Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why We're Unemployed and How We Can Fix It

I am not an activist, in fact, I like to joke that my partner is the activist in the family; but I think perhaps I was stuck in a perception that one could only be a political activist in the classic sense. I was short sighting myself to the other forms of activism. If you've been reading this blog for any time, you know I get quite peeved about the chemical cocktails in our food, drinks, personal care products, the things we commonly use every day...right down to the grocery receipts we're handed at the register! (Which is why I frequently don't take my receipt, but more about that later)

I firmly believe that it's up to us to change the world as we can. For some, that means writing letters to our various elected officials, for others it means spending our money politically. Shopping at companies and stores that share our ideals, or shopping at stores that support the same causes we do (fair trade coffee and tea, no animal testing, natural resource protection, etc). But it all has to start with research, which I'm  learning never ends. For everything I learn about, the more questions. Consider the recent move by meat product producers to offer "natural" meats, free of preservatives, sodium and the like. Just last night, my wife and I were watching a commercial for such a product, and I commented to her that it would be interesting to compare two hams, one a new and improved "natural" selection and the other a standard ham.  I would like to compare the ingredient list, note what's missing from the "natural" ham, and then do the research to see what those ingredients did to our bodies. In this way, we could get an accurate picture of what was removed and what we were putting in our bodies. Are we truly getting less sodium, less preservatives, less chemicals that are spelled with half the alphabet? But if there is truly less in these "natural" products, why are the stores and manufacturers charging more at the register? More importantly, why the hell are we forking over (pun intended) our hard earned  cash for something they should have been offering anyway?

Humanely raised meat, with less antibiotics, less preservatives and no growth hormones are becoming more readily available, even to those in the city. Sometimes all that's needed is a stroll through the yellow pages, or a visit to your local natural foods store can often point you in the right direction. If they don't carry the meat you're looking for, they might very well know where such meat can be found. The same goes for milk. Organic milk, either from cows or goats can be more easily found and purchased than you might think. But the first step is research. Get out there and start asking if these are available in your area. If not, ask why. Make it clear that you would support the producers and retailers of such products. The same methodology can be applied to not just beef and milk, but also chicken, pork, cheeses and the like. Even coffee, tea and..well, you get the idea.

To cary this thought one step further, why not apply the theory of the 100 mile diet to our other shopping as well? Stop buying from far off countries that have shameful human rights practices. Yes, I know socks are cheaper at Wal-Mart, but while my own country has a nearly non-existant textile industry, it's hard to shop for Canadian made clothing. I understand this all too well. So, I challenge you to find clothing made closer to your own country, wether that's the U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, Iran, Ireland, Scotland...where ever YOU live, go out this week and find clothing made closer to your country. My own country has a nearly non existent textile industry because the clothing manufacturers have all outsourced jobs to other countries that do not have to pay their workers a fair wage. This point came to light when we hosted summer Olympics recently and all the athletes clothing was revealed to be made in a far off country! A lot of folks, myself included started asking why. The bottom line was money. As a result, Canada does not have the clothing industry we once did. Our designers are hidden in the shadows, our textiles are made outside our borders and as a result, pretty much the only thing we can find that's Canadian made is winter boots. This is wrong.

We wonder why our unemployment numbers are so high...THAT'S the reason folks! We (both the U.S and Canada) have outsourced so many jobs because of monetary savings, that we have put our own people out of work so our rich can be a little richer. Our governments need to start taxing even more the companies that want to outsource their labor. Penalize them for furthering our country's unemployment! If they take initiative to create jobs here, or use raw materials from our own country, or start programs in-house to treat employees better, or more fairly, or increase efficiency without lay-offs, reward them with lower taxes for the next fiscal year. Yes, this will require "minders" for branches of industry, or by region. If you need "minders", then you'd better hire some. More jobs! Those minders will need staff of assistants, clerks and people to keep track of the numbers. More jobs! They'll need supplies, computers and various other tools to get the job done. They'll need to order those tools from suppliers. The more local the suppliers, the better. More orders at the suppliers means more bodies needed to fill the orders right? More jobs!
This is a simplified solution, and a small one, but it's somewhere to start. The unemployment numbers will not drop overnight, and it will take work, but it's a start. At least it's something. It is one way our governments can put their money where their mouth(s) is/are when they start going on about fixing unemployment. Until they start doing something, it's all hollow words. Why would we vote for so-called leaders who blow smoke up our collective orifices?

Do something. Spend your money politically. Spend it wisely. Support businesses closer to home. Write to your elected officials. Suggest ways they can start supporting local business so that our family, friends and neighbors remain employed. If they don't listen, don't vote for them next election.

If we don't do something to fix the mess we're in, no one else will.
Time to get off our butts!


Jacquelineand.... said...

And you say you aren't an activist.... Keep up the good work Tanke, slowly but surely your number of followers is growing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Not to many people in your position are so gracious. Your article was very poignant and understandable. It helped me to understand very clearly. Thank you for your help.

writer ruth said...

good points

Nicole said...

Very good article! I too try to buy as much locally as possible, which can definitely be a challenge sometimes when it comes to clothing! At the very least, I often shop at our local thrift store. Some of my favorite pieces came from there and not only are they more affordable, but the money stays in our community longer and things are being recycled.

Thanks so much for the inspiring words! They are desperately needed today.