Sustainable living is not a new idea, but it has never enjoyed such wide currency as it does today. More importantly, neither has it been easier. This lifestyle choice which once was considered weird and wacky has through recent years headed relentlessly towards the mainstream, as more and more people come to realise that not only is it ethically the right way to live, but also it is beneficial to us all as we compete for the ever more finite resources of this delicate and endangered planet in which we all live.
Caring for the environment also means caring for everything that lives and that includes us, the human species. Avoiding the consumption of produce which ravages the planet leads inexorably to taking a position on produce which has come about as a consequence of the exploitation of the vulnerable and the desperate. Increasingly people are saying no to goods which have been manufactured in sweat shops or by the use of child or low-paid labour, even if it sometimes means paying a little bit more.
Economies of Scale
Of course, the more consumers opt for sustainable alternatives, the more economically viable they become in any case. It’s all to do with economies of scale. Whether it is vegetarian or vegan options, fairtrade coffee, dairy-free milk, or even eco-friendly toilet paper — all the major supermarkets now stock them all alongside all the more established brands and they are becoming increasingly popular.
What we eat though is only part of the picture. Sometimes what the food comes wrapped in can be just as much a part of the problem. Only recently customer pressure has forced huge changes in attitudes towards packaging, particularly plastics, which the supermarkets have felt obligated to follow.
Although adjusting our eating habits is the most obvious way in which we can enjoy ethical living, it is by no means the only way. All manner of household products, including furniture and ornaments, are now manufactured ethically, and whole stores which trade exclusively in them have not only appeared and prospered, but have become household names known to everyone.
The other area in which ethical shopping has become very popular is in the field of apparel and clothing. The idea which began by expressing its hostility to the fur trade has sprouted into a worldwide movement in which consumers increasingly seek out clothes which have not been produced through undue exploitation, either of our natural resources or of people. Just about every item imaginable, from jackets and shoes through to soccer socks and stockings, can be sourced through alternative means to those which we have grown accustomed to.
Fairtrade, guilt-free, recyclable, biodegradable, sustainable practices provide us with a viable alternative and a lifestyle for future living. We all share this planet, and if it becomes damaged beyond repair or starved of resources through over-production then we all pay the price. There’s nothing wrong with giving a tree a hug – after all, it’s been there hundreds of years so it must know a thing or two about survival.