Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cheap stuff OR a rich community life?

"We have the illusion of consumer freedom, but we've sacrificed our community life for the pleasure of purchasing lots of cheap stuff. Making and moving all that stuff can be so destructive: child labor in foreign lands, acid rain in the Northeast, depleted farmland...We often have the form of liberty, but not the substance." ~ Tod Murphey, as quoted in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

A friend recently told me that our embargo is not plausible in the real world. It's got to be large scale stuff or bust. China is not going to be stopped anytime soon, he said.

Tell me something can't be done and I'm only going to try harder. ;)

I disagree with my friend. If everyone thought that way - i.e. large scale or bust - nothing would ever get done. We ARE making a difference with our New Year's resolution. Now I'm sure our embargo hasn't made the front page in Beijing. Factories haven't shut down due to our efforts. And large boats crammed full of cheap, plastic goodies are still moving steadily towards the U.S. at remarkable speeds every day, I'm sure.

What's the point then? First of all, we're taking action by spreading the word. Do you realize how many emails Drew and I have sent in nine months? Customer representatives from Pottery Barn, Purina, Blurb.com, Victoria's Secret, Verizon, Gap, and a random eBay seller, to name a few, have heard about our embargo. We've told friends, family, and strangers. I believe that Drew and I plant a seed just by telling people about this crazy venture of ours. Maybe that random stranger will ask himself, "Do I really need this?" the next time he's getting ready to purchase a Chinese product (I know one of my friends has already done this a few times! Kudos Gaby!). Who knows?

Secondly, Drew and I are personally tweaking the way we live our life. I'm realizing that this "Why China?" thing is much bigger than I originally thought - it's a first step. When I think back to the quote at the top, it hits me like ten pairs of socks. "Poom, poom, poom...POOM!" Our decision to not buy from China is there in the quote (i.e. "cheap stuff"). But a not-so-subtle shift in how Drew and I think and buy has occurred - we've started thinking globally by buying locally (i.e. "community life"). So whether or not I'm officially boycotting China next year, I WILL be attempting to be a better member of my community, which in turn means buying locally, so it all comes full circle in the end anyway. Bye bye China.

So, friend, at the end of the day it's all about living life in accordance to what YOU think is important. After all, if I believe something is wrong, I must stand up for it. Even if I'm the only one. Or maybe I'm not...

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