THE BARE NECESSITIES OF SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING
What with the country climbing up the Covid-19 ladder for a top spot, and most of us gradually getting back to work, caution must be our #1 priority. While some of us have been blessed with steady incomes through the pandemic, some others have had to face the brutality of the collapsing economy.
As we’re still grappling with the trials life has been throwing at us over the past few months, ‘the new normal’ has become a hot topic for discussion. Experts have encouraged people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, as it is the only we can go on to thrive as a society. However, for some of us, this might not be possible, owing to the financial crunch we’re in. So then, does it really make sense to invest in a bamboo toothbrush that might cost twice as much as a regular plastic toothbrush, during such a trying period? Let’s break it down for you.
Humans, by nature, have always been myopic. We often prioritise the short-term gains over its cousin - long term gain. In fact, this is partially the cause of the origin of the pandemic we’re currently in. There is evidence that air pollution has contributed to higher Covid-19 mortality rates. While deforestation has increased our exposure to pathogens carried by wildlife, permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years are melting due to climate change, which can then potentially release thousands of undiscovered viruses.
If anything, this pandemic has reinforced the links between health, environment and the economy.
The principle remains unchanged - cut back on non-essential investments like apparel hauls, exorbitant electronics, furniture etc, and focus on maintaining healthy lifestyles. By making clean organic purchases, we accomplish just this. Those extra bills spent in now risky restaurants, movie theatres and vacations can be replaced with smart buys like these. Over time, your dental health will thank you for switching to a clean, chemical-free toothpaste set with a consciously produced bamboo toothbrush.
New research claims that people often tend to enjoy the experience of using a ‘green-product’ more than if the product weren’t green/eco-friendly. Of course, there’s the danger of the product being green-washed, but consumer satisfaction remains the same, regardless.
Additionally, the example you’d be setting to your family by making informed, responsible choices despite the tricky situation you might be in will speak volumes about your priorities and values.
Another important lesson we’ve all picked up in recent times is to understand the real cost of these seemingly cheap products that lure our pockets. If their price tags included the wages for the manufacturers, the resources exploited for production and the unethical bypasses took across the supply chain, these products would be luxury buys!
Through the course of the lockdown, we all discovered we could live happily with our families with just the essentials like organic soaps, handcrafted cutlery, or chemical-free surface cleaners. The art of DIY-ing, another sustainable choice, has earned some well-deserved attention, during this time. And rightly so. We realised that inside of us lies a chef, an artist, a photographer and so on. Subsequently, our bank accounts and nature have thanked us, while bonds with our loved ones only got stronger.
If anything this pandemic should teach us the importance of holding ourselves accountable for our actions. Wisely investing in sustainable purchases whilst cutting back on trifle expenses, will do wonders at repairing our finances and nature. Most of us have the privilege of making educated choices like discovering the history of plastic or kickstarting zero-waste shopping as compared to the numerous migrant workers right now, struggling to keep their stomachs fed and roofs intact. We’ve got to do it for ourselves, and them. These next 12 months is about this journey that might introduce a new, revamped character and culture of the household.
Quoting the legendary fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood, “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”
Authored by Reshma Bhat