Embrace ethical consumption!

You do not have to be an expert to know that the world’s resources are being stretched to their very limit. Conscious consumption is not just about what we wear. It is all-encompassing: where we live, how we move and the food and drinks we feed our bodies as well as how their ingredients were grown, processed, and packaged. And finally, there is also the big question as to what happens to the leftovers once we are done consuming.

Whether we consider ourselves conscious consumers or not is very subjective. For some, it means to actually cut back on consumption, whereas for others, it may simply signify being much more aware of the consequences their consumption has.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for resources in a given year exceeds what Mother Earth can generate. That day has been occurring earlier each year which means we are increasingly depleting our planet’s resources. We are accelerating towards a point beyond which nature will have lost its ability to regenerate. If the Earth cannot cope with human demand for natural resources today, just imagine what this would mean for the year 2030 under the current dynamics!

As a growing number of calls for environmental reforms are falling on the deaf ears of national governments, conscious consumers are turning to and championing sustainable brands as an effective force for change. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning stages of a mass extinction. And yet, all that governmental institutions and big corporations care about is eternal economic growth? Like Greta Thunberg said at the UN 2019 Climate Summit: “How dare you? How dare we?”

The novel “Confessions of a Shopaholic”, published in 2000, sold three million copies and was even turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. The media creates an obsession with money, power, luxury and glamour. In the light of our planetary boundaries, this feels so outdated now. And even some of the most extravagant consumers have become more concerned about the impact of their choices on the environment and on societies.

Here are some brands that are giving back to nature:

  • Qeep Up: Repurposes Ocean Waste into Activewear

Founded by actress and vegan activist Maggie Q, Qeep Up is a fully-recycled activewear line that uses Repreve fabric, which is made from 100% recycled filament from pre-owned and returned garments

  • Ecosia: the search engine that plants trees

All they ask you to do is to install their extension into Google Chrome, and they will plant a tree where it is most needed.

  • Green Toys: Baby toys made out of recycled plastic milk jugs

Green Toys are made of 100% recycled materials like recycled plastic milk jugs, packaged in recycled materials, and are printed with soy ink. Their system also diverts material from landfills which saves energy and reduces the carbon footprint.

  • HumanForest: Green Cycles

From Beryl to Lime, electric bikes are all over London now. A new entrant onto the scene is HumanForest, a shared e-bike service that allows riders to cycle free for 20 minutes per day in a bid to reduce reliance on more polluting forms of transport.

  • Patagonia: Restoring the planet’s resources

Patagonia has adopted a variety of practices. The first is to use a lot of reusable items to create its clothing. This includes using natural rubber for wetsuits, plastic bottles in parkas, and adopting low-impact processes that use less water and energy. The business also encourages customers to have their clothing repaired rather than to be replaced, to keep more items in use and out of the landfill.

For a long time already the narrative has been around how to stop climate change and natural degradation by focusing on individual action which of course is the starting point. “We have to be the change we want to see in the world” Ghandi famously said. Let us unite our individual efforts and drive the change collectively. Have a look below at the practices you and I can adapt in order to combat the planetary environmental crisis.

  • Changing your diet: more plant-based, more organic and less processed foods
  • Ethical shopping: Opting to be less wasteful, saying no to hyper-consumerism in the form of Fast Fashion etc. and Yes to thrift stores.
  • Conscious Consumption: Finding sensible ways to cut down on consumption on a day-to-day basis
  • Buy local and certified products whenever possible: Look for locally grown foods and locally produced consumer goods.
  • Consider Renting over Owning

If we do not want to exhaust the Earth’s resources irreversibly and aim to further reduce the emission of CO2, then the aspects of sustainability and circular purchasing must be the main criteria in the buying decision.

While it is true that one reduced carbon footprint will not solve our climate crisis, it is on the individual where all system change starts. The united power of many individuals creates new realities in society. So, the invitation is to join the tribe of conscious consumers and to strengthen the trend and to accelerate the change. And remember, conscious consumption is not about being the picture-perfect consumer that has the detailed dashboard for every single purchase. In essence, it is about a collective effort where we all make best efforts to consume better and more responsibly.

There are many more ways in which you can consume consciously. In the Anthropocene, as climate change, our drastically changing ecology and depleted resource levels are posing existential threats to society, consumers are taking matters into their own hands. If you are interested in learning more, join me on the journey to becoming a conscious consumer.

How does that sound to you? Are you in?