Reading a recent article from the New York Times inspired me to clarify where I stand in regards to “eco-consumerism”.

Denis Hayes, the original coordinator of Earth Day, believes eco-consumerism to be, “ridiculous perverted marketing…” that has, “cheapened the concept of what is really green.” To some extant, I truly agree with him. To buy items, like canvas shopping totes that promote recycling is great…unless that canvas tote was made out of the country and of newly processed material. However, if a t-shirt that promotes recycling is made in the states with hemp or organic cotton, I have no problem with it.

Companies trying to make a buck off the current “green movement” are partly to blame but so are the millions of Americans who don’t dig deeper into where, what from, and from who their purchased goods come from.

This concept of eco-consumerism has really been bothering me lately. As summer rolls around I look around my closet and inside my drawers and realize I could really use a few more articles of clothing. Like most Americans, what seems to be my natural instinct is to run to the nearest shopping center and buy Chinese manufactured clothing. I’ll admit…I’m guilty. Basic items I’ll pick up from the big box of fashion but other items, I try to purchase from green companies like Soul-Flower or Prana. They use organic cotton, recycled fabrics, or hemp to produce a majority of their clothes. Even these purchases make me feel guilty, considering the amount of gas required  to get these green items to my door.

Really, the best way to buy is from Goodwill, Army Navy stores, or your local thrift shop. These items have already consumed the necessary resources for their production leaving you just to reuse them.

But if you’re like me, you can’t always find the items you need that fit. I think with a good balance of where you purchase and how you got there, along with using your conscience to purchase smartly, you’ve found the best way to consume. Another important point is that we don’t HAVE to consume! We were not put on this planet simply to consume products that where spit out of an assembly line. We are living, breathing, feeling humans who should find more solace in running our feet through grass than putting on that new pair of pants.

I encourage you to fight against blind, ignorant, and damaging consumerism.

And remember, as the “consumer” you are voting with the DOLLAR. Where you spend your money drives a particular market…if you don’t agree with how that market runs or the ethics it seems to lack, DO NOT support them with your money.