Saturday, November 16, 2013

A New Challenge

One reason legal slavery no longer exists in the US is that people had to see it.  Every day, prior to the civil war and especially in the southern states, citizens had to witness the horrors of slavery.  It was woven into the fabric of society.   Eventually, many people (and the Quakers were among the first) listened to their consciences and fought for its abolition.  And so slavery came to an end.  Or did it?

Guess what?  Slavery still exists - and we support it.  However, now we no longer have to witness slavery because it occurs in far-off places.  I often hear people complain about this country or that one and how they steal our jobs.  Unfortunately, most of those "job thieves" are slaves.  They really don't want to be working where they work, making crap for people in the developed world.  But they don't have a choice.  (Don't believe me?  Here's an example of a prisoner in China who was forced into slavery.  Or do an internet search; there's plenty to discover.)  Many times their traditional ways of making a living have been destroyed by international policy so they're forced to work under conditions no American would tolerate.  We have laws against such treatment whereas they do not.  And hungry people will do whatever it takes to feed themselves and their families.  They don't complain because if they do, the multinational corporations that they work for will pack up and move elsewhere.  As long as we continue our shopping habits, demanding an ever-increasing number of new things at low, low prices, slavery will continue.  It's up to us to stop it.

So here's my challenge:  to buy nothing new until March 20, the spring equinox.  I'll make a few exceptions:  food, toiletries, underwear, footwear (it's hard for me to find shoes in my size and my favorite pair of winter boots need replacing), or anything that I absolutely must have.  Not want.  Need.  And I won't go shopping just to shop, even if the items I'll purchase are used.  
I'm also doing this for the animals, for our environment, and for our health.  Manufacturing uses toxic chemicals; creates waste that goes into landfill, lakes, rivers, and streams; and contributes to a wide variety of debilitating diseases.  We don't need more stuff - we've got plenty.  And the vast amounts of things that go to landfill and thrift stores and storage facilities - every. single. day. - is proof enough.

My friend Shona is joining me in this challenge.  You may remember she was my partner in crime a couple of years ago when we did a three-month no shopping challenge.  Any other takers?  We're kicking it off on Buy Nothing Day (aka Black Friday).  Join us!

1 comment:

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

Hello compadre!

I was going to send you an e-mail telling you that the one exception is a pair of shoes- replacing a pair of Daskos that have seen better days- so it's a replacement (one in- one out).

And speaking of slaves (that CNN story breaks my heart!) I am onto my co-workers for the fake-o Toms shoes they have been buying- especially when part of Toms mission is to do good in the world. To manufacture counterfeit products that have a humanitarian/ charitable purpose is despicable.

I am going to pull a double whammy coming up- starting on Wed I am going to do a 1 week Jeff Yeager (The Ultimate Cheapskate) fiscal fast. Then I'll gorge on Thanksgiving yummyness (food only, not material consumption) and start our challenge on Buy Nothing Day.

Have a wonderful day.