Our Latest Episode: What's Possible with Hydropower 💧🔋
#242 - How to be a Conscious Consumer

January 10, 2023

#242 - How to be a Conscious Consumer
Play Episode

In this episode, with the help of Aja Barber, fashion consultant, stylist, and writer, we’ll explore the nuance behind “buying better,” how we should define conscious consumerism, and offer tactical steps as to how you can do so yourself.


There are two seemingly contradicting realities of “conscious consumerism”:

  1. No matter how “consciously” we buy, we aren’t going to shop our way into a more sustainable and equitable world.
  2. The ways we do/don’t spend our money are incredibly impactful.

Maybe this is confusing at first glance, but it becomes clearer when we explore what conscious consumerism is on the individual and collective level.

“Consuming consciously” is INCREDIBLY important. It’s my belief, though, that it’s important in ways that we might not first think.

How/what we consume is a statement about what we believe and affirm is good.

It’s about what values we put above all others.

It’s about which systems and structures of power we support. And, which we choose to reject.

In this episode, with the help of Aja Barber, fashion consultant, stylist, and writer, we’ll explore the nuance behind “buying better,” how we should define conscious consumerism, and offer tactical steps as to how you can do so yourself.

⭐ SPONSORED BY:

Deans Beans      Saybrook University 

-- --

💌 BETTER WORLD WEEKLY NEWSLETTER:

The Better World Weekly is a weekly newsletter written and published by Grow Ensemble Founder and Podcast Host, Cory Ames. For the latest insights, analysis, and inspiration for building a better world, join the 1000s of changemakers and social entrepreneurs from all sectors all over the globe who get this email in their inbox every Monday.

Subscribe >>> https://growensemble.com/newsletter/

-- --

🗣 TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • Definition of Conscious Consumerism
  • The reasons why we have a consumerism culture
  • What individuals can do to take part and stop mindless consumption

🔗 LINKS MENTIONED:

SUPPORT THE PODCAST:

GROW ENSEMBLE:

ABOUT CORY AMES:

Transcript

Cory Ames: 
There are two seemingly contradicting realities of conscious consumerism. First, no matter how consciously we buy, we aren't gonna shop our way into a more sustainable and equitable world. And second, the ways we do or don't spend our money are incredibly impactful. Maybe this is confusing at first, but it becomes clear when we explore what conscious consumerism is at an individual and a collective.

Consuming consciously is incredibly important. It's important in ways though that we might not first think. Sure, seeking out the sustainable product option might be better for the planet or, most likely, less worse, but I don't think we should consume consciously because a bunch of small choices add up to make a big impact.

Being more mindful about our purchases, being more mindful about what we consume, is about much more than that. How or what we consume is a statement about what we believe and affirm is good. It's about what values we put above all others. It's about which systems and structures of power we choose to support and those which we choose to reject.

In this brief episode, with the help of Aja Barber, fashion consultant, stylist, and writer, we'll explore the nuance behind buying better, how we should define conscious consumerism, and offer tactical steps as to how you can do so yourself. I recorded a full interview with Aja Barber on how to buy less, buy better, and end consumer culture, where we also discussed her book Consumed: the need for collective change, colonialism, climate change, and consumerism.

You can find that interview in the episode description or go to socialentrepreneurship.fm/233. 

Here in part one of this episode, we'll answer two questions: what is conscious consumerism and where has our consumer culture come from? And then in part two of this episode, we'll offer tactical steps as to how we can all consume more consciously ourselves.

I'm Cory Ames, your host, and this is the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast. A show about the who, what, why, and how of building a better world. After a brief message from one of our partners, we'll dive in with what perhaps could be a reflection on this last holiday shopping season as we'll talk conscious consumption with our first episode for 2023.

Very grateful to say that this episode of the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast is brought to you by Dean's Beans, founded in 1993 by Dean's Cycon, former indigenous and environmental rights lawyer. Dean's Beans is on a mission to use coffee as a vehicle for positive change. Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company is a pioneer in the field of social responsibility, social justice, sustainable practices, and ecological stewardship.

The company's mission is based on the premise that business can be an agent for meaningful change and still be profitable. Dean's Beans pays farmers far more than the commodity price for their coffee, creating a foundation from which they can feed and educate their families, improve their farms, increase their yields.

The company was the first to produce carbon negative coffee by planting one tree in Pangoa Cooperative in Peru for every 17 pounds of coffee that it sells. And Dean's Beans has been carbon negative themselves company wide since 2014. Check out Dean's Beans and their specialty roasted coffee at DeansBeans.com.

