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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectkrewcial's re-post
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=24394&mesg_id=24422
24422, krewcial's re-post
Posted by krewcial, Sun May-07-00 06:09 PM
I posted this a looooong time ago, these are all examples of the stuff I'm doing right now, everyday, trying to live a 'better' life.

Furthermore, I think we should remember/realize at all times that an OkayActivist board is cool, but it doesn't mean much if all we do is TALK about what we want to do. I think there could be more reflection on things you and I have done, and that indeed we should DO more stuff.

That's why one of my goals is to stay away from okayplayer more often (sounds strange ?) for the simple reason that my lurking and posting here keeps me from more reading and actually DOING things. Anyone here got the same sentiment ?

(Nov 30th '99)

-If I KNOW that the sneakers I see were probably made in Indonesia by a woman who works at least 13 hours every day, standing all the time, for 3 US$, while they cost 120 US$ in the shop, Jordan and Pippen have a multimillion dollar endorsement deal, and Philip Knight (Nike-president) makes even more money, it affects my choice.

-The same goes for most highly publicized name brands,

-If I KNOW that the people who manufactured that Ikea table/chair/sofa had to work with acids with no protection gear whatsoever, causing all types of longue diseases after a couple of months and them getting fired, it affects my choice,

-If I buy some Chiquita bananas, KNOWING that a) those bananas got spraid at least 30 times with different insecticides and pesticides and b) Chiquita doesn't even give the farmers the time to leave the plantations, so they get sprayed too, it affects my choice.

-If I know that a party-promoter doesn't pay the artists performing and the people working behind the bar properly, while the tickets are expensive as hell (cos it's the 'hippest' spot) and he's making lots of cash himself, I don't go there anymore (unless I can get my butt on the guestlist ... opportunistic me)

-If I know that a certain restaurant hires immigrants as dishwashers so that they can pay less (the workers can't complain, cos they risk being expulsed when contacting any authority), I don't go there.

There's 1000's of examples like this in all of our lives : candy & photo filmrolls containing gelatin, shampoos being tested on animals, food mixed with waste, ...

What I'm trying to say is : we can blame the big corporations and conglomerates, but if we keep buying these products without expressing any discontent, blaming these firms won't help much, cos the money will keep coming in (and in the end, that's their only concern).

I feel a little helpless and overwhelmed by all this consumption myself from time to time, so I do realise it can be hard. But to me it's like once I know something, I CAN'T act as if I don't.

Now I don't promote highly mediatized 'spectacular' actions, there's plenty of very simple stuff that you can do every day, which still represent a fundamental change in
thinking and acting :

-Letting Nike, Adidas, Chiquita, Ikea,...
know you don't agree with their sweatshop
politics through emails, letters, phonecalls ...

-Not buying products that have been made
under poor conditions (a lot of the tea we
drink has been reeped by Chinese prisoners
who are forced to work for the Chinese
government for free), this means checking the
origin of both product and background of the
company. There's books on this, where you
can find which companies are ok, and which

-Supporting products that have been made
under decent working conditions, such as
African cooperative farmer organisations,
fair trade bananas and coffee.

Now, you might say that it's relatively easy for me to say and do so (cos there's a shop where I live where they provide alternative products). It is true that I can only speak about my own situation, I don't pretend to know enough about where other people live to be able to say something valid.

But at the same time I also go to the regular supermarket, the grocery store, ... so I don't live in a different world. My point is : we as individuals should at least TRY to make a change in our own life, if we want to criticize companies. If we don't we're just an accomplice.

But it's not only about buying the alternative to an existing product, I believe it's also about a change in mentality : you can get Chiquita bananas all year round, if you want the fair trade equivalent, you sometimes have to wait for 6 weeks..., and the packaging might look less 'flashy'.

That's hard for most of us, cos we're used to

a) judging stuff by the way it looks (suppose there's 2 identical pairs of sneakers, one with the Nike swoosh, one without. All of us will pick the swooshed one) and

b) getting INSTANT satisfaction.

But because of this permanent availability of everything, I believe we're very spoiled, we expect everything to be there when WE want it.

In fact, we'd like shops to be open 25/8 (not a typo) ...
"just in case I need something on Monday at 4:45 AM".
We want to be able to eat oranges and pineapples every day of the year, even though it's NOT natural for oranges to grow in February...

It's not completely our fault, cos we were raised in this type of society. Most of our parents worked hard to build it, probably without seeing the possible ethical/spiritual
... But at the same time this doesn't mean that we have to accept it the way it's being 'offered' to us.
And criticizing doesn't necessarily mean in words, but much more through actions.

I already mentioned 'simple stuff', here's more of what I try to do :

. Taking your own plastic bag(s) when you go shopping, or use paper bags,
. Buying drinks in glass bottles (no plastic, no aliminium cans),
. Using shampoo, toothpaste... that hasn't been tested on animals,
. Using cleaning products that are bio-degradable,
. Using cotton handkerchiefs instead of paper ones,
. Never buying those 'mini-snicker family packs' (you buy more packaging than snickers !),
. Buying fresh vegetables and fruit, not canned,
. Not having the tap running while you're brushing your teeth,
. Not having your (central) heating system on when you're not home,
. Keeping rooms that have their heating switched on closed,
. Not using a car for distances less than 5 kilometres (approx. 3 miles) (unless you have to transport a fridge and it's raining, of course hey, I'm not a beast !)
. Switching off the light in the hall when you leave,
. Not defrosting food by putting it in the microwave, but by taking it out the freezer the night before and putting it in the fridge (this way, your fridge will first use the
'cold energy' of the frozen food before using electricity),
. By putting a filled water bottle inside your toilet-reservoir, this means you can flush using less water (make sure there's still enough to flush all the excrements though,
or you'll end up with an 'Angieee doodoo-situation' )
. Switching off your computer screen if you're downloading that 214 MB file with your 28.8 modem
and not doing anything else on your PC,
. Not always having all equipment in your studio switched on,
. Buying second hand if possible,

Not only do you save money this way, but it can also be a start to consume less, to be more aware of our environment and our responsibility as inhabitant of this planet
(dayum, this sounds soooooo Greenpeace-ish , "excuse me while I kiss the whale"-Jimi Hendrix)

I think that's enough for today... I gotta digest a little right now ...

One last thing : I don't want anyone thinking I consider myself special, cos I honestly don't.
There's thousands (who knows, maybe millions ? ) of people doing this, I'm just one of them. I realise I'm not making a big difference, and I'm convinced society/life
won't change the way I'd like it to during my lifetime.

But at least I'll know that I TRIED...



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