The Cost of a Sustainable Future
As the climate crisis looms and newsreels seem to be becoming an ever-growing stream of doom, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. However, one of the most powerful ways to influence a more sustainable tomorrow is by using your purchasing power to communicate the vital need for sustainable business.
From impulse purchasing to fast fashion fads to businesses operating with shadowy global supply chains, unsustainable shopping practices have created a world of overconsumption that the environment is left to pay the price for. We have the power to change this.
In this article, let’s explore some of the simple, practical, and effective ways to use your wallet to vote for a better, sustainable world.
Education and Sustainable Shopping
One of the most powerful actions you can take to combat global warming is to educate yourself on the issue. Whether you choose to sign up for a sustainability course, buy books and media surrounding sustainability topics, or engage with experts in the field, the more you learn, the more power you have to create a lasting difference.
By no means a complete list, some of the best ways to do this are:
● Choosing a workplace that matches your values
● Buying less, buying local or second-hand from green and eco-labels
● Invest in items that last longer
● Support small and medium businesses
● Invest in a trans-seasonal wardrobe
● Say no to packaging
● Choose green shipping for online orders
● Avoid buying palm oil products
Sustainable Travelling and Eating for the Environment
When people hear ‘sustainable travel’, their first thought is of ditching the car for PTV or cycling. In reality, there are dozens of ways to effectively reduce your carbon footprint through travel.
Likewise, you don’t need to turn vegan overnight. Even switching to a plant-based diet for a few days per week, or educating yourself on the impact of the livestock and agricultural industries, can make an incredible difference.
To help you find the path that best suits you, I've compiled a list of some of the best ways to travel and eat sustainably:
● Use public transport or ride-share services
● Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet
● Buy locally-grown, seasonal groceries in bulk
● Ditch the plane, take the train
● Avoid single-use items
● Offset your emissions through funding carbon dioxide reduction programs
● Use sustainable apps and digital resources
Powering Green Homes
There are a surprising number of ways to incorporate green energy into your home. A significant portion of most people’s carbon footprint comes from finite, gas or coal-sourced energy used to power their homes. Choosing a renewable energy source can help to cut carbon emissions and often costs.
Many of the standard cleaning products under our bathroom sinks are highly hazardous to the environment, leading to reduced soil, air, water, and even human health. Luckily, the market for eco-friendly cleaning products has been steadily growing in recent years.
Renting can also be a more environmentally friendly option than owning a home. Competition in the rental market can lead landlords to install more environmentally-friendly features to attract renters and are more likely to have shared amenities. If you do plan on buying a home, by living in a smaller house – or even an apartment – you can reduce your overall carbon footprint and practice a greener approach to living through reduced energy consumption.
It might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but there’s a range of financial options for the environmentally-minded.
Sustainable funds evaluate the environmental, social, and monetary gains of a potential investment. You can be sure that you are investing in an organisation or fund that is working to protect the natural world and create positive change.
Disappointingly, many of the big banking names are major funders of the oil industry; 35 big banking brands have provided $2.7 trillion to fossil fuel companies since 2015.
Divesting from unsustainable banks and supporting environmentally-friendly banking institutions is a vote to fund a sustainable future.
A green mortgage provides homeowners with an opportunity to purchase an energy-efficient home or adapt their property to become more environmentally sustainable. More mortgage brokers and banking institutions are including green mortgages in their offerings than ever before.
A Simple Solution
With every purchase, we can use our power – as consumers – for good. Whether that means choosing to forgo a material gift in place of a meaningful donation, investing in a sustainable fund, or just buying from a local store, we have the power to change this. By encouraging an attitude of conscious consumerism, you can help foster a new age of sustainable decision-making.
Because the best investment is the one in a sustainable tomorrow.
Born and raised in India, Shreya Ghodawat has lived across 6 countries whilst learning about cultural and indigenous nuances of sustainability that go beyond economic and environmental impacts. She is passionate about all things climate, degrowth, equitable rights, and justice.
With Simppl, she is on a mission to simplify sustainability and reduce our material footprint with her Swedish Co-Founder Shamon Tainer Hanna.