During the current crisis I have been reflecting how I can increase my sustainability and global responsibility. Although there are many avenues that can be explored, the one I have tried to focus on is my personal responsibility over my purchasing power and choices as a consumer.
As a consumer, I believe I have considerable influence over businesses and that my spending has an impact on the future world I want to live in. This influence can start with me and my household, right now, though I believe that many of us together can create pockets of transformation. As I understand things, a major way I can decrease my ecological and humanitarian impact is by consciously and strategically evaluating my buying habits and by default my needs.
So I’ve started by making an evaluation as to where I am at now with my efforts and correlating this to my immediate and anticipated needs. I took each area of my life and tried to create a systematic, pragmatic and mindful analysis by following a thought process similar to the THINK, which is commonly advocated before speaking.
Thoughtfulness; can I support local small businesses? Can I add value to my community through my spending?
Helpful; how does this make my life more efficient?
Integrity; of the company providing goods or services- does its ethics or values show up in its policies? Can I support companies that give something back?
Necessary; the final check- do I really need this?
Kind; on the environment, in terms of resources used and the people producing the goods or services, do they get a fair deal?
To make this simple, I gradually went through each room in our house and reflected on these things. In addition to discarding and donating some items I also made a list of things to investigate where I felt I could do better. For example, in going through toiletries, household products and pantry items I did some research on ways I could improve my sustainability footprint and I made some interesting discoveries along the way which helped me to fulfil many of the aims above. I came across several local, innovative and/or ethical companies which sold several our weekly staples that I can support.
This is a substantial task and it could be easy to get discouraged by trying to make several changes straight away or feel overwhelmed when making decisions under pressure. I have simply tried to give myself grace in this process and think of any changes as an ongoing adjustment process where I will be evolving over time. That will naturally expand to include more areas of my life as I go further on this journey.
Laura Nathwani qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2005 and worked in practice for the UK charity PDSA before choosing to stay at home with her young family. During this time she completed her masters in global health from the university Manchester and moved continents three times; first to Australia where she fell in love with the country and made friends with several Initiatives of Change members at the Australian centre, Armagh. She then returned to the UK before traveling around the world for 7 months, touring throughout Africa and Asia, and ending up in the USA where she currently resides.
NOTE: Individuals of many cultures, nationalities, religions, and beliefs are actively involved with Initiatives of Change. These commentaries represent the views of the writer and not necessarily those of Initiatives of Change as a whole.