We are living in an age of endless consumption, where literally everything is both mass-produced and disposable. Our society tends to place quantity over quality, and we seem to place a high value on having a surplus of stuff.
So the big question is, “How can you be a conscious consumer when the market is flooded with questionable choices? And why does it matter?”
The importance of being conscious.
Being conscious, I believe, means thinking deeply about what your core values are, and then consistently applying them to all aspects of your life.
It means working to be intentional with everything you do, and with everything you say.
Being conscious means knowing where your outfit came from, and making sure you understand the living and working conditions of the people who made it. You need to be aware that, in many cases, these conditions are completely horrible and unfair.
Being conscious means that you’ve thought about the testing policies and procedures used by the companies who produce your cosmetics. It means that, sometimes, you chose to pass on the great price on an eye palette because that company is still testing on animals. (But actually, WHY are they still testing makeup on animals?!)
Being conscious means understanding the farming standards of the meat, fruit, and vegetables you eat. It means asking, “How are the people working in the fields treated? Are they being compensated fairly for the hard work they do?” And, as unpleasant as it can be, it means asking, “How does this organization treat the animals while they are alive? How does it treat the animals during the slaughtering process?”
And finally, being conscious means acknowledging the environmental impact of every single thing you do.
So, how can I be a conscious consumer?
We are so fortunate to be living in a time where we have unlimited access to an infinite amount of information. Within seconds, we are presented with limitless resources, just by typing a question into a computer, phone, or tablet! With this (literally) at our finger tips, we can easily discover solutions that align with our values and allow us to lead conscious and meaningful lives.
Here are just a few ideas to help you be a more conscious consumer!
- Shop local, and handmade, whenever possible.
- Look for clothes, toys, and housewares that were made in North America, or that are certified Fair Trade.
- Take advantage of of your local second-hand groups as often as possible! Trading is another great way to keep goods out of the landfill, and requires no new exchange of money.
- Avoid cosmetics or toiletries, such as toothpaste, hair products, or makeup, that are still testing on animals. Look for the “Leaping Bunny” symbol on the back of the packaging!
- Consider signing up for a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) with a small, local farm whose practices align closely with your values.
- Avoid single-use items and invest in durable, well-made reusable options instead.
- When it comes to coffee, tea, and chocolate, opt for Fair-Trade Certified as often as possible. These industries are notorious for their use of child labour.
As a conscious consumer, you can express your core values to businesses, to corporations, and even to governments through the purchases you make. By using your own capital, you send a clear and compelling message to those in power.
I’d love to add to my list of conscious shopping techniques! Comment down below with your ideas!