Friday, May 14, 2010

GoodGuide it is!!! TADAAAA....the company I have often dreamt of starting in my wildest fantasies, while folding the laundry. 

A Berkeley Professor beat me to it! Those PhDs have the edge. He and his team did an amazing job - while I was sorting underwear and cooking brown rice... hey, I could'a been a contender

Well, having written a children's book isn't so bad either. The laundry definitely did NOT get done that year.

I was ahead of the curve thirty years ago, carrying a little booklet with "good" and "bad" product lists everywhere I went.  I think it was from PETA and I kept adding my own extensive lists to it. Even then, shopping for my household full of babies and toddlers was akin to wild mushroom hunting, potentially lethal to my offspring as well as the planet. Overdramatic thinking? Not really, as it turns out.

But now, we can go to the "GoodGuide" and be a highly knowledgeable consumer - with PhD powers, really - rather than the "gullible moron", preferred by the big corporations, who believes everything he or she sees advertised (or omitted) on a box. 

No doubt, the consumer product corporations must be getting a little nervous by now, and may just hop to it in a great big hurry, if they haven't already started in that direction. I have been quite impressed recently with, for example, Target's selection of certified organic food items in spite of that label's watered down meaning. Now, pleasing the consumer will mean passing - not the FDA - but the GoodGuide ratings and whatever else one reads about on other such sites and clever blogs. Corporations - if they are smart - will increasingly need companies like BuzzLogic just to figure out who is saying what about them in order to manage all this enlightened consumer chatter. The buzzword of today is accountability. Everyone can still run, but can no longer hide.

While big battles are being fought at the government level about HOW to properly and legally lie to consumers about the ingredients in our products - we can now be our own FDA - by just checking our GoodGuide and similar sites. What makes the GoodGuide so outstanding is its logical and easy to understand rating system. To get even more involved, read the GoodGuide Blog for up to date topics in this field, affecting all of us every day. The Internet is flushing everybody out.

We used to have to rely on word of mouth - "snail mouth" - to spread the truth about what was going on regarding food production, animal abuse and carcinogenic chemicals in our direct surroundings. Usually there was one of us "odd" canaries in a family, sounding the alarm, yet easily brushed of as an impractical dreamer who would grow out of it. Now, defenders of monkeys, bunnies, farm animals, the earth, and babies,  jump for joy when all that information lives in colorful images and researchable facts on the Internet, and "word of mouth" means having your own blog read by thousands. The Internet deserves the Nobel Prize! You thought I was kidding :-)

What is presently happening to the Catholic Church - to name another massive entity - is going to happen to ALL large organizations that have benefited from, and have abusively exploited trusting souls - be that animals, children or unsuspecting adult populations. The food industry will be no exception, and the pharmaceutical industry is right in line. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" - no doubt Jesus meant higher truths than this, yet the truth in general in all areas has a way to set us free - us from deceitful organizations, and them from having to live with such shameful secrets, that cannot even be talked about for decades, or listed on a box. Most of us today are in a fierce mood to throw out the good with the bad - since the bad has gotten way too bad. It's high time to reboot.

Destroying the planet, its animals, children and each other is easy when all our interactions are based on lies, not so easy when everyone knows what is going on. And - to be fair to the "evil" corporations - consumers need to own their part in all of this, as well. Constantly screaming for "more" and "cheaper", feeds this insane frenzy of lies, over-consumption and waste. 

The GoodGuide promises to become very powerful and may be in danger of getting corrupted over the next thirty years just like the FDA or the "organic" food label, but for now it seems independent and trustworthy.

In this jungle of questionable consumer items and the information gathering it requires, I am finding that, just like Michael Pollan in the Omnivore's Dilemma is encouraging us to have a relationship with the local farmer who is growing our food, I want to "know" the corporation I am buying from. I find myself "loyal" to "Bronner's Soap", for example, "Burt's Bee" products, and "Dr. Hauschka's" cosmetics,  because they pass my test and I don't feel lied to. I am starting to question "my thirty year relationship with Whole Foods" for all the less than ideal products showing up in their stores, but still love them for carrying Macrobiotic foods and many other high quality products that pass the toughest green tests. It is all about relationships, be it people, farmers, corporations or grocery stores.  GoodGuide has a lot of information about all the various corporations and businesses who make our products, so consumers can get to know the corporations they want to patronize.

As regular stores are adding the good stuff, and Whole Foods is adding some not so good - shopping is once again a lot of work in both places and the GoodGuide is a huge help. It used to be that you could relax and buy everything at Whole Foods, but that is no longer the case. Even though it is still my favorite store, the Super Target down the road with all its high quality products like Eden Foods and certified organic produce, is getting a good part of my Whole Foods dollars these days. Who would have thought? And - I am always on the lookout for the little guys - today's versions of Erewhon and Bread and Circus.

I could go on and on - for now let me just say - "Thank You" Dr. O'Rourke! I look forward to watching the GoodGuide grow ever more helpful and valuable. It's a powerful tool we have needed for a long time.

No comments: