22 August 2007

Exploitation-Neutral

Tonight Julian and I were discussing Moxie's post on consumer consciousness in purchasing children's toys. I suggested striving to avoid the Made-in-China-type stuff, not only for our kids' safety, but also to do our part to minimize worker exploitation and bad manufacturing practices. Not missing a beat, Julian asked if there are companies that would follow the carbon-neutral model by becoming "exploitation-neutral" - "We'll keep on exploiting our own workers, but we'll pay for those people over there to have a better life."

Seriously, I want to do some kind of assessment of our global exploitation "footprint" and see what we can do to minimize it. I have no real chance of ever meeting my ideal - the cheap, cute clothes at Old Navy are just too tempting to pass up. And just two days ago I bought a couple of rubber duckies (from Target no less) that were made in China...and I didn't even bother to look at the packaging before tossing them into the stroller basket. Hell, we have half of the Tiny Love catalog sitting in our living room, thanks to their "buy one, get one free" program for parents of multiples. We certainly have our share of plastic toys, though we are trying to minimize the number of items that sing, vibrate, whistle, beep, flash, or otherwise contribute to auditory and visual pollution of the home. (I should note that we bought high chairs with big plastic toy attachments that flash and play music. Sue me, but sometimes the kids need to be in their high chairs without food, and I'm weak.)

Will have to chew this over. In the meantime, I am happy to note that DreamHost, which my husband went with to host online stuff for our synagogue, is both employee-owned and carbon-neutral/green. w00t!

(No, being carbon-neutral's not perfect, not when you accomplish it by paying for "carbon credits," but it's a step in the right direction, and DreamHost also goes to some length to reduce their negative environmental impact to begin with.)

1 comment:

Alisha said...

Interesting. The shabbat lunch I was at this past weekend included two under-two-yr-olds as well as an expert in education/development. He was recommending limiting the complicated plastic toys and especially those that talk/sing/beep etc. for a different reason -- because the simple, basic toys have the most potential for stimulating imagination. He took this to an extreme -- that a doll should have only a suggestion of facial features, for instance. I'm not sure I agree with him, but it's definitely an interesting bit of input to the toy debate.