Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Better World

I picked up a copy of this handy little book called "The Better World Shopping Guide" when I was in Seattle. It ranks corporations by social and environmental responsibility. What do you think?

I'm also reading Barbara Kingsolver's recent book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is about her family's experience learning to live on food that's locally grown instead of transported 1500 miles, as the average item on an American's grocery list apparently is.

7 comments:

Paul Merrill said...

I wonder where King Soopers falls?

One consideration for us is the extra fuel it would take to go to Whole Foods or Wild Oats - that could undo all the good we made by switching from our standard King Soopers option.

dad said...

Glad to see you're becoming environmentally/energy conscious, Marti. With oil at $100/barrel, can the cost of food stay so low when it has to be transported so far? Maybe you'll find your childhood experience with gardening useful. Do you remember how to can tomatoes?

Marti said...

Paul - Looks like Whole Foods is 3 miles from my house; Safeway is 1 mile from my house. And adjacent to Safeway is the farmer's market, about eight months of the year, which would be "better." So I think for me the gas would not be an issue... let's see, the Whole Foods closest to you is 3.4 miles. I didn't check on Wild Oats. I bet your King Soopers and my Safeway are on the way other places for us, so gas isn't an issue with those choices.

Looks like King Soopers gets a D+, Safeway a C-. But we might not give the same weight to the various factors as the author does.

Here's what he has to say about gasoline:

A: Sunoco
A-: BP, Amoco, Arco
B+: Marathon, Ashland, SuperAmerican
B: Citgo, 7-Eleven
B-: Valero, Beacon
C+: Total, Hess
C: Shell, Costco
D: Conoco, Phillips, 76, JetCoastal
D-: Chevron, Texaco
F: Exxon, Mobil

"The petroleum industry is one of the least socially and environmentally responsible on the planet, so if you don't want to get your hands dirty, you should sell your car. For the rest of us, it's important to avoid the companies at the bottom of this category as they are some of the most destructive in existence. ... Locate the best ranked gas station near your home and work."

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

It's interesting that out here in rural america we only have Walmart Super Center. There are no farmer's markets and we have to drive 50-65 miles to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods which kind of negates the positive aspects of shopping there. I succumb to WM because there is no other option. Or am I limited in my thinking?

Marti said...

Really, no farmer's markets? How odd. What about places you could pick up fresh eggs, or milk, is that an option? So long, rural America... not what it used to be.

I wonder if it's the same for the Bennetts?

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

I looked into a dairy that delivers hormone-free milk - from St. Louis. They don't come out to the country. We used to have a friend who raised chickens and we'd get the best eggs but she moved and can't find anyone else. So nope, no farmer's market, no fresh veggies (oh, we get the occasional tomato stand in the summer), etc.

Orrange said...

I loved the book. Hope you do as well.

This is something Brent and I are discussing right now.
We usually shop at walmart super center. I know they are a horrible company but their food is cheaper and with brent going back to school (and likely to loose his job before then) price is ultimately important.

We're trying out king soopers for the month of january to see what the cost difference truly adds up to, but it looks like they get a D+ anyway.

Safeway, Whole Foods etc are just too much money for us.

Lately, as we are planning to change tax brackets, I have been really struggling with the fact that seemingly the lower income classes don't often have the choices to be morally driven in their shopping choices.

We are going to stop buying individually bottled water, which will save us money and be good for the landfills. So that's a good change.

If you're into buying organic then check out www.doortodoororganics.com
They are a local company that delivers organic produce to your house for practically the same price as buying it in the store (definitely the same price as buying it at whole foods, i did the comparisons last year). AND they try to use as much colorado grow produce as they can.