at least not right away.

Yesterday, during lunch with my coworkers in the breakroom, the TV was tuned to a new channel- Planet Green. The show that was playing was poorly named, called Stuff Happens. I grew up with Bill Nye being the popular TV Science Guru, so to see him doing something similar was great. (To be honest, I preferred grandfatherly Mr Wizard to the more-exciting Bill Nye, but Mr Wizard was on at 6am on Nickelodeon, so Bill Nye was more accessible to the masses)

Anyway, the show was about the environmental impact of just normal stuff- food, clothes, transportation, etc. I was loving it. Someone on TV was saying what I have been trying to- it's worth thinking about where our stuff comes from! He even used the phrase "Vote with your wallet"! I was so excited about the premise!

My coworkers, however, weren't as excited. While it's a pretty common lunchtime activity to make fun of whatever is on TV, they were particularly rough on this show. "This show is all about killing our fun!" "Yeah right, like everyone could eat locally" "Well, maybe this could happen if everyone had their own plot of arable land" "Why should we care where our eggs come from?" "Is this sponsored by PETA?"

The whole time, I wanted to argue back, explain that we could eat locally and sustainably if we wanted to- and it doesn't take that much land. It does matter where our eggs come from. If we thought about this stuff, we'd be healthier and so would our environment. I didn't- I kept my mouth shut and listened to their objections.

One segment of the show was about cashmere goats- how their wool is so sought after that the mountains of China are being over-grazed to keep up with demand, turning the area into a desert with awful dust storms. The suggested substitution is the more sustainable alpaca wool. In my eyes, this was great information! Now I can make an informed choice about which really-nice sweater to choose, if it's something I'm looking to buy. To me, it's valid to think about my purchasing choices, taking the full impact of the product I'm supporting into account. I didn't realize that this was a crazy, out-there notion. Based on the reaction of my coworkers to the premise of this show, it is.

Do you think I'm crazy for caring? How much do you care about your purchases' impact?

2 pennies for thoughts:

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

Hooray for alpaca wool! I'll take alpaca over cashmere any day. :-)

I think the problem for me is once you start caring, then every single purchase - every single shopping trip - every single need because something you have to think about. It's so much easier to not think about it, and just buy what's on sale. Especially when you live in the city; perhaps it's not as daunting as it may appear but the thought of trying to buy locally makes me wonder if I'll ever get to eat anything! :-)



Joanna said...

For me, it's "baby steps" - I don't shop at WalMart, for example, because their low pay and sweatshop goods are so well known, but I haven't done all the extra research to find out if the same is true at Target or Meijer. I eat free-range beef at home, but don't hesitate to order a burger while I'm dining out. Baby steps. One thing at a time.



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