My quest to simplify my life and lower my energy needs, while mostly gratifying, also means examining my beliefs and actions in ways that are not always comfortable.
I must confess that some of my recent purchases have resulted in much internal debate and bargaining.
Simply because, recent acquisitions arrived in boxes marked, “Made in China” – all while my speech and written word cries, “Buy Local!”
Can you spell H-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?
Don’t get me wrong, I do not have anything against the Chinese or their desire to enter into the global capitalist market –
As for China – The Government, well, all I can say is I’ve never met or read about a single government that I fully endorse without some or many reservations – they all have their weak-spots and blindness…
Converting to a lifestyle that combines conscientious consumerism, ecologically sound practices and locally available products is not always a picnic. There are some things that I just refuse to give up, either out of (weakly) justified needs or wanton desires.
The $2 St. Paddy’s day t-shirts at Wal-mart that will last me for 3-4 years of gardening and home improvement projects, are my most recent sin. The child-unit isn’t outgrowing and staining shirts as bad as he used too and coupled with my weight gain, I was down to one ‘working’ shirt that looked more like a rag for drying the dog with.
These seemed like the best solution for my budget – (when did the thrift stores get so proud of stained t-shirts?)
I realize my pretty, new and favorite color (green) shirts emblazoned with quotes I can really relate to
“Hard Work pays off in the Future – Luck Pays Off Now”
were probably made by souls who are “lucky” to work hard to make a future $1 a week – I consoled myself with,
“Hey, they are already made, and I never buy them until they have been marked down so low, hopefully the retailer decides they aren’t worth stocking. And I only purchase these once every three years or so.”
Wal-mart also has Gummy bears, which simultaneously violate health, nutrition and shop local beliefs – for all I know, they may violate worker’s rights and aide corporate corruption, too.
But they satisfy my sweet tooth so well and I only buy two bags of them a month… Does the fact that I make my own bread from sprouted wheat cover this indiscretion?
I’m aware of what is said about supporting Wal-mart, as well – I’m still on the fence about exactly how evil they really are… Don’t they give jobs, even if underpaid and part-time, to aging workers no one else wants to hire?
See? I can find trade-offs just about anywhere.
I frequently engage in the “trade you this for that” game to make my wants okay – ‘Well, I do this and this, so this little thing doesn’t matter as much, right?”
For instance – My vaping supplies (frivolous, not needed, non-local), since quitting smoking (aided in my health goals), now average to around $14 per month – which goes from me, to the wholesaler (USA) who in turn buys them from the manufacturer in China.
My supplier lives in and pays taxes in the USA. Does that and my health gains from quitting smoking make up for the shipping of non-USA made goods?
I also remind myself that my beef, pork and wheat for the year, combined, travel less than 100 miles from producer to me. Between the ranchers, farmers and butchers, I am contributing nearly 1/2 of my annual grocery budget to 4 local businesses – does that make up for what little I buy made by miserable workers in foreign countries and hauled to me across thousands of oil-consumption miles?
I have not ever invested in any company that engages in modern-day colonialism – which is made politically correct by dubbing it, “Foreign market expansion” and buying into the “You’ve gotta go global if you’re going to survive!” school of thought.
I do contribute what I can to those who live in my own country and are doing their best to make their own backyard productive and neat.
The examined life is not always the peace-filled walk in the park gurus make it out to be. I find it to be a constant balancing act between what I say I believe and what I do in real life.
Sort of like the local minister who preaches about the evils of gossip on Sunday morn and participates in the round-table critiquing of every soul in town every afternoon at the local coffee shop – –
Or the guy with a “Peace, Love, Balance” bumper sticker on his Mercedes, screaming at the poor girl manning the McDonald’s drive through window when his special order wasn’t ready in 2.5 seconds…
I’ve tried to be less sanctimonious in my thoughts about these folks, when I realize my “Shop Local!” spiel doesn’t sound near as convincing when the local mail delivery folks see my various Amazon stamped boxes arriving every 3 months or so.
I share all this with you, because this morning, I added a new category, “Sustainability” to appropriately mark those products and projects I engage in during my journey of self-improvement.
In keeping with the goals I set when I began this blog, (Tell the truth – even if it makes you look bad) I had to do some soul-work this morning, which is concluded with this disclaimer:
Properly titled, this category should read,
“Slow and sometimes resistant transition from Global Dependency to Local Resiliency and Sustainability” –
But that seemed too long – So I’d like to trade you a ‘warts and all’ posts section for a less-than-accurate Category Title…