A lot is happening around the world right now, and being exposed to so much information and negative news can be overwhelming. Sometimes this makes us want to shut off from all the issues and stay inside our personal, comfortable bubble. Doing this, however, isn’t a great solution long-term, for you, others, or the planet.
Although we can’t expect ourselves to be experts on each and every issue, it is important that we are aware of and understand how our behaviours impact the world around us. Several issues, including resource inequality, habitat loss, species extinctions, and some natural disasters and pandemics, are caused by our choices and actions. We all urgently need to acknowledge our impact and make some changes.
We know this might seem difficult but do not worry – we are going to help you on your journey to become a more conscious consumer!
Why should I change?
One of the best ways to reduce your impact is to become a conscious consumer. A conscious consumer looks beyond product labels and wants to know more about what their money is supporting. They question where and how items are being made, what the company policies are, and the overall impact of a product. Considering these factors in product selection will, in turn, minimise our impact on others and the environment.
“I am vegan because after extensive research I have learned that, besides being the most ethical decision, a plant-based diet is the best for my health and the health of the environment.”Dr Garth Davis MD
There are loads of reasons why someone would want to become a conscious person and consumer, but here are the three main ones:
In general, most of us would consider ourselves kind and would say we care about the environment and are against animal cruelty. We don’t want our choices to upset or bring harm to someone else, and we aspire to be the best version of ourselves. With this comes the responsibility to learn about local and global issues and make choices that minimise our impact on others. In doing so, we are able to align our consumption and our day-to-day lives with the values we hold as individuals.
We also deserve to feel good, physically and mentally. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet is healthier for the human body and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers [1, 2, 3]. Being kind also boots serotonin levels, making us feel happier and calm!
2. For the planet
We need to take care of the planet for our very own existence, the other animals who we share it with, and the future generations who will inherit what we leave behind. You may be thinking, “but I’m just one person; what I do doesn’t make a difference” – but that is untrue. Our collective behaviours are having major impacts on the planet, and by shifting our behaviours we can shift the results.
This goes beyond addressing our use of fossil fuels, as major scientific studies have shown that our diet is one of the leading causes of climate change and environmental destruction. While we absolutely should strive to turn off lights and electricals and reduce car and plane travel, opting for public transport or riding a bike where possible, by changing what we eat we can drastically reduce our personal environmental footprint. Remember, it takes just one person to start a movement and inspire others to change!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead
3. For the animals
Every year around the world, over 70 billion land animals and 1.2 trillion aquatic animals are killed for human consumption. These figures exclude the animals who die before reaching the slaughterhouse or caught as by-catch. Once again, you may think that your consumption of animals won’t affect this number, but it does. It is estimated that by leaving animals off your plate, you can save 365 animals per year*. And this certainly matters to the animals. By simply swapping out some ingredients you are saying that you no longer support the mass killing of animals, creating a demand for vegan alternatives, creating jobs in alternative markets, and reducing your impact on the animals, planet, and people! By moving away from animal products, you may also inspire someone else to try it too, and this can have a ripple effect on the wider community.
*This is an estimate based on eating or drinking animal products on a daily basis.
Where do I start?
Self-evaluation isn’t always easy, but we should look at what we do, support, eat and wear on a daily basis. Luckily, with the Internet at our fingertips, we can connect and learn about the products we consume and the industries in which we participate. Documentaries and books are great sources as well. (link to AL lists)
With so much to cover, we’ve made beginning this journey to conscious consumerism simple by putting together a 21-week guide.
Each week we will explore a new topic, to help build your understanding of different animal industries, and their impacts on the animals, the environment, and people. With different issues broken down into weekly themes, the 21-week guide will make it easier to take in the information and make the relevant changes at a beginner-friendly pace.
Throughout the coming weeks, keep in mind there is no such thing as perfection. It is about taking some form of positive action – and small positive changes are better than none at all.
We want this to be an enjoyable learning experience for you. Here are a few of our tips to help you on this journey:
- Write down or make a note or vision board of why you want to become a conscious consumer. It can be one or all of the reasons we mentioned above, or something completely different. Referring to this might help keep you on track if it begins to feel difficult.
- Take your time. Change takes time, and so does learning. This is your journey to becoming a better you and so long as you keep learning and trying, you’re doing great.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up or feel like it is too hard. Just take it day by day! We all make mistakes and it is important to learn from them.
- Remember that just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything. Little changes make a difference. If you find something particularly hard to change, work on other things and come back to it.
- Ask a friend to join you! Doing something on your own can be daunting. Why not sign up with a friend and take this journey together?
Sign up today!
Start your journey today, by signing up to our 21-week guide.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.