Hi folks! Once again, it’s that time of year where we may be lucky enough to be able to slow down and reflect on life. Here’s an interesting post that introduced to me the concept of liminal space, a pause time between what was and what’s next. Liminal space is a time when your routine is interrupted, either by a major life event (death, divorce), a global crisis (natural disaster, financial crash), a holiday, a ritual, or the end of a year.

Often, it’s during these times that we receive information that we would find harder to process during our normal routine. Perhaps some extra-vivid dreams or maybe some information shared by others who had been waiting for the right time (that’s why holiday gatherings are often full of drama!). One thing that I came across that slowed me down and then strengthened my resolve to continue on this path was an article and video about a starving polar bear. It documents one animal’s struggle for survival in the face of climate change and provides a heartbreaking reminder of what we’re doing to this planet. Don’t watch it if you’re feeling too vulnerable.

It’s time to educate ourselves on sustainability

I’m not a big maker of New Year’s resolutions but I’m going to make an argument for one thing that we should always aspire to do: educate ourselves.

Specifically, that we should educate ourselves on the social and environmental problems that comprise our greatest challenges as a society – from climate change, animal welfare, and pollution to poverty, hunger, and human rights abuses – and how we can address them through ethical consumerism.

Taking the time to be an ethical consumer

We spend a lot of time watching the news and fretting over things that have happened or might happen, many of which are outside our control. Meanwhile, we often neglect the one thing we can all control: our choices as consumers. 

Part of it is, understandably, that we feel overwhelmed by it all. But there are just three things that we need to do:

  1. To be more informed about the choices we make.
  2. To be more conscious when it comes to purchasing something.
  3. To share what we’ve learned.

It’s not always easy – companies introduce new products, new ingredients, and new trade practices all the time. And many corporations work hard to obscure the truth about the social and environmental problems that they profit from. (See my post on Merchants of Doubt for more on this topic.)

The best contribution that we can make to our greatest problems is not money, but Time.

Image Source: Prairie Kittin.

Is it so ridiculous that we take the time to learn about the impact of the stuff we use every day? We spend so much time and effort on formal education but often neglect to learn about the commonplace things that form the core of our daily earthly existence.

How to get started with ethical consumerism

There are many posts on this site that can help you get started, on topics from coffee and milk to clothing and phones. But the main point of this Green Stars Project is to encourage you to become a researcher, an investigator, a reporter, and above all, a conscientious person.

You don’t need to understand everything – just start somewhere; with your next purchase, perhaps. Once you learn something, or make a conscious choice, then write a Green Stars review of the product or business (on any site) so that others can learn from it. And share it here too, please! I also run a recurring competition on this as an incentive.

That’s it for now. Wishing you a Peaceful New Year. 

18 thoughts on “R E S O L U T I O N

  1. Democracy was supposed to be THE vehicle for personal agency but alas, it left us where we are. Your post is so important for awakening the need for individuals to be empowered to change. Even if at first it seems like a small one.
    Happy new year to you and please don’t stop writing for us.

  2. Happy New Year to you too, Mira and thank you 🙂
    It does seem like a small change (or a simple one, at least) – too small or simple for some, who feel that they need to do something big. But the feeling of wanting to do something big often leaves people feeling stuck – too overwhelmed to start on anything.
    Everything starts with small things. In fact, that’s all there is, really. I want to write a post about mindset and include your reports from conferences where bottled water and meat are avoided. We won’t change anything unless we change the way we live. Your posts were inspiring – I’ve been to too many conferences and meetings that have environmental themes and yet the organizers dole out bottled water and disposable plastic badges like there’s no tomorrow!

    1. Thank you so much! To add to this, I’m vexed at some vegans who are passionate about veganism but have no qualms buying coffee in a paper cup. Perhaps like you said, it’s about raising awareness. I feel there is a divide between environmental and animal. Those who advocate for environmental protection do not always include animals in their call, and vice versa for animal rights advocates. Would you agree?

      1. Yes, totally! That was one of the themes in my (unpublished) novel that gave birth to the Green Stars Project. That so many people specialize in their own cause and ignore others. The human rights advocate who ignores the environment (or perhaps even misses the human rights issues with the things they buy, from chocolate to palm oil) or, as you say, the vegan who ignores the problem of plastic pollution. Everyone has to start somewhere but eventually we need to be more holistic.

  3. As usual, you coax us in the right direction with a gentle yet adamant tone. “We spend a lot of time watching the news and fretting over things…” What a powerful few sentences. I for one like regaining the sense that I have some control. Thank you so much for continuing to bring such rich, motivating and informational pieces. xo

  4. Thank you for the good advice – interesting about Liminal space – you feel that sometimes dont you – both ways – and most worrying, how we waste our time but perhaps we need to sometimes.

    Happy New Year

  5. Hoping to become even more of a conscious consumer this year and looking forward to learning lots more from your advice in 2018. Thank you for all the great suggestions. Wishing you a wonderful and impactful 2018.

  6. And don’t forget vote, and be proactive with your wallet, put your money where it counts, deciding what you want to purchase, be these political,, or materially, be very conscious, do not give your money to those who are not working for a better future for all of us! 🙂

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