Sometimes, I'm a bit of a preacher. I tell people which books to read (Stephen Covey), what websites to visit (TED.com), which fish not to eat (tuna), which jeans to wear (Kuyichi) and what music to listen to (Mayra Andrade). Sometimes I'm just enthusiastic and that's nice (many of my friends actually watch TED now and we share great stories). But sometimes I'm mainly being annoying.
Why is that? My vegetarian friends (and I have many) never try to convince me not to eat meat. I, on the other hand. preach about tuna. My life turned tuna free after I read an article in TIME magazine that hit a nerve with me. Several years a go after watching 'Darwin's nightmare' I didn't eat Nile Perch fillet anymore. But somehow my awareness of the terrible conditions under which the fish from the Victoria lake is caught and made into fillets, faded away.
I try to do the right things and to buy the right goods. But everything we do in this regard raises many questions, such as: how do we actually know the information we are getting (about tuna or about the good working condition of Kuyichi staff in Peru) is true? Once we start buying one pair of 'conscious' jeans should we ensure all our clothes are made by employees that get social benefits? And if so, how do we check that? Should we both look at the social AND the environmental aspects? And if we have to choose, which aspect is more important to us?
Recently, I ask myself these questions and people around me do the same. After buying a beautiful pair of green (turquoise according to the brand's website) heels, a friend asked me if I was sure they weren't made by Brazilian children. It was only then I realized, I hadn't looked into that at all. While buying the shoes, I just thought about the beauty and the quality (yes, I refuse to buy crappy shoes anymore). If we want to contribute to making the world better and to ensure that our footprint is as small as possible, how should we go about it? Should we check the whether all products we buy are biological and fair trade? Should I just stop flying airplanes? Traveling is probably my biggest contribution to an unsustainable world. Can I quit? Would it make a difference if everyone is else is still doing it?
As you can see, I have many questions about this subject. This blogpost starts my exploration of this topic and posts to come will try to answer the questions. And let me come out for it, just for the record: My name is Amis Boersma and I am a hypocrite.