How conscious are you?

Becky - posted on 10/11/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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So, this talk of the 99% movement and equality has gotten me thinking about how much inequality there is in the world and about how much the majority of us feed into it, without even being conscious that that is what we are doing. We buy our clothes from the cheapest retailers, not thinking about who made those clothes and what they were paid. We buy our gas from the most convenient station, or the one that has the best rewards program, not thinking about whether the country that gas came from has any regard for human rights whatsoever. We buy our coffee from wherever, without any thought to how that coffee was grown or harvested. We buy fancy diamonds without ever asking how those diamonds were mined.... and on and on.

So, how concious are you of these things? Do you research your products before you buy them to ensure that they were not produced in sweatshops or on the backs of people in 3rd world countries being exploited for their labor? Do you know where the gas in your vehicle comes from? Do you buy your coffee and chocolate only from fair trade places? Did you make sure your diamonds were conflict-free before you bought them?

I'm not posting to try to criticise anyone or make anyone feel guilty, because I will say that I am not very concious of most of the above. Every once in a while I think about it and feel that I should be, but I have to admit that I don't really make changes. Although I did boycott Shell for a while because of their record of human rights abuses overseas. I know my diamonds in my wedding and engagement rings are not conflict diamonds because we asked about that and I am pretty sure that the places we fill up our vehicles use Canadian oil/gas, which may not be perfect in terms of their environmental record, but at least it's not supporting countries ruled by religious extremist dictators. Other than that though, I don't usually give it much thought.

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Nikki - posted on 10/16/2011

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I am aware as much as I can afford to be. I shop a lot at local markets and grocers. I cannot afford not to go to the large supermarkets but I try to support local farmers and business' as much as possible.

I don't like new, all my furniture is second hand or antique. I also buy a lot of second hand clothes, especially for my daughter. It helps my budget and it helps the environment. Most things in my house are second hand.

We own 2 cars, but they were both second hand and one runs on LPG. I would never buy a brand new car, the loose so much of their valuation the second you drive out the door.

Most diamonds are now non conflict, the UN became involved in diamond certification in 2002. My diamonds are non conflict, and I am 100% sure about that because I worked at the small family owned store where I purchased them all, the family were huge advocates for non conflict diamonds.

Most of the time I don't have much choice where I buy my petrol (one station within 50kms of me) I don't know where their fuel comes from but they are a small family run business, so I don't feel too guilty about that.

I don't buy bottled water, I have reusable water bottles.

I boycott Nestle because they are a disgusting company.

The worst part about this whole subject is that your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. As corrupt as our world is and as unfair some of the working conditions and minimal slave wages are, if people don't buy then there will be a follow on effect which will cause devastation to the workers. They have to feed their families too on their measly little wages. So I don't loose sleep when I have to buy something that isn't made locally or recycled, I don't like to think about the large corporations profits but that's not really something that we can individually control. Until we put enough pressure on our governments to change things we will not see a significant change.

Kylie - posted on 10/15/2011

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I'm pretty conscious but i have a long way to go. I want to know where things come from and how they are produced. Being informed makes me feel empowered.
We are a single income family with a mortgage and i'm at school, so money is often tight but i still try to make ethical decisions on what we buy and throw away.
My diamond engagement ring is from argyle diamonds from my own on state. I dont buy GM, i buy local grown fresh produce. I boycott loreal, nestle and a few others.
I shop for gifts at fair trade stores and markets.
i compost and recycle nearly everything.
I dont use cleaning chemicals, or garden chemicals.
I up cycle
I buy all my clothes second hand. I don't with the kids though..and i buy them cheap sweatshop clothes most the time because of price.
I limit plastic toys, though i dont have the support of my family with this and i am always giving bags of plastic toy crap to the salvos. Christmas is a plastic nightmare.

I'm so excited about being a teacher. There is going to be a lot of focus on sustainability in the national curriculum and our kids really care about the environment and their impact. They have the drive to do the right thing. They are going to inherit this planet and be disgusted by what we've done with our mindless consumption.

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[deleted account]

no i don't. i know there are people far less fortunate than me, but i'm not rich. i'm going to school so we are basically living off my husband's income (which isn't alot) and a small amount of student loans to pay for our living expenses, our son, and both of our schooling. at this point in time,the bottom line is price. i have to take care of myself before i take care of others.

