Wow. Everyday Justice by Julie Clawson was an eye-opening experience. In this book, Julie shines a light on the justice issues connected with our everyday lives, including coffee, chocolate, diapers, clothes, and gas, and what we can do to make our world better. I believe that this book is accessible and highly informative for anyone who reads it, though Julie is primarily speaking to American Christians. While Julie explores some huge, systemic justice issues in our world, she is speaking to the average American as she offers a range of simple, small lifestyle changes to fight these issues on the everyday level.
I went through a range of emotions as I read it, from sadness to excitement to anger to despair to hope. The enormity of these justice issues is overwhelming, so I appreciate that Julie prefaced her book by saying,
don’t feel pressured into doing everything – or limited into doing only the things listed here. (P. 29)
I found that this mindset freed me to read with excitement to learn about what I can do, without the paralyzing weight of guilt or obligation. Just as she advised, while I’m not going to dramatically change my life all at once, even in the course of reading this book I have made some changes.
For example, Natalie and I love coffee and drink it every day, and have made a few changes and commitments as a result of this book. We have started using our re-usable Keurig filter for our daily morning coffee rather than the individualized plastic disposable K-cups whenever possible so that we reduce the waste we regularly add to landfills. We have also committed to only purchasing fair-trade coffee whenever possible so that we know that the workers who produced our coffee are paid a fair wage for their labor. None of these changes have greatly inconvenienced us, and hopefully they make everyone’s lives better in a small way.
This is just one example, but in general, I now have a greater appreciation for the true price of many of my consumerist decisions, and know that going forward I will think about my purchases very differently.