Every day we see thousands of news, articles and posts in the media that tell us and that talk about air pollution, climate change, plastics in the oceans … etc and many more problems that affect our environment.
At some, not all, we stop and read. We get scared and we feel involved and guilty. This feeling lasts, at most, about 30 seconds. But the following actions are the ones that determine our involvement and level of responsibility with the planet.
Some will turn the page feeling sad but will continue to read about other topics and move on with their lives.
Others will decide to do something about it, collaborating with foundations, learning more about the subject and at most making a responsible purchase that they will not repeat again.
And finally, the rest, tired of reading this type of news, will try to make a radical change in their life, starting with new, more responsible consumption methods and with a more serious long term plan focused on really getting engaged with taking action.
Neither of these profiles is better than the other. These profiles end up showing us the phases of awareness. All those who are aware of what is happening are the ones who decide: “to start with new, more responsible consumption methods and with a more serious long-term focused plan” have gone through the two previous phases beforehand.
Therefore, no. Neither profile is better than the other. Each of them is necessary. Since making a behavioral change of this magnitude, the need to believe in the reasons why we are doing it and believing that our actions, no matter how small, contribute something are essential.
I assure you that, even if you are in this last phase, it is very difficult.
Temptations to buy clothes that follow the trend of brands that we still like, and that we have always liked, but that we have stopped buying because they are not following our new values and they don’t agree with the plan in which we now live according to, and at the end of the day, we know they do more harm than good. As I said, it is very difficult.
We live in a world full, full of temptations.
Let me explain to you a personal situation that I’ve been having this past week.
There is a large-scale fashion brand that I really like. For days I have been looking at the catalog and filling the cart with all those items that I like so much and I know that they would be ideal to complete my wardrobe. I assure you that they are clothes that I do not “need” to live, I have a lot of clothes and I do not lack them. I go back to the cart every day, I take out things and I put others, then I think; “no, it is not the commitment you decided to make” and then I exit the application to live this process again the next day until one day I stop doing it.
It is not hard, it is very hard. But I assure you that it is worth it.
Society leads us to a compulsive consumption tendency every single day. What do we mean by that? It leads us to want and desire products that we do not really need.
I recommend reading the work of Zygmunt Bauman, Consumer Life. It changed my perspective on this issue.
“[T]he existential setting that came to be known as the ‘society of consumers’ is distinguished by a remaking of interhuman relations on the pattern, and in the likeness, of the relations between consumers and the objects of their consumption.”― Zygmunt Bauman, Consuming Life
I’ve gotten to the point that every time I buy something, I wonder; am I going to enjoy it? Do I really need it? And if it’s something I have been very excited about for a long time and I think it’s going to pay off, I wonder; Can I find it in second hand stores? Can I find the same product but manufactured in a responsible and sustainable way?
When I have answered all those questions, I make the purchase decision.
I understand that it is difficult to carry out this mental process every time we buy something, but I assure you one thing, it is super beneficial, it makes you feel good about yourself and in control over the decisions you make. Little joke, it also allows us to save money.
We know that the planet cannot sustain this rate of production and consumption, that each piece we buy that does not align with these values creates a devastating environmental and psychological impact.
I encourage you, those of you who are interested, to read and investigate on the subject, to inform yourself and be the one who makes the decision to change your consumption habits, that no one makes the decision for you.
Do it because you really believe and know that every grain of sand helps and because you want to make yourself better.
Each one of us makes decisions that we think are best for us at that moment, here is what I suggest; And if we make decisions that are better for us and at the same time, better for the environment we live in and at the end for the greater good?