I recently went to Windsor to help my grandmother settle into her new apartment. After overcoming illness and losing over 100 pounds, it is a marvel to watch my gramma. Not only is she now living on her own, but she is thriving. She is happy and has more energy than I can ever recall. It was on such visit that I once again understood how much we can gain from our ancestry. My gramma taught me you can change your life and your patterns at any age, for the better.
Not only is there infinite wisdom to gain from our previous generations, but immense amounts of strength and courage. What has also become more and more increasingly evident is that these generations can also learn from us, and are both willing and able to move and adapt and shift with society as we do. All that is needed to create these shifts together is greater communication between the generations. A bridging the gap if you will.
In terms of what we are doing here at Local Buttons this is something we really need to keep in mind. How can we ensure that our message can be heard and be applicable to people of all ages? How can our parents and their parents be part of this movement to promote ethical and alternative purchasing markets? Not only in regards to clothing, but to other, often larger items we purchase.
This struck me as we wandered the aisles of Linen and Things, Winner’s and Home Sense. I can advocate for the local and the ethical in regards to clothing, but how can I even begin to tackle the big markets like home decor? Home decor is an ever-increasing business, yet it is one that has yet to be exposed to an ethical alternative on a larger scale. Stores like Ten Thousand Villages are a start, yet are not as readily available and seem to cater to only a certain style of design. These big box stores do so well because you can walk the aisles and find pretty much any random home trinket in any colour or size at a cheap price. It’s just so much easier.
*As a side note there is an online start in the UK called the Ethical Superstore that promotes purchasing ‘ethical’ items. While this is a step up from shopping at say a Wal-Mart, and demonstrates the consumer demand for ethical items, it is far from perfect. It is more expensive and therefore less accessible. Regardless of price it still promotes the idea of mindless purchasing in a sense by the sheer volume of stuff you can buy at the click of a button.
Convenience, honestly we all want it, so how do we move outside of this in regards to thinking about each purchase and the effect it has on our immediate environment, and the often long journey the object has taken to end up in our possession. Can we mix the convenient and the ethical AND consume less? If we do so, and consume less, what jobs are lost? How can we advocate for the loss of jobs? Yet how can we not? The way we are living and consuming, especially in a country like Canada, is wreaking havoc on our environment and each other in terms of inequality. Through Local Buttons we promote the idea of conscientious purchasing-this extends beyond simply looking at how something is produced, but also really pondering the necessity of the item. It’s a bit of a tricky conundrum. To buy or not to buy….
Take a look at here, where Annie Leonard tells the ‘Story of Stuff’. It’s rather eye-opening to see a straightforward break down of how and where everything comes and where it ends up, and all the [detrimental] steps in between.
Ms Leonard states that 99% of what is purchased/consumed in the US is trashed within the first 6 months. That is obscene, there is no other way to describe that.
This is why we strive to find ways to expose ethical businesses in Toronto and beyond, and why we want to create a line of clothing that is made ethically from refurbished materials.