Many have tried to go organic, but only a few have been successful. It’s not a simple shift in food preferences. Neither is it just about choosing the right products. It’s an entire lifestyle and a conscious way of doing things.
People sometimes think adopting an organic lifestyle is a matter of ticking off items in a checklist. Use organic products. Buy food that’s locally grown and is not sprayed with insecticide. Opt for a smart and fuel-efficient car. But when faced with options that are not in the usual checklists, they might waver. Do they know the real story behind the production of canola or palm oil, and why are these controversial products?
First and foremost, you need to clearly understand what an organic lifestyle means. Some people wish to go organic simply for vanity. They believe that organic skincare products are better than lathering on too many chemicals. These people might prefer to be driven in cars to go to their temperature-controlled offices so that they don’t have to be exposed to toxins. These people would willingly import ‘green products’ only found in other countries at high prices.
Embracing the organic lifestyle necessarily means you understand the reason behind your actions. Before you plunge into this, maybe you want to think about a few values important in this lifestyle.
How do you understand the use of chemicals?
Chemicals are automatically seen as negative. But it’s impossible to avoid them. We don’t live in a vacuum, and you couldn’t impose your lifestyle on other people. Hospitals disinfect with chemicals. You get your teeth whitened with some chemicals to an extent. The metals and other components that make up your laptop and cellphone were processed with chemicals.
We aren’t going back to the time of the cavemen just to make sure we don’t use chemicals. So have an understanding of it. Know which are harmful to you and the environment.
How do you feel about the environment?
At the core of following the organic lifestyle is a concern for the environment. This also acknowledges the fact that human beings are part of nature. The harm we do to ourselves would adversely affect the environment we live in. Likewise, the care we give ourselves should also benefit the surrounding environment.
For example, in bathing, we may use products that are organic because we want our skin to preserve its natural moisture and quality. But at the same time, by opting for these products, we don’t leave harmful residues in our wastewater.
What are your ideas about development frameworks?
This may be too much to think about when you had originally just thought about going organic to have a healthy body. But directly related to the previous concern about the environment is the issue of how development is perceived by people. Consumption of resources is a necessary evil. So when does it become excessive?
To start, you could reflect on your consumption patterns. How many clothes do you own? How often do you change your cellphone? How much of the food did you buy ends in the waste bin?
Saying you follow an organic lifestyle when you are being wasteful of the limited resources we have is the ultimate hypocrisy. Some people think that producing and consuming more is good because this would pump the economy. But this way of thinking does not take into consideration that several resources take time to renew and yet humans are consuming, even wasting, them at a fast rate.
How do you discern the products you buy?
The simple qualifier that the corn you are buying is not a genetically modified organism nor had it been grown with the use of pesticides is not enough. Who or what company was behind its existence? Large companies that patent indigenous species so that they could monopolize the distribution of certain crops have a big effect not only on the small local producers but also on the environment.
As the production of the crops becomes industrialized, even without the use of chemicals, the mere expanse of the fields devoted to the crops already affects the balance in biodiversity.
Plants like palm oil need pesticides because they attract a large number of pests. But even without the issue of pesticides, the network of roots of this palm is harmful enough as they tend to cut off water supplies in a locality. Left on a piece of land for too long, the soil becomes infertile and when they are cleared would take time before farmers could use the land again for other sustainable crops.
Following a particular lifestyle can be difficult because you have to be conscious of everything you do. But if your reasons are correct, then it should not be a problem since your values are already in line with that lifestyle.