Conscious Consumption

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Alright, alright, alright… I spent the month of January working my ass off to make this site pretty, and I finally feel like it’s ready! (For now.) Aside from some aesthetic changes, I’ve added a couple of new sections.  

First, “Influential Sources.” This is a list of all the books, documentaries, podcasts, and people that have inspired me to reduce my impact on this wonderful world and live a more badass life in general. These are most definitely not all I spend my time watching or reading--I can binge-watch some Office like it’s nobody’s bidness. But these resources have significantly changed the way I think about and function within the world, so I strongly encourage you to check them out.

Next, I’ve added a “Conscious Consumption” tab full of awesome companies that are changing the way consumers value their stuff. Now you may be saying, “But Sophie, I thought you said we don’t need stuff?!” CORRECT. You don’t. (Really). But I don’t expect everyone reading this blog to go home and cast out all of their possessions and start a homestead (although, wouldn’t that be awesome?). We live in a society that (sadly) revolves around buying things, so we can’t expect an immediate mass exodus from consumption to minimalism, that shit just won’t happen. 

Basically, people are going to buy stuff regardless, so I’d love to see people making responsible purchases. Some companies put forth a great deal of effort to lessen their impact on the world, and offer items that are ethically produced and help consumers contribute to a greener economy. (A common term for this is social entrepreneurship.) Yes, many of the things I’ve listed are more expensive than just going to a big box or convenience store. The idea is that when you buy something of good quality, it’ll last longer and perform better than a cheap or (God forbid) disposable option. When you look at a pair of plastic flip flops for $2, realize that you are experiencing those savings because of all the corners cut in the process with nearly slave labor, horrible environmental practices, and toxic materials meant to degrade and break within a short amount of time. Break, not break down. You better believe every single pair of those shitty flips flops you probably had when you were a kid are still hangin’ out in a landfill or on a beach somewhere.

If the cost of the livelihood of the humans making our goods was factored in fairly, along with the damage done to the environment through wasteful production, we’d all be blown away by the prices of everything from gas, to food, to flip flops. There’s a reason Fair Trade items always seem super expensive: it’s because those prices actually account for the hands that made them. We’re just used to those low-low, slave labor prices. We don’t quantify damage done to the environment (and humans) like we do with other valuable resources.

Imagine if you wrecked a rental car. It’s not your car and you sure as hell didn’t pay for the rental insurance because that’s a total scam, duh. But now you’re expected to pay for the damage done to that vehicle so other people can continue to rent that vehicle in the future. We don’t seem to have a problem grasping that.

Now imagine the world is that rental car and you just decided to take a proverbial dump on it by illegally dumping your garbage in the woods or something. Now you have to pay for it comparatively because the environment is a resource that needs to be protected because we need clean air and water, RIGHT? Unfortunately, that’s not how its thought of economically.

So, whether it be a dish scrubber or a pair of socks, next time you need something, ask yourself, “Do I really, really need this?” If the answer is HELL YES, then make the effort to support a more ethical economy rather than continue the cycle of poorly made, disposable goods.The brands and companies I have listed on my pages are kickass entities trying to make a difference and also keep hustling and make a living, so go support them.

*BONUS: when you have fewer things, you can spend a little more on what you do need. Take a page from a minimalist’s dogeared, secondhand book and only surround yourself with things that bring real value to your life.