Green Consumerism Diary – Days 11-18

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Thursday 12th – Thursday 19th August

The domestic cat is above all laws of house and state and our cat is no different.  Despite the fact that Ozzy has only three legs he is afforded special status in our house in that he is the only member of the family who is allowed meat.  A can of it a day in fact.  He’s fussy about what brand he eats as well, so unlike the rest of us he doesn’t get the most ethical brand (or the most economical) he gets what he likes the most.  We fear that if we feed him anything else he will leave us, and thus his tyranny is tolerated.

I have researched veggie cat food but to the best of my knowledge there is no complete veggie cat food.  There is Vegekat which is a supplement that you can add to recipes but I’m not so dedicated that I am going to start cooking for my cat, unless he demands it of course.  We have in the past had a veggie dog who lived into his old age.  A dog can live happily and healthily on a veggie diet.  A cat, however is a different matter and without vital nutrients found in meat can suffer blindness amongst other things.  It has been pointed out that cat food is so far away from meat that it is fortified with artificial supplements that in theory could be added to veggie cat food.  This is probably true but until there is a tried and tested product I am not going to experiment on my cat.

Other than that our shopping basket is pretty green.  However when it comes to the bigger purchases this is often where challenges lie.  I recently bought a desk.  Ideally I would have liked to buy a unique hand crafted desk made from the wood of fallen trees.  However I’m on a limited budget so I bought a cheap flat pack from Argos.  It happened to be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved as it was made of wood from ‘sustainably managed forests’.  I have to admit though, I did not know this in advance.

There is some debate in the green movement about just how sustainable these forests are.  We are often suspicious of anything that is too successful so there is an assumption that given that the FSC is now approving Argos flat packs that they must have reduced their standards (rather than everyone else upping their game).  The truth is it’s probably a bit of both.  I would argue that if that is the case then it means that standards have been improved across the industry and therefore FSC is doing its job.  The fact that KitKat is now Fairtrade doesn’t devalue the FT brand.  However it won’t make me start buying chocolate from Nestle, a company that is the subject of a boycott for its irresponsible marketing of its baby milk formula which has allegedly led to the deaths of children in Africa.

A big issue of late has been banking.  I have had an account with the Cooperative Bank for over seven years.  They were stricter about mortgages than many other banks were during the construction boom but they have been proved right in that they did not require a government bail out.  My reason for moving to the Co-op was that they do not invest in certain sectors such as armaments, the oil industry or any companies involved in animal testing.  I remember being strangely impressed that they sent out a letter to their account holders detailing how many millions in investments they had refused.  Certainly they do things differently.

Which has always made me wonder about the Presbyterian Mutual Society.  You would assume that a group linked to the church would have had ethical investment and lending policies, including prudence over greed.  Yet the PMS was involved in property speculation, a risky business, and they were using other people’s money.  Many PMS savers would have expected better from a group which they associated with the values of their church.  Remember, Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple.

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