The word "sustainability" seems to be used interchangeably with the word "environmentalism." It is extremely important to remember that for an ideal to be sustainable it needs to be beneficial to these THREE categories:
Protection of nature (our biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere) from destruction.
We exist within a monetary and governmental framework. Ideas and processes must realistically evolve from existing practices.
To create an abundant lifestyle with access to shelter, nutrition, health, safety and financial means.
Each of these categories tend to be of varying importance to different people. No matter your personal preference, the goal of sustainable practices is to provide for our society with a positive long-term impact.
The #1 thing you can do to have a more sustainable lifestyle is to be conscious of the decisions you make. Think about how your consumption affects the planet and those around you. Think about what makes up the product you are purchasing. Think about how far the product has travelled or how many people's hands it passed through before it landed in yours. Think about how much packaging and waste is associated with it and consider other options.
1) how did this get to market?
What are the policies in place that regulate the production of this product? This is often more important than knowing your purchasing options. Since many companies abide by minimum regulatory standards, it is more powerful to inquire with the governing body to try increase the standards of all products. Research, volunteer your time and donate to parties who can institute real change. This will ensure that every available option meets a minimum standard rather than spending all of our money on the "best" option.
2) how was it made?
Was the product made with integrity? Will it last? Was anyone or anything harmed in the process? Is it pure? Do you even know what you are purchasing? Consider whether you are comfortable supporting that type of practice...
3) where did it come from?
Has the product travelled long distances to arrive in your possession? Is there a more local source for the same thing that may cut down on the fuel consumed by transportation? Sometimes it's easier to see what the product has gone through if you are closer to its source. Maybe it will stay fresher longer or maybe it was produced with more ethical practices near you than if it came from a country with lower standards and regulations. Also consider that every time the product changes hands it becomes more expensive.
4) what are your options?
Have you considered comparable products on the market? Are you able to spend a bit more to enable practices that you believe in (or is your money better spent elsewhere)? Remember that we ARE supporting these practices and our purchase tells the manufacturer that you approve of their process. If you don't approve - don't buy it!
5) do you really even need it?
It will likely surprise you what you can actually just live without. Maybe try waiting an extra day before making a purchase. This is especially true for the small stuff. If you can live without it today, maybe you can live without it tomorrow too...and maybe you can live without it altogether! Simplifying your purchasing habits may result in simplifying other aspects of your life as well...
Overconsumption & Overpopulation
Our population continues to grow and our land is becoming more and more densely populated. When we demand too much of our land and strip it of its resources, we don't give it enough time to naturally replenish itself. When the Earth can't replenish her natural resources we will be faced with the long term threat of limited food, fresh water, fresh air, energy and space.
If we can cut back on our consumption levels, we can cut back on the amount of waste we create. That's physical waste (garbage and pollution) as well as a waste of resources that we deplete and don't even end up using. We are stripping our Earth of resources at an alarming rate. At least make sure that you use the products you are purchasing!
Our Voice in the Outdoor Sports Industry:
Protect Our Winters is a passionate crew of professional athletes and industry brands mobilizing the outdoor sports community to lead the charge towards positive climate action.
POW’s work is uniquely influential and important because climate activism has been missing a strong social movement, like what helped pass civil rights legislation, labor protections, women’s voting rights, or most recently, marriage equality. POW is one of only a few groups focused on building this social movement.
POW works creatively and opportunistically and focuses on three main areas: youth education, advocacy and community-based activism.