Giving Value to our Sustenance

We nourish our bodies everyday by providing it with adequate food and water. But is our use really adequate, or is it over-adequate? A first world issue may not be a lack of food or water, but a lack of “good” food or lack of something other than water. Statements like “I have nothing to eat, or drink” in this country may not have the same definition in a 3rd world country.

Here “nothing to eat, or drink” is likely to be driven by personal preference of food and a certain drink, rather than an actual lack of these resources. Our notions of having “nothing” are what lead to more consumption. The desire of food industries to meet people “needs” is what induces more technological developments in agriculture and meat processing that threaten the well being of ecosystems in monoculture, and animal rights in meat processing plants.

In fashion, notions of having “nothing to wear” have fueled mass consumption. Clothing is valued less as it becomes cheaper, ubiquitous, and efficient to produce. Technological innovations paired with exploitation of labor speed up the production process and lead to unsustainable cycles of production and consumption.

Clothing is a basic need that must be valued to a greater extent. It provides physical well-being by protecting us from natural elements, and psychological health by providing us the opportunity to create unique identities. Like food, clothing has equitable value whether is it basic like water, or “good” like coffee. We just need to recognize that all clothing is valuable like food. Value is not defined by price, but by personal biases shaped by preferences.

water love

Clothing can nourish our bodies as food does. Reflection about the symbolism and history that our clothes carry can convey the equitable value of basic and “good” clothes. Clothes can have a psychological durability that surpasses their material composition. Emotional bonds to clothes can dictate strong relationships and endured use.

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