Green. Sustainable. Eco-friendly. Organic. Recycle, reuse and reduce your carbon footprint. I’m sure by now, unless you are under a rock, you’ve heard these terms before. They are everywhere. From cars, clothes, home good products, cleaners, shoes, energy sources, and paper products (just to name a few) you can’t get away from the “green” movement. But there is an aspect of “green” that is rarely addressed in these ads, articles or essays. The exploitation of animals. And it’s one of the largest contributors to global warming on this planet. So why aren’t we talking about it?
Take for instance the LA Times piece on EcoStiletto.com, a website that wants you to reduce your “carbon footprint” to “stiletto size”. The article starts out by saying:
“Greening a lifestyle doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style, with resources such as EcoStiletto.com pointing the way to the latest vegan pumps, paraben-free makeup and lead-free lipsticks.”
Alright. I can get behind the vegan pump thing, even if it means I have to put up with the “greening a lifestyle” part. But here is where I get lost. The very next paragraph is:
“Rachel Sarnoff, a beauty editor, launched EcoStiletto a year ago, aiming to reach the woman who’s trying to “stiletto-size your carbon footprint and change the world, one small step at a time.” That is, make the journey to green in Louboutins and Chanel nail varnish. Sarnoff says that the site, with a newsletter that now has 33,000 subscribers, only advises — highlighting products to buy and ones to avoid — and never lectures.”
I’m going to put myself out on a limb here and say that Chanel nail varnish is not vegan. And, the last time I checked, neither are Louboutins. So someone tell me how Rachel is going about making a “journey to green” in either of those products. Oh, right. She wants to change the world with “small” steps. It’s an age old question. Do you criticize the small steps or do you push for true reform?
Ms. Sarnoff says that she “only advises” and “never lectures”. I find that absurd. Especially considering she is advising people to buy leather goods. Oh, the leather goods (in this article) are tanned without the use of chemicals and made with recycled rubber soles, but does that make it “green”? I’m sure that the cow who died doesn’t care if its skin is tanned with chemicals or not. The cow still died. And livestock production, and the subsequent killing of livestock, is one of the major contributors to global warming. And regardless of that fact, that cow was most likely born into the factory farming life. This means that the cow was denied a chance to bond with it’s mother, force fed food not natural to it’s species, forcibly impregnated, had it’s babies stolen and forced to live a short life of misery until it’s throat is slit (sometimes without the use of anesthesia) and the cow dies.
But of course Ms. Sarnoff isn’t going to tell you any of that. She says, “”I don’t want people to feel guilty about what they’re doing but excited about what they can do,”. Let me translate that for you. She doesn’t want you to feel guilty about your goods full of animal pieces and parts, instead she wants you to be excited about it (and apparently uneducated because she doesn’t like to “lecture”) so that you’ll keep buying the shoes she’s hawking. Hey, a girls gotta eat right? I mean, she wouldn’t want to loose any of her “green” advertisers on her website with dribble about ethics and compassion. No one likes to read, hear or see the cruelty behind our animal goods. That’s why it’s always labeled as “lecturing’ in lieu of “educating”.
One of the companies highlighted in the article are Greenbees. They import boots, sandals and shoes from their family-owned factory in Mexico. According to the article:
“The footwear is crafted from leather tanned without heavy metals or formaldehyde, and soled using recycled tire rubber. (Clancy says that one used tire can make four pairs of shoes.)”
Tell me, how many cows does it take to make a pair of shoes? How much resources did we use to birth, raise and slaughter the cow so that we can make one pair of shoes? And, can you tell me how that is “green”? How can you look at one side of the equation (recycled tires) and neglect the other (leather)?
And finally, my favorite part of the article:
“Not everyone can afford Stella McCartney’s vegan shoes,” Sarnoff says. “We also try to feature eco-friendly footwear that’s affordable for everyone.”
This, after the mention of Greenbees Fall Fashion line offers three cooler-weather styles: an equestrian riding boot ($298), a Laredo-style full boot ($298) and an ankle boot ($198). You know, because we can’t all afford vegan shoes. But we can afford a $300 pair of “eco” boots? Give me a break.
Sure, there are vegan shoes that cost similar. But there are tons out there that don’t. Chinese Laundry has some great styles that are all under $90, and most under $50. How about Steve Madden shoes? They use a ton of man-made materials and are usually under $100. Vegan Chic offers a ton of stylish vegan choices at great prices. For even cheaper (but still cute) options you can’t beat Payless ShoeSource, where there are tons of vegan options. And even the most expensive Olsen Haus shoe (I bow down to Olsen Haus shoes) is $265, which fits in with Saroff’s idea of “affordable” and is a true “green” shoe designer.
Here’s the bottom line folks. You can’t be “green” without first taking a look at the animals you are consuming. It doesn’t matter how many lightbulbs you replace, if you buy green cleaners for your house, carry an eco-friendly water bottle or have organic cotton sheets for your bed. If you consume animals, in any way, then you are not “Green”. Period.