My T-Shirt and Other Clothing

By Cosentino, Teri | Science and Children, November 2016 | Go to article overview

My T-Shirt and Other Clothing


Cosentino, Teri, Science and Children


My T-Shirt and Other Clothing By Helen Greathead. $8.95. 32 pp. Crabtree Publishing Company. New York. 2017. ISBN: 9780778727392.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Consumerism in the United States has become a national sport. Buying inexpensive goods in our throw-away society may drive markets higher, but little attention is paid to its true impact, particularly on the quality of life of the people who produce them.

Well Made, Fair Trade is a series of four books that detail how our insatiable appetite for a "good deal" affects other people on the planet, people in countries who are willing to do dangerous work in order to survive. These powerful, thought-provoking books show both sides of working environments, focusing on how everyday objects, such as furniture, food, devices, and clothing, are sourced, manufactured, and shipped. It tells how American consumerism influences another country, focusing on the environmental impact and humanitarian toll.

Throughout the books, there are case studies that put a human face on the food we eat, the clothing we wear, and the devices we use. These books give us a reason to question the difference between our needs and wants. It distinguishes between responsible consumers to global citizens who hold themselves accountable for what we buy, use, and discard.

Chapters in My T-shirt and Other Clothing include cotton T-shirts, denim jeans, flip flops, angora and alpaca sweaters, sneakers, and silk. It not only focuses on what organic means but also outlines cooperatives, reuse and recycling, and working conditions. From India, Bangladesh, Africa, Peru, and Thailand, the book discusses how rubber is produced and how fur from rabbits and alpaca are harvested. Processes include tanning leather, using dyes, and unwinding silkworm cocoons.

Do you remember the factory collapse in Rana Plaza factory? It is one of the case studies connecting all humanity--in this case, a woman named Nasima Begum who lost her life to that tragedy. This book presents many opportunities for classroom discussion about inequitable working conditions. It is an eye-opening view into the world of the clothing market and how fair trade standards and labeling are making a difference in the lives of working people.

My Smartphone and Other Digital Accessories covers phones, laptops, cameras, MP3 and iPods, game consoles, tablets, and e-readers. The book delves into the mining of the ores necessary to produce the devices and the people who take great risk to work in those mines. The book also highlights how many of the devices' materials affect the land and the animals that live there. Because the mines are sometimes run by the government, control over them often causes civil war and strife. …

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