Crikey, where has the time gone?
11 months have flown by and there is just one little month left of My Make Do and Mend Year.
People keep asking me what I am going to do when the year ends.
And I really have no idea.
I know that we will not go back to our old ways of mindless consumption, and any new purchases we make will be carefully considered and second-hand options explored thoroughly first.
I think the biggest thing I/we will take away from this year is to consume more thoughtfully.
I have blogged before about the ethical dilemmas of pretty much any type of shopping, (here and here) once you actually start to learn/think about how the product arrived in the shops.
How were the raw ingredients grown/harvested? What has gone into it? What vast array of chemicals have gone into the product-from pesticides applied to cotton as it grows, to the dyes and chemicals used to colour and treat the material. Who made it? Were they paid living wage to make it? How did the finished product arrive in the shop?
And it’s not just finished products, it is ‘raw materials’ too.
Making stuff ourselves does not unfortunately exempt us from the ethics of shopping and consumption.
I recently read a great series of posts from The Hessian Sack, all about The Foolishness of Craft. They are hugely thought-provoking and informative, and I would recommend them as food for thought.
For example, cotton is one the most energy intense materials there is. It takes bucket-loads of chemicals, gallons of water and chemicals, and farmers endangering their lives spreading lethal chemicals onto the crop, for us to have our pretty cotton fabric for making a skirt/dress/bag etc. So although, handmade things are generally much ‘nicer’ in terms of the production of the product-you know who made it, you know they have a house, and can feed themselves, and are not working in sweat shop conditions, but the cotton itself has a pretty hefty environmental footprint.
And wool is not much better. Much of it comes from Australia, where sheep are kept in super flocks of 1000’s and the welfare may not be quite what we would hope for. The wool is then treated with harsh chemicals to clean and dye it and it is then shipped halfway across the world.
Panorama also had a programme on last week about illegal logging, and how you can’t really be that sure if the wood you are buying has not come from a rainforest.
By buying second-hand, you are effectively removing yourself from that whole process and not adding to the demand for any particular product.
AND you are saving stuff from landfill.
AND you get something unique, or that you can customise and make your own.
AND it is cheaper!
Hurray for second-hand shopping 🙂