It occurred to me that this first batch of Growing Organically posts is sort of a primer ~ quick & generalized to whet your whistle for more detailed & specific concepts to come. It wasn't planned that way (ha), but, in retrospect, it seems better to use a big brush right now - just to get you thinking more broadly about the whole, big, macro picture! Thank you for your comments, tweets and emails about this series!!
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Video from GECKO Online Lesson © 2011 by Greennovate
Today's topic is about what's not on the pricetag.
When we buy mass-produced, conventionally grown cotton products, the pricetag rarely reflects the damaging, insurmountable, tangential costs of bringing that item to market. From extreme environmental pollution to sick & destitute (and sometimes dead) farmers to sweatshop labor, the bottom line extends far, far beyond what we pay directly out of our pockets to take our purchases merrily on our way.
Mass manufacturers are not eager for you to know these things so there certainly isn't a whole lot of transparency in the industry. If a company is doing something eco- or human-friendly, they'll shout it from the rooftops b/c they'll definitely want you to know. I know I do! If they're not saying anything about their manufacturing processes or raw materials anywhere - not even in their own company bio or literature, you can be pretty sure they would rather you didn't know. I often think the manufacturers themselves don't want to know - they just want to source their goods, get them in shops and get paid - no matter who or what gets hurt in the process.
Just this week, a new article came out in China Daily that accused "46 Chinese and multinational clothing brands and retailers of purchasing from suppliers who illegally discharge polluted water in China. Multinational companies Zara, Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein, Armani, Walmart and Carrefour ... were among the companies named..." It's frightening (you'll hear me say that a lot) and completely, outrageously wrong.
The best value doesn't always come from the price you pay at the cash register. The best value may be from making sure other humans were treated fairly and that the environment was not defiled for your jeans or t-shirt or fabric. Simple compassion. Not just for us right here, right now - but for the planet and values that we are passing down to our grandchildren. Change doesn't happen by chance and by someone else; it happens by intent and by us.
Pearl River in Xintang from a screenshot I took on Google Earth ~ this is the one mentioned in the video above. Xintang is the "blue jean capital of the world," and the Pearl River runs blue-black from the water discharged during the indigo dyeing processes. What's most interesting to me is how this represents ONLY WHAT YOU CAN SEE b/c it is colored, kinda like a barium dye and x-ray test that one might get to see if you have a blockage in your digestive track or if your kidneys are functioning properly. Imagine what's being discharged in that water that you can't see.
Next week, I will share some information about the Global Organic Textile Standard that is used to certify Daisy Janie's organic fabrics. It addresses responsible practices for the raw materials, the farmers, the factories, the water, the workers and more in a very transparent manner.
China's Famed Pearl River Under Denim Threat / CNN
Slow Down Fashion / Whole Threads
The High Price of Cheap Clothes / Ecopreneurist
Big Brands Buy From Polluting Textile Firms / China Daily
Jeans Ratings & Reviews / Good Guide