Monday, September 10, 2007

going china-free

i am overwhelmed with the number of things in my house that are made in china. since undertaking the oath to go china-free for christmas i've kept it in the forefront of my mind as i go through the house. our dishes from target - made in china stamped on the back. augustine's thomas toys - stamped. frick i just peeked under my digital camera, same! that baby monitor im listening to my wee baby slumber on? CHINESE! gesh at least my favorite stationary is safe... i'm feeling dizzy with the challenge but if you know me at all you will know that only further motivates me to push myself to do it and do it well.

so maybe you're scratching your head and asking yourself what's the big deal? well my friend allow me to elaborate a little bit on the subject.

01. questionable working conditions
four words: sweatshops and child labor. so let's just agree for once that reebok, mcdonalds, walmart, adidas, nike, new balance, and disney are the axis of evil okay?

02. questionable safety standards
as a parent i'm hyper aware of all things china-made because of the recent toy recalls. i freak out thinking my kid has been exposed to lead while he tinkers with his new car or she slobbers on some random teether. here's the thing though - their standards are not ours BUT america has failed to ensure the safety of it's people by allowing substandard products onto our markets. i can't blame the public for buying unsafe things. we just assume everything we buy isn't contaminated or dangerous in any way, duh. this is one of the major problems with outsourcing though. we put the control into the hands of people who are not looking out for our best interests. to them it's simply business. but with them putting out tainted toys, seafood, toothpaste, and medicine i think it's time we stop tilting our heads and start putting out money where our mouth is on this subject.

03. environmental issues
i recently ran across a series of articles published in the chicago tribune titled "china's great grab - how china's exploding appetite for natural resources is shaping the world". i suggest anyone interested in this goes and checks it out. they are absolutely ripping across that region with their overzealous cashmere farming a la goat raising.

in a nutshell, the goats used for the harvesting the cashmere are tearing up the land and turning it into a dust bowl. the dust is getting kicked up and creating huge dust storms that are endangering people's health. along with the whole goat debacle there is a lot of pollution being generated from all of the (bajillions of) plastic toys and other cheaply made items they produce and then export to ye ol' united states. and you know, like dye being dumped into the rivers. but darn it i really like all of that cheap stuff i can get from gap and old navy!! need photographic proof?

so what is the answer? for me and my family we are starting small - just trying to do a chinese free christmas. i figure if we can do it in what would easily be considered the mecca holiday for consuming, then maybe we'll consider going further and extending the plan. it won't be easy - as i started saying in the beginning of this entry, every item but one within arms reach of me at this moment says it is made in china. so it will take a little leg work but with the internet literally at my fingertips i really have no excuse. i see an item and if it isn't stated, i email the webmaster and ask where it is manufactured. end of story. or i can shop at places like shop for america. obviously as the name implies all of the products are name in the united states, i will add that our only goal at this point is to avoid chinese products, not only buy american. hey it's a start though. for more info on the dangers of trading with china and links to non-chinese retailers online visit not china made

ps i still love chinese food!


Tammy said...

We're trying for a China-free Christmas too. It's quite depressing when I inventory the contents of our house and realise most of it is made in China. Can't change the past, but I can make sure we try not to bring any new stuff in.

Anyway, don't know if you know of this blog, but Amy over at angry chicken recently wrote a great post about toys for kids with a huge list of alternatives to the regular Chinese made stuff. Lots of great ideas there.

jenny mae. said...

yes i am an angry chicken fan!

Alia said...

Awesome. PS donating you X-mas spending money is an easy way to go china free., as long as your friends and family would be on-board with the idea.

Careful about the "made in amreica" thing. there are a few regions of the world that can legally put that on their products becasue thay are a territory, but there is little oversite as far a friendly labor practices go.

And, as always--CUTE KIDS!!

jenny mae. said...

how will i know what is labor-safe and what isn't?

mommy zabs said...

Great blog :) I love the pics below of our kiddos, so very cute, and the one of you and your husband totally cracks me up. Thank you for taking time to spread why you feel passionate about what is going on in China. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow!

I like chinese food to! My husband asked if it meant we weren't going to do chinese food anymore and I laughed... I said honey, were in the US, it's made here!

jenny mae. said...

mmm general tsos. forever friends!

Missparker said...

I think it's really cool that you have decided to take this step. I've heard of other people doing this (one family just went one year without buying products from China, and they wrote a book about it) and I think it's a movement that could really raise awareness and gain momentum. I think that (much like being earth friendly) bigger companies will be forced to step back and change things. While I don't agree with the advertising in ANY way, American Apparel has really made a strong point by keeping their jobs here in the US, trying new things with organic materials, etc., and hopefully other companies can see that.

Speaking of things made here (yay! segue!), my friends and I are going to the "Craftin' Outlaws" thing this Sat. downtown. Your husband came into Starbucks today and we talked about it a little, and he mentioned that you might go. It's always so weird to run into someone that I only know online ( "Hi, I kind of know you, but not really, but, um, hi"), but if I see you I will say hello. Either way, have a great time if you end up going!

jenny mae. said...

i'd reallllly love to go but im also going to a crazy-go-nuts baby boutique sale in the morning. im hoping to drag my mother to both! if you see me say hi, im afraid i don't know what you look like well enough to recognize you so don't be offended if i dont initiate! :)

oh and the book you are referring to - i have it on reserve at the library!

rayray said...

any chance you could tell me anything about your midwife?? :p my husbands recently gotten some tentative job offers in dayton oh and he wants to go for it.... he's talking about moving in mid october and i'm "due" dec 20. i was asking people about cinci/dayton midwives but dayton's nearish to columbus too and i thought i should ask you about yours! :) thank you!!! :D

jenny mae. said...

kathy mitchell fantastic!!!! i love her to death. unfortunately she is about an hour west of columbus so that would be a tall order to fill being near dayton.

here are three suggestions:

nadya cload
this woman is younger but very nice according to my midwife.

jarren helwig
she mentioned this lady is also a Believer (im pretty sure both are but im not 100% sure on marlene)

marlene waechter
marlene is in jackson but she would come to you for all appointments, which i just think is so wonderful.