Consumers in the U.S. have come to expect convenience and affordability in many of the things they purchase on a regular basis:
- Single-use paper and plastics products; individually wrapped single-servings of cheese, candies, nuts, juice boxes, coffee pods, and snack items;
- Inexpensive “fast fashion” that can be worn for a season and discarded;
- Our fast food lifestyle;
And the list goes on…
While we may underestimate our individual impact on climate change, the choices we make have consequences. In the U.S., (which leads the world in cumulative Co2 emissions) each of us produces around 16 tons of greenhouse gases per year as a result of our choices and lifestyle. With more than 7.7 billion people now sharing this planet—many of them with improving living standards—our combined carbon footprint is a real problem.
As a result, many companies are now offering more climate friendly products. Following the “cradle to cradle” or C2C concept, they are moving away from the current industrial model to a new system with safe products and sustainable materials.
There are things we can do now to begin to break old habits and create new ones. With information and awareness, you can decide if your impact will be a positive one for the earth.
Our new shopping mantra should be “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” a well-known maxim in the environmental movement. Another “R” that could be added to the list is “Re-think.” In order to address climate change issues in our purchases, we need to re-think everything.
This new shopping list will expand as time goes on. For now, it will hopefully inspire you to explore, experiment, and begin new habits.