One of the great wonders of the modern age is the convenience that consumer culture offers. However, it is not without its negatives, and one study by the World Resources Institute estimates that fast fashion is rooted in severe poverty across Africa and South Asia. To make a real impact, shoppers should look to move their habits towards ethical consumption this year. For Christians especially, there’s a Biblical incentive; as Jeremiah 2:34 said, “Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in.” In a modern context, that message rings true of the cost of fast fashion and shopping. Making strides to become an ethical shopper will improve you and the planet and, in turn, your relationship with God.
Helping out others
The Bible is packed with messages that implore Christians to help their fellow man and woman. Eschewing fast fashion and consumption in favor of second hand purchasing, or from artisan shops, achieves this. In Australia, eBay online deals have been co-opted by larger businesses, including airlines, to provide a range of benefits to shoppers who choose to help out others hoping to make money selling their wares. This has seen second hand clothing become the primary source of new purchases in Australia, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, usurping fast fashion. When a society opts to exchange goods, rather than sending money to an opaque international corporation, everyone benefits.
Aiding the under-represented
In America, many notable ethical brands have a strong link to men and women of color. According to The Good Trade, there are numerous new imprints that provide empowerment to black and minority communities through increasing trade with smaller sized businesses. Many of these also commit to a key part of ethical consumerism, protecting the environment, through the use of recycled materials and good pay deals for production companies across the world. Choosing to shop via companies that provide income and representation for the under-represented is another powerful way to shop ethically and effectively.
Reducing your consumption
Americans are fortunate in that they can obtain groceries for cut prices. However, this has come with a significant cost globally. According to Fortune, produce pickers come in large groups from overseas and are paid a relative pittance, earning as little as $200 in a week for near constant work in Arizona and Texas fields. James 5:4 and Romans 13:7 clearly outline His view on pay, and fair pay, and taking an ethical approach to your grocery shopping will provide another way through which you can act in the way a good Christian should while benefiting those disadvantaged people, at home and abroad.
Shopping in an ethical manner is not only a good thing to do, it’s something which the Bible outlines as a positive way to lead your life. Making a clear effort to pursue your consumerism in a way that is fair to the people producing your goods and to those selling is not only kind, but pious. If you didn’t before, make 2020 the year that you take notice and change your habits.