When I was young I often thought that what I do or my choices don’t matter. I am just one person and in the scale of the Earth’s population, or even just my own country’s population my choices don’t make a difference. Since I started looking at the world from a different perspective I learned how wrong I was and the longer I live the more I feel empowered with my own choice. I know there are still many people who think their choice doesn’t matter and I often hear them saying it as if it is a fact. Funnily enough, when I see these people after a period of time they suddenly have changed their minds. It could be the political climate that we are in that makes people find out and be more active, or it could be something else. I am just happy that they have found their voice and they are using their ‘choice’. If you don’t believe that your choice matters then keep reading and I will demonstrate how it actually does and why it is important to use it. Take a comfy seat and maybe some tea, as this is going to be a long post.
Our choice affects us as well as other people. Often the talk about choice regards how we can make smarter decisions when shopping, so that we save our environment and so that people are treated fairly. I absolutely think we should choose wisely for this reason as well, but the other reason is for yourself. It wasn’t that long ago when I wrote about the problems with commercial cleaning products, about how you don’t know what you are buying when you are shopping from big multinational companies. We often trust that these companies bring the best to the market and forget to question whether it really is safe for us to use. Although companies want to sell us products, their ultimate goal is to earn money to their stakeholders’ pockets. To earn more money they make decisions that will reduce costs in their production, which can affect in toxic ingredients. For example in the mid-1900s lead was added to gasoline, which was polluting the air that people breathe. Adding lead was bringing money to the ingredients patent holder and while it did help with some engine related performance, it is a neurotoxin that is easily inhaled by people.
Recently I started reading the book ‘Cradle to Cradle’ and already in the first chapter, it discussed how plastic products made in developing countries add a small number of toxic chemicals to the plastic, to make it more economic to produce. You have probably seen water bottles sold with a tag of “BPA free” so that you can make sure it is safe for you to drink from, as it can leak into the food or water that you are drinking and eating. And why have they been added into the products in the first place?
In my two examples, you can see that awareness of the problems has made a difference already. People have pressured these companies enough that they would make a change. The gasoline does not have lead anymore and many companies are making BPA-free products. This is because even though the business wants to make money, they also need to be able to sell their products. If people don’t buy their products they can’t sell them and they will need to make a change. Businesses need to provide products that are demanded of them to succeed. That is why we have healthy foods on the market and that is why originally fast-fashion emerged.
So you don’t want to consume toxic products, that is for sure. And in the best case scenario, nothing you consume should hurt the planet or people. But how can just your own voice make any difference? We, people, are funny creatures. We are quite self-absorb, even if we didn’t’ think we are. We feel insecure about our looks or we are annoyed at a certain thing, and we think we are the only ones thinking in this way. But since the internet has connected us we find out that so many other people think alike. Chances are that if you stop buying a certain product because you don’t agree with how it was produced, somebody else has already stopped buying it and a third person will stop buying it. You might not know that it is happening, but the company sure does when they are not selling that item as well as they used to. Then you might think that ‘if so many other people do it then why should I have to’. My only answer to that is ‘if everybody thought this way no change would happen.’ So what you choose really does matter and when you choose to do something in a certain way you can think of how you are contributing to this cause, whether it is buying healthier options for yourself or buying ethically made garments.
So what you choose really does matter and when you choose to do something in a certain way you can think of how you are contributing to this cause, whether it is buying healthier options for yourself or buying ethically made garments.
Some ways in which you can make a choice:
- Buying products after acknowledging what is in them and how they are made.
- Sending the company a query of how they produce their products.
- Sending the company a message of how you disapprove of the way they produce their products or how you disapprove of their products.
- Inform others of why you stop buying certain products or from a certain company.
- Let others know of the better choices you are making when shopping, such as a new brand or a new great product.
- You choose yourself what fights are worth fighting for.
The choices that I make in my everyday life are various. I prefer buying food that is fresh and if possible organic. I prefer making my clothes instead of buying, although I am looking into ethically and sustainably made fashion. I shop for items rarely and I try every time to find out more about the product and the brand I am buying from. I do not buy any products from Nestle, for numerous reasons. I prefer buying from small and possibly local companies to improve the local economy and help the small business grow. In addition, I feel empowered when I know how the products I buy are produced. I educate myself on how to live more sustainably and make more sustainable choices and try to share the information with others through this blog.
How do you make your choices?