When I was little, my sister taught me that when all the numbers on the digital clock were the same (1:11, 2:22, 3:33, you get the idea) that I could close my eyes and make a wish and if when I opened them back up, the numbers hadn’t rolled over yet, my wish would come true.
What I find myself wishing for more and more these days is awareness. Specifically, awareness on a grand scale, or rather awareness on a small scale with grand results. I wish that everyone knew that each one of their purchases, be it food in the store or in a restaurant; drinks from the mini mart; shoes from a sporting good store; or clothes from a pretty boutique; makes a difference. Every purchase we make has an impact – on the people at the very beginning, and during each step of that product’s life; on the place in the ground or ocean or tree or river where the ingredients were gathered for that product; on the impact on air, soil, water, human health and happiness during that product’s manufacturing; on the planet and its health during that product’s use; and on humans, animals and the planet when that product’s packaging is thrown away.
So much power goes in to each consumer’s every decision, and I don’t think most of us know it.
I tend to shop at Whole Foods for much of my food and personal products (the few I buy pre-made); and they have a reputation for high-quality, socially responsible items. This is true, to a certain extent, but even there, the consumer has to take the time and do their research to really know what they are buying, and in turn what they are supporting or to what they are contributing.
I bought new body lotion yesterday, and though I swore this would be the last non-homemade lotion I buy, after reading up on how my $12 is actually changing the lives of women in Africa, I may change my mind.
The product is Allafia’s Green Tea Body Lotion. I had researched them a little for a previous article on non-toxic lotions and for some reason decided they didn’t make the cut – perhaps because they were not locally produced, or overtly green.
But today, what I discovered when I did my research, is that their commitment to social sustainability is just as important as my commitment to using products that are easy on the earth – because it all comes down to the same thing. If we are good to ourselves, acting kindly and using sustainable practices in all that we do, we are also being green.
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