This episode is also supported by Saybrook University. At Saybrook University, MBA and DBA degree programs are built for the quadruple bottom line: People - empower others within your organization; Planet - champion environmentally friendly solutions; Profit, increased profit with integrity; and finally, Purpose - when business is guided by purpose, everyone benefits. 

Saybrook, MBA and DBA programs challenge conventional business practices in favor of disruptive innovation and sustainability. Explore a business administration program that is guided by purpose. Learn more at growensemble.com/saybrook. 

Alright, y'all, that's it from our partners at the moment. Let's get back to the show.

Before we even talk about ways to consume more consciously, we need to make sure we're on the same page by sharing a definition of what is conscious consumerism. This is a definition that I've arrived at after over three years of research conducting hundreds of interviews with members of the sustainable business community.

I've also assessed countless products for the degree of sustainability for our work with our by ensemble directory, have even gone so far as to recently publish a 3,500 word manual on what makes a sustainable product. So, based on our definition, what is conscious consumerism? Conscious consumerism is the practice of mindfully and intentionally buying and using product.

As a statement of values, the opposite of conscious consumption is mindless consumption. Conscious consumption is about the intention behind buying and using. It's about being clear about what you do or don't need to buy or use. It requires taking a pause and making the effort to understand how a product is made, who it was made by, and what might happen to that product at the end of its useful.

And then returning to the question of whether you need to buy or use it at all, consuming consciously is a daily habit. Whether that's deciding to buy another pair of shoes and deciding from who, to whether it's worth it or not to water our lawns during a historic Texas drought, or even having a lawn at all, for example.

Those decisions we make impact much more than our own personal footprint. That's certainly a valuable consideration. But what's more valuable, I'd argue, is how our conscious decision making can influence others. 

A few years back, researchers found what they called neighbor effects on solar system installs and residential neighborhoods. This means once one neighbor takes the leap in getting their home outfitted with solar panels, other neighbors take note and are more likely to follow suit. Likewise, if you decide to buy the latest Nikes, your neighbors or your social circle in this case are more likely to make comparable purchases themselves.

So whether or not you think the purchase you're making or the sustainable lifestyle change you're considering is worthwhile, think about how that might influence others around you. Of course, the concept of conscious consumerism isn't perfect. You can't always make the perfect decision. You might not even know.

We also can't deny that better options lead to better decisions. If you don't have an electric vehicle, an EV, and you probably don't, only 1% of cars on the road in the US are EVs, then you, like me, might feel you're forced into doing a deal with the devil every time that you pull into a gas station to fill your tank.

But it's important to note, while 99% of Americans don't own an EV, recent surveys have shown that near 25% of Americans wish their next car would be an EV with many more teetering on the edge. Why is there this mismatch in desire versus reality? Well, here's the most cited objections to obtaining an EV as reported by AAA: 

The higher purchase price, concerned that there aren't enough places to charge, concerned about running out of charge when driving unsuitable for long distance travel, high cost of battery repair or replacement, unable to install a charging station where they live. Most, if not, arguably, all of those stated objections to EV adoption are based on the options available.

If there are cheaper EVs, more people would buy them. If cities and counties committed to building more charging stations, it seems that that might eliminate four of the six objections. This is why in the short term, the 4,000 to $7,500 tax included in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act will be extremely helpful to push more consumers over the edge towards electrifying their own transportation.

Now with an understanding of exactly how we might define conscious consumerism and an understanding for how this might fit into the greater picture, let's talk about why we might have the challenges with consumer culture that we do. Here's Aja's quick take on "where does consumerism come from?"  

[00:09:19] Aja Barber: 
I feel like there's not enough good information out there for people about what it looks like to actually live your values, especially when it comes to what we buy.

So much of consumerism is really so embedded in our culture, and I think we tend to tie consumerism to our identity because there's so many signs within our society telling us to do that. It's in our media, you know, I talk about films and how like, cult classic films, particularly the ones that are geared towards young women, always involves some sort of makeover scene where a character who's treated really poorly by society, undertake of makeover that involves a lot of clothing, maybe a haircut, and then all of a sudden people that were like mean to them aren't mean to them anymore.

That's in so many films. When you see an idea that's portrayed so many different ways, you do start to internalize it. This whole idea of "New Year, New You". And also this idea of retail therapy, like buying things is not therapy. Therapy is therapy. Attaching buying things to our idea of therapy and healing ourselves is arguably part of the reason why we're in this mess. 

