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Why Intersectionality Matters In Ethical & Environmental Movements

intersectionality and environmental and ethical activism

This piece was written by Francesca Willow and was originally published on

Ethical Unicorn

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Well, this week has certainly seen some interesting developments in the environmental community.

Here’s a brief TLDR

if you missed the online drama in the zero waste world: Package Free Shop, a zero waste shop run by Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers, stated on Instagram that anyone can go zero waste. Some followers questioned this assertion politely, and were promptly blocked and had their comments deleted. Now I’m not usually one to weigh in on things such as this, but I did feel like I wanted to write something about this as it symbolises a much larger issue that I believe we need to maintain awareness of and sensitivity to. Intersectionality.

You may have never heard this term before, and if you have you’ve probably heard it in relation to the feminist movement. Well today let’s take a closer look at what intersectionality actually is, why it’s important, and why it’s vital that the environmental movement is intersectional (and yes, we’ll be returning to the Package Free Insta-drama in this discussion).

What is intersectionality?

While the theory of intersectionality was officially created in 1989, the concept has existed since at least the 1800s, and its core idea it pretty simple. Intersectionality argues that there are multiple aspects to humanity including race, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, body type and many more, and these aspects don’t exist separately from each other. They are inextricably linked, meaning that individuals whose identities overlap with a number of these minority classes will face many more threats of discrimination in their life. For example, I experience oppression because I’m a woman, but I also don’t experience many other forms of oppression because I’m privileged in other areas of my life. I’m white, cisgender, heterosexual, able bodied and pretty middle class, which means there are a whole ton of ways that my life and experiences are much easier than those of many others.

Essentially, it can be simplified down to the following: everyone has multiple, overlapping aspects of their identities, and all of these connect together to shape how we experience the world and are treated within it. For many, this means that multiple forms of discrimination intersect, and we have to address all of them to create true change.

Seems pretty easy right, where’s the problem?

Well, we start getting issues as soon as we disregard complex thinking. To be honest, often the people at the forefront of justice movements tend to be a variation of me – white, able bodied, cisgender etc – because it’s easier for us to get our voices heard in society. Yes I may have had some barriers as a woman, but I also have more access to technology, finances, education and societal acceptance that have made it much easier for me to have a voice than say, a disabled woman of colour. This doesn’t invalidate my personal struggle in any way, but simply recognises that there are certain elements that are more accessible to me than others. But if the majority of people fronting a movement, whatever it may be, are in a similar spot to me, it’s also very easy to disregard all the other elements that are at play for everyone else. Because I’ve never been personally affected by certain considerations, it would be incredibly easy for it to never even occur to me to think about trans people, older people, disabled people, queer people or immigrants (to name a few), when I’m talking about justice and progress in the world.

Why white feminism sucks

And this is where we often end up with white feminism. Check out this video, which breaks down the concept simply and easily:

So if you’re white and a feminist, that isn’t a bad thing, not all white people are white feminists. We do, however, have a problem when someone’s activism ignores intersectionality. Often times this is unintentional (because, hello, we live in a society created to favour the privileged) but, if we don’t identify it and work to change our activism, we do serious damage. Not only do huge numbers of people feel completely excluded from activist movements, but these movements strive for goals that only help white, cis and straight people. Activists may think they’re moving towards important social change, but they’re really only creating progress for a very small, very limited number of people.

If your activism isn’t intersectional, you aren’t actually doing good in the world. You’re just helping those who already hold privilege.

Why white environmentalism is also a problem...

Read the rest at Ethical Unicorn

3 Simple DIY Beauty Recipes, by Annie Zhu

I love the freedom of summer's long days. The lingering daylight makes me feel like I can spend more time doing things I love and nurturing myself. It's also a season that requires very little concern for clothing, as it's almost always warm enough to wear a single layer and be done with it. So instead of obsessing about the weather and the shopping that comes with it, I like to spend more time doing things with my hands, reading books, and experimenting with DIY projects. Annie Zhu's all-natural beauty recipes, below, fit the bill.

This post originally appeared on Terumah. Illustrations by Elizabeth Stilwell.


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It’s not hard to make your own beauty products at home. The few ingredients required are readily found at your local supermarket and health food store. Empty jars and containers are perfect to reuse for this. By making your own products, you’re guaranteed to end up with something that’s 100% natural.

