Author of stories for children, Scientist and Philosopher organic cotton products, comments on life, the universe and everything, photography. Conservationist, Environmentalist. Lives on the pale blue dot. Humanity must tread more lightly on the world
I first posted this on the 3rd of January 2021. Our attitude in 1st world countries to consuming goods that are produced unsustainably by exploited 3rd world labour causing great damage to the environment continues.
3rd January 2021
Western, first world countries rely on cheap and often exploited labour to fill the shops and increasingly so the internet with cheaply made throw away rubbish. Perhaps no more so than in the fast fashion industry which is always so shocked at finding exploitation in its supply chains. Shops turn over at quite a rate either for a new brand or a refit and this is where they also exploit the environment. Here we see one shop being refitted for a brand and at the end of it the wood and whatever materials are covering it will be placed into landfill or burnt causing more pollution. If workers were not being exploited and there was an actual true value put on the resources used for this “cheap” hoarding this sort of waste and wanton destruction of the environment for the business as usual model of capitalist growth would not be possible. Make 2021 the year when you shop and consume less. Our political leaders want us to consume more but we must stop if we want to have some sort of sustainable and equitable future.
I blogged this back in December 2020. The situation hasn’t changed as Western shops and internet outlets are full of third world labour exploitation used in the products being sold, especially clothes. Perhaps something that you bought as a present is part of the problem. Did you check?
I posted this just over a year ago and we are still making lots of unnecessary waste because we want a more convenient lifestyle.
20th December 2020
Everything we do is a loading on the environment. Every coffee bush is sitting in a monoculture where once there was a diverse ecosystem. Further to that there’s a huge amount of human exploitation in the growing of the coffee while certain large corporations employee some very clever people to make sure they don’t pay much tax, if any, on their huge sales. There’s a big disconnect between what well known brands make in profits and the wages earned by the coffee pickers. If you really do need to use a machine then make sure that your capsules are being recycled rather than ending in land fill as capsules add an extra dimension to the environmental loading of coffee. If you don’t need a machine then just use a kettle and a simple cafetière like this one from Bodum.
I posted this just over a year ago. As we are, depending on where you are in the world, either enjoying Christmas Day or waiting for it to happen spare a thought for those people involved in bringing that cup of tea to you and for those not able to enjoy this day for various reasons.
17th December 2020
I noticed on this particular teabag for some reason this message. I don’t know how many different messages there are on the teabags in the box but this one for some reason caught my eye. We don’t normally use teabags preferring loose tea but we were visiting a relation. The message got me thinking because for most of the time we ignore such marketing and in this case it might have had the opposite effect to what the advertiser sought. One might think how wonderful that someone has hand picked leaves for this and the other teabags in the heavily and unnecessarily plastic wrapped box, but that’s another story. So I asked myself what sort of lifestyle did the person who picked the leaves for my teabag actually have? How many hours did the work and in what conditions and how much did they get paid? Did they have clean drinking water and proper sanitation? Did they eat a varied diet and have a proper roof over their head? Was their life in any way as easy as mine where as a first world citizen I can buy teabags without thinking of the cost to my bank account or the costs in terms of properly paid human labour and loading on the environment. Think about the things that you take for granted and try to learn about the reality of the people and places behind them.
I posted this just over a year ago before last Christmas. It’s time, way over time, that we took responsibility for our individual lifestyle and what and how much we consume. We all need to see the bigger picture.
16th December 2020
First world economies work on exploiting third world workers and their environment because otherwise scenes like this would not occur. If workers were paid a similar minimum working wage in value terms to first world workers then world trade would have to slow down. We would have to repair, reuse and recycle what we consume and not just dump it outside a closed charity shop for others to scavenge over. Our first world economies have no values for the destruction of the environment they cause nor of the pollution that they leave behind in far away lands. These places are remote from the bright glossy marketing of these goods in their consumerist palaces of shopping both on the street and on the internet. Time to change our ways and start paying the real price.
A post from early 2020 and definitely still relevant as we hear of low paid garment workers being paid less money because of a slow down in orders for 1st world brands so that they can’t feed their kids properly. Let’s also not forget the recent finding of the dumping of used 1st world brands all over the pristine Atacama desert. The joy of vacuous fashion.
I wear clothes until they wear out and often when they have holes in. Many of the T-shirts, because I invariably wear T-shirts now that I no longer work in an office, have stains under the arms through use. Can you imagine what the fashionista police would say about that? The influencers and influenced will be going OMG and possibly swooning at the thought. For me it’s not about what you wear but about what’s in your head and in your heart. As for brands well I don’t suppose that many can tell the difference between a £300 original bag and a £30 copy which may or may not come out of the same factory. It’s not because I can’t afford new clothes it’s because I have respect for both the environment and the 3rd world labourers that have been exploited. I can’t actually pay these workers directly but I can support organisations that are doing something about the dirty business of fashion and economic slavery.
So here’s a T-shirt, it’s definitely 90s, from New Internationalist and its first nation saying is more relevant today than when it was said. It’s in very good condition and I will continue to wear it and display and support its message.
A seller of sports shirts in central Asuncion, in Plaza de la Libertad I think. What can we ask ourselves about this photo from over seven years ago? Is the seller still making his or her living from selling these shirts? Are they legal shirts or are they copies? How much were the workers who made these shirts paid? What sort of lifestyle did they or do they have? What sort of lifestyle does the seller currently have? What were the shirts made out of? Have the shirts broken down and if they were made with plastics have they become plastic pollution in the form of microplastic and nanoplastic particles now in the rivers and oceans or even residing in animals and people? One photograph can generate so many questions if we look a it closely enough. 17th February 2014.
We have a moral duty to understand the economics of our supply chains. If we wouldn’t accept the wages and living conditions of the third world workers who fill our retail outlets with goods for our over consumption then we shouldn’t expect them to either.
An exciting retail opportunity. Will it be part of the UK dream or as many of us consider it, nightmare, where first world shoppers, either ignorant or perhaps uneducated, consume third world produced goods where the labour has been exploited and the local environment severely damaged and all the while helping us break through recently 420ppm of CO2?
Like the monster’s mouth, the monster that is consuming the planet at an unsustainable rate while heavily polluting it and exploiting much of the living world including other human primates. The monster of first world consumerism.