Conscious Consumerism for a More Compassionate Planet

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Solutionary Festival in Orlando, Fl. The event was a great success and I really enjoyed speaking to the crowds. I wanted to share some of the main takeaways from the talk. So here it goes. 

Conscious. It's a word we all know well and associate with being alive and awake. It can be used both medically and in a sense of one being aware of their surroundings and themselves. Add conscious to consumerism, and the term takes on a new twist. There are so many crazy things going on in the world today but I think the one way we as individuals can actually contribute to global change is through the products and services we choose to buy. There's a fantastic website and short video, called the Story of Stuff, by Annie Leonard that walks consumers through the entire process of product creation to store shelves. I encourage you to check it out!

So how do our decisions at the store make a difference? Let me give you a couple of simple examples. When you are shopping for soap or baked good, do you ever read the labels looking for palm oil or one of it's many names? Well, that one simple ingredient is responsible for the destruction of rainforests in several countries. Particularly, Borneo, home to the only population of wild orangutans in the world and many other endemic species to the area including Sumatran Tigers, Pygmy Rhino's and Sumatran Elephants. The palm oil farms have also displaced indigenous peoples from their homes. 

Another example is cows milk. The milk you purchased, not only contributes to the extreme confinement and abuse of dairy cows but also to global warming and massive forest deconstruction across the globe. It even takes away from those living in poverty half way around the world. Such a simple purchase comes with so many consequences. 

Our obsession with technology and getting a pone upgrade every month also has devastating effects on those living in poverty. In the Congo, children work in dangerous mines to extract minerals needed to create our phones. Death and injury tolls are unknown. To this day, Apple, Samsung and other technology companies cannot confirm that children are not being used to supply their needs.

Every decision comes with great responsibility. And I know it seems difficult to take the extra step and do your research, but there are so many apps out there to help! Know what you're buying, whose home you're destroying or how many animals are suffering for your taste buds. Let's make this planet more compassionate by starting with the goods and services we consume.