It's easy to play the blame game when it comes to climate change. It's always "We can't do anything until the big industries change!" and "I won't make a difference on my own, so why even bother?". I'm not here to argue that there aren't many larger moving parts in the current climate crisis, I am here to say that you can make a difference on your own - and you should.
Did you know that household consumption contributes to more than 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50-80% of total land, material, and water use? The wealthier the country, the greater the impact. (1) Crazy right! Our shopping habits are a major driving factor in the current climate crisis. The 2020 United In Science included our shopping habits in the key messages - "consumption patterns must change to support climate action" (2)
One way we can improve our consumption patterns is through sustainable living.
Sustainable living has become a hot topic over the past few years. It is a concept of living with mindfulness and balance - it encourages us to care for our environment while caring for ourselves. With the effects of climate change on the rise, living sustainably has never been more important than it is now. And for those of you who are thinking "sustainable living is only for the hippies and the greenies" I'm here to tell you that sustainable living doesn't mean packing up your city apartment, ditching your iPhone, quitting your job to go pass the time hugging trees or growing facial hair. Living sustainably is something we all have an obligation to partake in. One way you can do this is by shopping sustainably.
Shopping sustainably in essence means conscious shopping. It means choosing to purchase quality products that are manufactured, marketed, and used in the most sustainable way for our earth as possible. Anna Lappé, sustainable food advocate simplified this - “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” What you choose to spend your money on impacts the earth. You can read more about what makes a product more sustainable under our site's sustainability tab.
One aspect of sustainable shopping is slow fashion. Slow fashion is the friendly, sustainable opponent to fast fashion. Slow fashion encourages us to buy quality clothing that will last us a long time, skip the current trends, and invest in pieces we will wear for years to come. This means slower production, using less land and resources, fewer emissions, less waste, and overall better outcomes for our environment.
I don't know about you but I personally find it exhausting to keep up with the latest trends (fast fashion - the evil twin of slow fashion). From one event to the next I often found myself purchasing outfit after outfit, none of which I ever wore again.
Sustainable shopping promotes slow fashion - put simply, less waste and better outcomes for the earth. With this slow fashion mindset, you begin to think hard about what you really need. For me, that's a basic tee or shirt, and jeans. Spend your money investing in sustainably made staple pieces and look after them.
This doesn't mean you should never experiment or get those occasional splurge outfits. But why not first check out an op shop, borrow from a mate, rent an outfit (clothing rental sites are becoming increasingly popular), or check out some second-hand clothing sites like DEPOP. All of these options reduce environmental impacts and encourage circular fashion (a process where waste and pollution are designed out, products and materials are kept in use for as long as possible, including through reusing and recycling, and where natural systems are regenerated)
Here at Sequela, we are all about Sustainable shopping. We have curated a collection of brands that truly prioritise sustainability. The reality is that humanity is going to continue to shop and consume. But we can manage the impact we have on the environment through our product choices.
So I challenge you - next time you are about to click 'confirm purchase' please think, is this something I will get a lot of use from? How and from what is this product made? What's the likely environmental footprint from this purchase?
If you feel satisfied with the answers to those questions, click ahead my friends!
Please share this link and help us increase sustainable shopping awareness and practice.
The Sequela Team.
- Ivanova, D., Stadler, K., Steen-Olsen, K., Wood, R., Vita, G., Tukker, A., & Hertwich, E. (2015). Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption. Journal Of Industrial Ecology, 20(3), 526-536. doi: 10.1111/jiec.12371
- United in Science 2020 [Internet]. World Meteorological Organization. 2020 [cited 21 September 2020]. Available from: https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/united_in_science