What is responsible consumption?

Responsible and sustainable consumption consists of making a consistent and balanced use of resources, under criteria of necessity and taking into account social and environmental factors. In other words, that one consumption made sensibly, without ostentation and thinking about future generations.
pollution and waste irresponsible consumption

The search for sustainable forms of production and consumption has become a priority in our society. If consumption habits around water, energy, food and objects in general do not change, in a few years we will need a whopping 3 planets to maintain our lifestyle. Simply impossible.

Every day, numerous incitements surround us and lead us to overconsumption. Therefore, when tempted to buy, it is necessary to question:

  1. Do I really need it?
  2. Could I get it without buying it: repairing, exchanging or borrowing?
  3. If I definitely have to (or want) to buy it new, do I know what is the most sustainable option? Am I sufficiently informed about the effect, repercussion, environmental and social impact of this consumption? Does it endanger welfare of future generations?
  4. The goods, products or services that I am going to consume, do they respect the interests of the producers, that is, they favor fair trade? Am I aware of what is behind the extra cheap products?
  5. Finally, will I be happier if I buy it…? Will this solve my problems…? Si no lo comprase…¿podré dormir hoy? Oh dios mío, ¿¡será el fin del mundo!? 😱​

Such is the importance of responsible consumption Responsible production and consumption is one of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, SDG 12.

 

production-consumption-responsible

Is a world of responsible consumption possible?

It may sound very typical that a better world is possible, perhaps it even sounds idealistic and utopian. Well, the earth is made up of people like you and like me, people capable of decision and change. We cannot continue to sleep, nor leave everything always in the hands of others, especially those things that we can do ourselves on a small scale but that we do not do because of laziness, ignorance or who knows why.
world map and international responsible consumption

Yes, I believe in a more just, egalitarian, sustainable and less consumerist world.

Positive changes are fundamental and more and more people can (and should) get off the bandwagon of indifference to get on the bandwagon of social awareness, common sense and responsible consumption. For everyone, including myself, it is easier to look the other way, because delving too deeply into things means losing privileges and giving up certain issues.

The good news is that you can reach a midpoint of balance, in which leading a comfortable life you can go further and think differently, live enjoying, but respecting. Sometimes things are done in a specific way due to ignorance or because “it has always been done that way” (such a typical phrase); however, if we expect different impacts, we cannot always do the same thing.

It is essential to leave an open mind to new perspectives and horizons, to coherent ways of doing things. It is a matter of social justice especially when the options for global improvement are present. Normally, nothing will come looking for you while you sit waiting (except for occasional strokes of luck), changes are achieved by acting, like almost everything in this life.

We live full of inconsistencies!
slaves of consumerism and irresponsible consumption

Balanced consumption

 

On the one hand, they deceive us to such an extent that they make us believe that we need things, many things, the more the better; we accumulate and accumulate, looking for a happiness that… most likely, cannot be found in objects. The surprise comes when we continue to feel empty and full of anxieties even though we have all the gadgets and accessories of the latest generation. In my opinion, as long as we continue to look outside for what was always inside and “well-being” prevails in our lives, true well-being will never be achieved. Therefore, the responsible consumption, focus on what really matters and begin to look within oneself, are keys to the future and personal satisfaction.

Balanced consumption

We live full of inconsistencies!
On the one hand, they deceive us to such an extent that they make us believe that we need things, many things, the more the better, we accumulate and accumulate, seeking a happiness that probably cannot be found in objects. The surprise comes when we continue to feel empty and full of anxieties even though we have all the gadgets and accessories of the latest generation. In my opinion, as long as we continue to look outside for what was always inside and “well-being” prevails in our lives, true well-being will never be achieved. Therefore, the responsible consumption, focus on what really matters and begin to look within oneself, are keys to the future and personal satisfaction.
slaves of consumerism and irresponsible consumption

Responsible food consumption

On the other hand, and continuing with the inconsistencies, food waste it's a shameful reality, of which we are all part.

 

 

Approximately 1/3 of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted.

42%

In the European Union, 42% of waste is produced in households (Preparatory Study on food waste across EU 27, 2010)

84%

In Spain, of what is wasted in homes, 84% is neither elaborated nor used (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 2018)

On the other hand, and continuing with the inconsistencies, food waste it's a shameful reality, of which we are all part.

 

Approximately 1/3 of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted.

42%

In the European Union, 42% of waste is produced in households (Preparatory Study on food waste across EU 27, 2010)

84%

In Spain, of what is wasted in homes, 84% is neither made nor used (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 2018)

This denotes that responsible food consumption is conspicuous by its absence. We make unconscious purchases and we are slaves to overconsumption.

We cannot sustain a food system that disproportionately depletes natural resources and allows some to waste uncontrollably while others cannot access food. Let us bear in mind that enough is produced for everyone, the problem is of a different nature.

