Author: Cheryl Magyar

Rediscovering Life Beyond the Screen

Rediscovering Life Beyond the Screen

Do you remember that exact moment from your childhood – sploshing in through the back door, sopping wet and dripping all over the floor after enjoying a series of muddy puddles, with an enormous smile on your face?  Do you recall that criticizing expression on […]

Children Thrive With Fewer Toys

Children Thrive With Fewer Toys

Children with brimming toy rooms and hard-to-shut toy closets may feel like they are loved generously by their (grand)parents, family and friends, but are they just being bought off? Take it on a case-by-case basis, as you keep in mind that an abundance of choices […]

Ethical Shopping: Take a Stand Against Climate Change

Ethical Shopping: Take a Stand Against Climate Change

The hectic world of today is driven by unconscious consumerism – the want for better and more of it! And of course, at a cheap price. At the same time, our desires have created a slippery slope leading deep into a pit, labeled “Environmental Crisis – Last Chance Sale 50% Off!” Some of us may choose to buy into this, others are more aware of ethical shopping and are cautious and skeptical, as we should be.

It is up to us to determine which way we slide. If we choose to keep buying products blindly from the shelves, based on price and visual appeal alone, then we are headed towards certain disaster. When we seek out sustainable products, we are not only benefiting our personal health, we are supporting all life and natural environments on Earth.

For decades, it has been known that eating organically produced food is the way to experience optimal health, we only need to go back a few generations to learn that it was all our great-great-grandparents had. Our modern food systems have become corrupted, just as textile production has, in the search for faster, more efficient ways of growing industry. Perhaps it is time to take a step back and honor our health as we nourish the land.

What if the fabrics of our clothing were organically grown too? What if all make-up, sunscreens, and feminine hygiene products were life-giving, rather than toxifying? What if the seas were not ebbing with plastic? If this was reality, today would look very different indeed.

Plastic pollution is becoming an increasing problem around the world, filling the oceans with things we have bought. Let’s not sit back and relax as it crawls up and over the land too.

Just like when decluttering your home, you must stop the flow of junk/clutter/unbelongings to establish order. To become ethical shoppers, we need to implement wise buying practices that can be taken with us to the store, applying them to online shopping as well.

4 rules of ethical shopping

Avoid plastics

Both in product material and in packaging. More companies are becoming responsibly aware, seek them out first before purchasing low-grade products destined for the landfill. Going plastic-free feels like a dream for many of us, while going zero-waste may feel completely out of reach, yet it is all easier than it seems – and difficult times call for serious choices. Once you begin to look for plastic-free options, they will start to find you.

Stop shopping for convenience items

Invest in the long-term future by looking at material purity. It may seem like a smart decision to buy a disposable razor, due to its cheaper price, though a metal safety razor will last for years to come. And those one-time use cotton pads? Make sure they are organic, better yet, opt for a reusable face cloth. Durability is a large part of the value, express your inner minimalist and take only what you need.

It’s all about the environmental policy

When companies are more focused on profits over cause, buyer beware. They may not be causing harm in your local environment, but the further abroad items are sourced from, the less control that can be harnessed over them. This includes destruction of beneficial rainforests, due to the overproduction of palm oil, as much as it has to do with workers rights and sweatshop factories. Do your investigative work before you buy, to make the best decision for you and the Earth.

Buy local

The further everything you buy comes from, the more airline miles they are going to rack up – increasing your annual carbon emissions with every purchase. That being said, every purchase you make matters. Shop local, support small farmers and adopt a placebaseddiet as you grow your environmental conscience. Invest your money in the work of local artisans and craftspeople. Think about how you can reduce the carbon footprint of both food and physical belongings. Perhaps you will find that you already have more than enough, with plenty to share!

Of course, you can always plant native trees to offset your carbon emissions associated with travel, food miles and ethical shopping.

Becoming an ethical shopper brings you one step closer to becoming the sustainable change the world needs to see. More is not better, better quality is.

Go as green as you can manage, not one step less, for the future of tomorrow changes today.

Cheryl Magyar is a sustainability coach | sustainable life designer, dedicated to guiding introverts, families and small businesses turn their lives and work into ecologically fulfilling ones. Download her free 19-page guide My Sustainable Journey and get ready to live lighter on the Earth than you ever imagined possible. The time to go green is now!

Four Unexpected and Hidden Benefits of a Minimalist Life

Four Unexpected and Hidden Benefits of a Minimalist Life

The events leading up to a minimalist life are usually preceded by a series of shopping trips to the mall to buy whatever you can afford with the money you have, or borrow on credit. You quickly take all of your newly acquired things home, […]

Eco-Anxiety: What can we do about a changing climate?

