Monday, April 23, 2007


Clothes – maybe some of the most difficult ethical things to buy; or shall I rephrase and suggest that clothes-that-I-like are some of the most difficult ethical things to buy. Oh I know that there are some fair-trade and ethical clothing companies selling very good clothes out there but lets face it, there are some that aren't; and when I need an outfit for a wedding/evening/slob out/walk, I just want to look nice!

Toothpaste – not a problem! Well farmed meat – ooh I'm rolling up my metaphorical sleeves at the prospect of an opposing view. Bread – prospective home-buyers in the neighbourhood should be drawn by their noses to the glorious smell of fresh bread pumping out of the house.

.... but clothes? Well whilst I revel in trying to live what some may call the 'hippy do-gooder life', I naturally do not want to appear to the nation – or local neighbourhood – as some such hippy living a do-gooder life. This is my achilles heel; the log in my eye; the ying to my yang; inside of me there is someone wanting to rush into that female clothing store currently taking over the world, and purchase 10 items of fashionable clothing for the grand price of £10! Pah! to all those reasons not to – as laid out by the rules of the holy book (otherwise known as the Good Shopping Guide).

The problem is, I would feel like I did when I was 12 and did a 24 hour famine fundraiser; half way through the day I hid in the girls toilets traitorously munching on a chocolate bar whilst sweating in fear that someone might find out... oh I felt the weight of my conscience for a lot longer than I felt the weight of the chocolate bar.

All I want is some ethical/fair-trade jeans that do not cost £120 – is that too much to ask?! Perhaps yes say the hoards of people affected by the production of inexpensive clothing. If all clothing cost that much then that would be the cost of clothing for all and we would think little of it.

I shall content myself for now with the knowledge that it is summer and with the effect of global warming I shall not need to wear jeans as the temperature will soar and all people everywhere will wear shorts. Hooray.

Friday, April 20, 2007

An article in the Guardian this week suggested that as we have now started growing crops to feed our cars as well as our stomachs, we're definitely going to have to start to rely more on GM crops, just to get bigger yields we're going to need. In reply, a spokesman from the Soil Association suggested that rather than grow more GM crops, perhaps we could all eat a little less meat.

Long silence...

How often do you hear anyone in a position of authority suggest that we might get by with less of anything? It's funny but it made me realise how alien that concept actually is to most of us in the West, and I'm in there with everyone else. Yet to make a difference environmentally, sometimes, I think it's obvious we're going to have to do with less (or sometimes without). I salute Mr Soil Association man in sticking his neck out and saying the un-PC unsayable. Has anyone else got any examples of authority figures saying similar things? Is it really so rare?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fair Trade and Food Miles

The major supermarkets are vying for position in demonstrating their green credentials. Tesco seems to be leading the pack in food labelling by announcing it will shortly be adding food miles. If Tesco really want to tackle climate change by reducing aviation then why don't they withdraw their clubcard deals on airmiles? - stop encouraging their customers to fly. No doubt the Chief Executive, Mr Leahy would say it's all about giving consumers choice.

And on that note, when I start checking out the food miles on my green beans from Kenya versus my locally-sourced runner beans which is the more ethical choice? More environmentally friendly to buy local - but then the UK farmer probably lives in a nice house, sends his children to school and has three square meals a day. His Kenyan counterpart will be existing on a lot less - better to suffer some greenhouse gas emissions and support the developing world? I really don't know.