06/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Stop Walking on Little Children

Going green means many different things. It means using less energy, decreasing toxins, and of course, lowering your carbon footprint. In order to protect the future of our planet, we need to also preserve our greatest human resource, our children.

Have you ever taken the time to look at the kind of human footprint you make when you walk on the rugs in your home?

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of children throughout the far east have been forced into labor in rug factories for generations? Many of those children were found to be victims of debt bondage or forced labor, which are contemporary forms of slavery. If you have never wondered who slaved over the loom for fifteen hours a day to produce that brightly colored hand woven carpet you selected , now is the time to take note. Stop buying carpets for looks alone. The sad truth is that your decorative carpet may very well have been at the expense of an innocent child laborer.

But there is some good news.

There's a way to make sure that no child labor was used in the manufacture of your rug. Only purchase rugs that carry the RugMark Label. RugMark is a non-profit organization that was founded to rid the rug industry of child labor. Companies who join RugMark allow inspectors to come in and check to see who is manning the looms. If children are found there, they are rescued and sent to RugMark's own academies where they are given a chance at a new life. So far, RugMark has nearly 3,000 children.

On the RugMark web site, you can learn which companies carry the label, meet children whose lives have been saved by this incredible program, and see some lovely rugs that you can purchase without a heavy heart.

Going green is about having passion for compassion, in big and small ways every day.