Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shopping With A Conscience

As green fashion becomes the hottest trend so does the legitimacy of green marketing claims. The New York Times came out with an article titled "A World Consumed by Guilt" discussing the various nuances in the green fashion industry and complexities involved in "sustainable products". While it is easy to criticize that green products are too expensive, I can speak from experience that manufacturing using sustainable products is a completely uphill battle and anyone who is embracing it in whatever capacity is taking an important challenging first step.

There are so many variables ranging from the transportation costs of a product to where it was manufactured and under what conditions, that it is almost a no win situation in trying to claim green. However, whether it is products made from organic cotton or recycled materials, the transparency of where and how the product was created is important information that most companies should be open in providing. Patagonia which has been leading the sustainability movement in clothing does an awesome job of this through its Footprint Chronicles. If it is simply a generic label of "eco-friendly" be wary and inquisitive.

As The Federal Trade Commission strives to revise its green marketing claims in 2008, it is up to consumers to begin asking smart questions about the products they purchase and using your money in ways that support your values. If you care about the type of material - ask about it. If you care about fair trade and manufacturing - ask. Chances are that the salesperson will not know, but if enough people ask, then that will ultimately be communicated to the powers that be and if nothing else, at least you are shopping with a conscience and doing what you can do, which is the best starting point to create change. And try to support those smaller vendors that are embracing innovation to bring us products with a purpose and a conscience, even if it costs a bit more:-)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Eco-Friendly Hanukkah Gift Ideas

While Hanukkah certainly does not compare to the religious important of Christmas, nonetheless it is a time of celebration and festivities. As Hanukkah kicks of in its second night, Jews around the globe are celebrating the story of Hanukkah. And of course, no reason to not go green this Hanukkah. Thanks to our friends at Greenthinkers, here are some eco-friendly Hanukkah gifts for your Jewish friends.

Recycled Hanukkah Cards from 3RLiving.
Natural Beeswax Hanukkah Candles from Global Exchange.
Recycled Glass Menorah from Vertige.
Fair Trade Chocolate Coins from Divine Chocolate.
Recycled Jewish Holiday Crayons from The Jewish Musem.
Sustainable Wood Dreidel, also from 3RLiving.

Via: Greenthinkers

And don't forget to check out Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song while you are at it.

More Plastic Bag Controversy

The New York Times came out with an article articulating the growing trend of more cities moving to proposed city bans and consumer awareness campaigns around plastic bags. Whenever I see articles like this in mainstream media, I can't help but feel like posting a gold star (or should I say green) for the green/sustainable movement.

It is a holistic article explaining all sides of the paper vs. plastic vs. biodegradable vs. reusable argument. I was all in a green glow until I got to the one quote from Barry F. Scher, a spokesman for Giant Food in Landover, MD

"Bags don't litter — people litter," he said. "There needs to be more citizen education."

The citizen education I agree with, but seriously, for corporate giants and the plastics industry to not take on some accountability is simply unacceptable. Whether driven by fear of having to acknowledge that we are all contributing to the problem (and thus having to committ corporate dollars to finding a solution), or complete ignorance, they are doing more harm than good IMHO. My guess (via the good human) they are scared and feeling guilty deep down inside:-)

It is easy for cynics of the green movement to turn the plastic issue into a political one and turn a blind eye and grasp for the argument of convenience. And I will be the first to agree that reusable bags are not the end all be all. There has to be a major shift in consumer behavior and frankly cuter, hipper, and more user friendly reusable bags (I mean no wonder more people aren't using those grocery canvas bags - how horrendous:-)

And for better or worse, plastic will always be a part of our lives. It is understandable that the plastic industry is doing whatever it can to sustain itself in the midst of this plastic backlash, but instead of grasping from fear and blame, perhaps embracing innovation and sustainability will better further their cause. In the meantime we can all do our part and that starts by simply using less. So if it is reusing/recycling your own plastic bags, or bucking up the $1.50 to try a reusable bag, try and take that first step and simply use less.

Check out the full article here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hanukkah Treat: YMCA Goes Hasidic

While this may not be Hanukkah specific, how could we not somehow highlight the first night of "The Festival Of Lights."

To support the launch of its new HDTV service, Israel's YES TV network with help from McCann Digital gathered together an army of Hasidic Jews to perfom the Village People's YMCA in the street. Even if you can't understand hebrew, you will no doubt be able to hear a few "oy vay's" and "shiksa" in the mix. Happy Hanukkah to all!!

Via: Adrants