Sustainable and Conscious Consumption

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Singapore is amazing. We have everything we want, whenever we want it. Actually, we have more than we could ever need. With depleting resources, climate change and unethical practices, how can we consume more consciously?

By Guest Contributor Stephanie Dickson

“Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” – Anna Lappe

I used to look at my wardrobe and think that I have nothing to wear. I was the girl who would happily spend on new clothes each month, ordering online or popping into stores to get the latest fashion items. In our world now, convenience is king. We want everything at the touch of a button, and we don’t stop to think before we click “buy”.

That was until about 18 months ago, when I left my corporate life to enter the entrepreneurial world. This flipped my consumption habits upside down.

Let me ask you: do you ever think about where your food comes from or who made your clothes? Do you think about how many pairs of hands it has passed on the way to you or how it ended up in the store?

Second to oil, the fashion industry emits the most pollution in the world. It produces over 80 billion new garments each year and in Singapore, over 150,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste are generated annually. This is approximately 120 t-shirts per person, according to Connected Threads Asia.

When it comes to food, agriculture is one of the biggest causes of climate change. According to Cowspiracy, animal farming is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust of all transportation.

The more I spoke to people, watched documentaries and researched, the scarier the facts became. It compelled me to do something about our consumption habits.

As corny as it sounds, every little bit counts. As consumers, we hold a lot of power to change ourselves and make an impact. That is why the words from Anna Lappe are so powerful – “Every time you spend money, you are voting for the kind of world you want.”

Ask yourself: what kind of world do you want to live in?

The choice to live more consciously is about taking control of your life. Open your eyes and be aware of your decisions – how they impact you, your surroundings and the environment. In our world now, not only do we have all of the answers at our fingertips, we also have innovative people who champion better living. Conscious living is made easier today than ever before.

A good place to start is to think about what is important to you. Do you want to be healthier? Lessen your burden on the planet, and make sure your kids will get to see the plethora of beautiful plants and animals we see now?

For starters, think whether you will be willing to change your current buying habits, like reducing consumption, reusing items and recycling waste. Look at quality products that last longer. Do some research and buy from brands that are transparent about where their clothes come from.

For example, MATTER offers socially-conscious pants to see the world in. Reformation has killer fashion that doesn’t kill the planet, and Twin Within sells necklaces that are ethically made in the Philippines.

As for food food, try Meatless Mondays. Buy organic local produce and use all purpose green formulas to get the toxins off your fruit and veggies. There are lots of delicious, healthy and convenient food options too. These cut down the need for fast food, like DoSiRak, Kitchen by Food Rebel and Daily Juice.

Start by making one change. Once you’ve got that one down pat, make another, and another. Once you peak your curiosity, tap into a cause you feel passionate about. The butterfly effect kicks in, and change becomes your new norm.

Stephanie Dickson is the co-founder of Asia’s first conscious festival, Green Is The New Black. It is a one-day event that fuses talks, workshops, a marketplace and stage acts to improve the way we live, work and consume through sustainable fashion, healthy eating, purposeful working habits and mindful living.


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