Psuedo-D.I.Y. projects have been on scene recently, and while I have my doubts that most people are actually building the sailboat that they just pinterest-ed, this movement is providing an interesting space for us to re-familiarize ourselves with the things we buy, not as products, but as processes. People are remembering that the things we buy are being made by…other people (a la the recent exposes on Apple’s production). Worker well-being is becoming an important metric for measuring sustainability.
The rise of the empathetic consumer got a boost from the “eat-local” movement, putting you in touch with the farmer and the farm. A recent boom of “bring-your own container” shopping has some of the same promise. At these stores, you go straight to a wholesaler, getting direct access to the people who source all of the products, and you get to identify where they come from and how they are made.
My girlfriend and I stopped by the Refill Shoppe in downtown Ventura, where she got to mix her own shampoo, conditioner, lotion and dish detergent: combining a responsibly sourced “base” and essential oils (ingredients and sources are listed!). We could even use a container that she brought from home. Other Ventura stores that let you fill your own include We Olive (GO HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T!!!) and, of course, Surfbrewery (which has the added bonus of being a wholesaler of brewing materials for the real D.I.Y.er).
I think that putting people in touch with the source and the process of their purchases increases consumer empathy, increases the quality of the goods, and adds a pretty fun element to the shopping experience. Of course, bringing your own container has some promise on the sustainability front as well. But I will let you figure your own carbon footprint for getting to these great spots. (you have to scroll back up to see the calculation…annoying, I know)
(It takes 1 seedling 10 years to sequester 0.04 metric tons of carbon)
In this undisclosed location **Qatar** you can see the large pits that are used for temporary oil storage. Whatever oil remains after the product is transferred is eventually set on fire (you can see traces of scorching by some of the pits). This is a standard process for oil extraction.
"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live..."