Updated: Mar 2, 2020
You vote with your money. Every time you spend money you support a cause, whether that cause is supporting beautiful goals or not. In this blog I'm going to explain how you can choose to shop mindfully to support beautiful goals like reducing climate change.
Every time we go shopping, whether it's food shopping, clothes shopping or shopping for anything else, we support a cause. What many people don't realize is that you actually actively support a company when you buy something from them, whether or not the morals of this company are morals you support. For example, when you buy clothes at big brands like Primark and H&M, you support people getting payed very little and working long hours just so you can buy the latest fashion for a little price. This is not good for the human beings that are working for this company, it is not good for the environment because the clothes get thrown out very easily because they tear more easily as the quality is bad and that creates more waste. A lot of these clothes also have to be flown over to the other side of the world to be sold in first world countries whilst they are produced in second or third world countries. This causes pollution and stimulates inequality. Also, producing a new t-shirt costs 2500 liters of water. Producing a new pair of jeans costs the world even more... a whopping 8000 liters. This whilst water shortage will be a threat in the future.
Shopping mindfully doesn't only apply to clothing, it applies to every single item you buy in your lifetime. Every time you buy something it has consequences. So it's a good idea to actually think about the consequences your 'voting' has on the world and become more mindful of what you will spend your money on. In this blog I give you tips to shop more mindfully and think about what you are supporting by voting with your money.
Mix and match
Of course it's nice to look nice, I totally support that! But you don't need a new dress every single month. A great tip with clothes, is to try and make new combinations. When you don't like the look of a certain t-shirt anymore, try it on with a skirt in stead of with a pair of jeans. Maybe that looks cute!
Another great tip with buying clothes is go thrift shopping! You can find great (vintage) clothes at second hand clothes stores. Better for your purse and for the environment! You can even find facebook pages where people can sell each other vintage clothes.
If you've got friends with the same size it's great to swap some clothes once every while. This way you can create new looks without having to buy new clothes and support causes you don't want to support.
Buying new clothes
Sometimes you just have to buy new clothes. When you do have to buy new clothes, make sure the clothes come from a shop where you can buy ethically and sustainably produced clothes that are not harmful for the people who make them and the environment. There are plenty of online stores if you don't have a sustainable shop nearby.
Yes, I know doing this is more expensive, but when you buy a few good pairs of trousers that are expensive but very supporting for the environment, you can use them for years and it will cost you less money! I've had to throw out so many trousers because they rip at a certain point because of the bad quality. This costs just as much money, maybe even more, so investing in a good pair of trousers that will last you ten years.
If you want to get rid of old clothes that just don't fit anymore, don't throw them out but donate them! There are other people that might fit them and in that way clothes can be reused. Much more sustainable!
Buy organic food
Eating organic food is much better for the environment and for your body! By buying organic food we stimulate an organisation that produces pesticide free food which is better for the planet and for us! It's not good for us to eat food that was grown with pesticides all around it. When the food grows it actually goes in the food that we eat and that goes in to our bodies. What goes in to our bodies, we become. We literally become a pesticide, that's not something I want to do to my body. So choose to go organic a bit more often!
Animal products are really, really harmful for the environment and for our bodies. To see what eating these products does to our bodies, check out the documentary The Game Changers. It is eye opening! But the production of food is also very harmful for the environment. Half of the food produced in the world is for live stock that we eventually will eat. A lot of this food is produced by farmers in poorer countries who have to burn their land to be able to produce more crops to sell. This caused the Amazon rainforest to burn, the lungs of the earth, which causes global warming.
Some facts in a row about why going vega(n) is good for the planet: (source) -Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
-Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
-Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.
-Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 gigatonnes CO2e limit by 2030, all from raising animals.
-Reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately.
-Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption.
-Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
All those facts in a row should be enough to stop eating animals and animal products. This doesn't mean that there should be no animals. Animals are beautiful beings and that is also a part of why I eat vegan most of my days. I don't want to harm them. It's the way that they are used for us to consume them that is highly unethical and not good for the planet.
So it's good to stop eating animals for the following reasons:
-It's better for your body
-It's better for the planet
-It's better for the animals because we love them!
Don't throw food out
This is a hard one for me personally. I sometimes buy my food a week before I cook it, to save money and not to impulse buy something. This does cause that I have to throw food out sometimes because it's not good anymore. That is why it's good to maybe shop once every four days or what seems possible for you to throw as little food out as possible, because that is just wasteful! If you have left overs from dinner, just eat that at lunch the next day!
You can recycle nearly everything nowadays and that is a good thing. But did you know that some things are not 100% recyclable? This goes for plastic and what do you see in literally every shop? Yes, plastic. So when you go shopping, choose not to put a plastic bag around your fruit and veggies, it's just not necessary! Except for a few fruits, you can just put them in your bag without any packaging. You don't need plastic around your cucumber, it has it's own protection already.
If you do buy something with plastic around it, recycle it. There are plenty of ways you can do this! In the Netherlands we can separate it and the council comes and picks it up! We can recycle nearly everything except bags around crisps and a few other materials.
It's good to buy furniture second hand. There are a lot of websites that you can buy second hand furniture. It's cheaper and better for the environment, so do it! If you do want to buy something new, go for good quality. Ikea is not the best option, even though it's cheap. Their furniture doesn't last all that long and it's made for fast fashion. The same idea as with clothes.
5. Cosmetics and hygiene products
We use a lot of harmful products in the world of cosmetics and hygiene products. There are tuns of harmful ingredients in a lot of shampoo's and face washes. Just take a look at the ingredient list on your shampoo bottle. Can you not pronounce a word? Then it's probably not that good for you. If you want to check if your hygiene products are healthy, check out the app Think Dirty. It will tell you if your product is actually healthy or not.
Most products are also packaged in plastics. This is not good for you or the environment. For using shampoo's, check out shampoo bars. These bars are usually healthier for you, have less ingredients and they last you longer. They are also not packaged in plastic. Oh yeah baby!
I recommend the products from Natural Secrets for your hair and body. They are 100% natural and work amazingly well! Much better than other products I've used. They also deliver their products in paper, not in plastic. Much better for the world! Plus this company is run by two women, I love supporting women and their businesses!
A great skincare line that I use is Dr. Hauschka. They make natural make up and skin care products. This is the first skin care line that doesn't give me a layer of oil on top of my skin at the end of the day. My skin feels nourished and taken care of. You can buy it world wide! Awesome!
Some people need to have the newest phone, television or laptop every time a new one comes out. That is just so wasteful! Try and use your phone for at least 5 years. I know it's hard, but it's just so much better for the environment. If something still works fine, why throw it out?
You can also buy your new phone second hand. There are shops like Leapp that sell refurbished Apple products. I had one of their phones for two years until I broke it by letting it fall on the floor... Oops! It worked fine until then!
7. Support smaller causes
In stead of buying your products from big chains where only the bosses are providing from it, buy your products from small initiatives that support great causes, like Natural Secrets. Especially businesses run by women are great. We have to support each other people! Not just support ourselves.
I hope this blog has given you some things to think about. I do want to tell you that you don't have to do everything perfect, because that is hard. It's not about being perfect here... It's about doing your best. That's all you can do.
Love Meghan xxx