Tag Archives: consumerism

Healing Nature by Becoming Mindful Consumers

mother-woman-tree-earth

 

Even though we know something is inherently wrong why do we continue to do these things? Finding a cohesive resolution for dealing with humans negative affects on the environment can leave many feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated to take action since the scope is vast. We’ve all seen videos of Arctic ice melting around a baby polar bear left to its demise. We know that this is a result of global warming and that all of those consequences are due to human’s disregard for the environment. Constantly showing people the penalties of their actions often times desensitizes their abilities to see past the issue which in turn will hamper their ability to even begin to deal with resolutions. We must modify the narrative by displaying opportunities for people to take responsibility with simple solutions they can adopt in their daily life. Teaching a dog a new trick through punishment of a whip will leave behind a battered spirit afraid to show affection. Take the same dog and apply a different method involving an incentive such as a treat and you’ll get the same results and an ally for life. Let’s use this in relation to how we speak to people about changing their ways on how they interact with environmental issues to encourage motivation not fear. The United States Environmental Protection Agency coined a motto “ reduce, reuse, and recycle”. This slogan has created a movement that promotes individuals gaining knowledge on how they can take action with simple solutions to help them, their community and the environment by saving money, energy and natural resources.

Here are a few simple choices you can make that lead to a better planet:

  • Do Meatless Monday, you can save 2,400 gallons of water, which would save more water than you can by not showering for six months.
  • Reusing clothing instead of trashing last season’s threads will not only save you money but you’d be happy to know your not supporting an industry that uses 16% of the world’s pesticides.
  • Recycling food waste by using left over scraps to fertilize your garden not only cuts down on your trash bill but also can reduce your carbon footprint and give life to your plants.

There’s a ton of ways that one can alter their day in a positive way to contribute to healing humans stamp on Mother Nature. With the preceding examples I aspire to suggest an alternate to the punishment versus reward method to reframe our approach to how we solicit responses to environmental issues through narratives. Simple actions individuals make can lead to a snowball effect of others adopting the same habits, which can create a vessel for a socially conscious movement towards legislation and regulations supporting environmental healing. To elicit change one must sacrifice the comforts of their privileges. Your individual action directly affects industries that are notoriously costly to the environment. Consumer choices will drive the market in a different direction, which in turn makes companies change their products to ensure they’re meeting the demands of their consumers. Ask for what is right by putting your money where your mouth is and become a Mindful Consumer.

 

Bouncing back from the recession is a good thing…right?

There is no doubt that the latest recession was hard on most people. It was hard on my family too. My husband is in the construction business and had been back and forth from employed to unemployed for 6 years. We are really lucky that we didn’t lose our home. That being said, we have also gained something good: healthier spending habits.

Yes, at the time it seemed like we were paring down to uncomfortable levels of living, but by now, we have gotten accustomed to living within a tight budget. We no longer have cable, no magazine subscriptions, no new cars, no trips out of state but we hardly notice it anymore. We don’t miss the availability of having 1000 cable channels to watch- nothing was ever on anyway- and we have gotten to know our own state better instead of traveling outside of it.

The best thing that has come out of our struggle has been a better, open conversation with our kids about money. Since the recessions easing, I have quit my full time (and horrible) job and gone back to school full time. Our kids have gotten used to living on a tighter budget and have actually started to do jobs for neighbors in order to have spending money of their own (gaining a great work ethic). They have learned the meaning of making choices when making purchases and that you sometimes can’t get everything you want when you want it. They have also learned that their parents work hard for every penny that they make and that there isn’t an endless supply of them. There are choices/sacrifices made but fun still had!

I recently read an article about some people who have to work second jobs “to make ends meet”. In the article, someone making a good wage said that they have to get a second job because of rising food and gas costs. I was so glad to see at the end of the article that an author of a book on the subject points out that part of the problem with these people is their “consumptive appetites”.

Before the recession, society had been trying to “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak. Someone in the article was complaining that his monster SUV was costing $50 per week to fill up with gas. Society has gotten used to driving vehicles that are big and are driving a long distance to work. The average person in MN drives 22.4 minutes to work everyday! MN commute I have pared that down as well. I found a new job that is 10 minutes away from home- and I could ride the bus there as well- to cut back on gas costs and help the environment. I’m so happy to be in the car less every day!

My hope is that society doesn’t bounce back from the recession-and to overspending and living too largely again. I don’t think that we will in my family. Healthy spending habits are good habits to keep…and pass on to the next generation! Maybe, someday, we will all work less and live more!