Clothing makes up the majority of the textiles taking up space in landfills, and The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that textiles contribute to nearly six percent of municipal solid waste each year. One exposition piece explains that many current fashion brands use non-renewable sources to create their “fast fashion,” which is part of the reason clothing is so difficult to recycle. When it comes to food, the transportation required to get your food from the farm/manufacturer to the grocery store accounts for roughly nine percent of energy usage in the U.S. food system. Why are we talking about this? Because there are millions of individuals who care, deeply, about the environment but buy fast fashion and shop chain grocery stores. And that’s just one of many examples of ways we don’t put our money where our values are.
This isn’t to condemn anyone. We’re busy. We need convenience. Sometimes, we just don’t know the facts behind the businesses we patronize. But there can be a lot of satisfaction in spending your dollars in a way that perpetuates your beliefs. Even if you can’t afford to donate a lot of money to non-profits or philanthropic organizations, you can spend the money you were already going to spend on regular purchases in a way that makes a difference. Here are ways to put your money where your values are.
Seeing your friend’s performance
Your friend is a short film director or an actor in the local community theater. One friend is a singer who performs regularly at small venues around town. One friend is a standup comedian who does gigs at small venues. But when it comes time to choose your entertainment for a Friday night out with friends or a date night with your partner, what do you do? You probably buy tickets to the biggest blockbuster playing at AMC theaters right now. Meanwhile, your friend is struggling to sell tickets to her film’s premiere at a small, local theater. If we tell our friends who are entertainers or artists that we “support” them, one way we can actually support them is by purchasing tickets to their performances, instead of going to a megastar’s performance.