Sometimes it can feel really challenging to live life in the way we intend. Like those well-meaning New Year’s resolutions, our will for change can evaporate under the heat of the demands of everyday life. Our annual theme comes with an extra layer of built-in challenges this year, about how we live and impact our planet. As the Bishop of Salisbury reminded us in his address at the start of Advent: “For some reason that which we know is not having an impact on that which we do.”
Perhaps like many of us, you feel inspired to make change, but not know where to start? Fortunately help is at hand, in the form of A Beginners Guide to Ethical Living.
It’s produced by an organisation called The Good Trade who operate on the fundamental idea that consumers are powerful and the money we spend each day is a vote for the world we want to live in.
They suggest five common areas of life which offer the most effective opportunities for change:
- Donate or upcycle as many of your clothes as possible and try and avoid landfill
- Adopt a capsule wardrobe so that you don’t need to buy as many clothes
- Try and choose retailers who have an open policy on ethical sourcing and workers rights
- Try and buy more organic and locally produced food
- Recycle and compost as much as you can
- Try and avoid buying goods with lots of plastic or paper packaging
- Declutter your home; start with one room at a time. Not only will it give you more space but it also challenges the notion that you ‘need’ everything you’ve got
- If you’re buying some new furniture consider a company which uses recycled materials or one which has a clear line from resources, through manufacture to retail
- Set aside time to really think about the person and what they would appreciate. Don’t impulse buy something which might end up taking space and not be useful
- Intentionally choose something which gives back to people and planet
- Include a gift tag which tells the story of the gift and where it came from
The big stuff:
- Consider using a Green tariff from your energy supplier
- Look into having solar panels fitted. These are available from a range of suppliers including Ikea, and may not cost as much as you think
- When you’re next shopping for a car, consider an energy efficient one and car-share when you can
You can read the full guide here: http://www.thegoodtrade.com/beginners-guide-to-ethical-living/ and it’s likely to be just the start of a journey of discovery. There are lots of designers, manufacturers and retailers who understand the impact we can have on the planet and want to make a move for positive change.
If you know of some local or regional businesses who operate in this way, why not let us know?