When you hear that there is "power in your purchases" what do you think of? Buying something that improves your life or someone Else's? Fair trade products and supporting businesses that use ethical labor has has been near and dear to my heart for quite some time. But before I go into that, I would like to propose that you look at how you spend your money differently. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the world we want to live in. Because every dollar spent is supporting a business, company, chain, corporation, etc. But many of the major retailers we shop at source the vast majority of their product from over seas. And the low prices offered mean that the person on the other end of that product could very well be suffering in the process of making it.
To be "conscious" of something means to be painfully aware of, to have knowledge of and respond to. The theory behind consumerism is that an increasing number of goods is economically good. It is also a preoccupation and inclination towards purchasing goods. We live in a society obsessed with amassing and accumulating consumer goods. Conscious consumerism simply means to be aware of and respond to the fact that the purchases you make don't just affect your wallet or bank account; they affect lives.
To be a conscious consumer requires a new way of thinking. It means quality over quantity. To buy better will mean buying less. It will mean values over value. Go to green America.org and see how your favorite stores, brands, products rate in being ethical. Questions that should run through our head when buying something are : Where was this made? Where the workers treated fairly?
To be a conscious consumer is to make purchases responsibly. Look for fair trade labels, handmade, made in USA, and purchase locally or from small business. This goes beyond product and even applies to food that you eat. Look for non GMO, gluten free, organic, avoid ingredients you can't pronounce.
I personally would like for the few dollars that I have to spend to have a positive impact on other lives. There are necessity's we all have. The most basic of human needs; Food, water, shelter. We all have bills to pay. Rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance, loans, etc. Anything we purchase outside of those most basic needs can have a positive impact. Maybe skip the Hershey bar or Nestle candy and pay a little more for a fair trade chocolate bar from a wholefoods store. Next time your craving a cup of coffee from Starbucks see if you can go support a local and go to an independent coffee shop or small business instead. Look up farmers markets in your area and buy some locally grown ( not imported or modified) fruits and vegetables and support someone Else's livelihood. Once you get started, it's hard to stop. People matter, lives matter. Living consciously, purchasing responsibly, its the opposite of a vicious cycle. When you started wanting better not more you will start living more simply and helping others have a better quality of life. Its a win win for everybody.
Stay tuned for next blog post on Ethical Fashion for this spring!