I’ve recently updated my bio on my website to include an infographic titled ‘How I came to care about everything.’ Check it out if you haven’t already! Today, I want to explain one aspect of that infographic - sustainable conscious living. You will learn how YOU can make little ripples that can amount to BIG change.
What is sustainable conscious living?
When you google the term, Ithaca College’s Sustainable Conscious Community web page comes up in the search results. They define sustainable conscious living as “a continuous improvement process…” and “understanding the interconnections among society, economy and the environment…” I definitely agree but would also like to add that it is a choice we can make to ensure we continue to be stewards of our planet.
I mentioned a few weeks back that, we, as consumers have this ‘buying power.’ It is a power that I believe allows us to support sustainable conscious living in the most impactful way. Let me explain:
I blogged about laundry detergent recently as well and outlined the various ways in which we can buy laundry detergent. I mentioned that one of the most important ways we can shop is to shop non-GMO. When we buy a product that makes an effort to source non-GMO raw materials we are supporting an economy that then values non-GMO’s vs. ongoing use of GMOs. You may be wondering:
Well, does it really matter if there are GMO’s in my laundry detergent. Isn’t it more crucial for the food I buy?
I would say that your statement is not wrong. But, if you understand that what we buy (consumer behaviors) is information companies use very seriously in deciding what they continue to produce then you’d be on board.
If people don’t buy the product with better ingredients or more responsibly sourced materials that is important feedback that determines whether or not that product and similar products are produced. So, if we don’t buy product according to our values & only consider price we are consciously choosing to send feedback that may sound something like this:
I value a lower price above all else. It does not matter to me where you source your materials from, whether or not anyone is exploited during your manufacturing process, or whether this product is good my health & the planet.
I know, many of you don’t intend to send this message but when you don’t look past price this is what your buying power is conveying to companies. Of course for those who cannot afford to always buy in accordance to all their values do not worry! If you are aware of what your buying power conveys that is the most important step. You will, when you can, exercise this voice. I have faith :)
On the flip side, wherever there is a demand for something, a supply is created. For example because there are more vegetarian and vegan eaters today, there are more vegetarian & vegan restaurants. Restaurants have adapted to a demand in the consumer. If there is demand there will always be supply. So, keep in mind if there is something many of us want, it will become available.
How can you live a sustainably conscious life?
Try to, whenever possible, use your buying power to assert that:
I care about how this product was produced. I care what materials you used and whether these materials are renewable. I care how those who worked for you were treated. I care how your company chooses to operate. I care about my health. I care about the environment. I care to do my part in taking care of the planet & the people who live on it.
Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone, who is able to, chose to send such a message with their buying power?
Another way we can lead a life that is sustainable & conscious is to do our part when it comes to how we use the products we buy. Do we recycle the packaging materials that can be recycled? Do we make an effort to create less waste? Do we buy too many things we don’t need? These are important questions that determine again our impact on the environment & all the people involved in the manufacturing process of any product. I really like Trash is for Tossers blogger Lauren Singer’s ‘2 Steps to Zero Waste.’ It defines two important steps to leading a more sustainable conscious life:
- Evaluate: This is an important step because you must first be aware of what changes you can make.
- Transition: The transition part is often where most of us get stuck. Remember that change is a process and it requires time. You don’t need to read today’s blog post and change everything in your household today. But, rather evaluate what you’d like to change first and why. Then, take action change it and move to the next most important change item.
Taking small steps while understanding why you are making these changes allows for your changes to stick.
Too much all at once can be overwhelming and sometimes create unnecessary stress. So, take your time, plan & make changes when you are ready. I am always happy to guide my current patients on a more sustainable conscious living path. So, next time you are in the office & need help with a transition just ask me! And if you are not a current patient of mine stay tuned for more ‘How to buy ______’ blog posts.