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6 Super Simple Ways to Practice Mindful Consumption

It's no secret that the global climate is changing.

Now more than ever, it's important for each of us to ensure that we're doing our part to create a sustainable world for future generations.

In our family, we're taking the steps necessary to shop responsibly by supporting local farms for fresh produce, and completely avoiding unnecessary purchases altogether (which, yes, includes meat, but that's a topic for another day). We're also working on reducing food waste by collecting food scraps for compost... so that we can scatter it in our new garden!

Check it out- in the works now- here:

No matter who or where you are, meaningful steps can be taken on an individual basis, by making conscious decisions about what we purchase and support with our consumer choices. If you’re looking for ways to make eco-conscious steps both within your own home as well as when shopping in stores, we'd like to provide some insight into supporting local farmers and businesses through mindful consumption practices. In times like these, it’s an integral part of sustainable living, as we join forces with others to open up conversations on sustainability, while also incorporating lifestyle changes that reflect care for the environment in everyday life.

1. Make local, sustainable choices- find and support a local farm for grocery needs

When it comes to grocery shopping, many of us tend to opt for convenience over sustainability- and that, my friends, is a choice to which we must hold ourselves accountable. Convenience. Is. An Earth scam.

That being said, farmers markets are always an option in the states (even in the big cities, like NYC), and making the effort to find and support a local farm not only benefits the environment, but also supports our local community, as supporting local farms keeps money within the community, which in turn promotes economic growth.

Shopping locally also reduces the unnecessary shipment of produce from across the country or the world, and for that reason we can feel more confident that our food is fresh. Don't even get me started on the produce at the supermarket (my sister's tired of hearing it). What's more, we can get to know the farmers who grow our food and learn more about sustainable farming practices. In fact, this is part of what has inspired us to start our own vegetable patch.

Why would anyone not want to make more sustainable choices, to reap the benefits of delicious, locally grown produce?

2. Reduce consumption- learn to buy only what we need and reduce unnecessary purchases

In a world where all of the unnecessary conveniences are right at our fingertips and we're constantly being bombarded with advertisements that encourage unconscious consumption, it's easy for some to fall into the trap of wanting and buying more- assuming you have the means to do so. But have you ever stopped to think about how much money and resources you could save if you only bought what was truly necessary? And how, in turn, this could simplify your life to create space for what matters, what nurtures the soul? By reducing your consumption and learning to buy only what you need, you can not only save money, but also make a positive impact on the environment and on your mental health. It may take a bit of practice and self-discipline, but the benefits are well worth it. Next time you're tempted to make an unnecessary purchase, ask yourself how it will really benefit you in the long run. If you come up short on meaningful answers, it's a sign to simply let it go.

3. Reuse items whenever possible- glass jars, fabric bags, and other containers

While completely avoiding purchases that generate waste is the best way to reduce our impact on the planet, reusing items as much as possible is also an option. One of our favorite ways to do this is by repurposing glass jars and containers (and at all cost, avoid buying plastic). Not only do they make great storage vessels for things like leftovers, pantry staples, and DIY beauty products (stay tuned! Our beauty expert friends are on the way with more...), but they also look great on display, especially if you're into keeping things organized. Another SUPER easy swap is to ditch disposable plastic bags for reusable fabric ones. Not only are fabric bags more durable, but they also look more attractive. Most importantly, however, using your own bag is a seemingly-small but impactful way to help reduce plastic waste.

By reusing what we already have, we can all do our part to create a more sustainable future.

4. Start composting- create an in-home compost system to repurpose food scraps into fertilizer for your plants

Have you ever thought about what happens to your food scraps once they hit the trash can? For that matter, have you ever wondered why food goes in the trash can, when it's not even trash in the first place?

If so, it's time to start composting!

Creating an in-home compost system is an easy and eco-friendly way to repurpose your leftover food scraps into fertilizer for your plants. Granted, and we tell you this from experience, it will help immensely to do some research first, so that you don't find any unwanted critters nosying around your property.

Not only will composting help you reduce your household waste, but you'll also be able to give your garden a boost of nutrients. All you need is a small bin with a heavy lid and a bit of patience. Your plants (and hopefully not the animals) will thank you for it!

5. Shop secondhand- shop at thrift stores and support upcycling initiatives to reduce waste and its negative impact on the environment

Regardless of the stigma behind giving a second life to clothes and furniture donated to Goodwill, shopping secondhand has become a routine part of my life. (OK, "routine" as shopping can be, since admittedly I'm not much of a shopper. But we've certainly had some good times "antiquing" for the sake of getting out of the house!) Whether I'm accompanying my grandmother on the hunt for a vintage piece or browsing with friends for everyday basics, we always leave thrift stores feeling good about our purchases.

In fact, thrift stores and locally owned antique shops offer not only a great opportunity to score unique and stylish finds, but also support upcycling initiatives that prevent perfectly good items from ending up in landfills.

You know how people will just go out and buy a new one when something breaks? That's because we've allowed ourselves to forget the impact that our materialism has on the place we call home. If more of us make a point of reparations rather than buying new, and shift our shopping habits to prioritize secondhand options, we can all make a big impact in reducing our environmental footprint.

6. Buy locally made products- purchase from small businesses that are committed to sustainability and ethical practices

As we all become more conscious of the impact our choices make on the world around us, we start to realize the importance of purchasing locally made products. Not only does it support small businesses that we can trust commit to sustainability and ethical practices, but it also helps reduce our carbon footprint. It's a win-win situation.

By buying from local producers, we're not only getting higher quality products, but we're also supporting our local community and promoting economic growth.

No matter how small, we all play a part- and together, we can make the world a better place.

Building eco-consciousness and sustainable living habits is an important step to ensure a healthier future for the planet and its people.

By making local, sustainable choices, reducing consumption, reusing items, composting food scraps into fertilizer for our gardens (even if you're not ready to grow just yet), shopping secondhand, and buying locally-made products, we can all make a difference in how our planet changes for the better.

For some of us, it may not be easy at first, but as we continue making conscious efforts every day, meaningful changes will follow that our children and grandchildren can enjoy and thank us for later.

Our individual actions will have reverberating effects that can only benefit us all in the end- so make the wise choice to do your part in protecting the environment.

If you want to practice your English to talk about such wise choices, check out this lesson from our English for Earth: A1 Grammar and Vocabulary for Confident Speakers on the World Stage. If you're ready for it, we'd love to see you in the upcoming course for A2/B1 learners!

Thanks for staying part of the discussion and keep on keepin' on. We're gonna make it!

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