I hold the belief that people are inherently good. Most people want to be the best version of themselves. They want to be kind, helpful, and a contributor to the greater good of humankind. I have created this Sustainable, Ethical and Regenerative Shopping Guide to help you make informed decisions for your daily shopping and gift buying.
Although we live in the information age, we are actually quite limited in what we take in. The major education and societal messaging we receive comes from the hands of those with the greatest resources to influence: our publishing companies, our television shows, our movies, our advertisements, and our social media networks. This can create a limited lens to see things through that inhibits people from knowing that a different way of living exists more in line with their desires to be inherently good.
My curiosity about being inherently good in my own life has led me to explore alternative ways of interacting with humans and the Earth.
I run with an internal compass that:
- guides me to stay curious in everything I do
- have the courage to try new things and hear different opinions
- stay connected to the Earth
- ensure every decision I make comes from a place of feeling whole (integrity).
I haven’t always lived this way! As I unraveled the healing within myself I began to expand and with expansion, more and more possibilities came before me, one of which is Permaculture.
Permaculture is a system of “permanent culture” that follows some key principles to create systems that function as a whole.
This means ultimately we try to mimic how successful ecosystems work and apply the concepts of interconnectedness and balance to the way we approach life. There are some very core principles that we rely on as a foundation to help us when making decisions.
For example, we consider waste a resource; through the permaculture lens, the problem is actually the solution. We look for where water, access, and structure come into play in any type of farm or garden or yard design.
While the formal manuscripts of Permaculture are credited to Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia, much of their research led them to study traditional indigenous land relationships. I feel permaculture is in its infancy and like many systems still requires a decolonized mindset to be truly successful and take us to a regenerative way of living, however, it is an amazing place to start learning how to begin reconnecting to the Earth and all she offers us in nourishment through the art of observation and replicating nature.
Ok so this sounds like I am just talking about fruit trees and forests right? WRONG!
Well… sort of wrong. YES these practices play an important role in our management of gardens, forests, and oceans BUT they also apply to our entire existence! Within our principles the main focus is on caring for the environment, people, and creating enough extra so that everyone thrives.
We can easily see how that applies to a garden or a farm but it also applies to things like our neighbourhood, communities, social systems, and our political systems. While it may be a challenge to think of your neighbourhood as a garden, try to imagine if everyone in your neighbourhood worked together to care for each other, the local habitat, and created enough extra that no one went without, ever. When we embrace this idea we start bringing in more aspects of permaculture design to create solutions, waste less, and care for one another.
What does all of this have to do with shopping and gift giving?
I am so glad you asked! Getting back to the inherent good in people, we can make “better” decisions when it comes to the ways we spend our money, especially around shopping.
When we shop using a “Permaculture” lens to evaluate each buying choice, we can check to see:
- If we are part of a problem or part of a solution
- how much waste we are creating or preventing
- how we are caring for people and the Earth in the process
Taking these steps of evaluation prior to shopping creates abundance and abundance debunks the idea of scarcity.
In my Earth Activist Training with Starhawk (permaculture) we talked about how trying to be sustainable is a little like saying “I want to be a less bad human”. So many people think they don’t know how to make a difference on the planet, that they settle for I am ok being a little less bad. While this is a good starting point, I believe with the right tools, guidance, and curious exploration people can begin stepping up from “less bad” (sustainable at best) to “regenerative” (helping the world generate more beauty, more health, more wellbeing).
So how do we get from sustainable to regenerative in our buying choices?
BY READING THIS ARTICLE, YOU ARE OFF TO AN EPIC START!. You may need to start with “less bad” but I am here to show you some ways to look towards becoming a part of a regenerative way of living.
If we look at regenerative meaning “I want to turn up as the best possible human in every way every day of my human life” then we have to apply it to our shopping habits. I lean into Maya Angelou saying “when you know better do better” and there is a lot to know before I can do better. It’s a practice! I make an effort to always strive for better, not perfect, and give myself permission to practice being better each and every day. As I continue to learn about sustainable and regenerative, I begin to practice weaving them into how I make decisions in every aspect of my life including shopping. So here is me sharing how I approach using my shopping dollars to try and be a part of the solution, to care for the earth and people, and to debunk scarcity by creating abundance within smaller communities.
There are many aspects we can explore to try and shop “better”. Some businesses will check off multiple aspects of regenerative living, and some will be just a beginning part of the solution but are definitely less bad. I try to look at a few key components in all businesses that encourage me to buy from them.
Some of the categories that help me get to a regenerative way of living are:
ED – Ethnic Diversity – Anti-racist reality
IB – Indigenous Businesses
SC – Systemic Change – Powerful mandate and legal action
RP – Regenerative Practices – Clothing, Farming, Food and Alcohol
HH – Holistic Health – Crystals, Teas, Essential Oils, Body Products
Click on each link to learn about the category and the considerations that I make when shopping for these types of things.
I have created this Sustainable Ethical and Regenerative Gift Ideas and Shopping Guide for you.
My intention is to plant a seed of curiosity for learning where you can do better with your shopping choices. A place for you to start making a difference. There is never a wrong time to start finding your “better”.
You may create your own criteria of what you look for before shopping or this may be a helpful idea on where to start. Some of these may not be available in your area, my hope is that it inspires you to find similar businesses, or start your own with these regenerative ideas in mind!