No matter how many “green” or “eco-friendly” products we all buy, we cannot shop our way out of the climate crisis. Sure, we can buy more reusable bags, more eco-friendly gadgets, hybrid cars, Energy Star-rated appliances, or clothing made out of bamboo. We can do all the right things when it comes to watching where we spend our dollars; doing so will benefit us for sure. But in reality, the things we don’t spend our money on or consume at all are going to do more for our environment and the climate crisis than shopping “green” ever can.
I have said over and over again here on the site that the small things do matter, and to not let anyone tell you otherwise — and I stand by this statement. Too often, the changes we can easily make are belittled by others who claim we aren’t doing enough, but I don’t believe that for a second. ANY changes we make for the better are helping the cause. But one mistake I see people make too often is thinking that shopping, as long as you are “buying green”, is better than making simpler, less expensive, and less labor-intensive choices. And nothing could be further from the truth! For many of the items that we buy in order to “go green”, there are raw materials being mined, used, and thrown away; workers being underpaid; landfills being filled up; chemicals being sprayed about. Oftentimes, looking for alternative ways to make changes, rather than shopping for them, can have an even bigger impact on our world.
Yes, we all need to shop sometimes. And yes, when we need to, we should look for the most eco-friendly option available. And yes, those purchases can make a difference.
But that doesn’t mean that shopping is the best way out of our problems. If you want to make effective small changes, take a minute to think of a few things you can do that leave no trace of your money at the mall but yet can make an impact, such as:
Remember – the small things do matter, but that doesn’t mean you need to shop to do them effectively. Shopping never saved anyone, and it won’t save us either. Keep that in mind next time you reach for your wallet!
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