Conscious Consumerism – what’s that?

Today, it is my pleasure to publish a post from another local-to-Ottawa environmental blogger, Katherine Forster.  You can check out her blog at:

Greenest Stuff, by Katherine Forster

Katherine writes…

Last week someone sent me the video  The Story of Stuff and it got me thinking some more about how we can raise awareness about “thinking before you buy”.  I love reading about “freegans” and talking about “buying local” and seeing so many people “freecycling” or using Kijiji Ottawa – but when will these activities become more mainstream?

I do think that there are signs that we are coming around the corner – from the stores of Dalhousie North selling lots of local, handmade, and recycled items, to hearing that my fashion savvy friend is having a clothes swap rather than buy new this fall.  But seeing Karma Wear close was a huge black cloud for the local Ottawa environmental scene.  Will this movement ever be able to compete with the cheap buys that can be had at the local big box store or the bargain centers?

So I was thrilled to see “The Story of Stuff” video.  I sent it to friends, and I want to try to encourage it to be shown in schools.  I’m also so happy that local communities, provinces and territories are celebrating “Waste Reduction Week” in Canada this week – the 2009 theme, Too Good To Waste, emphasizes conserving Earth’s resources to make life on the planet sustainable.  This is a great way to make people think about the impact they have on the Earth and to encourage everyone to start some new habits.  I hope that through activities like these people can start seeing how powerful they are as consumers and that with even small changes they can become activists too.  As Jane Goodall pointed out “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.”   Her efforts today focus on empowering people to “recognize their personal power and responsibility to effect positive change through consumer action, lifestyle change and activism”.

Come share your thoughts on sustainable consumption and your efforts on purchases that make positive changes at “Greenest Stuff”.  This is where I’ve been posting about purchases (from Ottawa or further), trying to consider the impact these purchases make.  I’m hoping that at the end of the day, I can make better choices as a consumer.  If you have any great finds in Ottawa or are interested in the topic send me an email.

My next purchase?  Canadian-made vegan winter boots!

Guest blogger, Katherine Forster can be reached at:

3 thoughts on “Conscious Consumerism – what’s that?

  • I think it’s great to spread the word about how to find stuff that is made ethically, using more eco-friendly materials and processes.

    Hopefully we’ll all remember the most important step of all…. to reduce our consumption.

    I find it can be so tempting to buy that cool item- even though I don’t really need it- because it’s green so I can feel good instead of guilty about my shopping urges. I’m trying to reign in wild inner consumer and buy less stuff in general.

    But when my pants are beyond repair, or I’ve lost my mitts (yet again!) it’s great to know there are ethical, local, green replacements out there.

    thanks for the post!

  • I so totally agree Sarah! I work in sustainable transportation and I find that all the time we are discussing HOW to mitigate the environmental effect of goods movement, I keep thinking, the best way to solve this issue is just by getting people to buy less stuff. Then we’d have less goods moving! Pretty simple hunh!?

    I agree with you also in terms of buying hip, green stuff. But I’m hoping that purchasing these types of items is just the first step for people who are trying to become more conscious consumers. At the other end of the spectrum is as you say, only purchasing items when you really need them. For people who are new to being green though, they may not be prepared to go to that extreme right away and my thought is let’s help introduce them to alternatives and get them thinking!!

  • Ever since I heard of freecycle a couple of years ago I’ve become a big fan putting anything from old books to appliances on there… What a great way to keep everything out of landfills.

    I wanted to share with Katherine… that website focuses not only on blogging about the transit program in Ottawa but also about building a sustainable community with more infill and condo conversions project in the city.


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