100% Organic Cotton Fabrics
For home sewers, businesses, retailers, and anyone who gives a scrap!
Back in 2004, I vividly remember waking up from a dream with this vision of what was wrong with our economy and how it could be fixed. The latest Occupy Wall Street Movement has this back on my mind. . .
I believed then (and still believe now) that what is wrong with our economy can be summed up in one word: GREED. Greed that exploits planet and people. The "Green Movement" has made strides on the planet side (albeit we still have a long way to go!) but the people part has, in my opinion, in this country, only gotten worse.
Case in point, check out this graph that shows that CEO pay is now 350 times the average worker's, up from 50 times from 1960-1985. 350x the AVERAGE worker! I wonder what the discrepancy is for the lowest paid worker? Here's another graph that proves the point. (The entire article and charts are worth looking at.)
Let's do the math. So... say I make $50,000/year that means the CEO is making over $17 MILLION dollars a year or... $47,945/day - 365 days of the year. Is there truly anyone who is worth SOOO much more than everyone else? I am NOT against paying heads of companies large salaries, I just think they should not do so at the expense of the employees that make the company run. I think we need limits on compensation and if our government doesn't have the will to make it happen, I think WE THE PEOPLE can make it happen. How? you ask.
My solution is a color coded rating system based solely on economic discrepancies between employees. The color code system would be Green, Yellow, Red. The symbol could be an infinity sign in the various colors and stages of completion and distortion (example above).
The GREED ALERT break down:
Green closed infinity sign: Highest paid employee makes no more than 10x the lowest paid full time employee (including bonus and incentives).
Yellow almost closed infinity sign: Highest paid employee makes no more than 100x the lowest paid full time employee (including bonus and incentives).
Red very distorted infinity sign: Highest paid employee makes more than 100x the lowest paid full time employee (including bonus and incentives).
These easily identifiable color coded symbols could be posted in store windows, web sites, on products, etc. as a selling point (unwritten message for Green: We care about our workers) and as a warning label on stores who fall in the RED zone. Obviously, the RED companies would view this as negative publicity would not want to post their color but if a company is publicly owned their compensation information is public. With some research we could have a website or app that would let you look up a company and find out their color code/Greed Alert rating.
We could target some of the worst companies with grassroots exposure. People all over the country could post about the RED companies on the same day on blogs, facebook, twitter, ya get the idea. With a target on a high profile company, I believe we could get quite a bit of media coverage of such an organized event. The cost would be minimal.
With enough use/education I envision people asking the places they shop -- "What color are you?" or "What's your GA (Greed Alert) rating?" The beautiful thing is that it speaks to the general public regardless of politics, race or religion... and has the potential for real change. Wouldn't you rather work for and support companies whose discrepancy in pay is not obscene? If it worked, we would see the gap close and wealth back in the hands of more than a handful of people. I think it could re-ignite our economy and country in a profound way. If you want to give your top guys a raise, great! You just need to give your bottom guys a raise too.
I believe this grassroots movement has the potential to change the business world as we know it. Years ago when this thought first hit me, I registered CloseTheLoop.org and also GreedAlert.org I would happily donate these to the right group willing to do the research and web design necessary to pull this off.
I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Please forward this to anyone you know who could help bring the vision to reality -- if you think it is worthwhile. Ok, I'll hop off my soap box now.
It's a SMALL WORLD after all. . .
Ok, you asked for it... How did I end up having lunch in Timber Cove with Laurie and Tony from Sapphire International Ltd. (the makers of the Breganwood brand organic towels)? Well, the connection started in Kansas City. I was a keynote speaker for the Surface Design Association's annual conference (Off the Grid*). I was the first speaker of the week long events which is my favorite place in the line up since after that I can relax and enjoy the experience without my nerves getting in the way.
Well, I believe it was the following night, I was approached by a lovely woman who said (paraphrasing) "I could have given your lecture." Pardon me? "Truly, your story of feeling fed up with mass market and leaving to do your own more thoughtful thing, that's me too!" The conversation continued and I must admit our lives were pretty synched. No, Jennifer Libby Fay doesn't have an organic cotton line of fabric, but she did design for mass market (like me) and she left that world to create her own-one-of-a-kind fine art. She lived part time in Fayetteville, AK and part time in Bodega Bay, CA.
