I’ve worked out that the less we hang out with people who are trying to do all they can do reverse climate change and show others that modern life in the UK can be sustainable the more we revert to being ‘normal’ in our shopping habits.
I hadn’t even realised it until I wrote the post about bulk shopping mentioning how I’d been delighted to get so many bargains from an online discount store when comments from a friend reminded me that by shopping there I was continuing the support the massive industrial globalised food production machine I believe to be unsustainable and damaging.
For the first time in nearly half a decade I have found myself buying occasional ‘prison meat’ products of reduced price ham knowing that no-one who cares about such things will spot me doing so and therefore no-one will raise an eyebrow.
My kids raised an eyebrow but I notice they didn’t debate the purchase too strongly after years of ‘Why aren’t we allowed ham in our sandwiches?’ questioning and wishing they didn’t have such a strongly opinionated parent. But by explaining to them where my principles came from they grew up knowing that unethical unsustainable production is a bad thing.
Our society are generally not made aware of the misery that creating mass produced meat from barely legal low standards in animal husbandry, harsh chemical toiletries and cleaning products which will naturally end up in our water systems nor the impact of growing and flying perfect vegetables around the planet so we can have whatever we want to eat whenever we fancy.
On the contrary we are fed a very biased view towards these harmful shopping items via multi-million pound advertising campaigns and very rarely towards their alternative competitors.
Since we moved away from the lovely town in Mid Wales which seemed to have so many free thinking simple lifestyle folks as its residents and started living as unknown new people in a more standard town I have felt myself pulled towards the ‘norm’ which means away from sustainable choices. This does not sit well with me and I am interested to observe it in myself.
We do not watch television and so are a little more removed from media pressures than others but my kids do note that they are the people who do not have plastic bags, cling film or processed foods in their lunch boxes each day. Thankfully they gave up a long time ago asking if I would buy them cheese strings (yuck!) so some such other horrible product after countless ‘No, I don’t buy those nasty things’ but the pressure is there at school and around us in other places too.
Thanks to Andy’s comments on the piece I wrote the other day I’ve been reminded of how every pound we spend is essentially a vote we use to ensure the thing we buy stays in production. If I buy ‘prison pig ham’ it is a way of saying to the people in charge of those poor poor animals that I am fully supportive of their operations and wish it to continue. Similarly if I were to buy brand new clothing of unknown provenance I would be casting my vote in favour of polluting factories, possibly underage factory workers in an unregulated and global transportation systems.
In order to bring myself back into a place where I am mindful of where my money is spent I have drafted a short list to help me remember to shop in line with my own ethics and to continue to raise our children with full explanations of the choices we are offered and why we choose what we do in this household.
- Staying put – less holidays. We don’t go away very often anyway due to animals and also loving it at home where there is so much gardening to do.
- Planning ahead – cooking and freezing meals (to create our own ‘ready meals’ in the freezer when a hungry cold family of five walks in after a long day out of the house)
- Shopping in bulk from organic local suppliers to create our own stores from which to make weekly snacks
- Eating mass produced foodstuffs /packaged
- Meat eating
- Buying new
- Buying prison meat
- Buying new mass manufactured goods
- Use my own fabric/string bags but occasionally I forget them so I need to have them stashed in my handbag at all times