You see on the news a bunch of different segments on issues that plague the world. You feel strongly about helping out but, aren’t entirely sure how to do so. A few months back I made a decision that I wanted to starting living in a way that wasn’t so self-centered. Easier said than done. It’s marathon, not a sprint, it’s definitely a step by step process. However, if we all made more conscious choices the world would be a better place in no time.
Baby Steps But, A Big Committment
Here are some tips on how to start:
1. Map out what you’re trying to achieve and in what you want to get involved. Do you want to stop suppporting animal testing? Or maybe only promote companies that are certified fair trade. Whatever you goal is you need to plan accordingly. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Do your research. Not to sound condescending but, do you know what fair trade even means? Are you aware what products, clothing, or foods, you already support, are in fact ethical? Do you realize how much of the world doesn’t have access to clean water, including cities here in the United States? Or even how young girls in African countries miss out on weeks of school every year because, they don’t have access to proper menstration products? These are all major issues. Educating yourself allows a deeper understanding about what goes on in this crazy world in which we live.
My journey started a year ago when I attended the Global Citizen’s festival in New York City, I’ll be the first to admit my inspiration in going wasn’t to support the cause but, to see Coldplay and Beyoncé. However, once there it really opened my eyes to global conditions in which people outside of my eyeline are living. This led me to doing research online and watching a number of documentaries. I really suggest checking out their website. It’s filled with articles and references that are not only interesting but, helpful in getting woke. I must say since then, I’ve become a lot more political which is a contributing factor in my switch to an ethical lifestyle.
3. Make the commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle. While some of our plastics now-a-days are made up of recycled products, there’s a lot that still isn’t. It’s our duty to protect the Earth. It’s the only one we have. The TV program Vice, on HBO, really opened my eyes to the danger plastic poses to our environment. A lot of you probably already know that there is a massive collection of plastic debris floating out in the Pacific, I’m referring to the Great Pacific Garabage Patch but, did you also know it’s not just one but, FIVE!?!?! That’s right, out there in the oceans that millions of us fish in and visit on summer vacation, there are mounds of plastic garabage polluting marine life. The dolphins, turtles, and sharks are getting caught in that pollution, birds and fish are consuming it, it’s washing up on shores and destroying our beaches.
Plastic debris has now become the most serious problem affecting the marine environment, not only for coastal areas of developing countries that lack appropriate waste management infrastructures, but also for the world’s oceans as a whole because slowly degrading large plastic items generate microplastic (particles smaller than 1 to 5 mm) particles which spread over long distances by wind-driven ocean surface layer circulation. – Source
Think about it for a second. If the fish are consuming those small particles and we’re consuming the fish… we’re literally poisoning ourselves. I’m not saying recycling that water bottle is going to fix everything however, making the switch will help prevent further damage.
4. Give back. You don’t have to be a millionaire to help out. Volunteer at a local shelter or community center. Giving back with your time allows you to make small changes in this world. You’ll feel good because you’re doing good. Not sure where to start? State Farm has a good web source that helps you get connected with volunteer opportunities near you.
5. Stop buying from companies that utilize sweat shops. This step will probably be the hardest to follow. I know for sure, that it is for myself. Connecting back to step number two, doing your research, a simple web search will help you learn where you’re clothes, electronics, even jewelry is coming from. Fair trade is when the workers that manufacture products are paid fair and equal wages. This for myself was really important in my switch. The conditions that workers in sweat shops are forced into are quite frankly are inhuman. At times these people aren’t even willing employees, they were human trafficked, slaves.
It’s hard to switch, because at times convenience shopping brings us to stores that you might not consider a contributing factor. Making that choice to be strictly fair trade will be a lot of trial and error. Luckily, there are resources that you can easily look up a companies certification. Check it out here.
No one is perfect. I’m still working this whole ethical lifestyle out. At times I fail and other times I do really well. The main take away should be that we want this world to be a better place for future generations and acknowledging the small changes we can all make is really the first step in the world becoming a brighter place.