Mindful Consumption

In a country where products are readily available it is easy to over-consume on things that are not really necessary. Every corner we turn, there are places that are more than willing to take our money. With organization at its peak in the United States, we may fall into comfort all too easily and be happy to spend our money on items which we may otherwise not need. It is my concern that we are not stopping to think about the things we consume and the effects they may have.

"Go Green" has turned into trendy rhetoric where some of us may feel like it is ok to consume many things just so long as they are "Green" products. However, going "Green" may not be the answer for everything; perhaps if we simply consume less then we will be doing better for the world than if we consumed "Green" products heavily. American culture has been transformed from freedom of choice into freedom to gain more and rise higher. In a place that seems obsessed with amplification, any notion of decrease seems, well, unproductive. Maybe productivity is not productive if it is in excess though.

What are some things we can do to decrease our consumption then? Sadly, we do not have the power to promote large change in a fast manner, so we must be patient and make decisions with precision and mindfulness. As individuals, we can simply save and reuse items instead of constantly buying new ones. If something breaks, it is often cheaper to fix it on our own than to throw it out and buy something new. Asking ourselves if it is necessary to have that bigger, flatter television if the one we have works fine; sewing torn clothes or taking them to a dry cleaner to get sewn instead of buying all new clothing; pulling ourselves away from the latest fashions to realize that last year's clothes are still wearable and worthwhile.

Instead of acting impulsively or habitually, we can stimulate our minds before making a decision to consume or not to consume. Fast change for the environment may not be possible, but we can be patient and take care of the Here and Now in our lives and in the world.

-Khaled Almazrouei