How To Buy Less and Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change is scary, and it’s easy to feel helpless. But you don’t have to build your own solar panels or donate your body to clean nuclear power studies to make a difference. You can help by changing the way you buy.
It takes a crazy 2,700 litres of water to make a t-shirt, and triple that for a pair of jeans.
YOU CAN reduce your carbon footprint and support organisations doing good by making simple positive changes to the way buy. PLUS every positive change you make can motivate others to do the same!
Social Psychologists say seeing change in others makes people think that change is possible for themselves.
One change can lead to multiple!
So let’s start now.
Here are simple steps to buy less and reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Know what sparks joy for you.
Everywhere we turn there someone is trying to sell us something to fix a problem we didn’t know we had. Last year Facebook made $16.6 billion through adds. Targeted advertising algorithms are improved daily. If you don’t know what products make you happy, google will tell you.
A strong understanding of what you feel good wearing, and what products work for your lifestyle, helps to keep you true to yourself; not to be swayed by advertising. Get clear on your values, stay honest and say no to anything that doesn’t align to that.
2. Understand when you are being sold to.
We are creatures of comfort, and wonderful at convincing ourselves (and others) that we are desperately in need of more. A new contraption to make life easier, (because it was so hard before). A new product to make us prettier, smarter, stronger or more efficient. Everything from study journals to lightweight socks are marketed to us; with clever advertising telling us that what we have now is not good enough.
Before purchasing the latest technology or the newest model, ask yourself, do I truly need this or am I being sold a need that I don’t have?
3. Cultivate self awareness.
Why are you buying; Is it emotive? A result of social pressures? Are you lacking something?
Marketing experts tell us that younger consumers make purchasing decisions based on emotions more frequently than more mature consumers do. But that doesn’t mean as we get older we become immune to emotive purchasing. Neuroscientists emphasize that emotions play a central role in our decision-making-progress.
Being honest with ourselves and connecting to our true needs can help slow the consumption cycle.
To quote The Minimalists, “if you need nice things to impress your friends, you need new friends”.
4. Become a concious consumer.
A conscious consumer has been defined as “someone who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their buycott (when you buy) and boycott (when you decide not to buy) actions”. In other words, a conscious consumer makes decisions based on what is good for the world and for themselves.
Start to become a conscious consumer by considering the resources used and the lifecycle of every product you purchase.
- How long will it last? Is the product quality or will it break and end up in landfill?
- Can it be recycled? (I always choose tin over plastic in the supermarket)
- Can it be repaired? If it breaks can I buy a replacement part?
- Does it have multiple uses?
- Were the resources sourced ethically?
- Did the manufactures consider environmental impact? Or use responsible techniques? (ie, no animal testing, no palm oil, recyclable packaging and ethical supply chain)
- Will this purchase benefit others? (Hello Social Enterprises!)
Just by following these simple steps, and sharing with your community will help lower your carbon footprint and start to slow the crisis of climate change.