Learn more about the benefits of mindful consumption, why it supports climate justice, and how to get started in your everyday life.
How do I apply mindful consumption to my lifestyle?
It’s easier than you think! The first and free step you can take is asking yourself, “do I really need this?” before purchasing a product. If you do need it, then think about how you can make an informed decision about more sustainable choices. Sustainable choices can include considering reused, refurbished or shared items, or thinking about the durability and the environmental impact of the materials used in their production.
What are the benefits of mindful consumption?
By being mindful in our purchasing decisions, we can contribute powerfully to reducing waste — which can avoid pollution, cut GHG emissions, address unfair labour practices, and help protect the biodiversity of our lands and oceans.
Our global economy today is primarily linear, based on a “take, make and dispose” paradigm; meaning we extract precious and non-renewable resources from the earth, convert them into commodities that we use for a tiny fraction of time, then discard them into the biosphere as hazardous waste, without understanding or concern for the harm they cause to our ecosystems.
According to the Circularity Gap Report 2022, more than 90% of all materials in use are eventually wasted, meaning that they are not recovered, and the use and consumption of material contributes to 70% of global GHG emissions.
Can mindful consumption support climate justice?
Not everyone is equally affected by climate change – some groups experience its disruptive consequences much more than others. Climate justice is the idea that efforts to solve the climate crisis must also address human rights and social inequality.
Mindful consumption can support the advancement of climate justice by first helping us realize that our consumer lifestyle comes at an environmental and human cost. In the current energy-intensive economic system, production of goods is frequently linked to the use of fossil fuels.
Often, pipelines to carry fossil fuels or incinerators to burn waste are located in marginalized communities. It’s also important to remember that the production of a significant proportion of goods involves exploiting cheap labor, especially in the global South. In rich countries like Canada, we not only source most of our manufactured goods from the developing world (which suffer the consequences of polluted environments to produce them) but we also leave them with the burden of disposing of our waste, which we send back to them in shipping containers.
By being mindful of our purchasing decisions and reducing our waste, we can contribute to climate justice efforts locally and globally.
Now, it’s time to try mindful consumption for yourself. Scroll down this page to enjoy our mindful consumption guide, and pick at least one thing on campus you would like to try out. But remember, sometimes, the most sustainable option is just reusing or repairing something you already own.