So you eat kind of organic/local, you recycle, and you vote for parks and better environmental protections. Life is good, right? Unfortunately, the inconvenient truth is that it is not. Whether we like it or not, being part of the mainstream fashion industry means we are hurting people and the world.
I have a few pieces of clothing that I love. I’ve had them for years. I bought them on some sale for $5, and I used to joke that “wow, those children slave laborers in China did a good job!” I don’t think I’ll be doing that any more. My consciousness was at first changed by an article in The New York Times. It starts like this….
“SAVAR, Bangladesh — On the worst days, the toxic stench wafting through the Genda Government Primary School is almost suffocating. Teachers struggle to concentrate, as if they were choking on air. Students often become lightheaded and dizzy. A few boys fainted in late April. Another retched in class.
The odor rises off the polluted canal — behind the schoolhouse — where nearby factories dump their wastewater. Most of the factories are garment operations, textile mills and dyeing plants in the supply chain that exports clothing to Europe and the United States. Students can see what colors are in fashion by looking at the canal.”
I started to explore the internet, and found more and more stories of death and pollution from underpaid workers in unhealthy and pesticide filled working conditions.
The information is everywhere. You only have to look. There are documentaries, like The True Cost and even big charities like Unicef are involved. It is estimated that 170 million children are engaged in child labor, most having to do with the fashion industries in counties like Uzbekistan, India, Thailand, Egypt, and China. The multiple stages of the industry make it hard for the consumer, and sometimes even the company, to know the true cost of the manufactured clothes. During one investigation, 60% of the labor in Indian cotton spinning mills was children under the age of 18.
The environmental toxicity doesn’t just hurt the children who work in the factories either. It hurts everyone around the factories. In Delhi India, due to lack of environmental regulations, nearly half of the city’s 4.4 million school children have irreversible lung damage from the poisonous air. And that is just lung damage. Studies suggest that pollution can lower children’s I.Q., increase risks of autism, epilepsy, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
This isn’t the more articulate post, or necessarily a well laid out argument. However, I don’t think it has to be. Somewhere deep inside, we have all already learned the human and environmental costs of our clothes. No one debates that. The only debate left… is whether we care or not.
The best way to care? Buy resale to use what is already made. Buy made in USA. Buy fair trade/eco friendly. Repair what you have, and remember that you don’t need a new outfit every time you go out. You can find and smile worth wardrobe out there for reasonable prices , I swear. Good websites to go to?
REI.com, and search made in the USA
https://www.thegrommet.com/, search made in the USA
Amazon.com, search for Intouch made in USA, or NIKIBIKI made in usa
This Week in Updates: Rain and Don’t be Fooled By Appearances
Um, hi? Good morning? Or is it afternoon? Despite looking like a full functional adult I am not quite sure that I am. It’s a holiday cram to get radio qualified and get all my general mandated training done, and I’ve been up, about, around at all hours of the day sustained by Anti Depressant Friday at the co-op (20% off holla!) and the thoughts of seeing Jesse during Thanksgiving. Due to some SNAFU’s, I apparently am going to miss the actual dinner part of Thanksgiving by a few hours, but if all goes according to plan, I will not miss out on the baking and I’ll get a few nights in Portland.
Some of this running around I did and ACTUALLY GOT WET. In Sacramento? NO. GET OUT! Yes, it is true, and it has screwed up my swimming training for the week. I forgot that rain was slippery, and completely laid out my bike at the end of my 60 mile bike ride. The resulting welts are still gummy, and I am reluctant to place them in chlorine. My wipe out though attracted quite the reaction. I had the art gallery owner from near my house run out with a first aid kit!
But somehow during this week I did manage to co-run a fundraising bake sale. Ms Shannon made these amazing cake pops! I am very impressed. Thanks to Sally who stepped up and helped sell! We made over $90 for Station Morale!
I did try to cook though, but didn’t have time to tune up the recipes I wanted too. I had one taste great and look lackluster, and the other looks amazing but tastes… eh. I figured I would list the yummy one for this week. Don’t be fooled by its sad face! It tastes delicious! I’ll work on the pumpkin s’more maybe for next week.
The Recipe: Spicy Garlic Fried Rice and Lentils
You know you’ve done a good job when you put your lunch in the microwave and everyone at work is like, wow, what smells good! And you’re like, rice and lentils, and they get really confused. Fresh garlic is amazing, and if you fry it up just a little, it can do wondrous things. Also, it is rumored to help fight off those persistent colds everyone gets this time of year. Win-win situation? I think so!
Red pepper flakes
I used about 1 clove of garlic per serving, and that was perfect for me. Cook your rice and lentils as you would normally. Crush and chop up the garlic, and fry it in the olive oil. When the garlic is toasty brown, add the cooked rice into the pan and stir. Add some extra olive oil, like you would for fried rice. When the rice is warm, add the lentils. When the lentils are warm, remove from heat. Add red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Enjoy!