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Monday, October 6, 2008

Sticking to My Moral Compass With a Long But Very Important Blog Post

I begin this new post and this new week with invigorated strength and hope as I set forth on a new and somewhat blurry path. I am allowing myself to slow down and I am trying to listen to my inner voice more. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is something my friend Brian said to me a few days ago, which was "Although we are short on time, there really are no deadlines..." and he's right...so if things fall into place much better for me when I work slowly and I allow myself to enjoy all other aspects of my life, not just those of being an artist, than I am for the time being going to let myself move forward slowly. I think this is smart for anyone who still needs to move forward but is not 100% sure of where they are going. I refuse to work quickly and in bulk just to have new work to show people. I need to make quality images, and yes sometimes a quick little fun image is exactly what the day calls for, but I realized recently that I can't be a slave to this blog or the whole daily painting style, it just isn't me and trying to do so just hasn't been working 100% in all honesty, which is why you've been seeing more prints in the updates as opposed to brand new imagery, sorry! On a more important matter however today, I've recently had reason to remember and re-adjust to my moral compass. I had the opportunity to remind myself of one of my biggest ethical beliefs...which is to buy cruelty-free products & leave as little a footprint on this earth as possible. We continue to grow and learn better ways to do these things all the time, and that's the beauty in it...that there's always ways to improve. As a woman obsessed, in love with and connected with rabbits...and rabbits being the #1 test animal in cosmetic labs etc, how can I not try to live a 'cruelty-free' life...especially when I have supreme and cute little beings like this surrounding me constantly...
You see, on Thursday night I had a panic, which reminded me of my ethical and moral compass. On Thursday night, I went to get my hair cut. I hadn't had my hair cut in ages, I was just excited to be out finally doing so, I was enjoying my chat with the girls, etc and well it wasn't until the end of my appointment when I realized, I had forgotten to check if they used Cruelty-free products. When I asked I got this reply "Oh well now, I don't know...we've never been asked, but ya know I don't think they are". Okay so panic and guilt set in...it was my fault that I forget to ask prior to the usage. I soon after quickly canceled my appointment to get highlights the following week because I wasn't sure if the hair dyes they'd be using on me would be cruelty-free or not... I wouldn't be able to rest my head against our bunnies, or even look them in the eye knowing that I took that chance....sure millions of other woman colour and style themselves everyday without giving it a second thought...but for me, it's wrong not to care and not to think about it. It's wrong to not think about the beautiful and precious rabbits and animals stuck in labs and tortured, blinded, killed and worse, in various ways, just so I can be prettier or have fancier hair. Happily however, later today, as I was rewriting sections of this post my friend Julie, a former PETA activist and fellow rabbit lover, sent me a link about how good Redken is and how not a single product of their including their hair dyes has ever been tested on animals...and this is what they used on me at the salon...yeah:D Here is the link Julie sent me on www.animalfair.com. Jules thanks, your right I was feeling really worked up about it and was being hard on myself...your info really made my day and eased my guilt and now I don't have to boycott the salon and can rebook my appointment:D Yeppee! Jonathan and I are living as clean a life as we can, we are far from perfect and there's always more we can do but we constantly try and that's what's important. We reuse and recycle everything that we can...we compost like crazy(currently with 3 big composters and plans for more...we buy organic when we can, we conserve, we've never used pesticides, we've replaced our plastic shopping bags with recycled and reusable cloth bags; we have containers under the kitchen sink for light bulbs, batteries and old medicines, so we can dispose of them properly; we are vegetarians...we hang our laundry to dry in the summers, we don't have an air conditioner, etc...we have lessened our garbage input, where as 2 years ago we'd have 3 big containers at the road each collection day, now we only have 2 small and often just one can. We have completely given up bottled water and are not buying any juices etc that are in plastic, our rabbit litter is recycled and biodegradable and everything from our dish soap, laundry soap, cleaners of all kinds, make