Nikki - posted on 10/16/2011

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I sometime wonder if it's too late to change things, we live in this disposable society where so many people depend on cheap to survive. I am really lucky with where I live that I can be ethical in my choices. I live in a very small community, my family are farmers, I get my meat really cheap, I can buy from local suppliers cheaper and be guaranteed it is locally produced in my country. It is not convenient for me to shop at large corporations because they are 100kms away. A lot of people don't have these options and it's not their fault it's the Government's wrong doing.

Sal - posted on 10/16/2011

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My usual practice is to get the best deal on the day..... There are days when I can look like I am super good when the right items are the right price and it feels good but there are days when I feel the weight of plastic and cheap stuff weighs me down sadly like Sherri knowing what I want to achieve and my budget allowing it are out of whack

Rosie - posted on 10/16/2011

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i have MUCH room for improvement when it comes to this. i have made efforts over the last few months to change a few things though.
we buy grassfed beef and dairy-both local. i go to farmers markets for my veggies, when i'm at the grocery store i buy local produce there as much as i can. in the winter time it is impossible to do though.
i make my own jam with strawberries from farmers market, applesauce with apples from my uncle, freeze corn from my uncles garden, make my own cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup and freeze it, i make my own pasta sauce and freeze it. i don't like wasting all the packaging that comes with the cans of that stuff.
i love the drink "caramel apple spice" from starbucks, but hate spending money there, so i just learned to make my own and it's yummy!!
i buy fair trade soap, fair trade vanilla, and when *I* want chocolate i get fair trade.

i will admit i do bargain shop ALOT. shoes and clothes are my weakness. i buy cheap shoes, i cannot afford to keep buying shoes since my kids grow out of them so fast. with new clothes my kids will ruin or grow out of them fast so i will buy cheap walmart garanimals ones or cheap old navy clothes. we have cheaper furniture, cheaper electronics, etc. i dont' even think there are "expensive" items of those anywhere around-well furniture possibly.
i've never been to a garage sale, and everytime i go to a second hand store they never have my kids size. it's a waste of time for me to go from store to store to store, so walmart it is, as much as i hate that, i have to deal with it. gas is gas to me, it's all crap, but until i can afford to have a hybrid car, or electric one, it's gonna get used.
i will say that if i were wealthy i would do whatever the hell i could to make myself a more conscious shopper. solar panels, awesome efficient car, fair trade everything, organic everything. i wish i was rich...

Sherri - posted on 10/16/2011

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@Jenny will I make changes now that I am more aware, honestly most likely not with 6 mouths to feed and a strict budget my only concern is to buy what I can where I can within our budget. So for example if Nestle is $1 cheaper than any other brand you can bet I am going to buy the Nestle product.

Sal - posted on 10/15/2011

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i used to try and boycott vegimite (almost enough for an aussie to get charged with treason ) because in the big bad business world they were(are?) owned by phillip morris but they won, i just cant face life without vegimite so my ethics were left crying in the corner with a bottle of shitty aussiemite, while i was off with my vegimite on toast...

Jenny - posted on 10/15/2011

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Now that you are aware do you think you will try to make changes where you can?

April - posted on 10/15/2011

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I'm pretty much unconscious!! I hadn't thought of any of that stuff prior to this post! The only thing I've been conscious of was the Nestle formula campaign in Africa. Due the the results of that campaign, I don't buy anything made by Nestle.

Jenny - posted on 10/15/2011

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I am pretty conscious but there is definitely room for improvement. I do not shop for price period but do end up buying most stuff on sale. I buy whole grain cereals (Ancient Grains from Costco is my favourite). Meat is the tough part. While my partner is working away I'm going to work smaller portions in. Unfortunately he will be missing all of hunting season this year so it's store bought only for now. I'm still working on sourcing local and that is my worst area for conscious living. We boycott fast food places and most prepackaged although we will have the occasional pizza on a Friday night. 99% of our meals are completely homemade. I work outside the home and can do this on a daily basis.

Gas is irrelevant in my area as there are no local stores and the chains actively price fix. Every station in my city has the exact same price. So I bend over and pay the man for my fuel. It is Canadian sourced though.

I do have one pair of diamond studs that I never take out but they are Canadian diamonds. They are my only expensive piece of jewelery.

