YREA Autumn 2017 News & Views
Cheap goods at whose cost?
In the spring of 2012, while Canada was in the midst of negotiating 20 business agreements with China, YREA wrote an editorial that needs to be reiterated as Canada renegotiates NAFTA. An economist at the time referred to the deals saying 'In the end you will save some cash when you go shopping.' Big deal. As Canadians amass mountains of cheap goods (most of which we do not need) we wonder how many stop to consider the conditions of the
around the world who produce all this stuff.
The late Charles Bowden, author of
Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields
attributed the poverty, destitution and hopelessness that gave rise to drug trafficking, murder and mayhem in Ciudad Juarez to NAFTA. Companies set up factories across the border from El Paso Texas to take advantage of cheap Mexican labour.
Workers in Mexico's border factories do
not earn a wage that can support their families. A wage, it is said, is now 40% lower then manufacturing salaries in China. Unconscionable practices whereby social considerations are not part of business operations are leading to the demise of the middle classes as the chasm between rich and poor widens worldwide.
As consumers, we can seek out
fair trade products.
Where that choice is unavailable, it is prudent that our government ensures our imports are made under equitable working standards.
Of course, this will cost us more, but we can choose to buy better quality, buy less, buy used, get it fixed instead of throwing it away. AND ON THAT NOTE...
Fix it / Borrow it
A major leader on this front is the EU Parliament that
wants to promote a longer product lifespan, by among other things - tackling programmed obsolescence and reinstating repairability of all goods put on the market. The UK website
lists products that will last a lifetime.
An easy way to defer obsolescence
BEFORE YOU BUY is to t
roll the internet for repair parts via a product's model number. If parts are available from a few sources, you know you will be able to fix it should the need arise.
If not, CHOOSE ANOTHER BRAND.
Home Hardware has been known to rewire a lamp, fix a snow shovel and tackle a patio umbrella among its other repair services. Give them a try.
It has been said that the second most polluting industry in the world after oil production is fashion. But we can reduce the footprint of fashion by recycling.
what to do
with paint stained pants, torn slipcovers or socks with holes? Even these items can be diverted from landfills. If you live in
, there are a number of drop off locations for your convenience. Markham diverted more than 1.4 million kg of textiles from landfills in less than a year and Textile Waste Diversion has a 50 million lb. landfill diversion goal.
In other municipalities, you can leave textiles at a drop box or the Salvation Army for sorting and sending on. Even some condos have textile diversion bins, so check it out.
Although there has been criticism regarding the shipment of secondhand clothes to Africa, it does provide income for market sellers of this clothing and the
it has inspired among Africans is heartening. So don't discard, divert!
Leave the leaves
Resist the urge to hack back the garden in the fall. Instead, sprinkle a mixture of cooked, ground eggshells & coffee grounds to your garden beds. As these decompose, they will release nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and calcium into the soil to support plant growth. If you have large leaves, run a lawnmower over them to shred before adding a good ft. to your beds. Some will compost on the spot but will also provide
shelter for overwintering
beneficial insects. Birds will value the seeds in flower heads and shrubs if you wait until spring to cut back. By doing the wee creatures we depend on a good turn, your winter garden landscape will also be more attractive.
Attention donors & volunteers
We will be sending out an invitation soon for our annual appreciation event to be held on the afternoon of Saturday, October 14th. T
here will be an opportunity for guests to enjoy a walk in the beautiful Jefferson Forest either before or after. So stay tuned!
We seek funding support to establish a biochar social enterprise. YREA's way of addressing climate change & animal health & welfare.