Thinking Green? Buy American!

Thinking Green? Buy American!

Green has gone mainstream. From low-wattage light bulbs, to hybrid cars, to cloth bags at the grocery store. There is even a new, rapidly growing, branch of psychology that deals with the emotional issues that result from the guilt of “not doing enough to save the planet.”

While none of us can singlehandedly save the planet, and there is serious debate whether humans can materially affect global warming, there are things we can do to create a cleaner, more animal-friendly environment. One of the most effective ways to help “green” the planet is to BUY AMERICAN.

Everywhere I look, I see products made in China. They are cheap to buy, and we’re all looking for a bargain. But there is an enormous environmental cost behind those cheap prices. China is world famous for its putrid environment. Many of its inhabitants live in squalor that is beyond our imagination. Entire villages must cook with (and drink) water that literally eats through cooking utensils in weeks. China’s rivers and air are like Pittsburgh of the nineteenth century, but far worse. The average visibility in Beijing is less than 200 feet, prompting the Chinese government to shut down its nearby factories for a month or more to let the air clear enough for us to actually see the Olympics on our televisions.

Then, of course, there is the “human” factor. Child labor, immigrant peasants (their immigrants are from their own rural regions, and they don’t get health care) working for pennies an hour, sweat shops that would land U.S. managers in jail for life.

Yes, the products are cheap, but the cost is great. And the carbon footprint isn’t small, because those ships that carry the goods to this country pollute the hell out of the air and water.

This is the kind of life we are supporting when we choose to save a few bucks on anything made in China (as well as other third world countries). So, the next time you want to think “Green,” think “American.” We have some of the most restrictive (and costly) environmental regulations in the world. You won’t die if you swim in our rivers. And moving the goods to our stores burns less fuel than carting it half way around the world to this country.

So, if you really care about saving the planet, if you really believe that we need to do more to protect our environment, don’t support a nation that doesn’t give a damn about it. Buy your good from the USA, then feel good about it.

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