Shopping green not the only way to pitch in

Buying organic is a great way to be eco-friendly. But it isn’t the only way.

A Daily Skiff story reported that supporting environmentally sound movements such as buying expensive free trade or organic products have been pushed to the back burner with the recent economic crisis. Fair trade products come from companies that ensure workers enjoy safe working conditions and prohibit child labor. Revenue from fair trade products goes directly back to those workers.

For those facing difficult economic times, other steps can be taken to support sustainable efforts without shelling out extra cash for these expensive products. Voting for issues friendly to the environmentalist cause, such as more efficient energy use, is a great, free way to replace spending the extra $2 for an organic gallon of milk. Recycling cans, bottles and paper products can even help you earn money back – maybe to pay for that organic milk for hardcore green shoppers.

Economics professor John Harvey told the Skiff the goal of fair trade efforts is redistributing wealth to pay for higher wages and better conditions for workers in foreign countries. College students on a strict budget may not be able to single-handedly change the global economy, but they can help by discouraging entities that take advantage of bad labor practices abroad.

It’s easy to write a check to a good cause and feel accomplished, and it’s a nice thing to do, but going the extra mile and adding manpower to a worthy cause promotes a greater sense of global stewardship and drives the engine that powers some of the world’s most effective sustainable efforts.

Managing editor Joe Zigtema for the editorial board.