Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Sanctify thyself from the grades of this world, … Be thou a mountain of quiescence, a sign of meekness, a sea of patience, a light of love, a standard of utter separation (from all else save God), so that thou mayest become everlasting in the Kingdom of God.‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 291
by Christine Muller
If you must use a car for shopping, it is generally more environmentally friendly to shop online, but only if you take certain things into account:
Most of the environmental impact of shopping comes from the production of things. So, first, like with all other shopping, stop and think: Do I really need this? Would this item really make a meaningful present? How and where was it manufactured? What might be its true cost to the environment and other people?
Second, if you decide to go ahead with purchasing the item, do not order it via overnight shipping. Fast delivery options require additional trucks and thus have a much larger environmental footprint. If you choose ground shipping or the slowest option, you allow the company time to consolidate orders and to ship them together. Also, if you need multiple things, it is best to order them at the same time.
Avoid ordering things online which you may have to return/exchange because this will at least triple the environmental cost of transportation. It’s better to try on new shoes in a shoe store.
For more ideas about sustainable online shopping, see: How to Shop Online More Sustainably (by Tim Heffernan, April 2021, Wirecutter magazine) and/or watch this 5-minute video on “The environmental cost of free two-day shipping” (Vox, 2017).