Now, the odds of anyone attending the lecture in Kansas City knowing where Gualala, CA is were slim . . . but having someone actually live a mere 1.25 hours away in another small coastal town was really quite extraordinary. So, how does this relate to Sapphire and China production? Well, Jennifer's husband is a mover and shaker with his own green line of kitchen products. Jennifer felt we should meet. It was Bill who eventually introduced me to Laurie and Tony over Caesar salad with pacific salmon overlooking the coast at a restaurant midway between Bodega Bay and Gualala. Laurie and Tony were on a business trip from Hong Kong and I had the good fortune of our chance meeting.
That lunch happened exactly 2 years ago today, October 18th, 2009. As my hubby always says, "You never know where a conversation may lead." In this case from Kansas City to California, Australia to China and then some.
*Note: They recorded the event and you can purchase a DVD recording of my talk and the others from the conference, in case you are interested.
What do they think we are? NUTS!
My friend Nancy showed me this packaging today. As you may know by now, I am NOT a fan of single-use plastic packaging. In fact, it makes me a bit crazy but this one, this one. . . well, let's just take a look shall we. (If you can't tell from the picture it is a plastic container.) In big words: "84% Less Packaging". That sounds great, right? Well, let's take a closer look at the fine print, shall we . . .
"Than glass jar by weight". REALLY?! Plastic weights less than glass? Incredible. Or do they think we are incredibly stupid? If this isn't a prime example of "green-washing" I don't know what is.
It is my opinion that this advertising crosses the line set by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)
Part 260 -- GUIDES FOR THE USE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS
(c) Overstatement of environmental attribute: An environmental marketing claim should not be presented in a manner that overstates the environmental attribute or benefit, expressly or by implication. Marketers should avoid implications of significant environmental benefits if the benefit is in fact negligible.
The FTC offers this example:
Example 1:A package is labeled, "50% more recycled content than before." The manufacturer increased the recycled content of its package from 2 percent recycled material to 3 percent recycled material. Although the claim is technically true, it is likely to convey the false impression that the advertiser has increased significantly the use of recycled material.
I think advertising that a plastic single-use packaging is 84% Less Packaging (by weight than glass) although I am sure technically true (duh!) qualifies as an overstatement. If you feel likewise (and inspired to do so), you can file a complaint with the FTC by visiting this web site or calling: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). It takes about 5 minutes.
Planters, as far as I am concerned you can plant this ad campaign where the sun don't shine. I'll take bulk (zero packaging) peanuts over this nonsense any day of the week. Shame on you.
Shower Curtain Success!
I do NOT like vinyl shower curtains. I use to design them for places like WalMart and Target. I can still vividly remember the smell that accompanied the samples that would arrive. They off-gas terrifically -- a sure sign of toxic chemicals invading the air you breathe.
We have an odd (deep) shower in our house and I have been looking for the perfect NON-vinyl liner for quite some time. You may remember my post about making a Tyveks one last year. Well, that worked for a while but the Tyveks molded and ended up not being a good solution. It came out of the shower super wrinkly and I didn't dare iron it and they did not disappear when the curtain got wet.
This summer I took the Tyveks one down and replaced it with my own organic cotton sateen fabric.
I used our Vein organic cotton sateen fabric. As many of you know by now, I do not sew so this curtain liner was made without a sewing machine! I knew I didn't want hems to trap extra water and hold moisture so I simply used the selvages as the top and bottom and tore (yep you read it correctly) the sides. The only tool I did use was to apply the grommets. If you know how to make a button hole I am sure that would have worked just as well.
I have been SUPER impressed with how quickly the fabric dries. It lets no water through and it can easily be tossed in the washing machine if you want to freshen it up. I don't have to iron it. If it has a few wrinkles, I just spray it down the next time I am in the shower and voila - no more wrinkles. I truly believe that organic cotton sateen (light weight) IS the answer to toxic vinyl shower curtains.
What do you use?
Founder of Harmony Art organic design.