up, shampoos, toothpaste, underarms etc are all cruelty-free. It's so easy to do, one just has to look abit harder and sometimes that makes it more fun. And if your unsure as to which companies do or do not test on animals....go to any of these websites for an extensive list, it'll help your maneuver around all the evil crap out there; Veg Family; Caring Consumer; Choose Cruelty Free; Uncaged; Global Action Network; Peta 2.com; Cruelty Free Companies. It's always good to check a couple of the lists...companies and brands that I have 'heard' and trusted before that didn't test, do indeed test so I just make a vow to myself to never buy that thing again. Writing letters to the companies telling them why you won't buy their products is paramount...it just takes a few minutes to send off an email. If you simple switch products the companies won't know why and it's important to voice the reason for your change. Mentioning this to you all, reminds me that I have a pile of such letters to write this month! I also suggest that people join advocacy groups such as PETA (you can find all 3 PETA websites on the right hand side bar). Jonathan and I are supporters and members of PETA. They are the people who are strong enough and brave enough to fight the fights where the rest of us are too weak hearted. There is always going to be difficult situations to decide upon. For one, I used to buy from the Body Shop once in awhile. Now however, L'Oreal owns The Body Shop and L'Oreal is on the 'naughty' list...so do I continue to shop at The Body Shop, does my continued patronage show them that I support the cruelty free side and which will hopefully force the whole company to follow suit! or do I boycott all of L'Oreal's subsidiaries....I am at this point leaning towards the latter. Though there are many animal lovers out there who won't know that The Body Shop is now under L'Oreal'....so it's always a tricky thing to navigate. Another example is The Healing Garden products, I've loved their stuff and their major draw is cruelty-free, naturally derived, paraben free products however their parent company is Coty, another big player on the naughty list. Or Aveeno products, well they just look natural and kind don't they? but infact the Aveeno products are a double hit because Aveeno is on the naughty list and the parent company is Johnson and Johnson which is another horrible company....so this last example just shows that we shouldn't assume or get suckered in by packaging! Jonathan and I love brands like Jasons Naturals, Avalon, Got2beme, Giovanni, The Method...there are so many. We have a list on Jonathan's blackberry so if we are unsure we take a minute out, scroll through the list and see who's naughty and who's nice if we're unsure. If you don't have a blackberry, create a list for yourself that you can keep in your bag. Or, just don't get that desired product in til you can research the company or check one of the lists, chances are you'll be back at that store before you know it and then your making a conscience and informed purchase. Don't panic, if you learn that one of your beloved products is bad, you don't have to just throw it away...use it up if you really want to and then just never buy it again...plain and simple, again making a conscientious and ethical choice for your future. This past Saturday was 'Worlds' Pet Day'...extend the sentiments of that day....picture your beloved pets in a testing lab...think about switching your lifestyle over to a cruelty-free one. You can do so slowly, you can do so all at once, it's up to you but what matters is that we stop just sitting back and letting things be as they are...things are changing...but we need to keep pushing and voicing whats important to us...which is what I am doing here today and which I plan to do more often, through my life & choices, through my blog, and through my art. That's all for today....I really wanted to bring this all up since it is vitally important to me. Think on it if you don't already and next time your out shopping instead of buying your tried and true brand please look for a cruelty-free alternative if yours already isn't'. I am so so very sure that your conscience will feel better. I wish I had the nerve to post abunch of pictures hat I know would instantly make people switch to Cruelty-Free but my methods are gentler and though shock and awe is sometime the only way to get someone attention and ignite change, I don't want to do that to my readers since some imagery can indeed haunt you! Thanks for reading...this week I might be taking abit of a blogging break, we'll see...I am trying to spend abit more time away from my computer...until next time be well. Love Mandy XXOO

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Shopping responsibly is definatley not the easiest at times, nor is the most fiscally efficient, but it is the right thing to do. Taking the high road is never easy, which is why it is so satisfying when you do :-)