The title sounds like an oxymoron, but when it comes to lifestyle changes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing exciting new things and inspirational people, and feeling like your life is a mess and you’re not living up to the standard. Intentional living, hygge, conscious consumerism etc all sound like very big terms, and it’s easy to find them daunting and unachievable, but the truth is, you may already be living like that without realising it was even a thing.
You have a sense of your own style and stick to it.
You don’t just mindlessly follow what is the newest must-have from the media and the blogosphere. If you follow all trends, you follow them because you are passionate about fashion and design, and have an eclectic style, not because you feel you have to fit in and be trendy. You may be discerning about what trends you follow, or follow none at all. You know what you like, and that’s the driver of your decisions. For that reason, you may even not buy that often, and you use your items for as long as you can, especially if they are classic pieces that are easily replaced with analogous ones.
You favour quality over quantity
Following from the idea of buying classic styles, you look for good quality materials, things that are long lasting and makers that are reliable in making a good piece. You have a creative mind that can style fewer pieces in different ways that keep the looks interesting and you don’t feel like you always wear the same thing, or your house always looks the same (and if you feel like that, it may be that you really don’t buy that often which is also a way in which you can be more conscious in your purchasing habits). Even when you buy on trend, you prefer brands that will last the whole trend and not just two machine washes before falling into pieces. You take good care of the items, too.
You favour handmade or craft over factory-made
If you spend your time scrolling through Etsy to buy quirky objects for your home, or clothes, you are already being more ethical as most creatives on that website upcycle, recycle and work by hand. The lower level of production, often on request rather than ready to ship, is by itself ethical, because it doesn’t push a lot of waste onto the environment, as well as being a counter to our consumerism. Crafts are also becoming increasingly easy to find in our local shops, with pop-up fairs becoming a nice way to bring the community together as well as promote local businesses.
You shop local
Local ingredients, local brands, you name it. You know all the tiny places in the side streets or residential areas that most people never visit. You know they grow coffee in South London, and the staff at Abel and Cole know you by your first name, or something along these lines. Many big brands are also supplied locally, and those who aren’t because of the nature of the product are often fair trade or sustainable without promoting it much (like for example, IKEA’s cotton).
You have a thing for vintage, antiques and/or charity shops
Second-hand items, whatever the kind, mean we don’t create any more things. You may have chosen them because of your style, or because of money constraints, but the end result is fewer new things being made, and less waste in the process. It also works if you are the one donating instead of sending your items to the landfill.
You exchange things with your neighbours
There is an increase in apps and social networks which allow you to exchange things you no longer want, but there is also the good old fashioned borrowing things that you use seldom, so that you don’t clutter your home with objects you buy “just in case”. It also means making friends with people in your local area, which is coming back into fashion.
These are only 6 ways that one could be living ethically without making a conscious effort to do so, share with us any others you can think of in the comments or on Twitter.