And then there's my consumer consumption. Did I need to buy a new pair of boots last month? No. But I bought them anyway. I saw them; I liked them; I bought them. Ditto for a couple new shirts. Had I looked thoughtfully through my closet before my impulse buys I wouldn't have brought them home. Now, I'm giving more thought to what I wear and what I already have hanging in my closet. I plan to be more intentional about the clothes—and boots—I purchase. I don't want to spend our financial resources on clothing I don't need and I don't want to contribute to the over-consumption of natural resources required to make them.
Looking at the clothes I wear and don't wear has also called my attention to another "consumption" with even greater, more immediate consequences. I have a pair of black jeans I used to love that now sit idly on a shelf. I would love them still—and wear them—if only they weren't so tight that walking is painful. I've been eating and drinking my way through this winter. Literally over-consuming to the point I'm facing a choice: either change my ways or head back to the store for a new wardrobe. It's gotten me thinking about ethical eating in a new light.
I already don't eat meat, and I've made baby steps toward eating more organic and locally sourced food. We have plans to get a vegetable garden going this spring. But I haven't given much thought up to this point about the ethics of over-eating. When I consume more calories than my body requires, I'm not only wasting money (more groceries; bigger-sized clothes; additional trips to the store), I'm wasting away my health. I strain my already-arthritic joints and damaged disks. I nudge myself in the direction of Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, hypertension, high cholesterol...
So, I'm trying to be more intentional about what I put in mouth. I've gone back to an app I used when I decided to lose weight a couple years ago: MyFitnessPal. I'm walking every day and tracking my miles using another app: MapMyFitness. The apps "talk" to eat other, so the miles I walk get converted into calories I can responsibly consume. Knowing how many calories I need each day and trying to stay within that count isn't terribly fun, but it's good to know how much is enough.
As I pay more attention to the food we're buying and eating, I've also become more aware of the food we waste. Not knowing what's in the fridge and on the pantry shelf makes it likely I'll buy things we already have on hand. Yesterday, I threw a package of 4 cucumbers on the compost pile because I'd forgotten we'd bought them. I'm not alone when it comes to wasting food: I just read it's estimated that 40 percent of the food available in the United States gets thrown away each year.
I want to stop consuming more than I need--and stop buying more than I consume.