OK, You’ve Got Your Ballot: Now What?

Non Partisan Election Info to Help You Voice Your Vote

© Bibit Unggul/Shutterstock.com

[TLDRs: Jump to Non Partisan Guide links at the bottom of this post.]

SO much has happened since my last post, especially here in the U.S. A global pandemic has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people. The publicized murders of black Americans have forced a spotlight on the racial injustices baked into our country’s foundation. We’ve lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a powerful advocate for women’s rights. Our poor leadership has prioritized hate, greed, and ignorance over the health and financial wellbeing of the nation’s citizens. It’s been…a real shit show.

As for ethimode, quite honestly, the busyness of my last year in school, along with the fact that I haven’t been buying clothes lately has left me little to share over the last year. While I do have some ideas in the works, today I want to focus on voting. More specifically, I want to talk about how to vote–not the signing up part. I mean how to determine your best choices for candidates and policies.

I’m sure almost everyone has an idea of who they’re choosing for President. Great. How do you feel about the other candidates running for your state and local governments? What measures do you support? I admit, when I was younger, I only voted in Presidential elections. I eventually realized this wasn’t the best way to participate in our democracy. While voting for President is important, making informed choices on who else represents you is key to putting your political beliefs into action.

I’m sure plenty of people–even many young voters–are actively informed on their local races and that’s great. This post is for those who are ready to vote, but need a little help with making informed decisions. So, you’re registered, you have your sample or mail-in ballot, now what? Every election, I find a few resources are key to helping me have confidence in my vote. Yeah, it takes a little reading and some research, but if I have to time to watch countless Korean dog grooming videos, I got time to look up what I’ll be voting on.

First, I suggest reading through the information likely to come with your mail-in/sample ballot. There once was a local election where the ballot guide listed one candidate’s platform on space aliens. Not really my thing. [This is also a good reason why you may not want to vote for anyone at random.]

Second, I find a guides with my local races and measures and spend some time going over what lines up with my ideals. Here you’ll find platform statements, candidate Q&A’s, and which organizations support each candidate and measure. Some guides are skewed in favor of a particular party, so keep that in mind. I prefer info from non-partisan organizations, so that’s what I’m sharing here (though some of these orgs may be considered slightly skewed). If you are going to vote in-person, fill in your sample ballot and bring it with you.

Lastly, know you’re doing the best you can. Sometimes, these choices aren’t clear-cut, and I just have to go with what I feel is best. I’ll be real honest: I usually don’t start this process until the week before I vote, and I may spend up to a few hours on research. Some may say that’s not enough, but it’s what works for me. Also, with the uncertainty of this election, I suggest mail-in voters to do this ASAP. The important thing here is that you’re working towards being an informed voter, and that’s something to be proud of.

Here are a few non-partisan voting guides:

As always, though I try to be honest and accurate as possible, what I present here are my opinions. There are more options than what I’ve listed and some may work better for you. Do your research! Let me know in the comments of other resources you recommend or if this post helped you!

Every Day is Earth Day

 

Piernas asomando por encima de un campo de trigo© nanihta/Adobe Stock

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Since it’s been nearly a year since I started this blog (and a while since I dropped the ball on posts :/), I thought it was appropriate to create a post for Earth Day.

While 2019’s theme is protecting threatened species, I want to start focusing more on last year’s ongoing theme: End Plastic Pollution. This post is going a little off the rails to address the general use of plastic in our daily lives, but plastic does play a big part in fashion (more on that later!). Recently, National Geographic published a disturbing article on micro plastic pollution in the air. We are at a point where, even in remote regions, plastic pollution is unavoidable. Studies on aquatic life have shown plastic’s adverse effects on health, however, scientists are only beginning to study the effects of the plastic we are inhaling. Unfortunately, recycling and using biodegradable plastics doesn’t prevent the eventual breakdown of plastic into micro particles. So, the best way to avoid plastic pollution is by reducing plastic consumption.

A quick search will bring up a ton of blogs and social media accounts on going plastic-free. When you start to notice how much plastic we use everyday, cutting down can seem  pretty daunting. I’m definitely far from being plastic-free, but there are some small steps you can take–switching to reusable water bottles, shopping and produce bags are a good start. For today, I’m just going to leave links to a couple resources from the Earth Day Organization’s site:

Have any good tips on reducing plastic use or full-on going plastic-free? Leave them in the comments!

Greenwashing – What does that mean?

ethimode_08_10_18_greenwash© [hakinmhan] / Adobe Stock

I started Ethimode as a platform for affordable responsible fashion. Considering ethical and sustainable clothing is largely unaffordable for a younger, lower income audience, I wanted to highlight garments and companies that are attainable for [nearly] everyone. Plus, after leaving my professional gig to become a [nearly] broke, full-time student, I am now part of that aforementioned audience. Quite honestly, this task is going to be a bitch, and a topic that the green fashion industry is slowly starting to address.

Before I post any finds, I wanted to talk about something I thought was important to consider: Greenwashing. What does that mean? Greenwashing is the dissemination of disinformation by companies that want to present an environmentally responsible public image. This could mean an oil company making public donations to environmental groups without changing their own environmental practices. Or it could be something seemingly benign as those “reuse your towels for water conservation” placards in hotel bathrooms—hotels aren’t making any additional efforts to save water, and are really just saving on laundry costs. 

Many savvy ethical shoppers are already familiar with this term, but even as a [somewhat] informed consumer, I’ve been guilty of buying into “green sheen” PR. I once made a superficially “feel good” purchase of a super-cute recycled cotton sweater from H&M, neglecting to look into the abusive conditions of their garment workers. How can I feel good about buying something less harmful to the planet, yet still potentially harmful to the people who made it?

H&M has made great strides in providing transparency, which is the first major step in moving towards responsibility. However, H&M and other fast fashion retailers are still ways away from being truly ethical—and that doesn’t address the fact disposable fashion in itself is unsustainable. I know these companies have made efforts to appear more eco-friendly. I also know that for many, these efforts seem like the only affordable way to buy into green fashion. I don’t want to discourage any effort to buy more responsibly, but I also don’t want to turn a blind eye to the uglier parts of mass produced clothing–no matter how cute or recycled or organic. So, I’m going to try my hardest not to promote any company that uses greenwashing to sell their clothes. In a sense, Ethimode is my way to help myself make better choices, and hopefully help others do the same along the way.

#WHOMADEMYCLOTHES?

 

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© Andrea Livingston

Exactly five years ago, over 1100 garment workers died and another 2500 were injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh, the deadliest garment industry accident in history. While some improvement in worker conditions resulted from this accident, the industry is still rife with dangerous and unethical treatment of it’s employees.

Creating my first post on this day is especially significant: The biggest reason I wanted to change my spending habits was to ensure the human impact of my purchases was fair to those who made my clothing. Coinciding with the anniversary of Rana Plaza disaster, Fashion Revolution, a multi-national organization dedicated to creating a safe, clean and fair fashion industry created Fashion Revolution Week, from April 23rd-29th. This week, to promote transparency in the fashion supply chain, Fashion Revolution encourages you to ask your favorite clothing brands #whomademyclothes? Go to the Fashion Revolution site to learn more about this campaign and download your own poster. @fash_rev