Trying to live a more sustainable life can become an overwhelming prospect if you try to do everything at once. I have found, for myself, that I should try and focus on one thing at a time and then instill that change into everyday life. For me, 2012 was a change in eating habits and trying to source local items and to also stick closer to a seasonal diet and not buying things willy-nilly.
I’ve tossed ideas around for a few months about what was important enough to warrant being a year project. I’ve decided that this year’s project is to reduce as many products I use that are made in China. That’s not to say that Bangladesh, Thailand, Haiti and some of the other countries where imports come from are safe either. I guess I’d been going around with my head in the sand for a few years but I started noticing items made in China infiltrating some of the better ladies’ fashions. And, during my short stint in the dry cleaning industry, I witnessed items coming back melted or shredded because of the cheap materials used these days. It was hard to convince someone that they had been duped by the manufacturer making their expensive items. I find it sad that there is no more pride in product and most everything is done in the name of the Almighty Dollar.
For myself, I think I can safely predict that this will result in savings, as there won’t be so many different things to buy. It will entail a little more time needed for shopping as labels will have to be read and analyzed. One of the biggest deceptions is the difference on whether a product is “made in Canada or the U.S.” or if it’s “packaged” in Canada or the U.S. If something is packaged in either country, it could still mean that the products in the package come from wherever. The wine industry has to reveal whether or not the wine is made with local, international or mixed grapes – shouldn’t all products be as revealing?
I discovered that there’s even a difference in the quality of products we receive here in North America that are made in China and the quality of products that Chinese people have to choose from – that are made there in China. A friend of mine has hosted numerous high school students from China and one of these students pointed this out. I believe this is what helped me decide to try and avoid these products because it bothered me that the companies receiving these products are complacent enough to be satisfied with shoddy workmanship and to also expect us to accept it.
I came across a Facebook page that supports just this very thing and I’m hoping to see how others are doing on their quest. If you’d like to join me on this journey, I’d love to share the trials and successes. Have you ever tried to help reflect change in something you do? Do you try a lot of things at one time or do you find one or two to focus on? I would love to hear any things you have done.