Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fair Trade Shopping during a Recession & the Story of Stuff

Like the rest of you, I had a run of holiday parties this past weekend. Thursday, The Sustainability Project holiday party. A lovely evening at Living Green, a store in Santa Barbara behind the Spearmint Rhino (hmmm . . . what's with all the shades of green?). The TSP party featured 100 mile diet foods--a delicious spread of vegetables, soft cheeses, fruits--a much easier diet to keep when you live in Southern California. Great conversations and further inspiration to do good. Check out Living Green when you have a chance! You can purchase many healthy items for your home if you have the dinero.

Friday night was the famous HH near-Christmas party hosted by George and Amy. Their house is always so festive. Great people, clever decorations and insightful conversations. Did I mention great wine and beer? Baby Ezra was passed around, beaming his smile and lighting up the evening. Adorable children abounded at this event, including Sophia, Nathan and baby George, the latter within a few days of Ezra. Cookie Jill and I got into a lengthy conversation about how to really help people. It seems the answer, as always, is to get involved and educate. I suggested she run for public office, as she has a lot of knowledge and a passion for justice. That should be the basis for public office, don't you think?

Oh, back to the recession. Despite the pending recession, we went out and purchased a hideous white elephant gift for the White Elephant Cocktail Party at Charles and Matty's swinging household. I must say that my man has exquisite taste when it comes to intentionally picking out hidea (that must be a word!). He found the epitome of the white elephant gift; a ceramic musical piggy bank made in China. This creatura had black beady eyes and a series of flowers painted over its fat, pink, glossy torso. We weren't the only ones to appreciate its horror. It was one of the top picks of the evening and was greeted by applause and screams at the party! Oh, at the same party, I spoke with Linda C, and she has a very smart brother who is in finance who is "annoyingly mostly right most of the time" with his opinions, and HE says we're going into a recession and that the housing market is going down for another few years.

So I'm spouting second hand information here, but what gives? Are we really at a point where we have to face our consumer cycle of debt, spending, overworking, spending and more debt? Could it be that the high cost of low prices is finally catching up with us in more ways than one? I hope so. I say this as I hope a recession will help America to shift its unsustainable practices and become more responsible and accountable as a nation. I would never wish for a recession, and I realize it could shift us out of the comfort zone that keeps us all afloart. I KNOW its not that simple.

That brings me to the story of stuff.I have to say I'm very impressed with an amazingly straight forward, humorous and inspiring video I saw online as of recent forwarded via Dutch friend Tessa Lippman:


It really makes you want to NOT BUY anything. Then again, what about the fair trade items out there? Wouldn't that be a true example of voting with your dollars?

www.greenearthjewelry.com for example has items that are beautiful, medium priced, fair trade and made of recycled materials. Am I fooling myself by continuing to think about shopping? I'm still a consumer at heart. How ingrained is the habit and how hard is it to break? Does anyone know? I know its all based on personal experience, but I KNOW people have opinions.

1 comment:

lauren said...

Look for some insight in the form of a package arriving today for you at work. Happy Birthday!