How to become a conscious consumer
Q: Increasingly I’m hearing more and more people talking about sustainability and being a conscious consumer. What is your idea of a conscious consumer and how can I transition mylifestyle to be more conscious? Thanks, Hailey
We are incredibly fortunate in the Western world to have an abundance of food available to us that we don’t have to grow, harvest or hunt for ourselves. Do you ever stop to consider where your food comes from? From the farmer who commits their life to feeding you through to the entire chain of production that takes place before something ends up in your shopping basket.
But on the other side of that fortune lies a disconnection to the supply chain that means we often forget the impact that our choices have on the world around us. I raise this, neither to elicit guilt, nor to make a political statement but because I think it’s important we all ask more questions.
I’ve discussed before about how important I think it is that
you choose organic produce and products where possible. I’m passionate about increasing your nutrient intake and the benefits that has on your health. But I’m also incredibly passionate about sustainability and the impact that we all have on our planet and its inhabitants.
We aren’t given a lot of information about the production methods that everything we buy passes through before it gets to us but we have more power than we realise. With every purchase you make, you’re communicating to producers and manufacturers where you stand on the quality, sustainability and integrity of the products available on the market.
Maybe there is a cost prohibitive for you around switching to organic or sustainable products. It’s true that these kinds of products are more expensive – because the costs of production are so much greater.
But it costs nothing to ask questions. It costs nothing to take a more conscious approach to shopping by omitting something from your shopping basket because you’ve found out it was produced in a factory with unsafe working conditions for employees, for example.
As you make your purchases this month, consider what part you play in the chain of production. Are there any small changes you can make to communicate to producers and manufacturers that you want more nutritious, sustainable and ethical products on offer?
We all have a part to play in shaping the world around us and shifting some of the practices we feel at times, powerless to change, but that are unacceptable to us. I encourage you all to act on what you care about.
Here are some other suggestions to help you be the positive change the world needs today:
Take out packaged, processed foods and keep adding in local, fresh produce.
Source local, sustainable cafes and restaurants to dine in.
Switch plastic containers and bottles out for glass.
Recycle as much as you can and start a compost bin.
Shop eco-friendly, cruelty-free beauty products and fashion lines.
Switch to chemical-free cleaning products.
Use reusable alternatives to items commonly thrown out after one use, such as nappies, plastic wrap, paper towels and batteries.
Source the majority of your grocery items and fresh produce from local farmer’s markets and shops.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
It costs nothing to take a more conscious approach to shopping.