Eco-Anxiety: What can we do about a changing climate?

Late one afternoon I was all eyes and ears, watching the second episode of Our Planet – Frozen Worlds. Tears started welling up in my eyes as the walruses were roughly climbing the cliffs in search of a place to rest their spacious bodies. After […]

Even Minimalists Are Affecting Climate Change

Even Minimalists Are Affecting Climate Change

We can all feel the weather getting warmer, stormier, scarier; and we can all see it becoming dirtier too, on land and especially in the sea – and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

For some obscure reason, humans have attached themselves to their many belongings, finding most things “necessary” for our survival. At the same time we embrace permanency, yet we readily throw objects away as soon as they are broken or not-so-new anymore. Sometimes it appears that we do not know what we want, though if it is shiny we’ll take it!

The scales have gone up and down with the accumulation and purging of stuff, and for a long time now, balance has been lost.

We wish for, want more, we ask for too much – more than the Earth has to give sustainably. Of course, we can take it all and leave none for tomorrow, though if you’ve ever gone hungry from running out of food, you know this anti-wisdom is not a good practice. It is good to have reserves, savings. Not necessarily in monetary terms, nor in collections of random objects, but in skills and meaningful experiences.

Once upon a time, I was born into the fast-paced consumer culture race. At an early age, I questioned why I needed 20 presents, yet I didn’t get the one thing that I asked for. More stuff was better than the single item that cost more. As an eco-minimalist, I see the same problem with that misguided notion today, just as it perplexed my growing conscience back then.

A minimalist already knows that less is more, but do they understand the environmental implications of consuming less? Yes and no is the most straightforward answer, with a touch of “It’s complicated.”

Not all minimalists live in tiny houses and not all minimalists wear sustainable wardrobes; they may be capsule wardrobes – but is that going far enough to address a changing climate?

What if your small set of clothes were handmade (not fast fashion) with love from all sustainable materials that are entirely plastic-free? Would it feel strange to get rid of all synthetic materials that keep us warm and dry, for the sake of reducing microplastics in the oceans? Could you wear all organic cotton, hemp and naturally tanned leather with pride, no labels or sweatshop strings attached?

Minimalists are people, like anyone and everyone else, who must still consume to survive. Even if we value experiences over things, we may still be causing undue harm to the environment.

If you love to travel and fly where your heart desires to go, you are racking up airline miles, along with raising your carbon emissions sky high. If you spend your free time playing games online, or listening to your stored music in the cloud, then you are consuming electricity 24 hours a day. Take a moment to think about how that power to play is being produced. If you are utilizing renewable energy, then you are on the right track, if not, know there are ways that even minimalists can reduce their carbon footprints.

Your mode of transportation creates a large impact on climate change and global warming. Do you own one car in the family, or two? Do you carpool, ride the bus or train, or do you cycle or walk to work? Can you work from home and skip the stressful commute altogether? How willing are you to get outside of your comfort zone and change your situation?

What you eat and how much you cook at home speaks volumes about your carbon footprint. Too many grains supports an unbalanced monoculture that relies heavily on subsidies and herb-insect-pest-icides. Most fish contain plastic and the demand for palm oil is ruining the orangutans’ habitat – their home, not yours. We’ll skip the meat debate, though I will mention in passing that grass-fed animals are part of a healthy and nourishing diet.

The closer you can eat to home or, better yet, grow your own, the more prosperous we all will be. Start eating a place-based diet, it is the next big thing. Skip the food transportation, reduce your food miles and eat locally to sustain the land around you.

While you are outdoors, bathing in a forest on your digital detox day, consider the trees – and how there could be millions, even billions, more of them. Examine your carbon footprint once again and figure out how many trees would it cost to offset your every breath, then go outside (or have someone do it for you) and plant trees, much more than what you need!

Finding balance in nature is a give and take situation, not give or take, so let’s be mindful and choose our words carefully.

When we respect every object, every creature, every being, only then will the scale level out. And as the focus shifts from we to they, realize that every purchase made, creates an impact somewhere else in the world. Even minimalists are affecting climate change, but we have an advantage as we’ve already left the heavy baggage behind. Now we can go plastic-free and zero-waste with ease, leaving no clutter in our wake.

Cheryl Magyar is a freelance writer and green living coach who helps families and introverts return to simpler ways of sustainable life. Follow her homesteading adventures in rural Romania on Instagram.