Only a few weeks left already… time has flown! Even though there isn’t ,much time left and my last findings regarding fair trade were great, I was unable to find more data to analyze. After meeting with my PI, we decided it would be best for me to read through other possible topics and choose something else in the realm of trade, globalization, and human rights. At the end of our meeting, he gave me a book to read through for topic ideas, where I learned about the horrifying conditions of sweatshops and how globalization impacts both sweatshops and child labor in Asia. For the remaining of my summer experience, I think I will be reading papers on this topic and trying to find data which aligns with it.
After reading about it in this book, I decided to look up ways that our every day consumer habits impact these individuals, and learned quite a bit about fast fashion. While I have never considered myself to be very trendy, I have occasionally bought from brands which are part of this industry (I shouldn’t name names) and regret doing so. Not only does the consumption of these products negatively impact the lives of these individuals, many of which are women and in some cases children, but it also heavily increases the amount of waste produced by the consumer and thus has a negative environmental impact. Luckily, I learned about these issues sooner rather than later and can change my habits early in my adult life, and will be beginning to shop at ethically produced, well-sourced, environmentally-friendly shops. Although they tend to be more expensive, studies show that by first world consumers bearing a higher cost, it can drastically improve the lives of these individuals by improving their work environment, their pay, hours, benefits, and overall well-being. I will happily pay $20 more for a pair of shoes that I know is better quality, ethically sourced, will have a positive impact on a workers life, reduce my carbon footprint, and will also last for a longer period of time.
When not doing research, I’ve been on the job hunt. I have been learning a lot about what type of work environment I would like to have when I graduate and what other criteria I wish to fulfill in this job. Since I am confident this is where I’ll be moving After I earn my degree in December, I have begun applying to positions. I saw a posting for an economic researcher that seems closely aligned with my interests and am planning on discussing it with my PI. He has been a great mentor throughout my experience and I am hoping he would be willing to write me a letter of recommendation.