Disclaimer: this show is in Dutch. So, if you don’t speak Dutch this might not be a very useful post for you (or you might want to learn the language haha).
World problems, for most of us western people they are surreal. We see the issues in the news and in newspapers all the time. Poverty, child labor, climate change, chemical pollution, you name it. Yet, this barely affects us. We have the best lives we can imagine. And so it’s hard to see different perspectives. And that’s where this show comes in today: shifting perspectives. That’s why I share with you today: Bloed, Zweet en Luxeproblemen.
Seeing Different Perspectives
I think it’s good to see different perspectives. To see what it’s like to live on the other side of the planet, to live in poverty, to be severely ill or anything else. I think it’s important to look at the reality. Why? Because we in the western world usually contribute to these problems.
Most problems in the world are caused by capitalism if you ask me. Since we live in a capalistic system we contribute to world problems and that’s what this tv show shows. When we demand the cheapest fashion, what does this do to the people who make the clothes? When we want the shiniest jewelry, what does this do to the natural systems? Our choices affect everything.
Bloed, Zweet en Luxeproblemen
In Bloed, Zweet en Luxeproblemen six young Dutch people are sent to the developing world to see what’s on the other side of the supply chain. The show has 8 episodes which all touch on a different subject. Below I’d like to quickly summarize each episode and discuss what I do to try to not contribute to these problems personally.
Episode 1: The Dutch youngsters go to Africa to work and live in a village. They have to work in the gold production industry. They conditions are horrible.
What I do: Buy secondhand jewelry (if that’s not an option for you, then go for fair trade) and less is more. Also, fund people to make sure they raise their living standards in a sustainable way (through LendaHand for example). This advice account for all the episodes since everywhere the youngsters go the living standards are horrible.
Episode 2: They travel to Ethiopia where the young people work on a coffee plantation and in the further processing of coffee.
Solution: I personally don’t drink coffee, but if you do, buy fair trade and organic.
Episode 3: Off to another place in Ethiopia, where the youngsters work in the leather industry. They have to cut the skins and process them with chemicals.
Solution: Since I’m vegan I absolutely don’t buy leather (only second hand, since that would otherwise be thrown away). There is no sustainable way to produce leather, so I choose other materials.
Episode 4, 7 and 8: They move to another place in Ethiopia (and in episodes 7 and 8 to Bangladesh) where they work in sweatshops (the clothing industry). Some get to sow clothes and other get to make shoes. Three episodes dedicated to fashion, which I think is great. There is so much wrong in the industry. The working conditions, the environmental impact, child labor, it’s insane.
Solution: I buy secondhand clothes since that is the most sustainable option. If that’s not possible, please buy fair and organic fashion. People should earn a living wage.
Episode 5: The youngsters go to another country, Bangladesh. Here they work in the wig industry. A part of the group goes onto the streets to buy hair and the others have to wash and comb it.
Solution: I don’t know much about this industry and so I can’t really say anything about it. I personally would never buy extentions but I totally understand why some people would buy them (if you don’t have much hair). What I would like to mention here is that I am planning on growing my hair so long (30 cm) so that I can donate it, this goes to cancer patients who need wigs.
Episode 6: Off to another place in Bangladesh, to work in the shrimp industry. The young people work in the ponds where they grow the shrimps and process them as well.
Solution: As a vegan I don’t eat shrimps. Eating animals as a middle man is very inefficient since we could also eat the plants we feed the animals.
If you speak Dutch I really think you should watch this series. It’s quite fun and sometimes humoristic (because of the young people) even though the subjects are horrific in a way. It’s good to see your personal responsibility. You can watch the series here.