Ethical Consumerism

When we buy things, how can we do so in ways that do the most good and least harm? Use resources and articles/essays like these to help you think about what you buy and to find products and companies working to be a bit more ethical.
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The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste (video) (via EarthFix) (7:50 min) (7 May 2016) The EarthFix team followed e-waste that was supposed to be recycled. Where did the trail lead?

The Circuit: Tracking America's Electronic Waste

youtube.com

Real Life Hacks to Cut Your Carbon Footprint (via Yes!) (14 March 2016) "After estimating how his daily actions contributed to global warming, this NASA scientist found a better way to live. How does your carbon footprint stack up? Measure your impact with our emissions calculator."

Real Life Hacks to Cut Your Carbon Footprint (Plus: A Personal Emissions Calculator)

yesmagazine.org

E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard (via NY Times) (16 February 2016) "Delivery services now come through in hours, not days. But the boxes after boxes generated create environmental concerns, and some guilt."

E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard

nytimes.com

The Other Side of Black Friday Price Tags (via The Nation) (25 November 2015) "Throughout the Global South, underpaid workers face wage theft and injury to meet Western consumers' demands."

The Other Side of Black Friday Price Tags

thenation.com

New (and Old) Tools to Eliminate Plastic Straws (via My Plastic-free Life) (23 November 2015) Tips and resources for eliminating your and your community's use of plastic straws.

Sea Turtle with Straw up its Nostril - "NO" TO PLASTIC STRAWS

youtube.com

Buying Begets Buying (via The Guardian) (20 October 2015) "Our addiction to consuming things is a vicious cycle, and buying a bigger house to store it all isn’t the answer. Here’s how to get started on downsizing."

Buying begets buying: how stuff has consumed the average American's life

theguardian.com

The Myth of the Ethical Shopper (via The Huffington Post) (July 2015) The author argues that buying power isn't enough to eliminate sweatshops and unjust labor practices. It's going to take creating policy that makes only ethical products viable.

Why It's Impossible To Shop Ethically

highline.huffingtonpost.com

Meet The Children Who Live In Ghana's Hellish Digital Dump (via Co.Exist) (24 June 2015) Highlights the horrific conditions for children in Ghana who work in the e-waste dumps to try to survive.

Meet The Children Who Live In Ghana's Hellish Digital Dump

fastcoexist.com

"This Smartphone Is Made From Fairly Mined Minerals, And It's Designed To Last Longer Than Your Contract" (via Co.Exist) (22 June 2015) Highlights the new Fairphone, which is meant to be durable, repairable, lighter on the earth, and more just for workers in the supply chain.

This Smartphone Is Made From Fairly Mined Minerals, And It's Designed To Last Longer Than Your Contract

fastcoexist.com

Let's Pollute - (film) (via Geefwee Boedoe) (2011) (6:44 min) This Oscar-nominated short, in the style of 1950s educational film, satirically asks us to embrace polluting: "Consume more, waste more, but always care less!"

Let's Pollute - (Best Short Film, Animated Nomine 2011) - Geefwee Boedoe - (English Audio)

youtube.com

"All your clothes are made with exploited labor" (via The Atlantic) (3 June 2015) Patagonia, known for striving to be a more ethical clothing company, has discovered how rampant labor exploitation is in the supply chain.

In 2015 Is It Possible to Find Clothing Not Made by Exploited Workers?

theatlantic.com

Greener Grads (website/company) "We collect graduation gowns from recent and past graduates, saving them from entering the waste stream, and rent all graduation types for their big day."

Because Tomorrow Matters

greenergrads.org

"28 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Kick Your Plastic Addiction" (blog post) (via Distractify) (27 July 2014) Offers several tips for reducing our personal plastic use.

28 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Kick Your Plastic Addiction

distractify.com

"Tackling the Electronic Waste Problem" (infographic) (via CustomMade) (December 2014) Offers "facts and figures about e-waste and how to properly dispose of your electronics."

E-Waste on the Rise

custommade.com

"Ask Umbra" (column) (via Grist) Umbra answers green living questions about all sorts of topics and considers which choices may do more good and less harm.

Ask Umbra® | Grist

grist.org

"The Child in the Basement" (essay) (via NYTimes) (12 January 2015) Columnist David Brooks uses the Ursula LeGuin short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" as a springboard for discussing how our striving for happiness often causes the suffering of others.

The Child in the Basement - NYTimes.com

mobile.nytimes.com

"Alternatives to Amazon - Environmentally and Socially Responsible Holiday Retailers" (article) (via Green America) (18 November 2014) Amazon isn't ranking so well in environmental sustainability and social responsibility, so here are some alternative sources for buying online.

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blog.greenamerica.org

"Ethical Food Choices" (webpage) (via Food Empowerment Project) Highlights some of the corporations and practices that are doing more harm and less good. "One of the easiest things we can do is to identify particularly “bad actors” in the corporate world, so we know what products and companies to absolutely avoid."

Ethical Food Choices | Food Empowerment Project

foodispower.org

"6 Apps for a Better World" (blog post) (via IHE) (25 September 2014) Here are 6 apps that can help you in your goals as a conscientious citizen and engaged changemaker.

6 Apps for a Better World

humaneeducation.org

GoodWeave (organization) GoodWeave "aims to stop child labor in the carpet industry" and offers the GoodWeave label to help citizens identify rugs that have been made without child labor.

Purchase a GoodWeave Rug

goodweave.org

"Stand with Sanju" (video) (via GoodWeave) (3:43 min) A new campaign #StandWithSanju to bring awareness to child labor in making carpets and the work GoodWeave does to help child laborers and to help end child labor in carpetmaking factories.

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youtube.com

"Triangle Returns" (video) (via Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights) (2011) (9:18 min) Connects what happened in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC in 1911 with what's happening at sweatshops in developing countries (such as Bangladesh) in the 21st century and calls for holding companies accountable.

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youtube.com

"5 Truths the Fast Fashion Industry Doesn't Want You to Know" (blog post) (via Huffington Post) (19 August 2014) Offers five truths about why "fashion is one of the dirtiest industries in the world."

5 Truths the Fast Fashion Industry Doesn't Want You to Know

huffingtonpost.com

"10 pairs of ethical, eco-friendly underwear for men and women" (slideshow) (via Treehugger) (11 August 2014) Highlights several companies working to make fair-trade, fair work, and/or eco-friendly undies.

10 pairs of ethical, eco-friendly underwear for men and women

treehugger.com

"10 Tips for a Waste-Free Back-To-School Season!" (blog post) (via Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)) (28 July 2014) Simple steps college students can take to reduce their waste at the beginning of the school year.

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postlandfill.org