But also I think the culture of America has consumerism woven into it. I mean, our politicians certainly encourage that. There's this idea that you could support the economy by buying things from a multinational corporation that probably doesn't pay its taxes and it's like, no!

So, you know, there's so many different ways that we're signaled to that. Buying things makes you a good, upstanding, upright citizen. After 9/11, George W Bush definitely told us to shop.

[clip] "We cannot let the terrorists achieve the object of frightening our nation to the point where we don't, where we don't conduct business, where people don't shop.

Rishi Sunak said a few short years ago, if you had savings because of the pandemic, you should be spending it on the economy. Rishi Sunak, I think, is, if not a multimillionaire, a billionaire. So like, no, Rishi, maybe you should just be taxed higher. I'm gonna keep my money because I'm not as rich as you. How about that?

So like, there's all these signals within our society that are just like, spend your money on things you don't need, cuz that'll make you happy. Additionally, I think we're facing such monumental problems that sometimes the only source of power that we feel is buying things. 

We don't feel in control of the climate crisis. Our politicians are pretty laughable these days. How many recessions does one person have to live through? Most people cannot buy houses because it's really hard. 

So when you've got all these things going around and you're just sort of like, I guess I'll just go and buy this dress from H&M, you know what I mean? So, I totally understand. But we have to find ways to harness our power differently. It doesn't have to be scary, but it does look like all of us starting to care and caring looks like buying less because we're all buying a lot of clothing and it's really unnecessary. 

Caring looks like supporting better businesses, particularly, if you can. Not everyone can. The average consumer is buying 68 items of clothing a year, which I would argue we're spending quite a lot of money, so maybe we could just do less, but spend a little more and feel good about our purchases.

It's a lot of different solutions and it's acting at your intersection because we know that not every solution works for every person, but there are solutions out there and it's time for us to get our head in the game.  

[00:13:05] Cory Ames: 
Aja's points are poignant conventional status signals, at least here in the US, along with a significant price tag.

Home prices have skyrocketed. The cost of education, especially at the most prestigious universities are unreal. And the bestselling car in the US is an F-150 truck, which on the low end starts at $40,000. Who can afford all that financially or otherwise? 

At the same time, what's to be expected from a culture of a country whose main metric of success is its gross domestic product, GDP. We've accumulated a laundry list of shopping, holidays, and consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of our GDP. 

Now with the definition of conscious consumerism in hand, and a quick take from Aja on where this consumer culture has come from, in part two of this episode, we'll talk about how we can combat consumer culture, be more conscious consumers ourselves, and as Aja says, harness our power differently.

But before we do, here's another quick word from our Grow Ensemble partners. Very grateful to say that this episode of the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast is brought to you by Dean's Beans, founded in 1993 by Dean's Cycon, former indigenous and environmental rights lawyer. Dean's Beans is on a mission to use coffee as a vehicle for positive change. Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company is a pioneer in the field of social responsibility, social justice, sustainable practices, and ecological stewardship.

The company's mission is based on the premise that business can be an agent for meaningful change and still be profitable. Dean's Beans pays farmers far more than the commodity price for their coffee, creating a foundation from which they can feed and educate their families, improve their farms, increase their yields.

The company was the first to produce carbon negative coffee by planting one tree in Pangoa Cooperative in Peru for every 17 pounds of coffee that it sells. And Dean's Beans has been carbon negative themselves company wide since 2014. Check out Dean's Beans and their specialty roasted coffee at DeansBeans.com.

This episode is also supported by Saybrook University. At Saybrook University, MBA and DBA degree programs are built for the quadruple bottom line: People - empower others within your organization; Planet - champion environmentally friendly solutions; Profit, increased profit with integrity; and finally, Purpose - when business is guided by purpose, everyone benefits. 

Saybrook, MBA and DBA programs challenge conventional business practices in favor of disruptive innovation and sustainability. Explore a business administration program that is guided by purpose. Learn more at growensemble.com/saybrook. 

Alright, y'all, welcome back. Let's talk about how we can consume more consciously. To get started, I think it's appropriate to jump back to the definition of conscious consumerism that we came up with in part one of this episode just a few minutes ago. 
Conscious consumerism is the practice of mindfully and intentionally buying and using products as a statement of values. The opposite of conscious consumption is mindless consumption. 

