It’s 2020, and we’re the best versions of ourselves. We’re staying hydrated, exercising, connecting in meaningful relationships, buying better, eating healthier, thinking more consciously about our daily actions.
Whether you resolved to use your dollar more responsibly or finally start composting, and regardless of where you fall in following through, it’s not too late to recalibrate. It’s spring, after all, the season of decluttering and deep cleaning, and that goes for your mindset and habits as well as your stuff. Thinking consciously about how you spend your time and money and what resources you elect to do so is the first step to any lasting change. Below, find five trends making waves this year in to inspire your next step in living and consuming more intentionally.
1.Travel More Responsibly
2019 marked the year of greater momentum for flygskam, or flight shaming, movement in which travelers around the globe opt for alternative transportation to airplanes and cars to reduce their carbon footprint. Yet traveling responsibly goes beyond riding trains instead of cars. The conversation that flygskam is birthing speaks to the many, versatile ways we can get from point A to point B with just a little conscious effort. To enter in, follow the talk on autonomous vehicles and electric cars and their implications for collective mobility. While on the go, you can also stay in LEED or Green Globe certified accommodations.
“We’re doing more research, rethinking assumptions, hovering before we click to purchase and only buying what we need.”
Trends surrounding responsible travel center largely on making the world smaller, and minimalism does the same. After all, it’s easier to consume more consciously when there’s less stuff to consume. Is this spring the season you take to your closet? Is it the time to begin looking for items first through a local Freecycle or Buy Nothing Project? Maybe you’re making your world smaller by opting for a CSA instead of global produce this summer — and committing to using every edible part of your share instead of buying new ingredients for new dishes.
3. Buy Better Clothes
From regenerative clothing technology to better support for ethically sourced fabrics, ethical fashion merges the worlds of environmental impact and human rights and makes for one the more accessible ways to consume more consciously. Secondhand fashion, after all, costs less than new products. And with more detailed, tailored Internet searches, it’s never been easier to find better merchandise, from curated lists for USA-made clothing or eco-friendly baby clothes to collective ethical marketplaces. With the rise in online secondhand shops, such as Poshmark and ThredUp, it’s also easier to search for and attain specific pieces that might not be available at a local thrift store. For retail shoppers, Fair Trade and B Corp certifications affirm clothing and companies making better choices in their labor and environmental practices.
4. Eat Less Meat
Like online marketplaces making ethical fashion more accessible, plant-based foods are growing in ubiquity. As Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat appear on growing menus nationwide, grocery stores are also responding to consumer demand for meat alternatives with plant-based foods touting the same protein benefits as beef without the extra calories. Yet some researchers, including Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., of Stanford Medicine, make a case that Americans eat too much protein. Gardner, for one, suggests scaling back protein altogether and shifting some but not all protein intake to plant-based sources. The result: better health, according to recommended protein guidelines, and a smaller footprint in a given weekly menu than seven days of meat: plant-based foods require fewer resources from farm to table and produce fewer greenhouse gases in the process.
5. Consume and Invest More Resourcefully
Some convictions call for sweeping lifestyle changes, but altering our everyday consumption practices in small ways can make a significant impact over time. It starts with mindfulness, an awareness that every plastic container in the recycling bin is one less container in a landfill, that starting the shower while it’s warming up can save gallons every day. The same goes for turning off lights, lowering the thermostat, or electing to purchase Energy Star certified appliances. Beyond consumption, everyday change can play out in our investments. From following the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment to investing in social impact as an impact investor in your community, supporting brands making a change can mean giving them the capital leverage to scale.
It’s 2020, and the best versions of ourselves are works in progress. We’re doing more research, rethinking assumptions, hovering before we click to purchase, only buying what we need. We’re preaching through our actions. We’re working incrementally to change our world for the better and inviting our friends and colleagues to do the same.
Ready to make these 5 changes in your life? Well, we have some suggestions! Looking for ethical and sustainable clothing? Try toasting good’s favorites like ABLE, MULXIPLY, or Nisolo. Wanting tasty ways to reduce your meat consumption? Try mixing it up with ingredients from Women’s Bean Project or desserts from Greyston Bakery. All about clean energy? Check out MPOWERD or light a candle from Thistle Farms.