Today’s post is brought to you by the fact that I realized the phrase “Don’t talk about it, be about it” is sometimes complete bull and there’s a lot of things I need to be talking about. Because if not me, then who?
Anytime I share my opinion, I try to throw in the disclaimer that I don’t believe my opinion to be the “end all be all” in any conversation. I think it’s important for me to share my opinions and ways of doing things because honestly, I don’t see enough people with realistic approaches to a lot of things that are important.
As I wrote this article, I realized that I have a challenging time deciding which title I wanted to use for this lifestyle choice. I’m someone who avoids titles as much as possible (even if it doesn’t seem that way), but I also realize that being able to call something by its name and give it a specific meaning is important in continuing the conversation. As you read what follows, please keep in mind that I may use “conscious” and “ethical” interchangeably because, for me, they are one and the same even though for many they may not be. For the purpose of this blog, I am making this topic as broad as I can so I’m able to refine it as we move forward.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about adopting new lifestyles, it’s that no two people adopt them in the same way.
I tried going vegan, but have only successfully removed milk from my household and life. HOWEVER, I don’t read the label on every single thing that I purchase. I’m not a Type A personality and pretending to be one about certain things brings me way too much anxiety and discomfort. It’s not how I was made to live.
I’m about to go vegetarian for 40 days, so we’ll see how I do with that.
I’ve reduced the amount of sugar I consume overall, but not entirely.
I tried a Keto diet for a while, I’ve removed soda from my diet for chunks of time intermittently, and ultimately I realized that there simply isn’t one healthy lifestyle label for me that exists right now. All of the “trendy” lifestyle and diet fads don’t really stick for me.
I have to create my own way of being in the world.
For some people, they are able to find their way harmoniously through veganism. And for them, I am happy.
For me, the only thing that has really “awakened” a sense of social responsibility to myself and the planet has been the idea of changing my habits of consumption in an ethical way.
As an over-thinker, I’ve been able to shift my thinking habits from analyzing myself to instead analyzing the way in which I interact with the world. At this current point in time, I am a consumer above all else. I consume media, goods, food, business, etc at a consistent rate. As do most of us, in total honesty. We all consume something in one way or another.
Ethical consumerism has completely changed my life and allowed me to feel not only more empowered to learn but also to act. Every other lifestyle choice I have attempted to make has filled me with guilt for one reason or another and I’m at a point where I refuse to live with guilt that is not mine.
A conscious consumer, by definition, is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their buycott and boycott actions.
This definition works for me because this is everything that, to me, matters when it comes to the way in which I participate in capitalism.
(I won’t go on my capitalism rant here, because I do value A LOT about it, but currently, I am facing more problems than benefits with this economic structure and the way in which it dictates the reality in which I live.)
Part of ethical consumerism for me also includes sharing my practices with other people, but also, I don’t want to be preachy.
I remember before trying out all these different lifestyles the opinions I held (and sometimes still hold) about vegans. I know how preachy people can get when they believe they’re saving the planet and all it’s beautiful sentient creatures. I don’t blame them, but the preachiness is a huge turn off for me.
A turn off that I really want to avoid as I share the things that matter to me.
I started my blog series, That’s What’s Up, with the intention of sharing the things that I find in my day to day life which give me an indication that conscious and ethical consumerism efforts are being noticed and accepted by companies big and small.
My goal is to continue on with that intention while also refining what that means. For me, that means sustainability, local, cutting out bigger corporations as much as possible, less plastic, cruelty-free items, etc.
I think it’s important that we allow ourselves the space and time we need in order to make decisions about the things we choose to give our time, money, and energy to. Making a decision in a pressured state seldom leads to success. Think impulse buys. Sure, a few here and there aren’t hurting anyone. But when your entire existence is based in impulse buys, that’s not helping you or anyone.
We need to drop the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality (or Kardashians, depending on how old you are, I guess). It’s not always about buy buy buy NOW. It’s about buying what you need, planning for things you want, and allowing yourself some wiggle room for spontaneity.
Moving forward, I will be highlighting products, companies, people, places, and ideas that I believe deserve to be talked about on a bigger scale. My blog may be small, but my voice is loud. My hope is that I can inspire people to take even the smallest look at where they choose to spend their money and obtain the products they buy. There are so many amazing options out there now and I believe that with the right information and mindset, our entire world can be changed.
Is changing your consumerism habits something you have considered? Why or why not? Do you think making small changes has an impact or will destructive corporations continue to make money regardless of what we all choose and where we spend our money?