Conscious Consumption

As high school students, it is not easy being aware of how one’s everyday purchases impacts the world. A wave of “conscious consumerism” is gaining popularity in a world of ever evolving consuming practices. From buying food, to school supplies, to the newest Supreme release, one’s everyday purchases can and will affect the world. This simple idea of consumerism could dramatically change the world.

The idea of conscious consumerism is based on sustainability. Being a conscious consumer means being aware of how purchases impact the world. It also comes under the assumption that the consumer believes their purchasing power can bring about social change. There are a few defining characteristics of a conscious consumer, detailed by Gill Torres of Spiritual Bliss. “A conscious consumer makes buying decisions in authentic alignment with what they want for the world,” writes Torres. Gill Torres explains that conscious consumerism does not have to be as detailed and difficult as some make it out to be. “When it comes down to it, all we really need in order to act with conscience and compassion is empathy,” Torres says.

The concept of conscious consumerism seems good in theory, but when played out by high school students, challenges are faced. One of the biggest challenge faced is research and convenience. This challenge can be overcome by subscribing to websites that send out information on sustainable products and companies. It can also be overcome by taking advantage of the social media high school students use every day. Following bloggers and conscious consumers on one’s favorite social media platform is a great way to gain easy access to this information.

While a challenge, some students here at Urbandale are trying out the concept of being a conscious consumer. “As a society, we need to be aware of the habits we have that are affecting those behind closed doors, even if we can’t feel the repercussions personally,” says Urbandale student, Kate Heiliger. She understands the challenges faced by high school students when it comes to being a conscious consumer. When asked how students her age can become better at consuming, Heiliger replied, “Do our research, become educated, and make deliberate effort to change our ways.”

Consuming in such a matter does not have to be such a daunting task. Regardless, the dauntlessness of doing endless research and never feeling like it is enough plagues many high schoolers. “A lot of us are prone to blind ignorance, so we don’t even think about the things we’re partaking in and the actual effect we, as individuals, have on the world,” explains Heiliger.

Claire Weihs, UHS senior and conscious consumer.

Another Urbandale student, Claire Weihs, explains what she thinks about being a conscious consumer. “It’s important to know what’s going into your body, what’s going to provide energy, and what’s going to satiate you without overeating. It’s also important to understand where your food is coming from, the harmful aspects of it, and how what you’re eating is affecting the environment,” explains Weihs. She is invested in learning about food, where it comes from, and how it affects her surroundings. Weihs has been meal planning for most of senior year and plans on continuing her planning and expanding her knowledge when she moves to college in the fall. She explains just what high school students should do to become conscious consumers. “Educate themselves, look at the ingredients lists, just listen to people who are educated on it, and eat less processed foods. Simply choose the apple or banana for a snack,” says Weihs.

Whether it comes in the form of sitting down and researching, signing up for an email subscription, or following educated consumers on social media, becoming a conscious consumer as a high school student will benefit the student and the world in the long run.

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