Ethical Consumption on a Budget?

We are constantly bombarded with tempting advertisements and so familiar with instant gratification that we often do not take the step to consider where the product comes from, how it is made, and what it is made of.

At this point, we know that labor and parts for items that are mass produced are outsourced to other countries leaving those who’ve lost jobs feeling hopeless. Even worse, often those jobs are outsourced to areas where workers are making well below a living wage, working in dangerous conditions, overworked or all three. We know that a lot of the beauty products we use are tested on animals. We know when we pick up meat from the market that factory farming is a reality we now live with.

Trust me, I am equally as guilty as any other American. I will do research on these awful circumstances of consumption and only minimally alter my lifestyle if even that. While we know about these things, we don’t directly see them and it makes it easy for us to move those thoughts to the back of our mind.

A topic of debate between friends and myself is whether or not it is possible to ethically consume in our society. I personally think that there is a possibility for ethical consumption, but almost exclusively for the rich. Most Americans cannot afford to spend $220 on a sustainable dress like the ones that Nikki Reed’s Bayou With Love offers. Organic produce and products are often out of price range, but I’ve found if I were strong enough to give up eating out Aldi and Costco have a wide variety of relatively reasonably priced natural products.

Cosmetics seems to be an area that surprisingly offers a lot of natural ethical products that can fit any budget. A classmate of mine Jocelyn did a presentation for class and it blew my mind that affordable brands like Nyx and Wet & Wild are cruelty-free, but it is still something you need to be mindful of when perusing the cosmetics aisle. Look for the bunnies!

Change is hard and since we’re so used to grabbing and going it is hard to get used to the label lingo. We can make the effort though, if not every time at least on occasion. I am going to challenge myself to be a more mindful consumer and I hope you do the same.

I’ve included some articles if you want to read more into these topics:

  • Click here to check out this great NY Times opinion piece about the World Health Organization’s director general selection this week. It highlights the health and environmental consequences of factory farming.
  • This ABC article goes over the complicating process Australia is going through to ban cosmetics that are tested on animals. A loophole is that while the final product is not tested on animals, ingredients still could be.
  • Read about AT&T outsourcing customer service to the Dominican Republic and the thousands of American workers this would displace.

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