I read this really amazing short story in college that has stuck with me ever since. The basic idea of the story is that there's this town where everything is wonderful, practically perfect. There's only one catch...
It's this story that comes to mind when I consider my own place in the world, and wonder exactly what sort of miseries come about in order for me to live my rather blissful existence. It's a hard truth, but the fact of the matter is that the luxuries and unreasonably affordable conveniences that we enjoy do come at a price, and it's often not the price reflected on the price tag.
I don't mean for this to be a beat-yourself-up kind of post. I just think it's really important to not coast through life without asking questions. Who made my shoes? What are my taxes used for? Is this TV show worth an hour of my life? Where was this apple grown? And then, once you start finding answers, change is often inevitable.
Taking this Slavery Footprint quiz was pretty eye opening. It asks you all these questions about your consumption; you can get really specific (and therefore, accurate). And scattered throughout the quiz are facts about modern-day slavery. I was ashamed at my total score. But again, not beating myself up here, that's never productive. However, a little bit at a time, I'd love to start cleaning up the "small injustices" that pepper my consumer lifestyle. Wouldn't it be amazing if every purchase we made was from a company we believed in, with transparent and ethical practices? While lobbying, petitioning, and public demonstrations have their place, they're not really my thing. Living a purposeful life, I think, is really the best way to make real and lasting change. If we all either bought from ethical companies or went without (because sometimes an ethical option doesn't exist), or even bought less stuff in general, that would put a serious dent in unsavory practices quicker than anything else.
Have you taken the quiz? Were you surprised at your score? Did it inspire any ideas about how to shrink your footprint?
Update: Here's a link to the article online, thanks Maria!