Thursday, September 6, 2012

Footprints and Poverty

Yesterday I was reading one of the blogs I follow and The Non-Consumer Advocate asked her followers to help out a fellow follower with advice. This particular person has come across very hard times and needed advice on how to make it through financially.

As I cruised the supermarket aisles today, Ethical Consumer Guide in hand I pondered what I would do if I were in that person's position. It became abundantly clear very quickly that Footprints would have to be greatly modified. Some of the changes would lead to greater care for the environment but maybe less ethical care; some would fall short on both. To be honest, although it would concern me, keeping a roof over our heads, paying our bills and feeding the family would matter far more.

As a family we'd have to try harder to use less of our utilities. Watching output for Footprints is different from watching it to keep a roof over your head. I bet Teenage Daughter actually could find a way to shorten her showers if that were the case. Instead of the heater being turned on by anyone who was cold rather than putting on an extra layer, I'm sure the jacket would be reached for. It would be a case of "this shit just got real".

I tend to buy in bulk or larger sizes where I can but, if it's more ethical to buy from a company that uses heavy packaging, I do so. I bet I'd be buying the absolute cheapest and not caring about anything other than price! And if I couldn't find something second-hand, you can bet I'd be buying it new from Big W, regardless of their ethical sourcing policy.

The responses the other readers gave, for the most, would fit into Footprints. Much of it was common sense: plan the week's menu in advance, only buy what you need, make things from scratch rather than buy them ready made, buy in bulk, buy second-hand, use your library, walk or catch the bus, put on extra layers rather than run the heater and start a veggie patch.

One thing is for sure: I feel terrible for the family that has found itself in this situation and hope it's remedied as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend.

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