Here are 3 super easy beauty recipes you can whip up in the kitchen:


salt scrub recipe

Peppermint & Sea Salt Body Scrub


  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp almond or jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops grapefruit essential oil


Mix sea salt, fresh mint and almond/jojoba oil in a bowl. Add essential oils. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Scrub can keep for up to 6 months.

beet lip balm recipe

Beet Lip & Cheek Stain


  • beet juice
  • 2-4 drops freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • optional: coconut oil, almond oil or vitamin E oil


Make fresh beet juice with a juicer. If you don’t have a juicer, cut the beet into quarters after taking the top and root off. Toss into a blender with some water. Pour juice through a strainer into a small bowl. An eyedropper can help you get the juice from bowl to jar. An empty roll-on jar would work best. Be careful, as beet juice can stain.

Depending on how big your container is, add 2-4 drops of lemon juice. This helps preserve the color. Lemon juice can be drying, so add some oil for moisture.

Keep this in the fridge and it will last up to 2 weeks.

natural face powder recipe

Face Powder


  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp or more cocoa powder
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil


Mix cocoa powder and arrowroot powder in a box. Stir in lemon essential oil until color is uniform. Add more cocoa powder to match your skin tone as needed.

Pour into a powder jar (an old mineral powder jar is perfect.) Use the powder to set foundation and to mattify skin.

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Get 21 DIY Beauty and Makeup Recipes from Terumah here.


natural bodycare and home products you can make yourself, by Hanna Baror-Padilla

This post was written by Hanna Baror-Padilla and originally appeared on the Sotela Blog.
diy skincare recipes

Sotela is a forthcoming ethical clothing brand that supports and encourages women through all seasons of their lives by providing well-designed, versatile clothing in a range of sizes. Click through to discover more simple beauty and home recipes. 
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In Hanna's words:

...here are all the DIY beauty and home recipes I use daily, which I’ve found on Pinterest or other blogs. And get this: every recipe has 5 ingredients or less! Everyone is different so these may not work perfectly for you, but give it a shot before you decide it isn’t for you.

I’ve become even more zero waste with my beauty routine since this post because I mostly make everything myself. Instead of buying packaged beauty products every couple months, I buy packaged bulk items, which last a couple years.

FACE LOTION

(Recipe adapted from Wellness Mama)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 3-4 tablespoon shea butter
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

If you go to Wellness Mama’s blog, you can see how she makes the face lotion. Each batch of lotion lasts about 6 months and I haven’t had any problems! Talk about budget friendly and minimal.

TOOTHPASTE

(Recipe by Trash is for Tossers)

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 25-30 drops organic food grade peppermint essential oil

Directions:

You can watch Lauren of Trash is for Tossers make toothpaste! If you feel like it is too much oil, you can add more baking soda, which is what I did. Either way works for those pearly whites!

DEODORANT


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 20-40 drops lavender essential oil

Optional: Lauren of Trash is for Tossers adds 1/4 cup of shea butter. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m going to for my next batch because sometimes my armpits get sensitive.

Directions:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a double broiler and stir until melted. I use a large jar and place it in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are melted together, I mix one final time and add 20 drops of lavender. You can use any oil you like!
  3. To apply, simply scoop some out with your finger and rub on your armpits.

Get more simple recipes on the Sotela Blog.


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BONUS:


I made my own Lavender Body Spray after getting inspired by Hanna's recipes. Instructions are below (adapted from this website). 
diy lavender body spray

BODY SPRAY


Ingredients:
  • 5 tbsp rubbing alcohol (90% or higher)
  • 1/4 tbsp essential oil
  • 2 tbsp distilled water
  • 1/4 tbsp jojoba oil

Directions:
  1. In a glass measuring cup, mix alcohol and essential oil. Add distilled water and jojoba oil slowly. You may adjust each as necessary. 
  2. Pour into dark (preferably glass) container. 
  3. Let sit for a few days for ingredients to meld. Shake thoroughly before use.

What are your favorite DIY recipes for home and body care?



find me at Seasons & Salt today!

true cost movie consumerism
Film Still from The True Cost movie; text and effect added by me

When Andrea (of this helpful capsule wardrobe post) asked me if I could write on "the importance of considering where your clothes come from," I was convinced I'd have a hard time with it. After all, I write on this topic a few times a week for Style Wise. But I'm thankful for the challenge, because it forced me to expand my focus from the day-to-day issues and crystallize a lot of my thoughts about behemoth topics like labor, consumerism, and capitalism. 

