Living Responsibly: Purchase Mindfully—Do I Really Need It?

“Therefore strive that your actions day by day
may be beautiful prayers.”
—‘Abdu’l-Bahá

In 2018 Christine Muller (faculty for the Wilmette Institute’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind courses) continues to give us monthly tips aimed at helping us to live more socially and environmentally responsible lives and to treat our physical world with the respect it deserves. We hope that, as we make these tips a part of our habits, we will collectively be mitigating the severity of climate change, reducing human suffering, and keeping the Earth a livable place for the next generations.—THE EDITORS

by Christine Muller

Purchase Mindfully—Do I Really Need It?

shopping cart in front of a refrigerated displayThis is the Bahá’í month for fasting (March 2–20 in 2018). In addition to its spiritual significance, fasting makes us more aware of our genuine physical needs and is an opportunity for breaking bad habits and reexamining our consumption of stuff. Fasting may help us to get started on being more mindful when we buy things. Everything that is produced comes at a cost to people and to the environment. For more information about the human suffering and the extensive damage to our Earth connected to the mining, production, and waste of everything we are using, check out the Story of Stuff video (21:24, “fast-paced, fact-filled,” and worth every minute of it). If we were aware of the real cost of the stuff we are buying and using, we would probably buy a lot less stuff. Some Christians do a “carbon fast” during Lent. For Bahá’ís, would it not be the right thing to be mindful of how we treat the Earth all year round? The Universal House of Justice warns us about materialism and consumerism, and Bahá’u’lláh teaches moderation: “Take from this world only to the measure of your needs, and forgo that which exceedeth them. Observe equity in all your judgements, and transgress not the bounds of justice, nor be of them that stray from its path.” When buying anything, it may be wise to first think about the question “Do I really need it?”

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UPCOMING TIPS
Why Eat Organic Food?
Organic Versus Commercial Food
How to Help Pollinators

TIPS FROM 2018
Shower Less  /  Avoid Plastics

TIPS FROM 2017
(Choose Reusable Shopping Bags / Insulate Your House / Go for a Walk or Bike Ride or Car Pool to Meetings / Shop Locally, Support Local Agriculture / Give Up Bottled Water—Go Back to the Tap / Go Solar / Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry / Ethical and Easy Lawns / Buy Clean Energy / Eat Less Beef / Home Energy Audit / Searching the Web (Use Ecosia and Plant a Tree)

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