Is Amazon ethical? On this Amazon Prime Day, Francesca Willow from Ethical Unicorn delves into the numerous ethical and human rights violations of this e-commerce giant.
This piece was written by Francesca Willow and was originally published on
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...
This post originally appeared on Terumah. Illustrations by Elizabeth Stilwell.
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:
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 & 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.
- 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.
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.
...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)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 3-4 tablespoon shea butter
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
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)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 25-30 drops organic food grade peppermint essential oil
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- To apply, simply scoop some out with your finger and rub on your armpits.
I made my own Lavender Body Spray after getting inspired by Hanna's recipes. Instructions are below (adapted from this website).
- 5 tbsp rubbing alcohol (90% or higher)
- 1/4 tbsp essential oil
- 2 tbsp distilled water
- 1/4 tbsp jojoba oil
- In a glass measuring cup, mix alcohol and essential oil. Add distilled water and jojoba oil slowly. You may adjust each as necessary.
- Pour into dark (preferably glass) container.
- 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?
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!
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.
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.
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...