Most of our clothes are second hand and those that aren't are sources as local as possible.

I've boycotted WalMart and the like for years and only shop at stores that pay their employees a livable wage and/or are union.

I try to live by my favourite quote: "Every dollar you spend is a vote for what you believe in." I don't believe in living a cheap and disposable life.

Jurnee - posted on 10/15/2011

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Honestly, I would like to be more conscious, but I have to shop economically. Most clothes and household items I buy at thrift shops, garages sales etc. I would love to buy local produce,etc, but it is so much more expensive. Same for the organic that is sold in the health food store. I do think that I will try to grow a garden this spring, it's something I have been wanting to try.

[deleted account]

@ Brittany. Brad hates shopping with me. He comes anyways but gets all pissy when he picks up something and says "how about this" and i go on about how its made by nestle or start picking out ingredients that cause cancer or other health problems. He now goes to the pepsi isle alone...

[deleted account]

I buy local food, if i can. I shop at thrift stores or make my own clothing.I have 3 sisters who are name brand fanatics and they give me their hand me ups(im the oldest) so i don't look like a poor woman as they say...LOL My shoes are usually expensive, they are not made local, but not in a sweatshop either. I only get DC shoes because they seem to last the longest(i'm the type who only wears sneakers or flip-flops in the summer). My tea is fair trade and has a rain forest stamp on it. I've been trying to get brad to get fair trade coffee but he wants tim hortons crap. I don't own a car so gas is no issue and i don't own diamonds. All of my products are animal testing free, environment friendly and all natural. I try my best to not support corporations that have a negative impact on the world. I am on a very fixed income currently but i still manage to buy cheap and environmentally conscientious.

[deleted account]

I'll be honest- I buy cheap. If cheap means supporting those box box style stores I refused to shop in 10 years ago, then so be it. There are certain groceries I will only buy brand name, and sorry-but they are far cheaper than the local grocery store. Generic brand for other items, I have no problem buying at the grocery store. The local produce market is hit or miss. Sometimes they are great items, sometimes they don't. I'll get there this afternoon and see what the produce is like today.



I need to do what is best for me & my budget in order to put away an additional $50-$100 away in savings or into my son's college account. So I have no problem buying where it's cheap.



As far as my diamond ring goes, the stone was originally was from my grandma's 2nd marriage in 1956. I am unsure of the origin other than it was from the Diamond District in NYC.

ME - posted on 10/12/2011

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Yes...I am aware of what I spend my money on. We made serious cuts in our lifestyle in order to be able to afford organic and locally made food and cosmetics. We don't shop at walmart, we are careful not to encourage extravagance or materialism in our children.

Brittany - posted on 10/12/2011

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There are a few stations here that do not use it but, they are so far away. Chevron used to not use it and then they got into a nasty legal battle with the Government and well needless to say they lost.

[deleted account]

I buy cheap or I can't buy it. Better than my kids being naked or me not having the gas to drive them to school. ;)

Becky - posted on 10/12/2011

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Brittany, I think the ethanol thing is across most of the US. We have a heck of a time finding ethanol-free gas when we're down there! Here, only a couple stations use it, so we just don't go to those stations!

Brittany - posted on 10/12/2011

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I do pay attention and research what I am buying. It is not uncommon for me to pull out my Android and look something up.

Grocery shopping with me is a nightmare, this is why my husband will not go with me anymore. I just want to make sure I am getting the best product, for the fairest price, and that will be acceptable quality for my children and family.

If the store brand has to much sugar I will pay the extra few cents to have a name brand. My oldest son has to drink, what we call "Caoleb Milk", the milk is soy or almond based with added DHA and ARA or Fish Oils. IT IS FREAKING EXPENSIVE! I think the best one I have found for size, price and quality is $5.83 and no it is not a gallon. BUT, his behavior is fantastic! He has a sever case of ADHD and DRA, ARA and Omega 6 have proven to help with this. I buy these products and I am able to keep him off medicine.

I do buy some store brand stuff like noodles, some salad dressing, some deli meats or cheeses, and maybe something here or there.

I do know where the gas I buy comes from. I have been using the same, locally owned, gas station for about two years now. I know the gentleman that delivers the gas there. He is a nice guy. They also have the cheapest gas on this side of Mobile Bay and it is $3.22 a gallon, sadly they do use ethanol but, I have not been able to find a gas station within reasonable distance that does not use it.

