Janna’s Journey

December 13 2011

Merry Christmas! No I mean it, Merry CHRISTmas. As this season is upon us it is easy to be distracted into the glamour of it all. Buy this, get this, you must have this! My 5-year-old wanting every toy we encounter…

Church today was interesting, most of the children (during story time) were not able to decipher the differences between St. Nicholas and Santa. This is TRAGIC! Santa can certainly be more of a consumer type idea, if children (or adults) are unaware that this is an adaptation of St. Nicholas would it change anything?
Consumerism is at its greatest during this season. It is a fact. A story I once heard was:
“A lady running toward an elevator full of people with several packages in tow, wormed her way in. As she settled in she said ‘Who ever thought of Christmas should be strung up!’. A gentlemen in the back replied “Don’t worry Ma’am we already did, on a cross, His name was Christ.”
I plead with you to consider your purchases this Christmas, do so with a conscious bearing in mind what all needed to occur in order for us to celebrate Christmas.
May you find the strength of Joseph, the courage of Mary and the peace of Christ Jesus in this season.
Love those around you and enjoy that Christ was born, born to die, for our salvation.

November 10 2011

Well you might have thought my journey stopped – not at all! My life got very busy which included many challenges and a few revelations.
Do you want the good news? Or the bad news? Okay bad news first.
What has made me buckle – literally. I suffered a knee injury due to volleyball, and as I sit in the emergency room (yes, RN’s wait in line like everyone else does) I am finally suited up with a hip to ankle brace, known as a zimmer splint and crutches. So not only I have destroyed my knee and ruined my volleyball season, I also get hit with these items (the crutches) I NEED to purchase. Guess what, they are made in China! DANG!

Next, as you see my 5 year old son is with me, he’s pretty much the cutest little man ever! So when he asks his Mama if we can decorate for Halloween I agree. With pumpkins from a locally grown garden, we carve them and make some pumpkin muffins. I was hoping both would satiate his appetite, it did not on either count.
Yes, one can absolutely make your own decorations. But have you ever heard of full-time work? Full-time parenting – 35% of your body not functioning. It adds up to not enough time nor proper organizational skills means we buy them. You can imagine where they were made. Cue Boo’s now (get it? Boo Halloween and Boo bad decision Janna). I’m trying to distract you with my wit, is it working?  I ended up buying him decorations, which were also made in China…
Otherwise for the most part I’ve done well with my resolution. I was blessed with many fresh vegetables and with my desire for home-cooked meals have found the foods or ingredients I need from North America.
The year definitely started with my saving quite a bit of money on clothing and essentially unnecessary purchases with second-hand shopping.
I discovered etsy – check it out! It did not save me money but its upcycled, recycled, reused, reconstructed individually tailored clothing, crafts, decorations, jewelry, footwear. It’s sensational – but not always inexpensive.
This is good news and bad – one of my motivations for my new year’s resolution was to reduce my consumption. I purchase more ethically, with greater conscientousness but I was also supposed to have less.
I have cleaned out my closet a few times, not because I’ve purchased that much but when I do add something new then I need to discard something (my own rule).
The good news? I feel good about what I am doing and I continue to research and adopt habits that exhibit my values and allowing myself to forgive myself for some of the hypocrisy.
I am often asked why I am doing this and do I really think it will make a difference? Can one person make a difference? I will give two examples one being a small picture type of view and the other a big picture viewpoint.
Small picture – I was at the farm helping my family with branding cattle. In order to brand the calves and vaccinate the cows you need to separate the two. My job is to ride Friday (a seasoned horse) in the corral to keep the cows we are separating from their babies. We bring them into my corral in three maybe four at a time. At the beginning I was having no trouble as there were only 10 cattle under my rule.
Do you know that cows are not stupid? They are scarily like humans – where one goes almost all the other will follow. Sound familiar? Need that purse? Those jeans? That backpack? Because you saw someone else had it?
One determined cow kept trying to escape and get back to her baby (a Mama sentiment I can relate to). Each time she charged there were at least another 20, quickly escalating to the entire heard (150) attempting the same. What stopped her/them? One person on One horse. You combining what I’m swathing? (Farmer talk, I’m a Saskatchewan girl) Meaning picking up what I’m laying down?
Disclaimer – I am not comparing my example to the one I am about to give!
How many holy people does it take to heal the blind? Leprosy? Walk on water? Turn water to wine?
Jesus was one man and His death, ONE death saves us from sin. ONE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

May 11 2011

Thoughts from Janna this week:

