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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. 

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