Posts by This Writer

11 years 3 months ago

What motivates people? Carrots or sticks?

As an ethical consumer, I aim to use carrots, generally speaking. I try and persuade people that thrift shopping is awesome (which it totally is), that farmers' markets have delicious food (they really do), and that having less stuff can make you happier.

My goal is to appeal to people's sense of morality. And, you know, after about two years of living more ethically, I think it's working. Witness, the drop in plastic bag consumption in the UK. All because people like you and me just said no.

I've studied a number of sustainable cities, and I've become convinced that community involvement is integral to sustainability. On the other hand, when people are not...

11 years 3 months ago

I have to admit, I think plastic is great. When used correctly this can be a life-saving product ... quite literally. (I'm pretty sure life preservers are plastic. Right?)  So, while this ethical consumer is not anti-plastic, I am anti wasteful plastic consumption.

You see, plastic may be  responsible for saving some lives over the years, but it has also resulted in the deaths of countless marine animals. Read the article "Plastic Ocean" and you'll see what I mean. The giant plastic patch of the ocean is not filled with life preservers or life-saving plastic hospital tubing. Instead it's filled with the more mundane plastic junk we jettison on a daily basis: soda can...

11 years 3 months ago

Bananas. A once innocuous, tasty and healthy fruit has increasingly been caught in a storm of controversy both here at and throughout the eco-blogosphere. Are bananas a healthy snack and an obvious sign of ethical consumption? Or should we avoid them as a non-local food which are often grown in poor labor conditions? You decide.

I have to admit I've been contemplating bananas for a while now. Bananas are a wonderful fruit for many reasons, but they are not local to the temperate regions where I've spent most of my life. For...

11 years 3 months ago

Recently, Jeff Trexler and I have been discussing the merits of used clothing quite a bit. So I guess it's not that surprising, with shopping on the brain, that I wandered into an Oxfam shop today and wound up with a pair of trousers, two blouses, a pair of jeans, and a book. All for 40 pounds. Not bad, eh?

As I paid for my purchases, I reflected how shopping from Oxfam ticks all...

11 years 3 months ago

It is hard sometimes to be a fashionista who cares about the world. And I get it, I get it. No one wants to be the worst dressed at the next Greenpeace meeting. I mean, I do, because I'm a dirty hippie, but clearly you don't. And that's okay. Because the truth is, you CAN be both eco-conscious and fabulous.

My tips will not only keep you beautifully clad, but they are good for the earth and your pocketbook all at once. So here we go. Without further ado, I give you, the top 10 clothing items to buy used:

Wait, what? Used clothes are gross!! You really are a dirty hippie!

No, they're really not gross. Just stick them in the washing machine.


Listen, do you want an eco-conscious and cost-effective wardrobe?


Then get over it....

11 years 4 months ago

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, what do I, as an ethical consumer, do about presents?

Well, here's the thing about presents. How many of you have a pile of crap that other people gave you that you never ever use?
Yeah, me too. So instead of giving people stuff they'll never use, why not give them a different kind of gift?
So without further, ado, here's my alt-consumerist gift giving guide:
Gifts for babies (Good for baby showers or early birthdays):
  • Okay, let's...

11 years 4 months ago

A few people have asked me what I, as an ethical consumer, think about the Cash for Clunkers program. This extremely popular program allows individuals to receive a federal subsidy when they trade in an older gas-guzzling car for a new fuel-efficient vehicle. Consequently, the program  is being dubbed by Nancy Pelosi and others as a win-win-win situation because it stimulates the economy, the auto industry, and helps the environment all at once.

But does Cash for...

11 years 4 months ago

No, I'm not engaged or anywhere NEAR engaged, but I'm a girl, and occasionally I think about these kinds of things. And since I also believe in ethical consumption, things like engagement rings are complicated.

Once upon a time, I had decided that if I ever were to get engaged, I wanted a princess cut diamond from Tiffany's with a platinum band.

Looking back, I can't really believe that that was actually what I wanted. I mean, clearly it's what I wanted because it's what *everyone* wanted. But the truth is, that's not really me. Even if I didn't care about the cost, or...

11 years 4 months ago

Hello, JustMeans community. The ethical consumer needs your help. I need to buy a business suit. And given that I might need to wear said suit quite a bit in the near future, I'm thinking of investing in a high quality new suit, instead of just finding any old second-hand suit at a charity shop.

Now, in my eco-nutty past, I have researched many things: ethical jeans, shoes, bags, make-up. I've figured out how to make a scrubby out of an old orange bag, and I found out where my cell phone goes when I take it to an e-waste site. But never have I had to research...

11 years 4 months ago

As I've been sitting here contemplating my stuff, and wondering what I need, what I don't, and how much we all need stuff to keep us settled and rooted, I've been reading some other people's thoughts about things.

Pico Iyer has written a beautiful article on living with less in the New York Times. Though I'm feeling conflicted right now about...