Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Story of Stuff

We watched this video, The Story of Stuff, last night in my class. It's a really interesting video about how the stuff that we use every day is created, consumed, and the disposed of and how that cycle of consumption is going to affect the planet and the creatures that inhabit it in the future.

All I could think while watching this video was fuck. As I looked down at my brand new Forever 21 sweater, a sweater that was cute but that I honestly didn't need; as I looked down at the new nail-polish on my fingers (probably filled with caustic, toxic chemicals); as I looked down at the water bottle I had purchased a few hours before because I had forgotten, yet again, to pack my reusable bottle in the morning... all I could feel was guilt because I knew I was contributing to this system. Not only was I hurting myself, with all of the chemicals that go into everything from water bottles to nail polish; I was hurting the the planet with those same chemicals, and the resources that were burned up converting things found in the earth into the things found in my purse; I was hurting people that I will likely never meet, people who work for next to no money to make the clothes, and water bottles, and nail polish, and notebooks, and stuff that I consume on a daily basis.

This is not the first time I have felt this guilt. Every so often I see or read something, like this article about Fiji Water, that makes me realize just how messed up our system of consumption is in this country. This guilt always leads to me making small changes in my life - like buying a reusable water bottle, or using a diva cup instead of creating more waste via pads and tampons, or recycling when I can... but these small changes still leave me feeling powerless to affect any real change.

This video is great because Annie Leonard makes the point that individual consumer decisions, while important, cannot change the system alone. Fighting to make companies remove the chemicals from their products, or treat their workers well... these are the changes that will really fix the system, because the companies are the ones with the real choices. Her website has a whole bunch of suggestions for how individuals can get informed and get involved and help to convince lawmakers and companies to make the changes that will fix the system, as well as ways to make individual decisions that better protect you and your loved ones from the dangers that exist now.

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