MY LIFESTYLE JOURNEY
I believe in the saying, “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” Over the last several years, I have learned how to live an ethical, sustainable, organic lifestyle - not because it’s trendy, but because people’s lives depend on it.
You see, my journey began by learning that my lifelong chronic illness was caused by a gluten and dairy intolerance. It was through innocent research about these new restrictions that I began to uncover the truth about our current agricultural system. For months, I researched and learned everything I could about the issues we were facing as a country. I listened to podcasts, watched documentaries, read books, articles, blogs and more. I was extremely frustrated with the poor standards and quality of food that was allowed in the USA.
In the midst of this, I also learned about human trafficking. At first, I read the stories and learned about the horrors that millions were facing through sex trafficking. Then, I learned about labor trafficking and how it affects every industry and every country around the world. I was and still am appalled that slavery exists today. I find it completely unacceptable that there are more slaves now than any other time in history (estimated 27-36 million). I knew from the very beginning of this discovery that I had uncovered my passion.
These two seemingly unrelated worlds began to collide as I saw how agriculture and trafficking overlapped. I began to understand how my choices as a consumer had a direct impact on people working in these industries all over the world. From fields to factories to personal gratification, vulnerable people around the globe pay the price for us to have cheap products or they become the products themselves so we can fulfill our every desire. We all need to admit that we play a role in the exploitation of people around the world, whether or not it is intentional. We have the choice to be holistic in our approach, choosing love and freedom, or we can continue to be one-sided, tending only to our own wants and needs.
Let's love others well and make it known that their lives matter, too.
Whether it's people or the planet, exploitation is rampant in today's culture. By celebrating the value of life, understanding our identity, and giving practical ways to remove exploitation from our stories, I hope to see a community of people join together to change our reality from exploitation to freedom. This platform exists to make an impact in the lives of others through our ethos: faith, justice, integrity, stewardship, sustainability, and healthy living.
WHAT IS HOLISTIC CONSUMERISM?
Consumerism is the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money on goods and services for the promotion of the consumer's interests. The problem with traditional consumerism is that it teaches us to be one-sided.
Holistic Consumerism is a call for people to be responsible, caring consumers. It is important to not only take your needs, preferences and well-being into consideration, but to also consider everyone involved in the supply chain of the product you are purchasing.
The ratio of labor trafficking to sex trafficking is 9:1 worldwide. 1 Even though labor trafficking isn’t as highlighted as the latter, this is not an issue that can be ignored. When we choose to buy products without researching the supply chain, we take a huge risk in supporting unethical business practices around the world. When faced with the option of buying a cheaper, questionably made product or a more expensive, ethically made product, I believe it is our moral obligation to support integrity. We must change the consumer tide from enslavement to empowerment - and consumers hold the key to change.
Holistic Consumerism can be achieved when we follow certain principles. These not only increase our livelihood, but they also increase the livelihood of others. These principles reduce the exploitation of people and ensure nourishment for our bodies and the planet.
* Unfortunately, there are some industries where there currently are not any viable alternatives, such as technology/electronics. I continue to pray that one day there will be ethical options available. I do not and cannot expect that you can shop ethically 100% of the time. The goal is for there to be a radical change in your heart towards your consumer choices.
Both of these labels imply that employees are receiving a fair wage for their work. Whether it’s cotton, coffee, sugar, tea, chocolate or produce, you can feel good knowing that their supply chains have been monitored and a system or relationship has been put into place to ensure fair treatment and wages of those working to produce the product. While neither system is perfect, it's the best that currently exists.
No matter the industry, I believe that organic is always better. Organic brings about the notion that the producer truly cares about the quality of the product. Organic food is better for your health and for the environment. It allows for more nutritional value while excluding the use of pesticides and other chemicals. It also lessens the risk of exploitation in the supply chain since there is more monitoring and accountability required to hold the certification.
When possible, buy locally made products. You are supporting the local economy and talents of farmers, artisans, etc in your community. Through these direct relationships, you are also able to ask questions about their supply chain and the integrity of their products
Living in an earth-friendly fashion means you're exposed to less harmful chemicals and more natural, safe alternatives. It's much better for the environment and your overall health. Plus, most cleaning products contain palm oil which is mainly cultivated using a trafficked workforce. When you have less ingredients to read through (and ones you can actually understand), it's easier to spot an item like that.