By definition sustainability includes conservation of balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources and the ability to be maintained or upheld.
Yet, at times, integrating sustainability into our homes and lifestyles can see out of reach or unattainable. When at the register, the cost of buying sustainable goods is often higher than that of mass produced good, be it household goods, shoes, food or clothing. Somewhere along the way a sustainable lifestyle has leaned towards an all or nothing sort of movement. Neither of those things are actually true.
The fact is purchasing goods made sustainably and food farmed using sustainable farming methods has to actually be sustainable for our budgets, our families and our individual needs for it to be successfully integrated into ones life. This is where sustainability as a value, rather than a check list, comes in. We continue to move in the direction of living a sustainable life. Somedays we make a lot of progress and somedays we make less.
There are a number of small shifts that one can incorporate into routines.
- shop local: that might mean finding artisans to support, be it your top or your bread and it might also look like your local surf shop rather than a large retailer. It doesn’t have to mean giving up all of your favorites and it moves us towards the direction of sustainable communities. Small businesses are the heart and soul of the economy.
- shop second hand: there are numerous options for finding lovely vintage and second hand pieces. Looking for the latest trends and fashions from your favorite instagram muses? There are a handful of really well sourced consignment and resale websites and small (aka ladyboss) business. Looking for that perfect mix of modern bohemian? There are abundant sources with a range of price points and pieces. The same goes for vintage americana and mod. Buying second hand is one of the easiest ways to
- care for what we have: take the time to have the buttons/zippers/etc fixed. Bring the top you love, but never wear, to the tailor for a bit of reworking. Short sleeves from long, a tunic from a dress, dress shorts from old slacks - the results can be deeply satisfying. When we are able to work pieces into our closets that are well made, from fabrics that wear well, items last longer than a season or two.
- food and wellness: find your local co-op and support it. Brick and mortar co-ops are full of options and are comparable to Trader Joe’s in selection. If you are looking for something specific or in bulk you are likely to find a private co-op of local families who buy in bulk, direct from farmers at a discount.
- community: supporting each other, as parents, neighbors, business owners, consumers, providers and clients starts to build a bountiful and comprehensive network.
And then each of us sorts and sifts to explore how can we incorporate these concepts into our lives in a way that is workable on a long-term basis. We get curious, we ask questions, we slow down and we start to rework what we have been marketed and sold.
Let’s gather around and continue the conversation.