Okay, there's our definition. Let's keep in mind so much of consuming consciously comes down to our intention, but here we'll get more specific sharing seven ways to be a more conscious consumer with help, once again, from Aja Barber, and here she is with our first tactic. Number one, to check your own consumption.

[00:17:29] Aja Barber: 
We always have this conversation in the space that I'm in, the individual verse, the collective, but we actually need the individual actions so that we can get our head in the game to change things at a collective level. If everybody is just consuming like normal, then no one will be inspired to hold anyone to account.

I know how that is. I was that person. So you know, you as an individual need to think about how you participate in this system. Are you the person that buys 68 items of clothing a year? Be honest, because everyone likes to say, oh no, that's not me. But that is a lie. Someone is buying the clothing, and when I was in my twenties, it was definitely me.

Being honest with who you are and where you fall in the system is really impactful. 

[00:18:11] Cory Ames: 
As mentioned in part one, it's valuable to remind ourselves that the decisions we make do have an impact on others. It's not just about the carbon emissions, it's about the culture. We can deconstruct and rebuild. 

Something is out of sync if we're calling for action on climate change because of a severe drought, but at the same time, we're filling up our swimming pool because we're trying to beat the heat. In the instances where something might be easier said than done, like getting solar panels put on your roof or buying a new electric vehicle, one person making a plan of action and pushing through where there's resistance to change might make that same action far easier for someone else in the future who's yet to commit themselves to the cause of sustainability.

We also feel better when we make decisions that are more in alignment with our values. And there's a similar impact in the opposite direction as well. The more choices that we make that at the end of the day don't feel in alignment with who we feel we are, the more we'll face internal struggle. There's a reason that one of the regrets shared in the wonderful book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, was not living a life that was true to you. 

If you value things like sustainability or human rights, you'll feel better the more your actions, including daily purchases and use, align with those values. Again, it's difficult to make the most ethical choice every single time, but that can't excuse not trying. It's important for our wellbeing to get more of those decisions right than wrong.

Number two, do your diligence. We all can't spend the whole day researching what might be the most sustainable or ethical socks to purchase. But a little digging can go a long way. Likewise, every time you head to the grocery store, you're forced into making tons of micro decisions as you select different products from the shelves.

For a quick look, consider if a company or product carries any certifications. Granted that certifications aren't a perfect way to assess a company's social or environmental stewardship, but there are signals that we can pay attention to, especially when making quicker decisions. Here are a list of certifications to look out for that might signal a company's degree of commitment to social or environmental responsibility:

Regenerative Organic, Fair Trade Certified, B corporation, USDA Organic, Climate Neutral, We Are Neutral. If more times available to you, it's worth visiting a company's website and seeing how well they document their efforts of social and environmental sustainability. This is particularly important and doable.

If you are a repeat customer, for example, visit whereyourclothing.com. This a site from TS Designs, a screen printer we've mentioned here before. You'll see names, addresses, and responsibilities from every person involved in that supply chain. 
Likewise, if you were to check out my friends at a good company, a Swedish sustainable e-commerce company, you'll see extreme detail as to where and how their products are made and the exact environmental impact.

I'm positive I've spent a significant amount of time on well over a thousand companies websites to do product research. If you've done this like I have, you'll notice a wide spectrum to which companies have committed to this practice of transparency. Some companies might say sustainably made, but not show you what they mean.

Others might say their manufacturing partners abide by the highest labor standards, but at the same time not show you who those manufacturing partners are or where in the world they are located. 

We do have to approach a business's claims with healthy skepticism. We must demand that companies show, not just tell us how sustainable or ethical they complete transparency reveals. And a lack of transparency reveals something as well. 

Number three, push for systemic change. As discussed previously in the series, better available options lead to better potential decisions. As Aja adds in here, it's worth understanding the differences between individual and systemic action, and knowing where we can put the pressure on. 

[00:21:51] Aja Barber: 
We're starting to really understand who needs to change and putting pressure on those corporations to change.

So, this is a great way to talk about systemic action. What people will understand is your polyester clothing is made of plastic, and it leaks microfibers every time you wash it. And the microfibers go into the ocean. They go into our water supply, they get in your food. They found microfibers in a human placenta last year. Grim.

So we need to stop the flow of microfibers from going everywhere. And part of that is looking at the washing cycle. So there's a washing machine bill that's being argued in parliament that every washing machine sold in the UK should come with its own microfiber filter. Because currently if you wanna do something about microfibers, you've gotta buy into that.

