THE GUIDE TO CONSUMER CONSCIOUSNESS
Living a truly "sustainable" lifestyle is difficult unless one were to devote a good portion of energy and time into producing crops that fulfilled all their basic needs. Its the millennium and we live in a global world which makes it easy to become disconnected to the food we eat and the products we choose to buy.
Say the typical college student wakes up in the morning, puts on a pair of their favorite GAP khakis which were made in some sweatshop in Indonesia, pours themselves a cup of coffee from a plantation in Brazil, eats a banana grown in Ecuador and dashes out the door to make their Environmental Biology class where they learn about the worlds most pressing environmental problems.
We all make purchases without thinking of the environmental and social externalities that go along with the products we consume. The good news is that we are ALL capable of making a few simple changes that help us establish a deeper connection to the products we consume. There are a variety of ways that one can use their purchasing power to have less of an impact on the environment and move towards a greener lifestyle. The following is a criteria check list and some ideas to keep in mind when making a purchase.
1.The company who makes the product.
a. Is this a large or small company?
b. Does the company create any by products that are harmful to
c. Who does the company employ, and how do they treat their employees?
a. What kind of packaging is being used?
b. Is the packaging recyclable?
c. How much waste is generated after the product is used up?
d. Can this product be purchased in bulk?
a. How far did this product have to travel to reach you?
b. Is it a local product or one that may have traveled hundreds of miles?
c. What type of transportation was used? Air, barge, truck.
4. Consumer Health Impacts
a. Is the product organic?
b. What chemicals does the product contain and are these damaging to your health?
c. Are there externalities that the production of the product creates that could have a negative impact on your health? ie: pesticides in your water source, or pollution created from factory production.