“If you do not control the complex landscape (and you rarely do), the most powerful thing you can do is change how you behave in that landscape, using yourself as a catalyst for overall change.” –Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac.

The pandemic is a horrific problem that’s upended our lives. However, the disruption it caused gives us the opportunity to assess some of our values, e.g. the ability to make some changes with the potential to affect future challenges including humanity’s impact on Earth’s environment. Our individual choices and habits of consumption add up over time, and while it is a very complex issue, we individuals can assess our own buying habits. Daniel Goldman, the author of Ecological Intelligence, described a shift in power from sellers to buyers driven by more complete information on the environmental and social impacts of products we buy. His book, published in 2009, has proven to be prescient.  Now we must use that knowledge and take personal responsibility for what we buy.  Smartphone apps such as GreenChoice put this information into consumers’ hands. It uses life cycle assessments to rank food and beverage products according to their ecological footprints. As you consider other purchases, take time to explore the websites of retailers and brands to learn about their commitment to environmental and social issues, and to creating goods and services that are better for the planet.

If you have ideas to share or would like to write one of the weekly columns, please contact Earth Ministry committee chair, Rob Zimmerman.