Since being in college, I have been on a journey to live a more ethical lifestyle, becoming more aware of what I consume and how it impacts on the world. In collaboration with my latest YouTube video, I wanted to share some tips that I have learned for how to live a more ethical lifestyle.
- Minimize or cut out meat from your diet: the meat industry is well documented in being harmful to our planet. It is the biggest cause of climate change, large amounts of land are destroyed for it, and so much food is given to animals instead of people who are starving. By not eating meat from time to time or at all, you can minimize the demand for meat and reduce the harmful affects of the meat industry.
- Walk more, drive less: This can be hard to do depending on where you live, but since being in college, my carbon footprint has decreased by a lot because I rarely drive. Some cities are more walkable than others, but even carpooling or taking public transit can be better than driving in a car by yourself. We can all take small steps to minimize the pollution we are creating with our transportation.
- Shop at thrift stores: thrift stores are actually some of the coolest places to shop and you are helping the earth by reusing clothes instead of buying new ones. A lot of clothes end up in the trash, but thrifting helps extend the product life of clothes. It can be a good way to support local businesses. Look up the best thrift stores around you the next time you feel like going shopping. It is a much better way to shop than supporting fast-fashion companies that use sweatshops, like Forever 21, H&M, Nike and so on.
- Carry a small reusable bag with you: I always have a reusable bag scrunched up in the water bottle pocket of my backpack so whenever I have to run an errand it’s there. Plastic bags are wasteful and stores often give you a discount for having your own bag, so it’s a win-win!
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you: I almost never purchase plastic water bottles because it is unnecessary and expensive. So much energy and pollution are wasted on the production of plastic bottles, not to mention the excess trash they create. It is less harmful and cheaper to carry around your own water bottle. These days most places have water fountains where you can refill your bottle. This can even be done at airports if you empty it before security!
- Look for the cruelty free logo on products: a lot of makeup and beauty products test on animals because there are less strict laws in some countries. By looking into products and buying based on the cruelty free logo, you are reducing the harm you are causing to animals and supporting quality brands in the process.
- Don’t buy new clothes and products unless you need them: our culture is overwhelmed by the prevalence of material goods. Every product uses energy in its production so if you reduce how much you buy, you are helping the earth (and your wallet!). Living off of less can be good for the earth and for your mind. We all need new things from time to time and maybe want to treat ourselves but limiting how often you do this is an important way to decrease the affect consumption has on waste.
- Know what companies stand for and shop accordingly: there are a lot of companies whose ethics I disagree with so I try to not shop from those brands. For example, I choose not to shop at Walmart and shop at Target instead based on their business practices and their political beliefs. Find companies that support your views and have more ethical practices. Strive to educate yourself about who and what you are supporting with your money.
- Support non-profits who you believe in: this one is pretty straight forward but setting aside some money every year to support important causes is a great practice. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money; every penny counts for non-profits who rely on others to be able to do their good work.
- Don’t buy animals for fashion-no fur and leather: there are so many other things to put on your body than products that are taken from animal’s bodies. Simple as that.
Living an ethical lifestyle is not about perfection but about striving to reduce the harm you cause. It can be hard to live a completely ethical lifestyle but making small changes can minimize the harm you cause. Working to educate yourself and be more aware is the first step. I hope you strive to live by some of my tips so we can all work towards making our world a more healthy and ethical place.
For more of my thoughts on this, watch my YouTube video here: