Another year is upon us! It’s traditional to mull over new resolutions and the ways we want to ‘be the change’ through self-improvement. When it comes to green resolutions, the ideas tend to fall in several categories: green products to buy, conventional products to not buy, giving back, habits to tweak and mental or spiritual changes to be made.
The latter is the most important, because mental shifts manifest in a myriad ways in the external world. These internal shifts should infuse all the other categories and are what give sticking power to the other resolutions. And sticking power means the resolution survives February.
While fighting consumerism with green consumerism is a step in the right direction it is not the answer in and of itself. In my opinion, if green consumerism stems from a genuine mental shift, rather than the pure substitution of one product for another for fashionable purposes, a real difference is being made.
Consumerism and money are forms of energy exchange that are very powerful.
While often vilified by alternative communities, spending money is arguably a vote more powerful than the ballot. Your spending is an investment of your life force, assuming you had to work for that money, into a new way forward and a vision you believe in via the product you are buying.
Of course, when products are marketed as green superficially, but the consumer is unaware of less savory realities behind their production, impacts and life cycle, it is easy for producers to capitalize on eco-fashions without raising their standards. For example, conventional paints that slap a green leaf on their label claiming to be ‘eco’ and ‘antimicrobial’ but remain, in reality, the same old toxic, acrylic laced soups with an extra dose of biocides to kill mold. Therefore, transparency between producers and consumers is key for green consumerism to make a positive difference.
Let’s go over a few projects we have here to the north of the Bay where transparency and products combine to make genuinely mindful improvements on the status quo. You might even resolve to visit and support them.
Project #1: Visit El Paraiso in Lo de Marcos and buy some groceries with them while you’re at it. This family farm is doing it all: growing greens, milking cows and goats, making cheese, fermenting veggies and kombucha, you name it. I can personally attest that this family is working morning, noon and night. They are the real deal family farm that, when Whole Foods conjures up an image of local and sustainable, this family is the ideal in the flesh.
Project #2: Lo de Marcos is also home to a new slow-food, home-based café, Café Iyari. Only open 3 days a week and serving an ever changing, leisurely menu-of- the-day, Nicole Majewski the proprietor is now happy to offer 100% locally sourced breakfast/lunch items from the coffee to the salt.
Project #3: Lo de Marcos is also the stage on which a new ecologically minded development is being birthed, Eco Bravo. The 5 principals being espoused by this 15 lot development are commitments to 1) non toxic products 2) water stewardship 3) democratic governance 4) wildlife conservation and 5) incentivized alternative energy. More information can be obtained from the developing firm, TerraMar.
Project #4: The mecca of recycling and community center in San Pancho, EntreAmigos, provides a wealth of giving opportunities in time, treasure and talent. From scholarships for local kids to upcycling local waste glass streams, EntreAmigos facilitates any number of sustainability New Years resolutions.
Project #5: El Centro, outside of Sayulita, is another community organization specializing in empowering local youth through skills and trade education. Many products are being created that capitalize on local waste streams and upcycling.
Opportunities to give abound: through supportive purchases of their handmade wares to teaching and volunteering.
We wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and sustainable New Year. May your resolutions bring you closer to the best version of yourself and promote a resilient planet.