Over the past months it has become increasingly appealing to downsize my life in some way shape or form. By this I mean in terms of what I own, my expenditures, my eco footprint and my general waste on this planet. This is something that I’ve always firmly believed that everyone should practise but it is also very difficult to know how or where to start. Especially if you are living with people and also as I have always seemed to have an abundance of everything.
It has just started to seem rather overwhelming to me that I am able to clear out bags and bags full of clothing yet still have a full wardrobe available. When did this surplus of ‘things’ become normal?
To begin with I am trying to tackle my wastage in terms of food and my over-consumption of food. Food is one of my most favourite things and I will happily spend my whole pay check for enjoying something delicious. I am also a massive sugar fiend and it seems like most of us are addicted to sugar. I also love meat. From what I can see from my family and a lot of those around us, is that we want to provide for everyone that are close to us, and this means surrounding the ones you love with quite literally a tonne of food. My family especially have meat almost every night. Every night! Meats isn’t cheap to begin with and to then have to cater to a table of 4 people. Imagine the money you would save!
I never thought that I would be the person to throw the option of becoming a vegan into the mix but I feel as though moving toward a vegan diet would open up a whole new world in terms of food options. Yes people say that it is expensive to eat vegan well, but it is no more expensive than buying meat for every night of the week. On top of that, looking into buying fruit and vegetables from local markets instead of supermarket giants means you can inject your pay to smaller family businesses.
This idea of being able to get food and clothing cheaper at the bigger department stores never seemed to be a thought in my mind before I started doing a pattern making and garment construction course. Have you ever walked into a little boutique clothing store, made in Australia, had a look at the price tag and nearly choke on your own saliva, only to pretend to look at a few more items before getting out of there as quickly as possible? This was me most of the time and I often thought, how ridiculous the prices of these items were. How could you possibly charge someone that amount for a plain t shirt?
Well it wasn’t until I started learning to make clothes from scratch and having to buy material and the labour that was put into getting the sizing right. Only after this did I
realise comprehend, it’s not ridiculous at all, these small businesses are producing unique pieces of clothing, being made within Australia, with hours upon hours of work, and the end product is worth every penny as opposed from buying a $5 t shirt from H&M. If they are able to sell their clothing at a cheap price, imagine the people that are making those items and what they are earning. Not to mention the work conditions that they are being put through.
It is often hard to get our head around certain things as when you start thinking about one thing it often snowballs into a whole Pandora’s box.
It becomes very overwhelming and we often choose to go back to what is easy and ignore our initial questioning.
I think it is very important for our society as a whole to start feeling a bit more uncomfortable because if we do not then the future is going to be a hell of a lot harder. Feeling uncomfortable momentarily can have the most rewarding outcome and it also broadens our frame of thought and lets people start healthily questioning their way of life. I believe that life is all about questioning and challenging yourself and I have become much too comfortable in my life.
So first things first, start to question yourself, why do you buy your groceries from the large supermarket? Because it’s convenient? There is most likely a farmers market nearby to you every weekend, which would also be quite convenient but you had never thought of that before.
Why do you buy your clothing online or at huge chain stores? Probably because it is cheaper! I dare you to do some research into those chain stores and see what their ethical rating is. Are they running sweat shops in Vietnam? Just start to think about where your clothing comes from. Just having the thought process starting is all I ask of you.
I am going through this same process and I wish I could say that overnight I became this green, eco-friendly warrior, but unfortunately that is not the case. This is a process I am going through just the same as you. I want everyone to be able to do these things together, because it’s bloody hard downsizing and becoming conscious human beings who are aware of what we are really doing in our lives. The end result, or not even the result but the journey and the knock on effect will definitely be worth it.