Down a supermarket aisle, a frazzled mom pushes a cart full of disposable diapers, plastic water bottles, and screaming kids. Being a parent is hard enough. Modern conveniences like big-box stores, prepackaged snacks, and disposable Tupperware seem make life easier. But do they? It's not easy being green. But being a conscientious consumer just might make life simpler in the long run.
As parents, we want the best for our planet because our kids will inherit the earth. The extra effort we take to live more sustainably is our small gift to future generations. Being a conscientious consumer means we think about what we bring into our lives and how we use the items we already have. There are several schools of thought on the subject of minimal living (Project 333, The Minimalists, The KonMari Method, etc.). The main goal in all of these is to intentionally select a small number high-quality items to have in your life and let go of the rest. In this post, we will look at how to live simpler and be a conscientious consumer through: purchasing thoughtfully, minimizing responsibly, and managing resources wisely.
Make thoughtful selections when buying new products. The deliberate curation of durable clothes, kitchenware, and home goods combats the "throw-away culture" of modern society. When objects last longer, less goes to the landfill. When we reduce consumption overall, less stuff is manufactured and less packaging is used.
Even when purchasing thoughtfully, there still comes a time to get rid of stuff. With this simple living principal in mind to "use what you have, and have what you use," think about what you truly need, and let go of the rest. When minimizing clutter, do so responsibly. Try to limit stuff that winds up in a landfill. Remember that someone else may find value in the object your getting rid of. For example, our automatic coffee maker stopped working, and I listed it for free on our local Facebook "trading post." Another mom came and got it because her son liked taking apart and tinkering with appliances. The coffee maker stopped being useful to me, but it still served a purpose for someone else.
Purchased items is only one form of consumption. Consider other resources we use such as transportation, energy, and water. How can individuals and families reduce their consumption of our planets valuable resources?
Making these lifestyle changes into habits isn't easy. Maybe you are already doing many of them. But being a conscientious consumer is better for your family and the environment. As the great Albus Dumbledore said, "There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right." As for me, I'll take the challenge head on. I want to be the mom chasing my kids around the farmer's market while carrying a reusable bad of fresh, local produce.
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