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Responsible Consumerism Starts Young

September 26, 2015 | Jennifer | Comments (2)

headless mannequins
Photo Credit: Zohar Manor-Abel on a CC License

There is a cost associated with everything, from our fashion sense to our appetite.

The Globe and Mail's Nathalie Atkinson wrote about a worthwhile subject in kids’ books: responsible consumerismShe speaks mainly about the fashion business, but extends the idea of socially conscious kids’ books to food production as well. 

These larger discussions about where food is coming from or how our clothing is actually being made all begin with a basic understanding of industry. 

Atkinson says:

“[…] To understand what it means when scientific research tells us that microfibres are accumulating on shorelines, or that hormone-disrupting chemicals in imported clothes need to be banned, there first needs to be a basic understanding of how textile manufacturing works, of the supply-chain narrative. That goes for adults just as much as the under-10 set.”

She’s absolutely right.

super market sign
Photo Credit: Stathis Stavrianos on a CC License

I once became completely absorbed in a short documentary on “how potato chips are made.”  Something about the familiar subject matter was oddly relaxing and engaging at the same time.  It was a reminder of the curiosity I held as a kid, wondering about where things came from, versus merely accepting my surroundings.  A good equivalent might be the Food Network show Food Factory, which is a behind-the-scenes of modern food production.

The little potato chip flick sparked my memory of the 1982 movie Koyaanisqatsi.  High speed shots of machines, the production of denim for example, were juxtaposed with natural scenes.  This movie wanted to show how out of balance with nature people have become.  This may be true, but technology and modernity are also our world.  Kids can’t avoid the narrative of production, even in all of its complexity.

See below to find related books for young people.

The question of clothing:

Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher Where Did My Clothes Come From?  by Christine Butterworth Fixing Fashion by Michael Lavergne

The Lowdown on Denim by Tanya Lloyd Kyi The Biography of Wool by Carrie Gleason Consumer_thetruecostoffashion 

1.  Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher / 2.  Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Christine Butterworth 3. Fixing Fashion:  Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes by Michael Lavergne / 4.  The Lowdown on Denim by Tanya Lloyd Kyi / 5.  The Biography of Wool by Carrie Gleason / 6.  The True Cost of Fashion:  How to Shop to Change the World by Louise Spilsbury

Food production around the globe:

How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?  by Christine Butterworth To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure Who Wants Pizza? by Jan Thornhill 

Consumer_reducingyourfootprint Consumer_what'sforlunch Consumer_chewonthis

1.  How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? by Christine Butterworth / 2.  To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure / 3.  Who Wants Pizza?  The Kids' Guide to the History, Science & Culture of FOOD by Jan Thornhill / 4.  Reducing Your Footprint:  Farming, Cooking, and Eating for a Healthy Planet by Ellen Rodger / 5.  What's For Lunch?  How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World by Andrea Curtis / 6.  Chew on This:  Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser 

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