The path to green and healthy living has many detours into ethical-dilemma territory. You don’t mind occasionally feeding your family via the drive thru window on a busy week night, but then you stop to think about all those styrofoam cups or containers that can’t be recycled. Balloons look so festive at a party, but you saw images of strangled and choked birds and you can’t bring yourself to decorate with them.
Once you really consider the impact of disposable-every-year-or-two phones and “what was a worker in China paid to make these little plastic toys?” it can be quite the test of your personal ethics. With a little research and introspection, you’ll naturally find where you stand on these issues. But if you need a little nudge, here are four of the most impactful ways to live more ethically.
In terms of fruit and vegetables, you could try growing your own. This is a great idea because it is cheaper and you know exactly where the food you’re eating has come from. In addition, it is something educational and fun for the whole family to get involved with, especially if you have little ones. If this isn’t an option, then choose Fair Trade or organic fruits and vegetables from your local farmers market. Some people believe that in terms of food, in order to live an ethical lifestyle you have to become a strict vegetarian or a vegan. Others believe that this isn’t necessarily true, as there are different levels of ethical animal produce available. By choosing free range produce that are locally sourced, even though you may pay a little more, you will be supporting ethical, local businesses and it will also rid your body of the toxins found in non-organic foods.
Consider Where Your Stuff Comes From
Not only should you think about the origins of the food that’s on your plate, but it is also important to consider the origins of everything else you purchase. Whether you’re buying new furniture for your home or a gift for your best friends birthday, try and source them locally rather than ordering something online to come from across the globe just because it’s cheap. Although the latter is good for your wallet and the companies themselves, it certainly isn’t good for the environment. Taking steps to consider how far a product has travelled to get to you and seeking alternatives is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and again support local businesses.
Giving something back to your community will not only be beneficial for them, but feeling like you’ve made a difference will make you feel really good about yourself too. Even a smile or a simple “good morning” can really brighten up a strangers day. If you have spare time or specific skills then these could be very useful to many charities who would be very grateful for your help. If you have a lot of time to dedicate and your skills are in child care for example, you may choose to foster a child or look into mentoring. There are also many ways to fundraise for a charity, such as a cake sale, a sponsored walk or even bag packing at your local supermarket.
Produce Less Waste
Especially when food shopping, try to make choices based on avoiding unnecessary packaging. Any waste you do acquire from packaging, ensure that you’re recycling as much as possible. In terms of food waste, consider starting a compost heap. This will not only reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, but it creates rich nutrients for your soil. Check if any clothes or other household objects that you want to throw away are in a good enough condition to be given to charity. Although you may not want to use them anymore, there may be people out there who would really appreciate them which is far better than them ending up on a landfill.
- Four Simple (but Impactful) Ways to Live a More Ethical Life - May 17, 2017