Friday, September 11, 2009

franny armstrong and ethical living

I've been getting more and more inspired by the maker of The Age of Stupid Franny Armstrong. Here's a quick interview with her about how making the movie increased her carbon footprint and about her fulfillment in making a difference. I also really like this quote about her, from her Wikipedia page: "When, in a few years' time, Franny Armstrong is being discussed as one of the key documentary film-makers of our generation, you can say you were in there at the start."

I want to get a hold of her previous documentary, McLibel, because I don't know much about the ethics of McDonalds, except that they're probably non-existant. I'm going to try to forego my occasional french fries purchase, but without knowing compelling evidence it's sometimes easy to ignore that nagging feeling.

That's an idea that you're probably already familiar with, but I'm going to remind you about it anyway: positive purchasing. When you are a customer of a company, you sustain them and reinforce what they're doing, whether that's ethical or not. It's our job to find out which companies are aligned with our ethics (or which is the lesser evil, in some cases) and to support them. Looked at another way, it's also moral boycotting.

And it's not just at gift-giving time that we can choose handmade. It's a way of every day living, to try to ensure we're being kind to both the environment and people. It doesn't have to be expensive, often it's cheaper. If I eat before leaving home I won't have had to spend money on drive-through fries. A second-hand piece of furniture costs less than a new piece. If I buy less processed foods, I can afford to buy organic basics. Etc.

What have you bought this week? Could you have made more ethical choices instead?


Gina said...

Hi Hayley, always a great question to ask. Right now I'm actually trying to have a bit of a 'consumer detox'. I'm already good at making more ethical choices now (second hand, hand made, fairtrade coffee and choc, boycotting certain supermarket brands etc) but I still struggle with that very first question, 'do I need it'? Probably my areas of weakness are eating meals out, and

And thanks for your suggestion for a birthday present on my blog. I've recently just laminated all the photos out of my OLDER boy's album, because they got torn out... now they're indestructable, YAY!

Isis said...

i think ethical purchases are very important, it's a way of voting with our money, as they say. but i agree with gina that more importantly is deciding whether it needs to be purchased in the first place. i worry that this green trend is allowing people to buy even more 'stuff'. if they don't really need it, then who cares if it's ethical, it's a waste anyway.

to answer your question the only really ethical purchase i made with week was a new sewing machine (to sew my own everthing!), i DIDN'T purchase meat, oh yeah and apparently ethical eggs (if i believe what they said on the box).

x isis

Heidi and Seek said...

Gina - Yes, definitely, 'do I need it?' is the fundamental question - I should have put that in the post! My areas of weakness are handmade goodies, meals out, books and DIY supplies.

I hadn't thought to laminate the photo album photos, great idea!

Isis - I agree, there's all these 'green' products shoved in our faces and they're greener than the alternative, but making do is the greenest option. I have a problem with using eco friendly as a marketing ploy. It's win win for them though, they get to seem like a charitable company and they make more sales.

I read a comment on a forum somewhere, something like, "you can have as many [whatever] as you want with a free conscience!" just because it was organic.

That's exactly what they want you to think.