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It's absurd that so many people still work eight hours a day, five days a week -- or more -- with only a few weeks' vacation a year, often needing two incomes to support a household. Our economic system was developed when resources seemed plentiful if not inexhaustible, and physical infrastructure was lacking. We need an overhaul to meet today's conditions rather than those that existed decades ago when we were unaware of many of the potential negative consequences of our actions.
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As the human population continues to grow and consumerism shows no signs of abating, the technosphere expands, causing pollution, contamination and resource depletion, further upsetting the delicate natural balance that keeps our planet habitable for humans and other life forms.
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Depending on who you ask we either live in an age of rampant consumerism or endless choice -- the answer doesn't necessarily lie in the middle but both are true. The Internet has connected us personally, politically, socially and humanity's consumer nature has built a retail channel unlike any other before.
Interest in green economies, sustainable products and ethical commitments are undeniably growing. But, while consumer awareness for sustainability is rampant, does the talk translate into action? Have conscious consumers actually changed their buying habits to promote sustainability? Not necessarily, it seems.
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I know that global trade is critical to raising many poor families out of poverty -- as in the Bangladeshi families noted above. But the economic model I want to see more of is one where strong local economies around the world are meeting people's needs in a sustainable and healthy way.
On Black Friday, we are all encouraged to over-consume. This intense promotion continues right through the holidays (and then there are clearance specials, Boxing Day promotions and New Year kick-off deals). But what happens if we stop, think and don't react impulsively? What do we really need?
I almost spit out my coffee the other morning when I stumbled upon this piece by a fellow named Christopher Elliott. In it, he argued that having enough room for your legs on an airplane should be a "human right." One has to be willfully ignorant to not understand that this type of regulation, if adopted, would raise the cost of airline tickets everywhere.
I'm the girl who believes that the planet and its people are more important than a few extra things in my closet but I was not born from a rock hugging trees and growing my own food. I wasn't born an activist -- in fact, I'm non-confrontational, a bit timid and I don't always remember to recycle. And yet, I broke up with fast fashion.
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The year 2015 will be remembered, amongst other things, as the year your devices started listening and watching you. Until now, to have your device listen to you, it usually required you actively interact with the device, such as pressing a listen or record button, for it to engage.
Do you have a list of savings goals you're currently working towards? A running list of things you actually need to buy? Or were your answers impulsive - full of wants that would satisfy you in this moment rather than needs that could help you for awhile? The question sounds innocent enough. But the question is everything that's wrong with the money mindsets being instilled in us.
How much are whiter teeth and smoother skin worth to you? Are they worth the water and fish in the Great Lakes? If you use the myriad other creatures the seas support? If you use personal care products such as exfoliators, body scrubs and toothpastes containing microbeads, those are the costs you could be paying.
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I'll never forget the day I biked down Scenic Caves Road near Collingwood, Ont. Flying down the escarpment at breakneck speeds, I was all too aware of every pebble, bump and turn in the road. I rememb...
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Mining is important to human well-being, but the current economic system means it's often aimed at maximizing profit with little regard for people or the environment. It's one area where Canadians can make a difference. Canadian mining companies haven't always had a great record for environmental and social responsibility in communities where they operate -- but public scrutiny and pressure may be helping to change that.
There tends to be this common constant act, celebrated by many that's troubling me lately...the act of giving gifts. As we get closer to Christmas, I hope you consider a few ideas I've put together for you and loved ones to do this season, to practice staying present and building lasting memories.