Education and Meanings

Conscious consumption: understand how and why to change your habits

When we talk about conscious consumption , we shouldn’t interpret the subject only as a current trend. First, it is necessary to understand that any and all types of consumption have positive and negative consequences, both for society and for the environment.is known that we consume about 30% more natural resources than the Earth is capable of renewing. If the pattern of production and consumption continues at the same level, in 50 years it will take two planets to supply the population’s water, energy and food needs.

That is why the search for ecologically correct products and services, saving resources, using goods until the end of their useful life and recycling materials should be seen as a habit to be adopted by governments, the economy and the society, not only today, but with the aim of becoming a legacy of values ​​for future generations.

WHAT IS CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

Conscious consumption is basically the act of sustainably consuming, that is, being concerned with the origins of manufacturing processes and their environmental impacts from the extraction of raw materials to final disposal, with the reduction of production of garbage, reducing the waste of water and energy and paying attention to our choices.

Conscious consumers are those who seek to minimize the negative impacts of their consumption preferences and maximize the positive ones through attitudes at transforming their way of life, society and the environment.

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION AND SUSTAINABILITY

To be a conscientious consumer is to understand that our choices will have social and environmental consequences. It is important that there is a balance between necessity and sustainability, it is enough that we pay attention to how we consume.

One of the consequences of conscious consumption is that, when we choose products from responsible companies, we are automatically telling the production sector that we prefer products and services that bring positive impacts or significantly reduce the negative impacts of their production on the environment.

In this way, we transform our purchasing power into an act of recognition of good sustainable practices and encourage the creation of social and environmental initiatives that reduce the use of natural resources and promote the abandonment of harmful practices of high consumption and waste.

The concept of the 3 R’s is widely used in public administration, but it can also be applied in our daily lives. Its proposal is to present practical actions that aim to establish a more harmonious relationship between the consumer and the environment. Are they:

  • Reduce: reduce consumption and analyze the real need to buy something new;
  • Reuse: reuse products before disposing of them;
  • Recycle: send for recycling everything that can be reused.

See here everything about Environmental Sustainability .

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

When we refer to the importance of conscious consumption, we are emphasizing the positive impacts it has on everyday life and society. Practicing conscious consumption is fundamental for sustainable development and for building an economy that values ​​​​the reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and energy.

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION OF WATER

One of the biggest environmental problems today is related to the indiscriminate use of water. About 70% of our planet is made up of water, but only 1% is suitable for human consumption and, of this percentage, most is destined for industry and agriculture, domestic use being the last concern. Furthermore, with factors such as pollution, poor water distribution and waste, the resources we have available are insufficient to serve a large part of the world’s population.

Therefore, practicing the conscientious consumption of water is a smart attitude that aims to save the planet’s drinking water and prevent further shortages in the future. The idea is not to stop using water, but to adopt measures to avoid waste. As individuals, we can reduce spending whenever we can, collect rainwater, reduce the use of products that expand water pollution, close the shower valve for soaping, reuse the gray water formed by the shower and the machine washing clothes, among others.

Another important measure of conscientious water consumption is to be aware of the water footprint of companies, that is, to be concerned with knowing the volume spent on water of the products and services we consume, choosing to choose the one with the lowest rate of use of this resource . We must also pay attention to the actions and solutions adopted by the community and companies in relation to water reuse and waste control.

See here everything about Water Footprint and Water Reuse .

FINANCIAL CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

Talking about the conscious consumption of money is about making the right choice, with purpose and responsibility. We live in a consumer society based on the value of “having”, where the act of purchasing products and services has become something trivialized. However, when choosing to buy something, we must reflect on our real needs and try to find a balance between personal satisfaction and the impact of consumption on the pocket and on society.

The other side of conscious financial consumption seeks to be aware of the attitudes we take in our daily lives in relation to savings, resources, such as: turning off the light in environments that are not being used, saving water and avoiding unnecessary waste, choosing products that can be recycled, etc. It is our duty to assess the impact of each purchase we make from a social, environmental and financial perspective.

CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION IN FASHION

In recent years, the concept of sustainable fashion has been growing and consolidating in the market. Its proposal is totally contrary to the fast fashion model , as it seeks to change the consumer’s shopping habits by producing pieces with durability and long-term use, in addition to being concerned with the environment at all stages of production.

Practicing conscious fashion is opting for brands that have a positive socio-environmental impact, valuing the working conditions of their employees, using organic and sustainable materials in their clothing, being concerned with the preservation of essential resources such as water and electricity, using less toxic products and natural dyes and recycling and reusing waste.

EXAMPLES OF CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION

Akatu Institute, a non-profit non-governmental organization that works to mobilize and make society aware of the issue, presents some tips for conscientious consumption that make a difference. Are they:  

  • Plan your purchases;
  • Assess the impacts of your consumption;
  • Consume only what is necessary;
  • Reuse products and packaging;
  • Sort your trash;
  • Use credit conscientiously;
  • Get to know and value companies’ social responsibility practices;
  • Do not buy pirated or contraband products;
  • Contribute to the improvement of products and services;
  • Publicize conscious consumption;
  • Copper from politicians;
  • Reflect on your values.
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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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