As a consumer, you can buy a filter for your washing machine, which then you have to pay someone to install it. You can get a guppy bag, you can get some little ball things that collect your microfibers. But wouldn't it be great if on a systemic level no one could find a washing machine that didn't have a microfiber filter?

Since this is clearly a problem, we do need to stop virgin polyesters from being created. There's more than enough polyester to go around on this planet. But like, one short term solution is to definitely make sure that we're filtering that out of our water supply. So there's things big and small happening.

There's, you know, garment worker legislation being argued everywhere. There's good conversations about extended producer responsibility happening and getting involved in those conversations, getting more information about. That's a good thing to do at the systemic level.  

[00:23:33] Cory Ames: 
We need to find the balance between our own individual action and see opportunities to push for systemic change.

Conscious consumerism won't save the world. We need to follow up with our own meaningful purchasing decisions and lifestyle changes. With a push to change the system, we must come to terms with the fact that there are most likely never be a hundred percent support for more sustainable living. If we continue to make environmental stewardship voluntary, we'll never achieve having a hundred percent electric vehicles on the road in the United States, for example.

For some reason, people will never make any change. That's why it's great to purchase our own electric vehicle, perhaps if we can, while at the same time pushing for the systemic change of phasing out internal combustion engines completely. I'm convinced some people just don't like change and others have financial incentives, encouraging them to resist change. 

If all cars were electric and we were stopping at charging stations versus gas stations, do you think people would really miss gasoline? Fossil fuel execs might, but the average person certainly won't. 

Number four, support culture, not companies. Do we wanna live in a world run by Amazon, Starbucks, or Walmart, or do we wanna live in a world that supports billions of expert crafts? Artists, artisans, musicians, chefs, educators. I believe that supporting small businesses, artisans, and artists, creates a much more interesting, diverse, and rich culture. 

When you travel, do you eagerly seek out the closest Starbucks or Target, or do you try to find local restaurants, coffee shops, bookshops, or boutiques to support and check out? I'm guessing the latter. If that's what you find interesting in the world, perhaps you even want more of, shouldn't your purchases reflect? 

I think this also speaks to the importance of buying local support. The efforts that make the community one that you want to travel to and live in, seek out and support the small businesses, indie stores, and artists.

Our communities and cultures will stay more interesting because of it. 

[00:25:19] Aja Barber: 
I talk about buying local, buying small versus buying from a big box stores, and there are studies that have been shown that when buying something local, particularly within your own community, more of that money is gonna stay within your community.

Where if you're purchasing from a big box store, only a small percentage of that is gonna stay within your community. And we all like strong communities. Cause what do we get from strong communities? We get good schools, we get good places for children to grow up. We get places where we have lost 'em.

So there's so much in thinking about all of these systems that make a lot of sense for people to be invested in it because it's not just good for the planet, but it's good for us as well. 

[00:26:00] Cory Ames: 
Number five, use your voice in addition to enriching culture. Small businesses are also far more accountable. We've all spent time on the phone with an airline and insurance company, medical provider, and heard something to the effect of, "well, I'm sorry I didn't make the policy."

That's just how it is. It's incredibly frustrating. You might be on the phone with the kindest, most patient support person in the world, but they have absolutely no power to change American Airlines' refund policy or whether or not your insurance is going to cover that medication, or if it seems ethical or appropriate to charge you $500 a day for a bed in the nursery that your baby never even slept in.

Could you get ahold of Jeff Bezos if he had a problem with Amazon? I don't think so, but it's well worth considering what platform we do have available to us to continue to speak out. So while we'll spend more time supporting brands that we deem sustainable and ethical, I think Aja also adds in something nice here from personal experience as how she's attempting to get larger brands to respond to calls for change. 

[00:27:00] Aja Barber: 
Also, if a corporation is doing something that pisses you off, be loud about it. Let them know, this is where social media is great. You can actually force a corporation to apologize for something if you get enough people just being really vocal about it.

I've done it before with H&M, with my friends. We think that H&M was being very misleading about something, and so we just spammed them in their comments and eventually they did apologize, and that feels very, very powerful.

[00:27:28] Cory Ames: 
Number six, buy secondhand, buy better. This, I think, speaks to the purest example of consuming, consciously buying with more intention.

It's worth thinking about the balance between what do we need and what do we want, what's necessary or what's enough, or what perhaps is just frivolous if we're being honest with ourselves. 

