Can't Save the Entire World

When I look into my closet I tend to think about how I represent myself through my clothing: does my range of clothing express who I am, my individuality,  my creativity? But it also makes me question my principles and whether or not my clothing represents my personal values. There are companies that I refuse to give my money to because their exploits cause me enough moral discomfort not to support their business practices. But in boycotting products or companies based on ‘moral conviction’ where do we draw the line? Virtually everything that our society has to offer has been produced by exploiting someone or some resource somewhere on the planet. As a friend of mine articulated to me brilliantly “the modern world makes a liar of all of us”. Or at least it can make us seem like hypocrites when we claim to care about social and environmental issues and yet support global inequity and environmental destruction when it serves us and through our buying.

So why not just give up? Can’t save the entire world.  

Well, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just because we can’t do everything, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything.

And yet (although most days it feels like a lifetime ago) sometimes I feel like it wasn’t very long ago that I was so financially ‘broke’ that my buying habits were dictated by the necessity of now. I just needed cheap. I didn’t have the luxury of thinking very beyond my immediate needs. And when you’re microwaving peanut butter because that’s the most luxurious meal option you have, you don’t exactly stop and deliberate about what’s in the peanut butter. So I feel very sternly committed to recognizing that- like me- there are many Canadians who have, are, or will live in relative poverty at some point over their lifetime. These are voices that are important to recognize when we talk about social and environmental change.

I’ve been very fortunate to come through dark times not entirely unscathed, but stronger. Like, kick-serious-ass-stronger. One of the things I’m using my good fortune (and kick-assedness) to do is talk about the way that we sustain ourselves: how we do it, whether it’s working, and practical things we can do on a number of levels (from basic, no-cost options up to high end ideas and products) to shift into a better direction. 

You should come and visit me on my YouTube channel where I’m just scratching the surface.