Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I try not to buy things made in China as a one-person protest of China's occupation of Tibet. I've also written about Mindful Shopping (what a concept!) here and about how difficult it is to find things that are not made in China.
So it did my heart good today to read this story in the Chicago Tribune about another woman who tried to stop buying things made in China -- for a different reason, but it is her protest just the same. I thought I was the only one who diligently read labels!
A family tries 12 months without 'Made in China'
Strike China from the shopping list? Good luck. One experiment highlights how much U.S. consumers rely on those imports.
By Mary Ellen Podmolik | Special to the Tribune
August 19, 2007
Is it possible to live without Chinese-made goods?
That's what Sara Bongiorni wanted to know, and after a year of a self-imposed embargo, she said she's thankful her telephone didn't break because she fears she might have broken down herself and bought a replacement made in China.
The Baton Rouge, La., mom and her family did make do, however, without a coffeepot, a blender, birthday candles and a lot of toys.
"We knew it would be difficult but until we did this, we really didn't know how much we rely on imports for everyday things," Bongiorni said....
The story gives tips on boycotting Chinese goods:
- Don't expect friends and family to join in.
- Be prepared to go without convenience items, like an inexpensive coffeemaker.
- Get out your magnifying glass to look at tiny print on boxes and labels.
- When ordering from catalogs and Web sites, be prepared to make phone calls asking for the item's country of origin.
- Dig deeper. Some toys from Danish firm Lego, for example, are made in China.
- Brush up on geography. You'll have to decide whether Hong Kong and Macau are part of the boycott.
On the Students for a Free Tibet website it says that "in December 2002, a worldwide coalition of Tibetan and Chinese organizations and human rights and labor advocates launched an international Boycott Made in China campaign designed to level economic pressure on the Chinese government to end its occupation of Tibet. In a coordinated effort to urge people to stop buying goods made in China, activists throughout Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Europe and India, are educating consumers about what their money is supporting when they buy 'Made in China.'
The Boycott Made in China campaign, representing a worldwide coalition of Tibetan and Chinese organizations and human rights and labour advocates, plans to put the brakes on China's crimes through the power of the individual consumer. Campaign organizers believe that, more than any other force that could be bought to bear against China, the latent power of the free, informed and responsible consumer can pressure the world's last surviving giant Communist dictatorship to allow the Tibetan nation and the Chinese people the freedom they have been long denied."
Tucked away comfortably in our small towns or suburban subdivisions, ALL of us are a part of the bigger global picture. Our choices DO affect change, one person at a time.
Sorry if this sounds judgmental, but THINK, PEOPLE! Mindfulness is a life practice. Mindfulness is a choice. THINK about where your food comes from. THINK about where your clothes come from -- are they made by companies in foreign sweatshops that employ child labor? The three biggest corporate villains for clothing are Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and Dilliards. THINK about whether the cosmetics you buy are tested on animals. The biggest corporate villains for cosmetics insofar as animal testing and using known carcinogens are Maybelline, L'Oreal, Almay, and Revlon.
Think outside the box. Think mindfulness. Be mindfulness. Be aware.