Consuming consciously means thinking deeply about the use of what we might acquire and whether or not it's necessary to even buy the thing new in the first place.

Plainly: buy consciously. Whatever that might mean for you in your particular context. 

[00:28:03] Aja Barber: 
If everyone just bought a few items secondhand instead of going new, that would have huge impact in the waste stream. I buy about 50% of my clothing secondhand now, and we've got so many great places to do it. It didn't used to be as accessible, but it is.

And then people sometimes will go, "oh, well, you know, if I buy secondhand, am I displacing someone who doesn't have money?" No, that's a myth because the fashion industry actually pumps out 150 garments a year. The human population is only 7.9 billion, so there's actually more than enough clothing to go around already on the planet.

Now, when people say, "oh, secondhand is becoming gentrified," what they really mean is there's less good quality because of fast fashion. That's really it. There's more than enough clothing, but the quality has definitely gone down. And once again, at a consumer level, we have the ability to change that in who we support and who we give our money to.

Before you buy it in the store, ask yourself, is this gonna last me a hundred wears? If I don't want it, will someone else? And I think we all know deep down, when it's a t-shirt that's paper thin and has like a silly logo on it, that's some weird inside joke - no, no one is gonna want that. So like, maybe we need to, you know, start thinking about whether or not the item sparks joy while we're still in the store instead of thinking about that after we've brought it home and it's in our house.

[00:29:35] Cory Ames: 
Number seven, combat consumer culture - find what's right for you. Consumerism is largely driven by advertising and a pressure to fit in. We follow trends because cultural momentum and effective advertising campaigns push us to. We started smoking cigarettes because the Marlboro Man told us it was cool.

We'll buy whatever is the latest and greatest without consciously considering the impacts of those purchases or whether even we want them. It's much easier to not get swept up in the current of consumerism if you have confidence in You. Understanding more deeply what you like, value and want out of life can make more thoughtful and intentional lifestyle changes and purchasing choices much easier.

While this started with our first point, to check our own consumption, it's worth digging in deeper, here:

[00:30:21] Aja Barber: 
Unpick consumerism within you. Unpick the idea of lack and need and want and desire. You know, I did this thing where when I was of an age where I was dreaming about having the career I have today, I thought about what amount of money I needed to lead a really nice life.

And I have this number in my head, and I've always told myself, if you can make that amount of money, then the rest is gravy. And once you realize the things that you need, and for me, it's enough money to support myself, to have a beautiful life, to be generous and kind with loved ones and to treat people. That's really all I want, to be able to take a holiday every now and then. But like this idea that, oh, I wanna own a sports car and a helicopter - who needs that stuff?

So I think unpicking this endless desire to make all the money can actually really free you because you realize you don't need all the money. Once you get to that point, it also gives you a level of integrity in your work where you can say no to the things that don't work for you. When you have a the power of saying no to things and you're able to maintain your integrity, you're able to do a lot of really, really cool things.

So unpick the desire of constant consumption, whether it is greed, money, big houses, and ask yourself what it is that you truly want. Not what it is that society tells you you should want, but what do you want out of life? Because once you can actually fulfill your own needs, You can do incredible things with what's left over, and once you do, you might find that you're left being a much happier person.

[00:32:04] Cory Ames: 
I really appreciate the perspective Aja offered to this point. I think if we consume consciously, we can consume happily. While perhaps a limited reservoir of power, what we decide to buy and use makes an impact. For better or for worse, it can impact us personally affecting how aligned our decisions feel with who we feel we are.

It can affect our neighborhoods, showing others around us what is possible as we choose to consume more consciously by buying less, buying better, or using just what we need. We're choosing to cast votes of varying potency for the world we want to live in. 

So I think this discussion of conscious consumerism is best left with one question: What will you vote for?

Alright y'all, that's a wrap. I hope you enjoyed this episode, our first episode of the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast here in 2023. Don't forget this series on Conscious Consumerism is available in two parts on video on our YouTube channel, of course, which you can find through YouTube or growensemble.com.

And lastly, before we sign off, I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World Weekly Newsletter. This is a newsletter that I write and publish myself and send out every single Monday exploring all things building a better world. Go to growensemble.com/newsletter to get that next one in your inbox. 

Alright y'all, until next time.

Aja BarberProfile Photo

Aja Barber

Writer, Consultant

Aja Barber is the author of the novel Consumed: The Need for Collective Change, Consumerism, Colonialism and Climate Change. Aja lives in London with her partner and two cats.