Are you aware that only 12% of the world’s population lives in North America and Western Europe – but accounts for 60% of all private consumption? Yes, 60%! We have the ability to shift our spending habits in ways that benefit the good of our entire planet. There are numerous ways in which we can become more conscious of our consumption – and use the power of our dollar – for the betterment of our planet.
What is Conscious Consumerism?
Conscious consumption is a movement based on our awareness of the impact our purchasing decisions have on ourselves and the environment. A conscious consumer is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their boycotts and boycotting actions. By researching companies, we can support businesses that are putting people before profits; sustainably sourcing raw materials and reducing their environmental footprint – as well as utilizing sustainable practices in all business activities.
Facts on Consumption:
- Americans take the greatest share of the world’s major commodities including corn, coffee, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, rubber, oil seeds, oil and natural gas.
- Americans consume more than his or her weight in products each day.
- Sustaining the lifestyle of the average American takes 9.5 hectares – while the worldwide average is 2.7 hectares.
- In the last decade, consumption of goods and services has risen 28%.
- The world’s richest half-billion people (7%) are responsible for 50% of the world’s carbon emissions – while the poorest 50% of people are responsible for just 7% of emissions.
- The carbon emissions of one American today is equivalent to those of either 4 Chinese, 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians or 250 Ethiopians.
How can I make an impact?
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Do your research. Knowing what you’re purchasing, and the natural resources consumed in production – are two tools in reducing your carbon emissions.
- Reduce, Reduce, Reduce! Do we really need all the stuff we have – or do we simply want it? Adopting a more minimalist lifestyle will make a positive impact on the planet.
- Read labels. What kind of company are you supporting? Does the product use Non-GMO, organic and sustainable ingredients? Is the company focused on a low-carbon footprint? If something is fair trade, organic, locally sourced, etc., it is typically labeled.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1.
- Do it yourself. Have a pair of old jeans or other items that need re-purposing? Get creative and make something new out of your old style.
- Quality over quantity. Cheap things break and end up in landfills, causing you to re-buy over and over – wasting time, money, and natural resources.
- Buying high quality items may cost more in the beginning, but you will be sure to save in the long term.
- Be mindful of your product’s packaging. Buying items that are over-packaged or shipped adds to natural resource depletion. Look for items that have minimal packaging – and buy local.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Actions 1 & 2.
- Hold companies accountable. Want to change the world? Start by using your knowledge and voice to stand up to corporations that are exploiting the environment.
- Find a community that holds these same values. Being around others that don’t value materialism makes it easier to reduce your consumption.
- Donate, Donate, Donate! A good rule is, if you haven’t used it in 6 months – you don’t need it. By donating, we reduce the need for someone else to buy it new – saving our natural resources.
- Spread Love. Spread Light.