Estimated post reading time: 4 minutes

 

Can we urbans really give ethical consumption a fair chance? In this fast age of mindless consumption we’re all bonafide shopaholics! We eat, shop, drink, consume without a thought to whether we really need it or not let alone thinking about our carbon footprint. So can we pause and think and act green? Our quirky guest writer Penny Fox shows us we certainly can. And we can enjoy the ride too! Meet this rookie girl who has re-discovered herself and had an rocking time transitioning from shopping mindlessly to ethical consumption. Over to Penny who’s foxed us completely :)

 

The journey from thoughtless shopping to ethical consumption….

Hi, it’s me Penny Fox. I’m an Ambassador for environmental & animal protection- self appointed and happy to do it :)

I’m also your go-to consultant for leading a sustainable, responsible and also ‘hung-over’ lifestyle! Again self appointed :)

Let me tell you in all modestly, I’m a specialist at turning pro in ethical consumption!

To prevent me from shooting myself once a day, I’m consuming tons of organic Prosecco and go dancing once a week. In 70s glitter rags and DJs are my best friends.

But every Monday I’m back in office to be a Penny in the ass for those who deserve it and be a never ending source of optimism for those who need it!

Today I’m here to share with you fellow UrbanMeisters how I came to ethical consumption from being a shopaholic. It’s been an eventful journey and hopefully it’ll help you guys see life in a new way as did it for me.

It all started 2011 with a bet.

One year- no shopping. No clothes. No accessories. No jewellery. My first chapter in ethical consumption.

At this time I used to be a flight attendant. I flew a lot to New York and Bangkok. And when you are tired, but when you’re not supposed to sleep right away, shopping and eating are the preferred activities. So it was normal to buy cheap stuff every time. Thank God it was cheap. Otherwise I couldn’t have afforded it. And thank God we are limited by customs.

But on the other hand it made me blind. Since I didn’t spend that much I had no reason to stop. Right?

Wrong.

That year, on a sunny day in August, all of a sudden it hit me. Am I addicted?

I was sitting in my cloffice (a room which used to be an office with one wardrobe and now is a boutique with a desk) and wondered if I just could stop it. For one year. I looked around and saw that I possibly had everything and more to last me for the rest of my life! Ah sure I might need the odd underwear and socks. Maybe some travel hats since I lose them easily enough…but besides that?

And so I decided to stop for a year. The first month was strange. Sale everywhere. All those missed opportunities. It was tough. I was being hounded by SALE but I had to go cold turkey! So unfair!

But then it changed really fast. Within six weeks I felt better or as I like to put it, I was cured! It was great not to be on a hunt anymore. And I started doing other things I enjoyed again. Visit galleries in New York, kayaking in D.C, bicycling in Toronto, finding the best pad thai in Bangkok, getting wasted in Narita!

Knowing, I wont buy anything anywhere was a total relief.

So did I win the bet? You bet :-)

There was once…ah…lets call it…a tiny situation. I was on a trip to Java and my Indonesian friend Mel begged me to go with her to Stadium- a club for rich Jakarta kids, run by the Chinese mafia. THE place to be. I wasn’t expecting that, so my shoe game wasn’t appropriate. Telling my friend that I’m the queen of feet modelling so I could easily rock flip flops didn’t convince her. She insisted on me getting sandals. Now I take my bets very seriously so I asked my betting mate if it was ok to buy a pair in this emergency situation and he flatly refused. So I did, what I had to do. Changed the rule. That was truly an emergency, so I bought the shoes. We had a blast at the club :-)

But guess what? Three months into the challenge, my betting mate weakened and ordered a bunch of T-shirts! Pff.

And me? I won a leather jacket. YES. A real leather jacket.

Penny's ethical consumption

This was back in 2011 when I took my first baby steps to ethical consumption. I had a long way to go. Eventually I learned what to buy and where from.

I was allowed to shop again from August 2012.  And I did shop. Less stuff certainly, but still bad stuff…..

I never bought fur. I was born with the knowledge that fur is bad. But I bought leather. And down. And wool. And H&M. And Zara, Mango, Nike, Victorias. Everything.

Even though everybody knows about the massive problems the fashion industry creates by producing in Asia, nobody really cares. Made by children has become more of a joke, than a real ethical threat. Maybe because we heard it so many times the term got worn, like an old leather jacket. As meaningless as statements we hear about food waste since children in Africa are dying of hunger. We know its true, but it doesn’t move us anymore. It became normal. It doesn’t touch us.

I even participated on a popular German TV show called “Shopping Queen”. Im the Vice Shopping Queen from Vienna. I was well on my way to falling into the old shopping addiction again. I don’t know if I ever would have changed for real, if it wasn’t for the animals. I was on the PETA site to check some updates for animal testing for cosmetics when I saw the other lists. Animal testing for cigarettes. For food. For clothes. Pardon my French, but WTF?!

And why? Well its easy. Because nowadays EVERYTHING is made with a certain amount of toxic chemicals. And even though the industry is not interested in killing their customers, by law chemical products have to be tested. I guess its ok when we get a little bit sick, get a little cancer. Just enough to cure us with some medicine. But nobody wants us to die too soon.

But since I always said I never buy anything animal tested, well, the situation was clear. Because virtually everything good or bad was tested on animals I crossed them all off the list. In one second. That easy. Unfortunately nobody wanted to bet with me. But a new challenge was born.

One year everything had to be fair-trade, organic, sustainable, without animal testing or made out of animals. If I can’t afford or find what I really “need” from fair-trade companies, then it has to be secondhand or borrowed.

So Penny gives no single penny to the badass companies anymore! That was one year ago and I’m still here.

Are you curious to know how I worked it out? Stay tuned for my next piece with UrbanMeisters.com where I reveal how I worked this new challenge and follow me on Instagram: @pennyfoxme

Watch this space…

 

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