Do I Need This?

People are protesting a new coal terminal in the Northwest US.  The terminal is being built to export coal to China.  Why?  China needs more coal.

But ask yourself, why does China need more coal?

Dishwasher save, made in China logo

Made in China

Perhaps because we keep buying things made in China.

Now, there are reasons to make things in China, and there are reasons to buy things.  But the next time you find yourself about to buy something, ask yourself two questions:

Do I need to buy this?

and if so, ask

Can I buy a version made in the US?

It may be that you cannot afford the US-made version, say for clothing, or it may be that there isn’t a US-made version.  But if there is,  could you buy that instead?

US factories are regulated.  We have rules, such as those made by the EPA and those agreed to by trade organizations, that control factories emissions, what they do with their waste water and that regulate the emissions of the power plants that make the electricity for these plants.  Additionally, many US companies are responding to demands by Americans that we want things that are “green” or “responsibly sourced.” Many US companies are doing things like building factories powered by solar panels or wind energy.

How many things do you have to look at in your house to find one labeled "Made in the U.S.A."?

How many things do you have to look at in your house to find one labeled “Made in the U.S.A.”?

If we care about climate change, then we need to support the efforts of these companies.

So the next time you are going to buy something, ask yourself “Do I really need this?”

Happy Greening,

p.s. You can find some great sources and ideas for American made items in our fellow green blogger Sarah’s site Made In USA Challenge including details on Michele Obama’s inaugural attire .


  1. I don’t think not being able to afford US made clothes is a good excuse. I imagine almost all of us have way more clothes than we actually wear. We could all just buy less clothing and spend a bit more money on the made in US brands. Support your Etsy artisans, there are may beautiful and unique clothing options in a range of prices points. If not, shop at a consignment or thrift store. At least the energy of producing those products is already spent.

    • Shannon, I love the consignment route. I’ve been getting a lot of my business attire in almost new condition (and sometimes brand new) from consignment stores. Thankfully, my mother is willing to do the searching since I do not have the time and men’s clothes are pretty easy to get the right size.

  2. So true! My husband and I once went through a phase of trying to not buy stuff made in China. At the time, we found that it was nearly impossible to find a US made counterpart. So we decided that the bast way to go around it was to make sure that when we make purchases, they are really worth it. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I completely agree. We need to check labels to make sure we’re buying in the USA. I want to keep jobs here and know what goes into the product I buy.

  4. So true. We need to make more effort towards buying made in USA. Thanks for the post!

  5. Armybridemom says:

    There’s clothing out there, although probably not at the discounters. A lot is available online, and I’ve discovered some (not much, but some) in department stores. And it’s not all expensive, I’ve been pleased to find! It takes an effort, and one can’t run in and buy the first cheap thing off the rack. But do you really want to?

  6. This issue has become my passion. About two years ago I set on a personal challenge to find and buy products made in USA. Buying American made has so many benefits beyond the obviously economic impact, and it’s easier than ever. If I can’t find an American made version of something I need, I buy used so I am not supporting the manufacturer directly.

  7. We have challenged ourselves to build a house with as much American-made materials and products as possible. Once you get past the cement, wood and basic structural materials, it becomes much harder to stay with American-made products AND stay on budget. We are doing pretty good so far, and its been quite the education about our dependence on foreign countries. We want to support American manufacturing and are putting our money where our mouth is.

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