Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the decisions we make

Recently, N & I have been opening our eyes to the decisions that we often take for granted.

This began from me having long discussions with a vegan colleague, who gave me a push to move further into vegetarianism.

We rarely ate red meat as it was - I can't remember the last time I had beef, however chicken and pork (ham and bacon) were staples in our weekly menu. In an effort to be more conscious of the effect our eating had on the world, we decided to cut out these meats too, and add milk to the list.

I'll write more on this another time, what I really want to look into is the flow-on effect that this decision to live more consciously and ethically has had on us so far.
I'll say that we always tried to buy the 'earth friendly' detergent when we needed clothes-washing soap or 'multi-purpose' cleaner, because that was an easy, obvious choice. We had never considered ourselves 'eco-friendly' beyond this, and often scoffed at people who bought organic, or went out of their way to get their 'every day' stuff from the health food shop or market. Toothpaste? Deodorant? Soap? Too hard basket, get it from the supermarket.

But, with our eyes opening, we are beginning to face these decisions in a most confronting way.

Think about this:

How often do you consider the impact you are having based on the type of soap you're buying? I'm on a kind of soap crusade at the moment because it seems virtually impossible to find soap which fulfils these criteria:

  1. Does not use animal tallow. (look it up if you don't know. Said to be made from cats & dogs from pounds, too). 
  2. Does not use palm oil (look it up. Orangutan environment destruction).
  3. Does not cost more than $4 a bar.

This product may exist outside of Australia, but here, it seems like a hard ask. I simply don't think, after having spent two years living only on N's wage, that I can justify spending $5 on a bar of soap every month. 

To this end, we have even looked into making our own soap, but it seems that this is either a complicated chemical/scientific process, or could use animal products anyway, in which case I might as well stick with the supermarket stuff.

But my point is, there are some things we just aren't brought up to consider, right? Soap- buy what's on sale/what smells nice. Toothpaste: go with what you know. Even coffee- we buy big tins of coffee from costco, and I haven't yet considered where it comes from.

I think, though, that you could drive yourself crazy trying to 'do the right thing' every time, with every thing. There would be a sense of guilt regardless of which decision you made because surely, at some point, something is being harmed/losing out/suffering due to the decisions you've made. Which isn't to say, I suppose, that you shouldn't do it, just that you have to be comfortable in those decisions you make. If you can. 

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