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!