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Archive for October 15th, 2008

People choose to buy green products for many reasons. Many are concerned about their personal health and choose bisphenol-a free bottles and safe plastics to prevent toxins. Some are concerned about saving earth resources. Others are attracted to the celebrities promoting conscious consumerism.

Whatever the reason, choosing green may have the added benefit of reducing poverty.
Poverty is worsened by consumption of virgin material goods. When deforestation and commercial development happen, locals rarely profit. Instead they are left with lower water and air quality, which leads to health problems, lost working time, and more poverty (2006 United Nations Human Development Report). Eco-friendly products often use recycled or reclaimed materials, keeping materials in the use cycle and relying less on virgin materials.

Poverty in the US is often the result of health problems bankrupting families. In fact, in 2001 alone, 50% of Americans filing for bankruptcy, or 1.9 – 2.2 million people, cited medical reasons (Policy Journal of the Health Sphere). While there are many factors causing health emergencies, environmental pollution and toxins are surely high on the list. Research keeps confirming that serious health problems are caused by toxins like bisphenol-a, phthalates, and more in everyday products. Earth friendly products eliminate pollutants in the manufacturing process and final materials. As consumers demand and use eco-friendly non-toxic items, I remain hopeful that heart disease and cancers will decline, with the poverty rate following.

Poverty is diminished when workers are paid fairly, have access to health care, and are not exposed to risk at work (World Bank). Most manufacturers of green goods use fair employment practices as a way to increase their trust with consumers and maintain quality. At BayingHound, we ask tough questions of our manufacturers and demand to know where and how their products are made. If a manufacturer can not answer, or is not concerned about fair employment, we do not carry their items.

Poverty is a complex problem, to be sure. Purchasing green gear is one solution among many.

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This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty

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