Cannot Be Unseen: Raising Awareness

I have a problem. I can never buy a KitKat bar again. (Cue desperate sobs.) I also have to walk away from Mr. Goodbar, M&M’s, and Dove Chocolates. I have seen something that I can never, ever unsee, and now I’m at  a crossroads.

Now honestly, none of those are good for me. I probably shouldn’t be eating all the sugary junk anyway. But I’m not talking health… I’m talking about ethics.

Free2work.org is a website (and now an app) that helps to expose to the general public the policies and ethical practices of major corporations. Free2work is affiliated with Not for Sale, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking. The website “grades” brands ranging from apparel (Gap, Forever 21, Faded Glory, and George are some notable ones) to foods, beverages, and even electronics (check out their assessment of Apple if you dare.) Each grade takes into account the brand’s ethical manufacturing policies, involvement in forced and/or child labor, worker rights and wages, and accountability.

The major problem with this resource is that once you’ve seen their reports, you can’t ever unsee them. Every product with a failing grade is one more thing I can’t purchase with a clear conscience. So when I say to read at your own risk, please understand me: the biggest challenge is learning to cope without some of your favorite products.

Now comes the exciting part: finding alternative ways to live. I’m about to kick consumerism in the butt (in my own life, anyway), and I hope to raise some awareness about this very serious issue along with way.

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2 thoughts on “Cannot Be Unseen: Raising Awareness

    • I was actually just discussing that article with a friend who raised some similar questions. This is the topic of my next post, so I’ll be sure to expound on this reply, but here’s the Cliffsnotes version. (As a disclaimer, I may speak in absolutes here, but what follows is only my opinion! 🙂 )

      I believe that the biggest tool for inciting social change is education. In this case, education of the problem that exists, and education of what prompts people to turn their backs on a problem once they have been made aware of it. Guilt will never be a truly affective tool here. People don’t ignore issues like this one because they are heartless. People, in general, aren’t comfortable with change, and they generally don’t believe that their change would make any real difference anyway. I believe that every life change must occur alongside a real understanding of why the change is difficult. Once people begin to really understand the underlying issues (consumerism, materialism, insecurity, fear of change, etc), they can find what weapons best combat those issues. No one will fight the exact same battle. But when people are confronted with why, rather than just what (i.e., I choose to ignore what I know about exploited labor because I don’t want to put forth the effort to research alternatives to my favorite brands), then real change can begin to occur.

      Hope that answers your questions. I’d love to hear your opinion of the topic as well!

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