Responsible Consumerism?!?

Recently, I was introduced to some new terminology for a movement that is very popular for celebrities and the cool kids! It is the idea of “responsible consumerism,” and this may not be new terminology or a new concept for many of you. However, it was new to me. This idea consists of taking responsibility to be aware of the details of the products you buy. Details might include where the product comes from, what materials are used in manufacture, is the manufacture of said product damaging the immediate environment, what was the inspiration for the product, are the proceeds from the product just to make some suit rich or will it go for a better cause? One of the most well-known proponents of this idea is the creative genius behind Toms shoes which sends a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase of a pair of shoes. This idea is changing the world, in my opinion.

The idea of “going green” is not a new concept in our world, but I, personally, had a very extreme ideal of what “going green” entailed. I suppose I had this picture of someone driving a car that runs on French fry oil, someone that didn’t take showers, and who spent a majority of their time in a deeply personal relationship with a tree. I am not really sure why I had this picture in my head, and I don’t mean to offend anyone who lives this lifestyle except if you have the deeply personal relationship with the tree because that is just a little weird.

Anyway so the idea of responsible consumerism and going green converged in my head into a really simple but life-changing idea for me that has had implications in every area of my life. To me both ideologies boil down into the choice to take personal responsibility for the items you purchase and bring into your home and also for the items you take out of your home in the trash you throw away. I am not an extreme environmentalist; however, I do believe that we should be good stewards of what we have been given – that includes our world and resources. Also, in the current economic times, being aware of some of these things will help you save money. Little things that using a re-usable water bottle or coffee thermos, using cloth napkins at dinner, or using canvas bags to transport your groceries can both help the environment and save money. Also choosing to buy products that are better for the environment or have a higher cause than getting rich are becoming viable options in our world. It’s all about being educated on the products you purchase and choosing to take the responsibility.

Okay so what are the applications for this?

Number One – the food we eat. I am notorious for saying “why don’t we just pick up something (usually fast food) for dinner and not cook?” The food from a fast food restaurant can be the worst thing for you – I know from experience!!! And, most of the time you can’t be sure if that food is actually real food or some sort of chemically enhanced substitute. When you cook your own food, you get to control the ingredients and the quality of said ingredients! It’s a simple change that requires you to take responsibility for what you are putting into your body and to make a choice! Taking a good but difficult look at what I was putting into my body makes me want to cook and be more responsible for the things I eat.

Number Two – what we allow into our heads that can make its way to our hearts and eventually affect our souls. There are so many negative and harmful images that we come across in a daily basis that we must have some sort of counterbalance in our lives. It is next to impossible to avoid all that is negative unless you live in a bubble that never interacts with the outside world, but it is imperative to have some sort of import of positive. As a follower of Christ, it should be the Word of God that is the positive and the counter to all of the crazy crap we put into our heads! Romans 12:2 states, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I like this because conforming to the world is something that comes very natural to us and something that can occur when in auto-pilot, but renewing your mind is something we must choose to do that most of the time goes against our very nature!

Number Three – As the executive at Toms shoes are teaching us about responsible consumerism and how what we purchase can affect the rest of the world, it is beyond time for us to realize that everything we do affects the people and the world around us. Just as we need to be aware of what is going into our bodies, we also need to be intensely aware of what we put into the world. So many times, I walk around like the things I do and the things I say do not affect anyone but me; however, that is so not the case. People watch you – not in that we need a restraining order type way but in a follow in your footsteps type way. I am the oldest of 3 girls – a fact my two younger sisters like to remind me of – and I want to be the kind of person that they want to look up to and follow. Also I work with kids during the majority of the waking hours, and if you work with kids you know that they learn much more from what you do than what you say!

It all comes down to taking the initiative to educate ourselves and taking responsibility for the people we are and our actions. If you are reading this and thinking that this will include more work on your part, then you are exactly right, but I believe the benefits far outweigh the extra work. I know that I am capable of going on auto-pilot where I am not really living but existing, and that is breaks my heart because I can’t get those days back. I only have one life, and I don’t want to look back at the end of it and regret something I didn’t do but wanted to do. I want to have an awesome story to leave behind…

No comments:

Post a Comment