Do you practice mindful consumption?
Mindful consumption – buying products/services in a way you believe will make the world a better place – is practiced by many people. But it's not always cheap. Do you put your money where your morals are?
- Our family motto is Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle Rot(compost) so when we do buy something it's a) something we need, which is different from a want. b) is as 'green' a product as possible. Which means it's not made of plastic if at all possible, and if it is it's post consumer plastic. c) not made in China or some other country if at all possible. Which is why we buy all our clothes sans underwear, at local thrift stores.Yahoo has a good group called The Compact where folks make a promise not to buy anything new for a year (food, meds etc are allowed) and it helped me a lot five years ago to change how I live. Also highly recommend the Zero Waste Home blog which has also helped me a lot. I now produce no garbage. She has the Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle Rot motto as her mantra. The bottom line is think global, act local. My actions effect people I will never know or meet. Thus the world doesn't revolve around me as an American. So now as a widow I have become more vegan, and do not buy ANY processed foods. I also walk more,ride a bike and use rural mass transit and drive less than 500 miles per year now.
- I participate in the philosophy of the "Zero Waste Home" doing everything in my power not to consume single use plastic. We bring our own muslin veg bags and reusable grocery bags to the grocery store and farmers market, we bring all our own containers and buy everything from dishwashing powder to cat food in bulk, we bring our own napkins (organic hemp) and cutlery (bamboo) with us everywhere we go so as to avoid using to go plastic. We have reduced our monthly trash down to less than 40 gallons of trash (most of which is organic pine cat litter). We research all purchases before making them, and usually wait 30 days before buying anything we think we "want" to let it settle and decide if we really "need" it. Last year we bough nothing but gas and groceries for an entire month and it was very eye opening. We research the companies we purchase from and are willing to spend substantially more for products we know to be ethical (Icebreaker is a perfect example). We rarely shop at big box stores, refuse to go into Costco or Walmart, never buy fast food, I could go on and on. We are keenly aware of the finite nature of our planet's resources and the absurd belief that continuous growth is the solution to our economy. I could go on for days about mindful spending and how Americans are lulled into this somnolent treadmill of earn spend earn spend all the while being told that the solutions to all their problems can be solved with just one transaction. Mindful consumption is a revolution that is long overdue!
- Buy local is garbage...Ten principles of economics, trade benefits everyone - comparative advantages. As a Texan, an economic's major, and an agricultural worker I buy and consume based on weighing the costs and benefits. There is a rate of optimal depletion. It's an international world. Oftentimes consumers in their attempt to aid a cause through purchasing habits only either distort a market or harm the international economy. An American or a Chinese person out of job, is still someone whose unemployed.So about the only way I tailor purchasing habits is based upon whether or not the animal I'm about to consume is endangered - then I won't eat it. I would be called a cynic if I didn't know firsthand that the majority of 'green' or 'local' or 'natural' products is majority branding, and little in the way of substance. Many times such things as organic cannot be no-till, enhanced nutrition, lower radiation, lower fertilizer, so they end up being just as bad for the world as GE cropssupposedly are. Reaping, tilling, and sewing has never been an environmentally friendly practice and it never will be. You are fighting against the weather, pests, diseases, to coax an invasive species to grow using often foreign water, soil, and nutrients. You are disrupting the ecological cycle.It would be nice if we could live in harmony with nature like the Native Americans, but we all known what happens to the Indians at the end of Disney's Pocahontas. Anyone who pays more money for something that walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but is called a goose needs to get more involved in the production process. And sustainable? Good luck even defining it!
- I find it really challenging to understand just where my money will go when I buy a product. Kashi is really Kellogg's - and so are Pringles and lots of other brands. There was a fascinating info graphic floating around a while back showing the parent companies of food brands. I hear there is an app in development that will allow the user to scan a product's barcode and determine its corporate connections - and also can select for companies supportive of user-selected values. It's exciting stuff, though I may need another app to help me deal with the flood of feelings of disgust - if I ever give in and get a smartphone so I could even use the app! For me, life is sweeter when it's simple. Want vs need is a key concept. Balance is essential. A joyless life of strict self-imposed deprivation misses the mark as does a life defined by consumption - both are lives ruled by material "stuff." Use less, share freely & love all of your neighbors.
- I shop at thrift stores for my clothes, accessories, and other odd items whenever I can. I see it as doing my part for the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra, and I have been amazed at what I've found while saving money. I've bought barely worn or never worn clothing for a dollar, and some of it is name brand merchandise. I hate to frame it under this argument because I really think we should be asking questions about why brands and labels mean so much to our society. Yet I still understand the dollars that I spend go farther to helping my community than spending them in a mall or an international box store.
- I consciously buy non-GMO and Organic, thereby creating demand and increasing these markets. I avoid all GMO producers and their products. In time all producers will have to produce organic and non-GMO to remain competitive. #ResistanceIsFutile
- We try to buy only what we absolutely need. Our food is always ethical: local CSA, Whole Foods/Trader Joe's, a farmer's market every Sunday, local restaurants that emphasize our values. We have tried to diversify our $ into places we feel share our values: Green Century Funds, local credit unions, etc. Love Marketplace. Keep up the good work.
- No motto, thought process or "approach"--just blessed (in retrospect) to have had a childhood that made me a low-consumption person (and now raising a new generation thus). Grew up in poverty and my older relatives are largely 2nd gen immigrants from Eastern Europe, with a real do-it-yourself mentality. The two growing up experiences make it remarkably easy to be thrifty, because I simply don't feel comfortable spending money or buying things. I mean, when something breaks, you try to fix it (shoes, machines, etc.), you don't automatically buy new. You cut and cook your food, and meals are a family thing. Grew up in Northern MN and there you live off the land in some way, hunting, fishing, etc. Yep, there's plenty things that are less convenient with this low consumption way of life, but oh well, inconvenient is not a malady, it's just inconvenient. I also grew up with a dad who was hyper aware of global warming in the late 70s, and after hearing as a kid (who can't sort fact from fiction) that we'd all die if we didn't wise up and reduce our footprint--I now have a hard time buying most anything (except second hand), because I'm aware of the waste and resource depletion. That level of hyper-vigilancy is not so pleasant, but hey, it also doesn't kill me.
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