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Are you staying green during the ‘credit crunch’?

Grandmother and former nurse Linda Sones sells organic cotton baby and children’s clothing and accessories, and natural, organic baby toiletries online at SonesUK. Her suppliers are all committed to various environmental and Fairtrade initiatives.

The one constant in the news these days is the so called ‘credit crunch’ and its effects. A recent report in the Telegraph referred to the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s difficulties with his shopping bill. He has apparently had to stop buying organic to save money. Now I don’t know if this is strictly true because we know how newspapers like to find something to hang a story on. Anyway he is apparently struggling despite his income being in excess of 6 figures and his 1.3 million residence in Putney. But hold the food parcels just yet.

As darkening clouds gather on the economic horizon, Britons are reassessing their commitment to green living according to the Telegraph. For the time being at least, saving the planet is taking second place to saving money. Sales of expensive organic foods are falling as climate change slips down the league table of daily concerns. So says the Telegraph’s Neil Tweedie anyway. In my opinion this is rather missing the point, the Telegraph have some polls which they say indicate that the environment is less important to people now they are feeling the pinch. I wonder if many of the people they are talking about have any idea what its like to feel the pinch. I rather doubt it. Have you ever met anybody who was polled for a newspaper? There never seems to be any indication of who they are and how they were sourced. As we all know if you pick the right biased sample you can prove anything you want.

What about having a belief in your own health and wellbeing? Surely there are other things that people like the Cleggs could give up to save money. Is the amount they are saving by not buying organic really going to make a huge difference to them? Frankly, if in an economic downturn,the first thing you want to jettison is healthy living and caring for the environment we live in, it doesn’t say much for your commitment does it.

According to writer Julie Birchall, the whole environmental movement is just a bunch of public school boys intent on depriving the working classes of cheap flights and Costa Brava tans. Well I can tell you now that I certainly didn’t have a public school education. I only have to look at some of the environmental changes that have occurred in my lifetime to see that we have not looked after the earth as we should have. I don’t remember the amount of litter that you see thrown about everywhere these days for a start, and every village and town is completely clogged with road traffic and all the fumes that produces. Certain illnesses have increased such as asthma and eczema and the causes have been ascribed to changes to the air quality that we breathe. Is that my imagination?

Since the Second World War, 80,000 chemicals have been developed to optimize our pesticides, cleaners, plastics, personal care products and industrial products. Many common cleaners contain neurotoxins, depress the nervous system, and threaten the healthy function of the liver and kidney.
When hazardous cleaning products are disposed of in landfills, the chemicals they contain can seep into groundwater. Cleaning chemicals that find their way down our drains also end up in our water system and others drift from the air of our homes into the air outside. In our quest for sparkling counter tops and whiter than white washing, do we consider how much these items cost both in monetary and environmental terms? There are so many natural alternatives which are far cheaper.

I would be very interested to take a peek into the shopping trolley of the people who can no longer afford to eat organic food because of the ‘credit crunch’ and check whether they have cut down on buying expensive multiple cleaning products . Or perhaps cut down on weekends away in foreign climes. It’s surely a question of priorities and perhaps begs the question of why you bought organic initially. For a healthier lifestyle or because it was the latest trend.

Photo credit: dan taylor