There’s a Gandhi quote that especially appeals to me – “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” – and so I was happy to see it on a t-shirt at EarthDay.org. I imagine many thousands of Earth Day t-shirts are sold every year, and I like the idea of Gandhi’s message getting that kind of exposure.
My little moment of happiness didn’t last long. I noticed that the shirts were 65% polyester. There was no mention that they were made from recycled materials, or that the 35% cotton content might be organic, so I assume they are not … meaning that each one of those shirts probably comes with lots of baggage: pesticides to grow the cotton, petroleum to manufacturer the polyester, water polluted by dyes and manufacturing chemicals and, quite possibly, terrible working conditions and wages for workers.
So that’s a big miss in the “be the change” department, but possibly an even larger teaching moment missed. What an opportunity it could have been to educate everyone buying or seeing those shirts about the environmental impact of their clothing choices!
If the Earth Day organization won’t help us out, how can you and I “be the change”?
1. Check GreenerDailyLife.com regularly for sustainably made products of all kinds. Send me your suggestions for great products we should add to the site.
2. Look for organic and fair trade certified products wherever you shop for everyday products; if you can’t find them, ask the store manager. It doesn’t take many consumer requests to get retailers to pay attention.
3. Assuming you already use some organic products, expand your repertoire and try sustainably made products in other categories. Again, GreenerDailyLife.com can help. The faster we green up our personal economic lives, the faster businesses of all kinds will organize to deliver more of what we want.
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