I am pushing my trolley down a Super Market isle, and I stop. Rows and rows of food 'products', and droves of people mindlessly (so it seems) stacking items into carts. Kids are tugging on mothers pants, they want the colourful packages, the sugary treats they've seen on TV. I ask myself, 'If the internet went down, if there was a crisis, how many of us would be able to feed ourselves?'. Have we lost touch?
The second thing that strikes me is the packaging. Shelves of plastic wrapped food- Even vegetables are wrapped in plastic, ON plastic trays! I think, 'What does a broccoli plant even look like??'. This is not good, I'm starting to panic.
I arrive at the freezer chests. They stretch along the cold concrete floor for 20 metres, and piled inside the frosty boxes are thousands of bags. Veges in a bag! Fish, chicken nuggets- whatever you want! ALL of these bags are going to end up in landfill, in fact, almost all of the packaging in this whole monstrous warehouse is going to end up in landfill- and this is ONE supermarket among millions. 2.5 MILLION Tonnes of waste enter our nations landfills each year. NEW ZEALAND 'CLEAN GREEN 100% PURE?' We need to change our consumer habits if we want to have a healthy eco system and strong communities for future generations.
While driving through South Canterbury with my wonderful Nanna last year, we passed through a small town, and like many of The South's small communities sadly do today- It looked dead. I asked Nanna 'What is the main economy around here? Where do people work?' Nanna, with sadness in her voice replied 'Fifty years ago, New Zealand's local economies were strong.' (Farming, Wool, Fruit, Vegetables.) In this particular town there had been a wool mill where local people made quality clothing from local product. 'There was no such thing as unemployment' Nanna said.
The local economies supported each community, and the communities- I believe, were much stronger for it. Now everything is imported, non-seasonal, cheap. You can get a mango in the middle of winter if you want it, and a $5 tee shirt from the sale rack at Glassons, (who by the way, rated TERRIBLY for ethical standards in the recent 'Baptist World Aid Fashion Report') And how can we be surprised when we can buy clothing for prices like that?
I recently watched a documentary called 'The True Cost' on the 'Fast Fashion' industry. It exposed workers conditions in the third world where our 'cheap' goods are made- Practically by slaves. In India, a young Woman started a union at her work (a clothing factory) to raise concerns and a fair list of improvements they wanted to see as employees. They were in turn, locked in a room and beaten by their employers, thrown against walls, and silenced by fear and violence. All of this so we can waltz down to the mall 'Where everyone gets a bargain'.
I could honestly go on for days about this, but my point is- I have decided I need to make some changes in the way I buy! For the last few years I thought I was behaving rather well. I own a lot of second hand clothes, I recycled, sometimes I went to the farmers market.. It is a great start, but I want to go further.
Here is my aim:
NO. crap! Unethical clothing or goods.
YES. Second hand, Op shops, Trade Me.
CUT DOWN. Packaging, even if it is 'recyclable'.
OPT FOR. Cardboard, Glass (Reusable), Cans.
USE YOUR OWN. Shopping bags- You can buy a fair trade, organic bag from me if you need one! I had 100 made through 'Freeset'.
REUSE. Paper bags, zip lock bags you already have, takeaway containers. These will last for ages!
BUY LOCAL, AVOID SUPERMARKETS.
Local fruit & vege vendors, NZ made, Farmers Markets.
SUPPORT. Smaller local economy and artisans, growers and makers. These people are skilled at their craft, and they deserve our support.
As a musician, I have a small public platform, but a platform of some kind none the less. I want to use it to voice my concerns, and share something (hopefully) of value.
There is so much more I want to learn- but I have to start with myself. I hope that this can inspire even one more person to join me. We are so fortunate to live in New Zealand, and as occupants it is ours to care for, and protect. And we must.