Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oakland Locally: Help Me Get Away From Big Business!

I hate big business.

I say this as I wear a shirt that was designed and manufactured for Target, typing on a lap top produced by Acer, on a website owned by Google.


And that's my point. We can try to get away from big business, but it is increasingly difficult. Some might even question why we should do such a thing. Let me suggest something to you, gentle reader. While some businesses have great labor practices and choose to employ people in the geographies they serve, this is not the norm. Some businesses may choose to be socially conscious by recycling, sourcing locally, and only building the best products that make the world a better place. This, again, is hardly the norm.

As I draw nearer to bringing a new life into this world, I can't help but consider the current state of the world. Sure, I see my work teaching art in East Oakland as a counter to all the pressures low income urban children face, but this is hard to measure. I do not know how much I impact these children's lives. I will never know. While I accepted that (and did so when I initially accepted the position) my contract is coming to an end. My attention begins to wander to other ways of making the world a better place, even to the point of examining the most mundane of daily choices.

This leads me to the question of local versus global. Some products are incredibly difficult (or downright impossible) to produce locally. I accept that. I understand the logistics involved for sourcing certain materials as well as infrastructure. That doesn't mean I can't try to support those businesses and products that ARE made and sourced locally.

I have a long way to go on this front. This is where I need your help gentle reader. Do you know Oakland locally sourced businesses? Locally manufactured products? Just locally owned? The more of these I can round up the better, but I'm only one woman and there are limits to my researching ability (I sleep and some times get distracted by other topics and interests...ahem.).

Leave your suggestions in the comments or mention me on Twitter (@alexisdonkin).

Thanks a ton! Your Earth thanks you too (probably my unborn kid would as well, we'll give the kid the benefit of the doubt).

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