When my husband bought my wedding ring set, he did in fact ask about this. They ensured him they were conflict free and he called the company we bought them from before they were fully paid for and purchased.

YES, I also read my tuna labels to make sure they are dolphin safe.

Sherri - posted on 10/12/2011

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Honestly here it goes.

Do you research your products before you buy them to ensure that they were not produced in sweatshops or on the backs of people in 3rd world countries being exploited for their labor? Nope
Do you know where the gas in your vehicle comes from? Nope
Do you buy your coffee and chocolate only from fair trade places? Nope
Did you make sure your diamonds were conflict-free before you bought them? Never bought any.

Honestly I buy and shop from the places that have the best prices and that we can afford. I don't give it a second thought although I do try and compare and if there is American or China made. I always choose the American made product.

We do have to buy bottled water too since the kids need it for school and for field trips and certain other times of the year they are not allowed to bring anything that has to come back home it has to all be disposable. Also since soda only comes bottled we buy that since that is all my husband drinks.

Our cell phone service is with a large company has too because my husband needs the coverage since he travels over 3 states for work daily.

[deleted account]

I like my ripped denim mini skirt ... it came from Joe Browns and they have an Ethical Trading Policy ... nobody was harmed in creating my slovenly look! :-p

[deleted account]

I am not conscious as I should be. Like Marina I try to buy locally grown fruits, veggies, meat or items that are cruelty free (to both humans and animals). Many people in my family including my husband are members of Union and we strongly support purchasing things made in the US. Even that is difficult because it tends to be more expensive and we have found that parts of the product were made elsewhere in the world. It kind of defeats the purpose if the pants was made in Texas but the buttons and zipper where made in Beijing!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/12/2011

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Well, I have to say, my husband purchased a beautiful solitaire diamond ring for me, and we picked out my band together. I love my diamonds. No I did not do research.

I try to buy many products that are not tested on animals, I try to buy local fruits and veggies when they are in season, but for the most part....I simply buy what we need. If I find out a product is particularly bad, I usually will avoid it. I have my own set of standards, but really the point is, we are not rich, and I do not always have the luxury of being picky. Our cloths need to last, so I do not tend to buy the cheapest cloths, since hell...I will be replacing it again soon....might as well buy the stuff that lasts longer.

[deleted account]

I was so proud of my son when we were jeans shopping last month. We had a hard time finding them. While in Sears, we thought we had found a pair until we saw the "artistic' hole in the change pocket. He saw it and was so annoyed because he won't wear torn clothes. I was so happy I was able to influence him in that vein.

Becky - posted on 10/12/2011

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I did not know that about the jeans! I don't buy them either. Why would you spend $35.00 or more for a pair of jeans that already has holes in it???

[deleted account]

I do my best not to purchase items from certain countries were I know child labor is used. For example, not only do I not wear nor allow my son to wear jeans that have the 'decorative holes' in them not just because they look slovenly but also because I know how they're made in those nations. They're soaked in bleach and then procesed by a worker who may be lucky enough to get a paper face mask and that's it.



I don't shop at Wal-Mart unless I absolutely cannot get an item anywhere else even if I have to pay more. Yes, I cannot always be so consciencious about it. Gas, I simply have to go to thea cheapest place I can.



On the other hand, I try to only buy US or Canadian produce. Local when it's season and for example,only New York State maple syrup.



ETA: One product I will never use is Fuji water. Not after I heard what that company did to the island and it's inhabitants. NEVER wil I buy Fuji water, ever!

Carolee - posted on 10/12/2011

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If it's cheap, it works, and I need it, I'll buy it. I don't know where our gas comes from because Jason fills up the van. I have absolutely no idea about where the diamond in my wedding ring came from because we got it at a pawn shop when we traded in my old engagement ring. I'm poor. I don't have the luxory of being picky, so I purposefully don't look at the background of everything I buy or use.

Becky - posted on 10/12/2011

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Yes, the price is definitely a big part of why we're not as conscious about this stuff as I would like to be! When there were all those toys from China being recalled a few years back due to lead, I would have loved to boycott Fisher Price and Playschool entirely and buy only made in North America or Europe, but it's double the price! The same with buying only local, free-range meat or milk. Although I think all the beef that's sold in our grocery stores is local. Good Grade A Alberta beef. :)
We are going to cloth diaper this one, so at least that's a step.

