Sustainable consumption is a concept closely associated with the concept of sustainable production and the articulation of both is what is known as sustainable development. In its initial definition in the Brundtland report: “It is in the hands of humanity to make development sustainable, lasting, that is, to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” .
David Suzuki is a Japanese Canadian academist, locutor, scientist and activist of environment. In 2008, he published a “Green Guide” where he included a list of guiding principles of sustainable consumption that can be applied by everyone in daily life to better consumerism behaviours. In this book, he identifies the most effective ways individuals can be greener in four key areas: home, travel, food, and consumerism. It also describes how citizens can ensure that governments take the actions necessary to make sustainable lifestyles the norm instead of the exception.
Here are some of the major principles set up:
– Think about the big picture. Sustainable consumerism is not so much about plastic bags, but over all about our general way of life, were you leave, the energy you use, the way you travel, the food you eat, etc.
– Think about it twice before you purchase a good: do you really need it? Do you need it new? Isn’t there a more sustainable way to acquire it?
– Avoid waste, and in particular food waste. For the rest of products, think about the end of life of the goods you purchase.
– Prefer the local products, with reduced transportation need
– Prefer quality over quantity. Suzuki refer to prefer durable goods that last, so you don’t need to replace them so often.
– Take care about your sources of energy and prefer renewable energy
– Prefer healthy products, avoid toxic components
– When possible, look for products issued from recycled materials
– Request authorities to act to increase the regulation regarding environmental compliance of products
– Encourage environmental leaders and innovators
– Make an insight effort to forget about commercial messages telling you to buy more, be more distant to advertising
– Slow down and take time for yourself, and to develop greener habits.
You are interested in this topic? Learn more about sustainable consumption and sustainable action for youth thanks to our SUSTRAINY European Project website.