As an almost nurse I am challenged to consider what global health means. I say “global” is local. When I first was accepted into the nursing program I was so excited to take my new skills and knowledge and head to Africa to give vaccines for HIV.
Saskatoon had a rise of HIV of 30% last year. I feel strongly that in order to assist the world I NEED to address the issues in the place I call home.
My view on economics (rudimentary I’m sure):
Cheap Labour=Mass production=Easy consumption
I found out yesterday that on any given week night in Saskatoon, SK. There are 6000 “couch surfers”. This is a staggering number that blew me back and made me re-focus. By exporting business needs we are experiencing a job shortage. As the costs of living continue to rise as does our availability of cheap products, and gross consumption.
How do I resist the cyclical process that enables homelessness in my own community? Shop local, worklocal, aid those who are in need in my city.
Am I on the right track? There is only one way to find out-walk the talk! Stay tuned!!

May 1 2011

Did you know that China is the number 1 coal user in the world. Research this! It IS affecting you, in our air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s so easy for us to think that what we do does not impact the greater world and what goes on in other parts of the world do not directly affect us. Those of us blessed to be living in Saskatchewan do not immediately feel the devastation of a tsunami, or an earthquake. Make no mistake that this is and will catch up with us!!
I feel that China’s usage of coal is so great partly due to our dependence on their ability for mass production. Makes you think doesn’t it!

April 20 2011

If you knew me you may know that shy is not a word that describes me. If you are on the unfortunate side of a debate with me, you would know I am stubborn and unabashed to say it how it is! This leads me to the tale of the day. Some may avoid temptation by redirecting their ways, where as I will go head to head with my temptation mainly to prove I can and I will win.
I head into a clothing store near my house and as I’m browsing I’m impressed and a little Shocked at the words organic and bamboo! There were 50 different items claiming this, none made in China – made in India and Guatemala. Nonetheless, this is encouraging. I then see a rack of clothing boasting “New”, I check it out. Brace yourselves this is serious – a new brand that proudly claim that they are designed and made in Canada!
The young lady attempting to sell this product to a consumer (not me, just saying) said “Have you bought Lululemon lately? The pants tend to pill.” This is the perfect time to interject, which I did without hesitation. “That is because as the company gained popularity they exported the business to China, so it is designed it Vancouver and made in China.” Again, if you knew me you may know my voice, um, carries…well. So before I knew it there were 7 of us discussing this, staff and consumers alike.
So influence can be passive, and discreet or it can be slap your face awake (as the above example indicates). 1 voice does make a difference!

April 19 2011

A few thoughts from Janna for today:

My Oma and Opa were simple people rich with love for Christ, each other, their family and farming.  As I have grown I have become aware of the sacrifices my family made for us to be one of the greatest families of all time (I’m biased…but right)!

As I thought about Opa being the breadwinner, mechanic, rancher, butcher. Oma tended the large-sized garden, sewed the kid’s clothes, cooked continuously throughout the day all in the preparation for family to drop by at any time and be welcomed by the warmth of unconditional love, and of course fatty foods. Nothing in their house was new or shiny or the “latest trend” it was house built on faith and love and what adorned it was works of love, needlepoint, and pictures from the many grandchildren.

I loved going to the farm, the quiet (according to me, not the adults), the smell, and the feeling of security I had while there. There was no such thing as “keeping up with the Jones’s’” In fact, if we were to play the Mennonite game we would be stumped unless the Jones’ revealed that was a married name and maiden name was Epp, Dyck, Dueck, Friesen, Regier.

It was with my resolution I reflected on the fact that society has progressed at an incredible rate as the number of people farming continues to lessen and mass urban development increases I feel we have missed several important steps. Some of these include the sense of community and that our actions impact those close to us. Also, appreciation of our privileges instead of viewing them as rights including our vehicles, fuel and groceries and lastly (according to why I needed to change my lifestyle) our mass consumption as a society and understanding that yes, 1 person can make a difference.

What does this mean? It means that my rose colored glasses are off and under no circumstance can I put them back on, or go back to my old way of life. Which for interest sake included a matching purse for every pair of shoes.

