All posts tagged: beyond shopping

10 Steps to a Sustainable Life: Step 4 (Value experiences over material things)

If I could sum up my master’s degree in sustainability in one word it would be “value”. The value of something is subjective and it means the importance we ascribe physical objects, experiences and even metaphysical undertakings such as learning and spirituality. For instance, I value my family more than anything, certainly more than to put a monetary value on it. I am sure you feel the same way about yours and the people in your life. But you don’t value my family as much as you do yours, and vice versa, so the concept of value is intangible and difficult to translate into a meaningful common reality. So we invented money to make it less confusing. The only problem is we took it too far and today anything can be ascribed a monetary value, including our ecosystem and life itself. When the monetary system was invented as we know it today we forgot to put a value on nature because at the time nature – air, water, soil, plants, forests and other natural resources …

Beyond shopping

Vote with your money! The first, and easiest, step toward sustainability is to become conscious of where our money go and what our money buy. Shopping for useful and not-so-useful items is the cornerstone of our consumer-based economy and while it’s near impossible to reject this comfortable and ingrained behavior, it is possible to shop almost anything and support socially responsible businesses and small, independent entrepreneurs at the same time! Things I like to consider before purchase: If the company is independent or part of a larger corporation. This one is tricky because companies rarely advertise this. The only way to find out is through your trusty best friend; Google. My rule of thumb is that most household brands that you find in your local grocery store now belong to the powerhouses, so avoid them. The global giants of commerce don’t need any more of your money because they now use it to plunder, pollute and enslave the planet while buying all the political power they can get to ensure their stronghold monopoly. That’s why …

10 steps to a sustainable life: Step 1 (Limit consumption and stop polluting your mind)

Don’t let advertising win. Make a rule to never impulse buy – if you remember it five days later, you can buy it. This rule alone should cut your consumer spending by 60% or more. When I go window shopping, in person or on the internet, and “pass up” cute things, I find myself barely remembering what it was by the time I leave the store, never mind three days later. It also gives you time to reflect how this new item would fit into your life – whether it is clothes or a new gadget. Do you really need it? I’m a girl and I like clothes (fashion is like wearable art to me) but I’ve realized I tend to buy the same things over and over, because that is what I like. How many navy blue, off-the-shoulder knitted sweaters do I really need? Recognize that the advertising industry is an industry designed to make you feel inferior and bad about yourself. It’s a billion dollar industry and they are very, very good at …