A new month means a new climate challenge and February is all about money! This month we are challenging you to spend and save more sustainably to take action against climate change.
Over the course of the month we’ll help you better understand concepts like divestment, and how you can make sustainable choices in your day to day purchases.
We’ve all heard the term “vote with your dollars” but what does that really mean? It means putting your money into items and investments that reflect your values. If you value a healthy climate, it is important that you are conscious of where your money is being invested.
In order to explain “Spending Sustainably” we need to start with supply and demand theory. It is a relatively simple concept, so if you already know how it works skip this part - for those that do not, here is how it works:
Producers will continue making products and goods as long as there are people who will buy it - the more people buy, the more is made. This works in both directions, the less people buy a certain product, the less will be made - and more than that, producers will start asking why people are no longer buying their products and will attempt to address these issues. For this to work in our favor we need to practice ethical consumerism!
Ethical consumerism refers to the practice of choosing products, goods, and services that are ethically sourced, ethically made, and ethically distributed. Is that product made in an environmentally friendly way? Is it shipped from the other side of the globe via air transport, or did it come from a manufacturing plant in the same region you live? Does it come with excessive plastic packaging? Is it a single use item? Ethical consumerism involves being constantly mindful of your purchases, and making sure that they align with your own value system. Most of you reading this likely care about the environment, climate change, their own health and the health and wellness of the people making their products. If enough people make ethically conscious purchases, producers will adapt their own values in a similar way. In the end they just want to sell a product, we can shape how they make that product with our choices.
Here are some ways to practice ethical consumerism and ultimately spend your dollars in a more sustainable or environmentally-friendly way:
- Be mindful - Ask yourself: Is this a need or a want? How does this purchase impact the environment? Does the impact of this purchase outweigh its purpose?
- Do your research - Choose products that you know are ethically made.
- Pick quality over cost or convenience - Do we need poorly made, short lived, cheap products? Or do we need high quality, long lasting products that cost a little more?
- Shop local products from local retailers.
There are many benefits to shopping locally, one of them is that it is typically the environmentally friendly option. The local products aren’t transported around the globe before they are purchased by you meaning their carbon footprint is much lower. There is also a good chance that the quality of the item is higher, and it will generate much less waste over its lifetime. Other notable benefits include boosting the community economically, a more human experience, more local jobs and long term community health! The more successful we are with our challenge to shop locally and make ethical choices in our consumption, the better off our communities will be! Let's get to it.
If you haven’t already joined the challenge CLICK THIS LINK TO JOIN.
Make sure to also join the POW 12 Month Challenge Facebook Group and let us know how you are practicing ethical consumerism this month.
To learn more about ethical consumerism, and see some eco friendly Canadian brands and companies check out these links:
What Is An Ethical Consumer? - A wonderful video by Matt BB explaining in his own words what ethical consumerism is, touches on ethical voting at the end as well.
https://www.canadastop100.com/environmental/ - A list of Canada's Greenest Employers for 2020
https://theecohub.ca/ - A website with a ton of eco friendly Canadian brands, as well as additional DIY/resources.