Let me start by noting that I’m not a fan of the materialistic culture many societies are part of today. You can’t turn on the radio, TV, or even visit a website without some company telling you what to buy, how to look, what you need. Most of this consumerism is killing our planet, and leaving shoppers unfulfilled. To learn more about the effects that the products you buy have on other people and the environment, please research sweat shops and the animal skins industry. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend watching the True Cost Documentary.
Now that that’s off my chest– I don’t believe all shopping is bad. In fact, quite the opposite. There is a lot of power behind what you choose to invest your money in. Your style can be a creative outlet where you express your values and inner self to the world. The makeup you buy and the meals you eat can be a vote against animal cruelty and for the planet. The books you check out from a library can feed your brain so you’re more knowledgeable about the world you want to live in. Even something as simple as the coffee and tea you drink, or the fruits and vegetables you buy, can support fair trade practices or child labor. I’m a big believer in using your dollar as your vote, so I am constantly on the lookout for vegan/cruelty-free companies that give back to causes I care about, use sustainable materials, and/or support local artists and business owners.
There’s always a way to give materialistic things meaning – you just have to do your research and educate yourself about different materials, production processes, and cruelty involved in different industries. I am constantly learning new information, and try to improve the way I shop every year. Since August is in one week, I did research on different companies and compiled a list of things you can feel good about treating yourself to next month. I kept the list small, because I think it’s better for your well-being, wallet, and our earth if you keep your shopping simple:
1. Tarte Nude Lipstick – Tarte proudly boasts that it’s vegan friendly on it’s website, stating “At Tarte, we strive to create products that support a healthy, compassionate and environmentally responsible way of life.” I initially gave Tarte a try because I knew they were PETA-approved, so all of their products are either free of animal testing and/or free of animal-derived ingredients. I absolutely love the look of nude lipstick against a sun-kissed summertime glow, and out of all the vegan companies I’ve tried, Tarte makes my favorite. The “Quench Lip Rescue” doesn’t dry out my lips, and it seems to fill in any cracks or flaws for a smooth finish. You can buy it here!
2. Eco-friendly T-shirt – Even though August means cooler summer nights for many of us, it’s still full of hot summer days, making t-shirts handy to have if you’re going to the beach, going for a walk, or just lounging around your house. Along with designing freaking adorable clothes with earth-friendly messages, Happy Earth Apparel donates 50% of their net profits to promote conservation and sustainability. So far, they have donated to organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance, Earthjustice, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Oceana. According to their website, their products are designed with eco-friendly practices and shipped in recycled & recyclable material. So if you want new clothes that also support our earth, check em’ out! You can use my code AlyssaC15 if you want 15% off your order.
3. Nicora Shoes – I’ve wanted a pair of Nicora Shoes since I found out about them over one year ago. It is a female-owned and operated business that uses cruelty-free materials. According to the website, female scientists are part of their staff to ensure they use environmentally-friendly practices. Their website even has a blog that talks about the shoe industry, eco-friendly materials, and the vegan leather they use. They’re high quality shoes made entirely in the U.S., so you can wear them knowing they weren’t made in a sweatshop. They also have styles for all different seasons, so no matter what kind of weather changes you experience in August, there is a style to suit your needs!
4. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer – This book is packed with a ton of research about the vegan lifestyle, but is explained with Foer’s captivating use of language, so you’re not left feeling bored or lectured as you read. It explores the many different ethical, environmental, and health-related reasons to go vegan, and also compares historical traditions of eating meat to the way animals are consumed in today’s world. A must-read for anyone and everyone. I finished it in two days because I couldn’t put it down.
5. Animal Rights Mug – Whether you drink coffee, tea, or plain water, getting a mug with an animal rights message on it encourages people to consider animals in a new light. I bring my mug from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to work every day so that co-workers feel free to start a conversation with me about my beliefs and values. PETA is a nonprofit organization, and according to their website, “84.8 percent of our operating expenses went directly to our programs fighting animal exploitation.” Now that’s an organization I want to put my money towards.
Many people live day to day without realizing the impact they have on the world. They either don’t understand the cruelty involved in the fashion, food, and beauty industries, or they don’t realize the vast amount of cruelty-free, fair trade, and/or vegan companies that make high quality products. So if you know of any compassionate companies, please comment below or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you =]