Friday, January 4, 2008

Year in Reflection, Part 2

As I was happy to laud my successes a few days back, I think it's the time to look at what didn't work out so well.

Number one on the list is that I don't think I changed anyone's mind about buying only organic or sustainable clothing. There could be a lot of reasons for this, and I've gone over them in my head many times. Perhaps I did not make the reasons for buying sustainable clothing more apparent, the trade-off did not seem worth the effort to most. I actually think this is a problem for a lot of environmentalism. It is not absolutely clear to people how things connect.

For instance, It is easy to say, and all over in print, "one organic cotton tee shirt saves 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and fertlizers". Which means something to me, but others will say, "yeah...and so?" It's in the so.

So, pesticides and fertilizers poison water systems making them dangerous to drink (blue baby alerts) and kill off fish and ocean life. A recent MSNBC article relates to fertlizer on corn crops specifically, but since cotton is responsible for about 46% of clothing made and grows on about 76 million acres world wide, it should be easy to see how growing organic cotton is important, ( organic cotton makes up only about 1% of the cotton grown world wide)

So, pesticides used in the growth of cotton are carcinogens. So pesticide and herbicide use encourages stronger strains of insects and bacteria.

So, there are more Sos, and maybe I avoided them too much in the last year.

My second failure is that I fear I was not the best sustainable clothing model of the year. I have this feeling that people thought, "yeah I might wear sustainable clothing, but not if I have to look like that." I don't think I'd ever get an honest answer on this one from my friends, but I should probably make more of an effort to go out looking more put together.

Another big failure is not making a good argument for paying the higher price of many organic or sustainable options. I need to work on this. Maybe listing cost, and then price per wear? How to convince people it's worth the price, especially when the first thing you hear (especially among my friends) when you give them a compliment on a piece of clothing is how cheaply they got it for and when.

I don't want to turn into a person who harasses people into doing things, and over the last year even though I never told anyone else what to do, I got a little bit of that vibe going on.

Not the most thought through post, but I needed to get it off my chest.

This is