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The rise of buzzwords such as "sustainability" and "eco-consumerism" couldn’t have come at a better time, as Eco Watch reports that the consumption of natural resources has tripled over the last four decades. Human activities are demanding more and more from the environment, depleting natural resources and causing irreversible damage to our water, land, and air.
Of course, the inescapable truth of the matter is that we rely on each other in some way or another — the planet, the animals, and the people. And while it's easy enough to see how people rely on and have the duty to take care of animals and the planet, we should also realize that our consumer choices affect each other in direct and indirect ways, too. Indeed, Maryville University rightly points out that society is based on connections, and whatever decisions we make have powerful effects on others. This can be in the form of greenhouse gases from wasteful habits affecting the air our neighbors breathe, or even our fast fashion clothes that tether us to underpaid workers in the poorest nations of the world. Therefore, we have a responsibility to apply consciousness to our consumption not just for the planet and our animals, but also to ourselves, making sure that the people we share the world with (and the generations who will inherit it) can thrive.
That said, here are some changes that you can make to be a more ethical consumer:
1. Know your brand
Brands abiding by ethical and environmental standards are on the rise, and it's important to search for ones available to you. Ditch the fast fashion labels that destroy the environment and mistreat their workers, and aim for brands that give back to different communities, like Blue Planet Eco-Eyewear’s Trees For The Future initiative. Voting for the environment with your wallet may seem like small change, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
2. Invest in quality products
It can be tempting to buy cheaper things, but these often break easily, adding to the already massive landfill waste we have. It also ends up costing you more. So invest in products that are known for their quality and longevity.
3. Ditch the plastic
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The plastic straw that you threw in the ocean will still be there in 50-200 years — or worse, some poor animal might get tangled up in it. Purchase products that come in sustainable and recyclable packaging and limit the amount of single use plastics that you use.
4. Buy local
When shopping for goods, look for products that are locally sourced. The International Council on Clean Transportation reports that shipping fuel consumption increased by a whopping 7 million tons between 2013 and 2015 — that’s a whole lot of greenhouse gas emissions that destroy our atmosphere. If the demand for international products decreases there will be a significant reduction in shipping and emissions. On top of this, buying local products also helps local businesses and boosts the local economy.
5. Don’t leave food waste
Did you know that 40% of the food in the US is thrown away every year? When dining out or eating in, only get food that you can actually eat. Food waste is not only irresponsible, but it also puts a strain on resources and creates a huge carbon footprint. Try to purchase ‘ugly’ produce as well, like misshapen vegetables. They might look funky, but the taste and nutritional value will be the same!
6. Ask yourself
Before buying anything, try to make it a habit to ask yourself the very important question of whether you need it or not to limit compulsive shopping habits. Aside from being environmentally friendly, this also leaves you with money to spend on more important things. Remember that even small changes, when carried out together, will create a big impact on our planet.
Exclusively written for BluePlanetEyeWear.Com
By: Cressida Honora