You can read my post, Knowing Who Made Your Clothes Matters, on the Seasons & Salt blog today. Thanks for having me, Andrea.

the moral wardrobe: on being (sunburnt) with American Nomad

Ethical Details: Dress - Mata Traders; Sandals - Betula; Hat - thrifted; Necklace - c/o American Nomad

The weird thing about blogging is that I feel obligated to tell you that my mother-in-law just left town after staying a week at our house. Her side of the family is rooted in Baltimore, so we spent the last two weekends road tripping up for surprise parties and backyard BBQs, getting hugs from people we'd never met, and eating more than we normally would in a week, including steamed crabs covered in Old Bay seasoning (a regional tradition). Fortunately for me, my mother-in-law did the driving (fun fact: Daniel doesn't drive) and I sat in the back reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawende (I highly recommend it!). 

We dropped Kathy off at the airport in Richmond on Monday and decided to meander through Carytown for a little while before heading home, which is how I got my first sunburn of the year; I forgot to bring my sun hat, too!

On to my outfit: Michelle, the founder of fair trade accessories brand American Nomad, contacted me a few months ago to connect and see if I'd be interested in writing a guest post for the American Nomad blog. We both got distracted by other things, so it took awhile to work out the details, but the post is up now! She sent me this beautiful necklace as a thank you and I love it because it's modern and reminds me a bit of honeycomb. Thank you, Michelle. 

I encourage you to check out American Nomad online. The shop is well curated and the graphic design and photography work is stunning!

behind the scenes: Liz Alig Fair Trade

liz alig's studio

This post was written by Julia of Fair-For-All Guide. The original post is available on her blog, here. Thanks for letting me share it, Julia!

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In an old farmhouse at an orchard east of Indianapolis is a hidden fashion design studio you’d never know was there. It’s the headquarters of Liz Alig, and a couple of weeks ago founder Elizabeth Roney invited me to visit the studio.

I had never been behind the scenes of any kind of fashion business, let alone a fair trade fashion company, so I came with tons of questions and left with a head full of knowledge (along with a bunch of food I bought at the adjacent country store).

Here are the biggest things I learned:

1. A small team can have a big impact. 


The first thing I was impressed to learn was that Liz Alig is only a two-person operation. Elizabeth, as designer and operations manager, designs the collections and handles the logistics of communicating with the fair trade producers. Liz Alig is focused on wholesale distribution through boutiques around the country, so Elizabeth has a part-time sales and marketing associate help with that end of things.

It was encouraging to see a small team make such a big impact. Through the work of just two people, Liz Alig provides opportunity to fair trade producers in several developing countries and offers conscious consumers an ethical and fashion-forward clothing option.

2. Design is a small part of the process. 


Elizabeth told me that the design part of being a fashion designer actually only takes up a fraction of her time. Liz Alig releases two collections a year, fall and spring, and each collection takes about two weeks to design. It takes another two weeks to create the patterns the producers will use to make the orders.

After creating the patterns, Elizabeth will make a sample of each piece and send it to the producer group, or more often, she will send the group the pattern and have them make the sample themselves with a sketch to guide them. “That way they understand more how the piece is assembled,” Elizabeth says.

The rest of Elizabeth’s time is spent working with the producer groups to make and receive the orders, which I learned has its own set of unique challenges.

3. Cultural miscommunication is a common occurrence. 


Liz Alig works with producer groups in Cambodia, India, Honduras, Haiti and more, and each group has different capabilities and resources. I asked about the language barrier, and Elizabeth said she frequently uses Google Translate to communicate with the different groups...

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To read the rest, check out the original post at Fair-For-All Guide here

guest posting at RHE today



Hey guys! I'm excited to let you know that my guest post, Strength and Dignity are Her Clothing: Making Ethical Fashion Choices is live on Rachel Held Evans' blog. Rachel is a Christian author and blogger who I've been following for many years now. We've had similar faith journeys and doubts about Evangelical church culture and have both found ourselves in the Episcopal church after several years of exploration. It's an honor to have my words featured in a space that so profoundly influenced my understanding of God and of myself. Thanks for having me, Rachel.