[deleted account]

Personally, I wish it was easier to be conscious without it being so pricey. I would say we are moderately conscious. All the kids items are bought used for the most part. I don't own diamonds. We try to buy local. We don't use pesticides, make our own cleaning products, used cloth diapers, etc. I would love to buy non-factory-farmed meat but it is so expensive it really is out of our price range. We were buying milk from a milk co-op, but got priced out of that when the boys started drinking more milk.

Minnie - posted on 10/12/2011

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I am aware of the situations but unfortunately, things like this aren't in our budget.



Our eggs, milk and most of our vegetables in the summer are local. I get our daughters' shoes from a small family owned company in Canada. I sew some of their clothes.That's about the best we can do.



The next thing I would change would be buying our meat locally. It frustrates me that I can't do that, and so my dollars reluctantly go towards supporting factory farming, something I'm vehemently against. Makes me feel like a hypocrite, but my daughters wouldn't get fed if we didn't.



Diamonds? I don't wear jewelery and would never spend money on it.

[deleted account]

Yes I try to be concious, but I don't own any diamonds and probably never will. I've never thought about the gas thing, but I think we need to use less of it anyway and find a new way to power things.

Jenni - posted on 10/12/2011

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I absolutely DO NOT buy bottled water/bottled pop (well any pop actually).



Most of my children's clothes I buy used on Kijiji.



I do not own any diamonds.



We have one vehicle. A used Ford. Not so conscience on where we buy our gas. But we don't drive much. We live close to most amenities and walk a lot. My husband car pools with his friend to/from work.



We have independent phone/internet service. We don't own mobile phones.



We don't purchase much of anything. But we live on an income of 48 000 between 5 people. So expendable income isn't really in our vocabulary. We buy a lot of things from the Dollar Store... but did you know surprisingly most things from the DS are made in Canada?



We grow our own veggies in the summer. We buy from farmer markets. We bring our own bags shopping. We hang our clothes out to dry in the spring/summer/fall. We wash in cold water. We don't overuse our heating or air conditioning. We enjoy recreational activities that support or Provincial and National parks.



A lot of things we can't afford to be picky about. We simply can't afford to always choose the option that doesn't support large corporations. Sometimes we have to be cost effective when it comes to gas, food, other. But we do try to choose the best option that supports our local community and doesn't sustain large corporations, those who commit crimes against nature and humanity.



And considering our household income. I don't think we add much to their pocketbooks.

Sal - posted on 10/12/2011

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I do try my budget and my morals are out of step at the moment but I do try I have decided that local where I can is the best for food my eggs are free range from a local farm where I can buy bulk trays of seconds, I try and reuse repair and buy second hand where possible but I do use the supermarket for the bulk of our grocery simply on budget we have a veg garden and have bought some lambs to kill when the the time is right we visit local orchards and buy local honey Also our town is crazy for charity street stalls and I buy odd fruit and veg there and usually go to the local baker for atleast part of our bread. I also shop at my fav health food store for most herbs spices and other dry good like bread flour pulses and dried fruit..... And while I didn't particularly think about it to start I was happy when my wedding ring had WA diamonds

Kate - posted on 10/12/2011

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I try to be conscious. If I hear of something that offends me I do boycott - for the past 15 years I won't use a Shell garage... (it was because of an activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, being hanged for leading non-violent protests in Nigeria - Google it - horrible story!) but I must admit I feel a little useless doing this because I'm probably the only one!!
I'd love to boycott China (for so very many reasons... the biggest ones being poaching for Rhino horn, Gorilla testicles and shark fins - it's just BARBARIC) but almost everything out there to be bought is made there... so good luck to me?
I do try to buy 'local' though so I really am trying!
It seems very strange to me that apparently 99% is against (essentially) greed but still these companies thrive?!!
Maybe we do need to become more aware of who and what we're supporting!

[deleted account]

I don't really give any of that any thought.
I buy gas when my car is on E so i stop at a close place:)
I shop where i can afford to because i have to make sure my family is clothed before i'm gonna worry about whoever makes them.
And i don't have any diamonds.
So I would definitely say I'm not conscious of any of that stuff.

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