Conscious Consumption, One Planet Living

One Planet Living – One Planet Buying

How is it February already?
January has whizzed by in a whirl of Making Do. Taking the time to notice and make use of the things we already have has been a great way to start the year.
We’re moving on now to a new topic for our year of One Planet Living, and this month it’s all about Buying. I’ve called it ‘One Planet Buying’ in an effort to convey the idea that when we buy stuff, we need to be doing it with the planet and its resource limitations in mind. But it could also be called ‘slow buying’ or ‘conscious consumerism’. It’s all about changing our mindset when it comes to the things we buy. Buying in a more thoughtful and considered way, rather than a knee-jerk reaction to a bad day, or a sale in our favourite shop, or feeling like we need to keep up with the Jones’ (whoever they are).
We need to mindful of the impact of the things we are buying, both in terms of the resources needed to make them, and the people who have made it too.

I wrote towards the end of last year about my changing attitude towards ‘consumerism’. After our year Buying Nothing New, I rejected the label of ‘consumer’ for a long time. I thought the best way to challenge consumer culture was to try and opt out of it altogether. But I’ve come to realise that for the vast majority of us, that just isn’t possible (although if you are interested in trying and want some inspiration, check out Michelle McGagh who has just finished a year buying nothing, or Mark Boyle, the moneyless man).
We all need to buy stuff, even if it’s just food and medicines, or the supplies to make our own clothes.
And that’s when I come back to this quote:

By simply stopping and thinking before we buy stuff about what kind of vote we are casting, it can help us to make better choices. We can choose to buy fair-trade or organic alternatives. We can choose to source what we need second-hand. Or we might even choose not to buy it after all, and to Make Do with what we already have, or fix something that is broken.

Picture credit: Sarah Lazarovic

The planet simply cannot sustain our current levels of consumption.
I’m not saying we should all stop buying stuff. I acknowledge the fact that we all need stuff, clothes, food, toiletries, even the odd treat every now and then. But it’s about making better decisions. Choosing to buy less, but buy better. So that the stuff we do buy will last, is made to be repaired, is made by people who are paid a living wage and can work safely.

This month’s focus isn’t about austerity and deprivation. It’s about recognising and celebrating the power that we all have to change the world for the better with our buying choices.
And I can’t wait to get started!
If you are thinking about joining in, then take a minute now to think about what One Planet Buying, or Slow Buying, or Conscious Consumption means to you. What changes will you make this month to your buying habits?
Will you choose to shop pre-loved for the month and buy nothing new?
Will you choose to investigate ethical alternatives for your clothes?
Will you make a couple of simple swaps in your weekly shop, like organic milk instead of standard, or fair-trade coffee instead of your regular brand?
The world is your oyster! You don’t have to change everything all at once. The key to sustainable change (in every sense of the word) is to set achievable and realistic goals. Pace yourself. Start small and keep building. Aim for progress, rather than ‘perfection’. But most importantly, just start. Pick one thing, one change, and do it.

If you’re inspired to join in, then do pop over to my Facebook group – I’m experimenting this month with creating an ‘event’ for anyone wanting to join in with the One Planet Buying theme. I’ve pinned it to the top of the group page to make it easier to find as Facebook seems to keep hiding it for some reason (grrrrrrrrr!).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this month’s theme/challenge, what your goals and aims are, and any resources you would find helpful. Leave a comment below to let me know, or hop over to the event in the Facebook group 🙂

The round-up of last month’s Making Do is a work on progress and should be hitting the in-boxes of newsletter subscribers in the next couple of days-make sure you’ve subscribed if you want to receive it!

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