Lisa Sharkey: Going green means many different things. It means using less energy, decreasing toxins, and of course, lowering your carbon footprint. In order to protect the future of our planet, we need to also preserve our greatest human resource: our children.
Have you ever taken the time to look at the kind of footprint you make when you walk on the rugs in your home?
Did you know that hundreds of thousands of children throughout the Far East have been forced into labor in rug factories for generations? Many of those children were found to be victims of debt bondage or forced labor, which are contemporary forms of slavery. If you have never wondered who slaved over the loom for fifteen hours a day to produce that brightly colored, hand-woven carpet you selected, now is the time to take note. Stop buying carpets for looks alone. The sad truth is that your decorative carpet may very well have been at the expense of an innocent child laborer. But there is some good news.
There's a way to make sure that no child labor was used in the manufacture of your rug. Only purchase rugs that carry the RugMark label. RugMark Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded to rid the rug industry of child labor. Companies who join RugMark allow inspectors to come in and check to see who is manning the looms. If children are found there, they are rescued and sent to RugMark's own academy, where they are given a chance at a new life. On the RugMark website, you can learn which companies carry the label, meet children whose lives have been saved by this incredible program, and see some lovely rugs that you can purchase without a heavy heart.
Going green is about having passion for compassion, in big and small ways every day.
|Lisa Sharkey is Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development for HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide. Sharkey also served as Senior Producer for ABC's Good Morning America. Lisa and her husband, architect Paul Gleicher, completed one of the country's first total Eco Houses, a "green" brownstone in Manhattan where they reside with their three children. They are the authors of Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire and have a web site DreamingGreenBook.com|