Last month I read a horrifying story in National Geographic Magazine about the rapidly dwindling number of African elephants due to poaching for acquisition of their tusks. The issue was called ‘Blood Ivory’ and the story was so sad and disheartening. It is of course illegal to poach these animals and it is also illegal to sell ivory. But where there’s a will, there’s a way, and the black markets’ demand for ivory has been keeping these poachers in business. The ivory is usually transported to Japan, where ivory is seen as a status symbol for the very wealthy. Craftspeople happily carve it into intricate patterns and scenery where it is then sold to wealthy customers looking to flaunt their monetary affluence. The ivory is used solely for decor, it serves no other purpose.
This story got me thinking….. not only do I never want to purchase anything made of ivory…. I want to be a responsible consumer and support companies and organizations with the knowledge that the product I buy isn’t violently taken from an animal or the earth. I want to design responsibly.
Unfortunately, I also feel like ignorance is bliss because when I read things like this I feel sick to my stomach and almost wish I had never known. The same goes for shark fining and so many other unnecessary tragedies.
I hope learning things like this encourages you to be a responsible consumer too, because things like this only exist because there is a demand for it. Stories like this are published to raise awareness, and when you raise awareness you can gain the support for a cause… Remember, knowledge is power, so arm yourself with it.