ethical crystals, and why we should hold each other accountable.
hello, sweet friends - long time no blog post! As I'm sure many of you have as well, I've. been hiding out in my home and trying to lean into joy and comfort during the current pandemic situation - which has led to a lot of procrastination in terms of blog posts. I have a list as long as I am tall that details all the blog posts I want to do... heres hoping my motivation is here to stay and I continue to post!
Today's blog post is a bit less centred on how I live my life, and focuses more on how I run my business. More specifically, how I employ an ethical framework and root my business in sustainability, care for the earth, and care for other humans - whilst still sourcing and offering things that are extracted from the environment.
A little background of my crystal shop/business, I began The Hazel Witch in 2019 - and have since grown to my own website, regularly broadcasted live sales, and quite frankly more customers than I would have thought possible. The keystone of my business is a focus on ETHICAL sourcing - which may not seem like a huge deal, but is incredibly challenging in a world where there are so many readily available unethical sources for crystals and minerals.
The sad truth is, many folks prefer to get their "healing crystals" from blatantly harmful sources. A quick search on Amazon or Wish.com will show you that it is not only possible, but easy to access dirt cheap crystals. The issue arises when we look into where these crystals are coming from, and why they are so cheap.
The issues with unethical crystal mining are multifaceted - not only are human beings harmed in the process, but countless animals and portions of our precious environment are also sacrificed. A large number of minerals are sourced from poor countries, where people are working in environments with little regulation of working conditions. Furthermore, many extraction efforts are headed by POC, who are further exploited and unfairly compensated for the dangerous work they do.
On the environmental side, large scale mining operations monopolize giant portions of land in some areas, which often displaces people who live there, and destroys animal habitats. These operations also often make use of machinery and chemicals that let off harmful fumes and further damage our already precarious environment.
Not only is mining a concern, but production of crystals is also often unethical. Those working in factories where crystals are treated, polished, and shaped are often exploited and working under unfair conditions. Many workers are not supplied adequate safety equipment, and therefore become ill or injured in their line of work.
This is where ethical mining and producing comes in to save the day (or at least significantly lessen the harm done by the mineral industry). Ethically sourced crystals come from SMALLER SCALE operations that are MORE regulated, where workers are FAIRLY COMPENSATED, and kept SAFE by being provided with safety gear, and the freedom to refuse work if they feel unsafe.. The extraction takes place in a manner that allows the environment to RECOVER so that animals and people are not displaced, and items are produced and polished on a SMALL scale, often BY HAND, which reduces the detrimental effects to the atmosphere.
As you can guess, the issue of ethical crystals isn't quite as straight forward as it might seem. Many people and business owners prioritize profit over ethics - and because ethical crystals come at a higher price (due to the fact that miners are paid), many business owners and customers aren't willing to pay more.
This isn't meant to be shady, nor is it meant to demonize those who own/have owned crystals from an unethical source. Rather, this is an invitation to learn, and be better. Because what's the point of a healing crystal if you had to harm someone to get it?
I implore you to think critically of your consumption of crystals and minerals. Ask your favourite shops what they can tell you about the working conditions of their suppliers. If they can't tell you anything, or they don't want to - find another favourite shop. There are a growing number of sustainable mineral shops and excuses to buy unethical crystals are wearing thin. Lets all be better.