Get off your soapbox and ACT now.

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14 mins read

Action not words.

The blindness in mindless consumerism.

It can be frustrating when people are blind to a situation because it does not serve their own personal needs. I find it selfish, but pointing this out will only alienate people. We must make it personal. It has to affect them. When people stop buying from companies not willing to change it will only be then that we will see change that is needed. It has to start with the consumer.

As I write this I am hoping to connect to you – YOU THE CONSUMER, because the problems we are facing do have solutions. I am sure of this. If I wasn’t, I would give up.

There are problems that you cannot see and probably do not affect you however they do exist. It is your failure to act that will slow down the solutions. Politicians have a role to play but cannot be blamed entirely. It is your vote that puts them there in a democracy. As a nation, we do have power in our hands but it takes effort. It is not helpful in any crisis to say there is nothing we can do about it. It has now become crucial to step up and make sacrifices or at least find alternative routes to sustainable solutions.

I understand why you will seek reasons to justify your reluctance to change, Enough of the excuses, now is the time for everyone to work together, not just a few activists but whole nations. If you want solutions you must stop moaning about what others are not doing, jump off your soapbox, and look instead at what actions you can contribute to finding a way out of this mess. The world needs some clever innovators.

This is where we come in. Start looking at what you can do to make positive changes.

(An industrial revolution, powered by millions of innovations is essential!

David Attenborough.)

The way we live our lives now determines our future and the world we live in. The problem is bigger than all of us and as it becomes clearer to scientists and politicians, we hit back, finding it easier to deal with when we look for someone to blame, preferring to publicize our lack of trust in those put there, to help give us guidance and leadership. Preaching from a soapbox and saying it is all blah blah blah. Blaming governments, big corporations and anyone else we can think of who we think has the power over us. WE HAVE THE POWER! and in the words of Gandi, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. We have enough hot air and it is getting warmer.

We complain about corporate leaders taking holidays, politicians having second jobs, yet we are all happy to run down to Primark and buy cheap clothing knowing that women in Myanmar work for under $2 a day producing these items in terrible conditions. But at least we keep them in a job, is your justification. This is not a job. It is modern-day slavery. In the richer nations, where we are still happy to assist pollution generated by the fashion industry, so long as we can blame somebody else for the problem. This now has to stop if we want a cleaner future for the planet.

The fashion chains know this, so do the politicians and governments, we know it too, and still, we close our eyes. So long as we feel entitled to our claim to cheaper clothing and other products we will keep this problem alive. The big chains will try and satisfy the demand of the growing conscious and more responsible consumers but this is not going fast enough. The reason is we are not making the demands hard enough so there is little choice. Some of us feel there is no alternative based on financial and time limits but there has to be. We just need to make the effort to find it. It is not enough anymore to just say we have not got enough money and the time to buy consciously. Climate change and mindless consumerism are linked. Those people who take the time to follow up the research will see that.

There are solutions if you want to make a difference, you have to make an effort to find them. If you don’t, just do nothing, but please stop blaming others.

A friend of mine openly voiced that she did not care about anything to do with climate change. The anger that came out was sheer frustration. Not being able to see solutions she could make and be prepared to implement them only forced her to say she would do nothing. It will always be easier to blame someone else. The fault will never be hers and therefore she openly stated she was not going to care. I do not understand why we find it easier to shove the problem away and let someone else deal with it. Changing mindsets is challenging but now essential for us to achieve a cleaner and more sustainable environment. It is time to stop being selfish. Harsh words I know.

I prefer to listen to those seeking solutions and who are actively willing to make changes in their own lives and hoping to help others see and find alternative solutions. Three years ago I made some major changes in my own lifestyle. I have joined the growing number of people who have been doing this. I made choices and now I hope i am part of the statistics that show, eating less meat, using less petrol, buying fewer clothes and often second hand and saying no to plastic when I can. However small our changes are, compared to the bigger picture, it all makes a difference

Five Supermarkets in Uk have pledged to cut packaging.

This pledge was made at COP26 in November 2021.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Co-op, and M&S have all pledged to reduce carbon emissions, deforestation, food waste, and the packaging they produce. This is good to hear and they should perhaps be supported by your choice to shop there. For those of you who say it is a marketing ploy, damn right it is, they want your custom. Nothing has changed – It is business and I have no problem with that. Businesses create jobs that lead to putting
money in your pockets. Personally, I would choose to give them my custom over another food chain because of this issue. The problem is, do we trust them to do it?

They will if we demand their transparency. Start asking questions and choose items that can be bought without lots of packaging. Businesses react to what their customers purchase. Tell them about your choices, even if it is to the checkout staff. If you do it enough It will eventually filter back through the supply chain.

If supermarkets find alternative ways to package our foods and help us to cut down on waste, this has to be a good thing. It may be annoying to those who are blind to the bigger picture and that can be frustrating for the rest of us seeking change.

positive female sorting plastic bottles in kitchen in apartment
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Packaging and the Planet.

Consumers are gradually becoming aware of the amount of plastic produced within the fashion industry. There is enough evidence to create awareness with images of plastic items contaminating the oceans and wildlife. Hopefully, this has become embedded into the consciousness of the average consumer, however, we must question ourselves in our ambivalence when receiving products. 150 billion polybags could be making their way to landfills and our oceans if every garment is packaged in one. Ask your supplier about the packaging it comes in before you make an order. Think about this, if we all asked the question do you not think the supplier would eventually react to the needs of their customer.

Is it not our duty to demand more sustainable packaging for the things we buy?

A supplier told me recently, ‘our customers would not be prepared to pay extra for more sustainable packaging’ I wonder if she has asked her customers that question knowing all the facts? Generally, she has never been asked the question so, therefore, assumes the customer is not that interested, if this is the case, nothing will change. But is this about cost? How more costly is sustainable packaging? Some items do not need so much plastic around them.

If 1 in 2 of us are willing to throw away our unwanted clothes so easily away, sending 64% of the 32 billion garments made globally to a landfill site, then maybe we should be willing to pay a little extra for some sustainable packaging. I suspect there is a lack of bother here. It is just easier to not do anything about it. It does not affect the supplier until her consumers make it personal and request the option of sustainable packaging. The consequence should be, looking for an alternative supplier willing to make a change.

To conclude, and for fear of shouting from a soap box.

I am trying to make more changes by creating alternatives. At the moment sustainable products are viewed as costly. They need to become affordable. Our cheap clothes come at a huge cost. Changing our mindsets will encourage us to look at sustainability. How long can my clothes last? can they be adaptable to fashion changes? What can be done to help the textile workers stand up for better working conditions? If we spend less on cheap items in favor of quality we can pay these workers more and cut some of their hours which keeps them from their children and families. It is not that difficult when you see the bigger picture and look at the consequences of the actions we make.

I would love to hear from companies that view themselves as planet pioneers. We have exciting plans underfoot and we are looking to partner with sustainable producers of fashion and accessories. Drop me a line if you would like to chat. At present we are only looking for sustainable manufacturers based in UK and Europe. However, this will change over time. 2022 is going to be a year of change. Following a pandemic and a surge in changing attitudes, the power is truly with us the people to say ‘Enough is Enough, Get off your soapbox and roll up your sleeves instead. The action starts with you.

Hiya, I am Lauren, a lifestyle traveller, writer and health Nerd. Due to lockdown I decided to get on with writing my blog and catching up with friends new and old. I believe we are one world that for most of us wants to promote peace and goodwill to each other, wherever you are in the world I wish you well. I hope we connect and share our stories.

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