The Pros and Cons of Fair Trade

When I first learned about fair trade, my initial reactions were those of admiration for an industry that sought to challenge the ways in which we consume, purchase, and create products. From the production line to the packaging to wages, it seemed fair trade had all of the answers. I’ve written about fair trade and the industry’s principles in many posts including a post for Mother’s Day. Although I still support and respect the principles, I am constantly taken back to my memories of one of my former supervisors who strongly disliked fair trade. When I asked her what the difference between fair trade and sustainable fashion was, she responded, “When you work more in the industry, you’ll see the difference and understand why fair trade may not be enough.” At the time, I didn’t quite realize the full meaning behind her statement. Why would she not support an industry that sets out to change how we manufacture and consume products? Continue Reading ›

October 2017 Affirmations

Even though I love the summer sun, I look forward to the crisp autumn air and a time for change with October approaching. One of my favorite things about this month is how it signifies a time for all of us to turn a new leaf. Although this term usually refers to recovery after shocking events, even if you aren’t recovering from difficult circumstances, fall is always a time for moving forward. Looking back on September’s affirmation, I find that I have changed a great deal, shedding my possessions and realizing how little I needed them. As my graduate studies continue, I’m finding how much I can live without as I look ahead to the future. Continue Reading ›

Is Minimalism the Answer to Sustainability?

Now that September has come to an end and I have participated in my own version of the 100 Thing Challenge, I feel some weight lifted with fewer craft projects, books, and toiletries, and I look forward to cutting down on my wardrobe over the coming year. Reducing what I own has definitely made me think differently about what I own and why I continue to keep it year after year. I’m beginning to see that not everything in my life needs to be perfect and that acquiring more things does not make my life better. I see how minimalism means I consume less and leads to a more sustainable life. But, is minimalism the best choice to live a more sustainable life? Is minimalism the answer and most effective way to reach sustainability? Continue Reading ›

My Wardrobe Inventory

The time has come for the inventory I’m least looking forward to: my wardrobe. Why exactly am I dreading it? Because I love clothes. I love fashion. I love style. I also have many items I hold onto, thinking I’ll have the opportunity to wear them. But it’s time to face the music, or my closet, rather. Although I do my best to purchase used and make sure I wear all of my items by rotating through them, I know that this will be the area that needs the most work. Plus, it doesn’t help that I like to make my own clothing and accessories and made a few items over the summer in order to complete my craft and sewing projects. But, nevertheless, I must persist. Continue Reading ›

My Bathroom Inventory

As someone who rarely wears makeup and strives to make their own beauty products, you might wonder why I decided to go through my toiletries for the 100 Thing Challenge. My reason for looking through my toiletries is simply because my bathroom is something I use every day, but I hardly ever think to inventory it to see what I have. Surely, I must not have that much if I see my toiletries every day and know what I have, right? I decided rather than assume I might as well use this opportunity to see what I don’t use and what I can give up on. As Dave Bruno points out, one of the hardest things he had eliminating was his woodworking tools. He held onto them, fantasizing about the woodworking artisan he might be, but never actually became. Looking around my bathroom, I wondered if there might be anything I was holding onto in hopes of becoming a persona I idealized. Continue Reading ›