 

We need a change of model now!

Reusing is important, but... why is it preferable to reduce overconsumption?

Thinking about reusing surpluses and waste is basic, especially in those things that we have to consume by force. Nevertheless, reducing unnecessary consumption is a priority because in this way food waste and pollution is reduced. But how does discarded food contaminate? Wasted food is destined solely and exclusively to contaminate, since it will emit CH4 and CO2 until its complete decomposition.

If the food I throw away is not going to reach anyone... What's wrong with throwing it away?

When I buy food without need, without planning and I am careless, it is very likely that it will end up in the garbage. Thus the labor of the farmers, the money and the natural resources used to produce them are despised and what is very serious at an ethical level, overlooked the fact that around 768 million people go hungry every day (Among them, boys and girls who could perfectly be our sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, etc.).

Does our behavior influence the producer's decision?

When I buy in excess, in addition to generating more waste and probably wasting twice as much, producers are forced to produce more. And overexploitation of the land to satisfy our "needs", can deprive others of food, in addition to depleting natural resources. Our consumption has a huge impact on the decisions of the different operators throughout the food chain. And because of the transportation and processing of those foods, we increase contamination.

Responsible consumption of water

 

How many times have we heard: "turn off the tap while you brush your teeth or while you lather up in the shower"?

And it is good teaching, although it is only the tip of the iceberg of what we can really do to achieve a more responsible consumption of water.

 

We do not value what nature gives us for free, what we extract from it without being asked for anything in return. Undoubtedly, today, we are paying the toll and the consequences of a irresponsible and uncontrolled consumption.

 

According to data from the United Nations, "human beings are polluting water faster than nature can recycle and purify it in rivers and lakes."

In addition, "excessive use of water contributes to global water scarcity" and to make matters worse, “More than 1000 billion people still do not have access to drinking water”.
water transport kids madagascar
So it's not just a matter of the environment but of human rights. We must not undervalue something so valuable that others, unfairly, do not have.

 

The largest consumers of water are intensive livestock and agriculture. For this reason, intensivist production models must lose strength (not only because of their unsustainability over time but also because of the enormous animal cruelty they represent). Let's go back to a traditional, local and sustainable food system, where what prevails is not the benefit of a few or depleting the land, but to feed everyone.

Some companies are already starting to reduce their water footprint.

 

And you, how do you consider your water consumption?

 

Obtain the approximate volume with the following online resource for calculating the water footprint.

 

And then in awawa, some very practical tricks to save water at home.

Responsible energy consumption

sustainable energy mood key
We act as if energy were infinite and we know that fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) will not last forever. For this reason, the production of energy from renewable energies has been gaining weight in recent times.

 

In addition to how it is produced, the way of consuming energy is very relevant. There are certain responsible consumption habits that, if carried out by everyone, would have a great global impact. According to the UN, “households consume 29% of the world's energy; If the entire world population switched to using energy-efficient light bulbs, we would save $120.000 billion a year.” Likewise, "13% of the world's population still does not have access to modern electricity services."

One of the goals of the UN (2030 Agenda: SDG 7), is "to guarantee universal access to energy services between now and 2030″.

Rational and responsible consumption is possible!

 

At this point, I hope that it also seems inconceivable to you that certain situations continue to occur in the XXI century.

 

It is almost inexplicable that we behave in a certain way, when part of the world's population is hungry, does not have running water or electricity and the planet is clearly at its limit.

 

I am aware that this message does not reach everyone, not all people believe in positive changes or simply prefer, and it compensates them, to continue living their reality; however, even they themselves can contribute to the transformation, simply not destroying more (that is… don't do, but don't undo) and respecting those who decide to move and fight for changes. Because we cannot ignore, that today we enjoy the positive changes that others made in the past.

growing apple tree and positive transformation

Rational and responsible consumption is possible!

 

At this point, I hope that it also seems inconceivable to you that certain situations continue to occur in the XXI century.

 

For me it is almost inexplicable that we can behave in a certain way, when part of the world population suffers from hunger, does not have running water or electricity and the planet is clearly at its limit.

 

I am aware that this message does not reach everyone, not all people believe in positive changes or simply prefer, and it compensates them, to continue living their reality; however, even they themselves can contribute to the transformation, simply not destroying more (that is… don't do, but don't undo) and respecting those who decide to move and fight for changes. And it is that, we cannot ignore, that today we enjoy the positive changes that others made in the past.

growing apple tree and positive transformation
We all have a social responsibility that we must not forget!

But… where do I start?

 

In Nutrition and zero hunger advice will be provided to promote a more sustainable and coherent life.

 

I hope that many of you end up getting on the bandwagon, if you haven't done yet, and I don't chatter more...

 

I do believe in a more just and equal world, in which no one suffers from hunger and we practice responsible and conscious consumption; I probably won't see it, but the best harvests always come from a good sowing.

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