Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Links

The Bird Dress by Studio Habeas Corpus - a dress you can make from 5 used t-shirts (via Unconsumption)

My food hero Michael Pollan is interviewed about "how America got so screwed up about food." It's highly relevant to Australia, too.

Part of the reason we have an eating disorder is because of the ideology of "nutritionism" we bring to food. There’s a long history behind this "scientific" approach.

Planning any last minute Christmas shopping in the next few days? Eco Warrior Princess shares 14 Eco Tips to Help You Avoid Excessive Consumerism This Christmas. Her blog archives are great reading, too.

Researchers Have Made Socks That Use Urine to Create Electricity. That's innovative. (Gizmodo)

The Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal always features tongue-in-cheek articles. This article, "Parliamentary privilege", about mortality in members of parliament (in which MPs have longer life expectancies than the general population, and Conservative MPs longer than Labour MPs), has a serious conclusion - education is an important determinant of health.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Ethical sneakers - do they exist?

Working in a non-clinical role this year, I can wear casual dress to work. Back in February, I decided it might be nice to pick up new sneakers (not for running, just for wandering around). It's now July and I have been unable to find any that fulfil my basic requirements for apparel purchases. Now that I think about it. I also looked around when I was in London and Portland last year and couldn't find any to satisfy my "ethical" criteria. Ethical sneakers are even harder to find than ethical bras! (For the record, I picked up a few Canadian-made Fortnight bras during my travels next year. They are gorgeous, comfortable and supportive.)

The first requirement is that they be fair trade, or made somewhere with reasonable labour conditions. I found one Australian-made brand, Gideon, which makes very cool-looking sneakers. However, these are not the style I'm after.

A 2012 Guardian article by ethical shopping guru Lucy Siegle led me to French brand Veja, which ticks numerous boxes (and has some very stylish designs). However, ordering from them would involve shipping sneakers halfway across the world (and, if they don't fit, all the way back). Siegle has also recently written on the topic of "ethical running kit".

New Balance have some "Made in UK" sneakers but limited styles are available in Australia, particularly in women's sizes, and I don't want pumpkin-coloured shoes

Adidas has just announced a prototype shoe made from marine waste. Maybe I should hold out for a pair of those.

While pondering this post, and deciding that it's ALL JUST TOO HARD, I guiltily remembered that I have at least two pairs of 1990s Converse All Stars, some 1980s Puma sneakers and a brand new pair of Dunlop Volleys I won a few years ago. None of these are the style of sneaker I want (I had a pair of 1990s Converse in that style, but the soles fell off when I tried to wear them in London last year, a cobbler told me they were not salvageable and they ended up in the bin). I should just suck it up and wear what I already own. Also, I need to clear out my shoe collection and donate of all my unworn and unwanted shoes.

Then maybe I'll have room for these Australian made ankle boots.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ethical Living Challenge starts today

Today is the first day of the three week "Ethical Living Challenge" (ELC) started by Emma Crane, a 19-year-old Uni of Melbourne student who hopes to inspire others to live ethically.

The focus of the challenge is to make ethical choices as a consumer. According to the ELC,

A huge part of ethical living is about consumerism and buying ethical products, which is what the 2015 ELC focuses on. Ethical products typically:

Don’t use slave labour or child labour
Ensure a fair wage and safe working conditions for workers
Minimise the use of harmful chemicals and GMO
Don’t harm the environment
Come from a responsible company
Give back to the local community
Support sustainable development
And much, much more!

The tasks for day one were to calculate my Slavery Footprint and environmental footprint.  My slavery footprint was 55 slaves, although I am hoping this is an overestimate because the calculator did not account for existing ethical purchasing practices. My environmental footprint is 4 Earths (see the results in the image above). I think my high meat consumption and cross-country plane travel are big contributors.

I'm looking forward to the daily challenges. I can think of many areas where I can make better choices.

As the challenge reminds us, "Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want." (Anna Lappe)

Would you consider taking part?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Who Made My Clothes? Join the Fashion Revolution #fashrev

April 24th, 2015, will mark the two-year anniversary of the devastating Rana Plaza collapse that killed 1133 people and injured many more. It is also Fashion Revolution Day.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement aiming to "help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future."

On Fashion Revolution Day we are asked to wear our clothes inside-out, reveal the label, tag the brand on social media and ask, #whomademyclothes?

I've previously written about fast fashion and its social and environmental costs, and my commitment to ethical fashion has not changed. However, I feel I should be contacting more clothing retailers to question their practices. Following last year's Fashion Revolution Day, I wrote to Australian fashion label Gorman about their supply chain transparency. They replied directing me to their "Ethical Statement". I'm still not buying Gorman and haven't done so for a few years, although they are probably better than most Australian fashion retailers. They the 2009 "Travelling Textiles" report but have since been sold to Factory X, owner of brands like of Dangerfield and Alannah Hill. I can't find anything online about their supply chain. I will continue to make do with my already over-populated wardrobe, replacing items only if they wear out or no longer fit, and doing so with fair trade, second-hand or Australian (ethically) made garments.  

If you would like to read more on this topic, I've created a page with links to ethical fashion resources.

I will be asking #whomademyclothes on April 24, and encourage you to join me. You'll find me on Instagram and Twitter (and maybe at work!) with my clothes inside out.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Don't let perfect get in the way of better

I have dozens of articles saved to share, dozens of topics to discuss on this blog but it never happens. Partly because of the many competing commitments (including writing and blogging commitments) of life and partly because I feel like a charlatan, a hypocrite - yes, there are many categories in which my consumption is ethical but there are also many categories in which I am filled with a neurotic and paralysing sense of guilt. I still bank with one of the "Big Four", I haven't divested from carbon in any of my other financial interests either, I buy a lot of single use plastic bottles and aluminium cans through my current addiction to a Coca Cola product, I still haven't got a bike, I have private health insurance, I'm still buying books instead of using the library, I eat a lot of meat and fly a lot more than the average person. This is obviously not an exhaustive list.

This year I'm trying to live by the motto that "done is better than perfect". I'm trying to overcome impostor syndrome and get shit done. So I will continue making steps towards more ethical living and share some of my thoughts here. Rant over.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Links

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday links

video via Unconsumption

For the past six months, I have been collecting links to share on this blog. It is a very long list. Here are some of the more recent reads: