I attended two weddings during the last two months of 2015. I was quite pleased with myself when I “recycled” the dress and shoes I wore to the first wedding and wore them to the second as well, reducing my fashion consumption. But as I view photos of myself at those happy events–looking like an “angel” someone said–wrapped in tulle, satin, and shimmer, “angelic” does not describe how I feel. I cannot help but wonder whose dainty fingers might have been used to attach the sequins that made my dress sparkle. Who stitched beaded flowers onto mesh over its “sweetheart” neckline? What kind of price was paid so I could have this beautiful dress, and who bore the real cost? Continue reading “An Ethical Resolution?”
A troubling advertisement showed up on my Twitter feed this morning. It’s back-to-school time, and retailers are targeting parents (and children) with ads telling them what they must have to be prepared for a new school year. Walmart Canada’s ad promoted the social ill of overconsumption, which feeds the “fast fashion” trend. Like fast food, fast fashion is attractive to people who want to purchase a large quantity of a product for as little money as possible. But just as the fast food craze overlooks the consequences of overconsumption to health, the fast fashion trend overlooks the consequences to those in the fashion supply chain.
Walmart Canada thinks Canadian children need a lot of clothing – “tees for every mood.” Walmart’s child model had 10 moods (and 10 different t-shirts) in the 15-second commercial that confronted me on Twitter.
And guess what? Having an overabundance of clothing is no longer possible for only the wealthiest in our society. Walmart Canada makes it easy for almost everyone to have more clothing than they need by sourcing outrageously cheap garments and passing on the savings to us: t-shirts, $4 each! Continue reading “Walmart Canada ignores the high cost of fast fashion”
Jestoni* quit school at age 14 in order to take part in small-scale mining as a means to help support his family. They had abandoned farming for mining because of frequent flooding in their region of the Philippines. Jestoni’s mother worried about his safety as he dug in mine shafts for gold and carried heavy sacks of rock for eight to 12 hours per day.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than half (85 million) of the world’s 168 million child labourers perform hazardous work. Jestoni was one of the one million who work in mining.
The United States Department of Labor’s 2014 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor and Forced Labor indicates child labour and forced labour are used to produce 29 products in the mining and quarrying sector. The top products in this sector, based on the number of countries using child labour in the production, include gold (18 countries), coal (seven countries), and diamonds (six countries), but numerous other minerals, gems, and stones are also mined and quarried with the labour of children. Continue reading “Buried childhoods – Child labour in the mining and quarrying sector”
One million of the world’s 168 million child labourers work in mining and quarrying. The table below outlines some of the tasks, hazards, and potential consequences faced by children who work in this sector–the most hazardous sector for children. (Click on table to enlarge.)
For more information on child labour in the mining and quarrying sector, see my post: “Buried childhoods.”
Tulane University released a new study on the West African cocoa industry today. While the number of children working in cocoa who attended school increased in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana from the 2008/2009 season, the percentage of children in hazardous work also increased by 13 percent. Read the press release.