So in the 3.5 months I have been on this journey I have experienced serious temptation!!! By means of the …mall! What have I learned? That knowledge is power and it isn’t easy knowing it.
Certain companies distribute many products without indicating where they are made; this requires me to truly contemplate my purchases, as I need to go home and research where the product is made.
Co-op canned peaches are a product of china! What? We have peaches in this country right? Apparently exporting/importing is the name of the game.
Major name brands (Lululemon) had an amazing product designed in Vancouver, made in Vancouver and sold in Canada. For this million-dollar company to go international, products are now designed in Vancouver and made in China. There is a difference in quality, I have the proof.
A shout-out to a company named Scentsy, who engaged in an interrogation (by me via email) and was quick to respond with solid answers about where and how their products are made.
Difficulties this month? Aidan’s (my son) birthday party!
So we have found that a certain store here in Saskatoon has Saskatchewan Roughriders t-shirts made in Toronto. I bought several as future gifts (for parents that know my child and are inviting him, consider the surprise ruined). So I dodged that bullet however, the goodie bags given at the end of the party was another story!
Here it comes people…disappointment!
I had full intentions of baking goods for the kids goodie bags, alas the treacherous schedule that has been my scholastic life overtook my good intentions and WHABLAM, I can’t even type it I’m so disappointed in myself. Nonetheless, the point of this blog is not just for awareness sake but also as an accountability tool for myself and I can’t lie to my people (I may not know you but you’re reading this, so a cyber-relationship has formed).

So we are in mid-April, I’ve dusted myself off and starting again with an almost clean state, the same cannot be said for my conscious!

April 9 2011

For over 3 months now Janna has been living without purchasing anything from China. Her aim is to go the entire 12 months of 2011 with this ambition.
No Waste Wednesdays interviewed Janna to learn more about her endeavor and find out just how she came to this decision…

A bit about Janna:
• Nursing student
• Competitive volleyball player
• Single mom
• Best bun maker in town (Oma’s recipe)!

What are the stipulations for your challenge this year?
• Go without purchasing anything from China for 1 year
• Exceptions include accepting gifts from others and purchasing 2nd hand items

What are some of the most challenging items to find?
• Toothbrushes and finding gifts for kids.

What motivated you to begin this in the first place?
• Initially, watching a documentary about Wal-Mart which filmed a factory worker in China who talked about her working conditions and Wal-Mart lifestyle. When she spoke, she encouraged the filming crew not to forget about her but to think of her when they purchased cheap goods made in China.

Where do you get your inspiration for this type of a challenge?
• From a Christian perspective on caring for one another. I choose to see beyond the item for purchase to the issues that are oppressing people. There is a direct link between my consumer power and the disadvantaged workers in many south-east Asian countries where our goods are often made or assembled.

Janna will be writing in with updates throughout the year – visit this space often for pictures, inspiration, to hear how she’s doing and offer your support!

January 24  2011

Janna, from Saskatoon, will be going the year of 2011 trying her best not to purchase anything made in China.

Read about her story here.


3 Responses to “Janna’s Journey”

  1. Jill McKeever February 6, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Great goal! Back in late 2009, I made a promise to myself only to purchase merchandise made in America. I did it secretly because I didn’t want my friends thinking I had become some extremist. It wasn’t easy at first. Everything I picked up was made in China. This choice of mine completely knocked out all impulse buying, which ultimately saved me money. ;D I’ve had to rethink my resources and whether what I’m looking for is a desire or a necessity.

    I’ve gotten back into the habit of visiting estate sales and thrift shops. I love vintage goodies.
    For clothes, I sought out local folks that sew their own cloths, drapes, and home accessories.

    A great online source for all sorts of beautiful, hand-crafted items and clothes is Etsy.com. It’s a global source, but each seller lists their location.

    Our food is purchased from local ranchers, dairymen, and farmers. I cook from scratch quite a bit. I don’t buy fish and shellfish from overseas.

    When birthdays and Christmas rolls around, I plan ahead and put up extra jellies, pickles, and bake gallons of granola for gifts. I have found local artists and hit the antique shops to find unique gifts for those folks that have everything.

    It’s amazing what you’ll find right in your own town when you stop shopping the big super-marts. There are creative and hardworking people all around us. We just have to seek them out on purpose, with a purpose. You’ll find yourself more involved with your community and it’s wonderful.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your journey ahead.

    Your new friend,

  2. Rebecca from Going Green Limousine May 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I have to admit, I found your blog completely by accident. I was looking for something unrelated to this but one of your tag lines said Oma and Opa, which caught my attention for a different reason. (My parents were born and raised in Germany.) So, I clicked on your link and discovered this wonderful eco blog. Being a mom and owner of an eco car service in Chicago, I feel finding this was a bit of fate. I appreciate what you are doing and wish you the best of luck in your green endeavors.

    • nowastewednesdays June 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      Thank you Rebecca! So glad ‘Oma’ and ‘Opa’ got us connected 🙂 Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions of topics we should cover.

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