Tuesday, July 04, 2006

30 Day Challenge

Inspired by my socially and environmentally conscious friends, I am challenging myself for 30 days to not purchase anything from a chain store. So, no Save On, no Safeway, no Wendys, no Wholesale Club, no Coopers, no Boston Pizza (can you tell I'm thinking about food?) no Zellers, no Bay, no Wal-Mart. I will allow 2 exceptions. One is that I am going to continue to buy my gas from Husky/Mohawk. And the other is that I will allow chains that are only valley wide - like Quality Greens and Nature's Fare. Could you do it?

So, why would I challenge myself in this way? Well, because ethically, I don't agree with the large chain stores. Generally they don't pay their employees a living wage, have all part time employees, sell goods that are made unethically in third world countries, sell american produce during our growing season here, sell cheap american apples all year round instead of supporting local orchards even when that would actually be cheaper for them (and I think they should do it anyways - even when it costs more). And even all those issues aside, when I spend my dollars at these large chain stores, I am helping to make a few people who do not even live in this community and often not even in this country, very rich. Another issue is the fossil fuels that are used to ship all that stuff so far away and the pollution that causes as well. I think that for the most part, we live in ignorance of the true cost of our lifestyle on the environment and consequently on our health. The longer we blunder along in this unsupportable manner, the worse it gets. Something has got to give.

In contrast, when I spend my dollars on local stores, I am supporting local people. I am helping local people to make a living. When I shop at local farm markets, I am helping local farmers directly and I am getting produce that is fresher and better for us that didn't have to travel very far. So, for the next 30 days, I will not set foot in a chain store... I am very interested in how this is going to go. What about you?

No comments: