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How to Adopt an Ethical Lifestyle


Dakota Murphey shares her latest exclusive for WhichPLM, and offers tips on adopting an ethical lifestyle from the fashion you buy, to the technology you invest in. Dakota has more than a decade of experience in business growth, working independently as a business consultant for a number of years.

In recent years, we’ve become more aware of the importance of adopting more sustainable habits. But making the necessary changes towards a more ethical lifestyle can be difficult, particularly if you’re new to the world of mindful, conscious living. These tips are easy to adapt to and will make a big impact on your lifestyle and the planet as a whole, from the clothes you wear and the food you eat to how you maintain your home.

Use tech to reduce energy consumption

Energy consumption has a big impact on the planet, so finding ways to reduce your energy use not only saves you money on utility costs each month but it also helps the environment. Technology has come a long way where this is concerned and we can now use smart home devices to track performance and identify areas where we can make savings.

Smart thermometers, for example, are perfect for this, regulating the temperature of your home based on real-time data so you’re never using more or less than you need. This saves you money on your energy bills, but it also reduces your energy consumption considerably.

Be mindful of where ingredients are from

Locally sourced food is far fresher and nutrient-dense than food that’s been shipped halfway around the world, but it also has an impact on the environment too. Whether you grow your own food or shop from local farmers, buying what’s in season and produced nearby lowers the carbon footprint of your ingredients and also supports your local economy, making it one of the most sustainable ways to eat.

For example, don’t buy strawberries in the middle of winter when they’re not in season locally, as this means they’ve had to be grown in hotter climates such as Central America and Mexico then transported to the UK. Do your research into what’s in season where you are and try to stick to these fruits and vegetables throughout the year. There are apps you can download to keep track of what’s in season where you live to help you plan meals and shopping accordingly.

Invest in quality items

Planned obsolescence is a serious problem, with manufacturers using cheap materials and poor construction to encourage people to replace their items within just a couple of years. This increases the number of items being sent to landfill, while also wasting resources to produce these items. Technology is one area where planned obsolescence can be a real issue, so it pays to invest in items that are durable and long-lasting to avoid having to replace them a few years down the line.

When you’re buying tech, choose responsibly by looking for providers who have policies in place regarding ethical sourcing of raw materials, ethical manufacturing practices and end of life policies. Can you recycle your device through the company when it stops working? Do they have policies in place for repairs to prevent you needing to purchase an entirely new device? And is the product built to last? Warranties are a useful indicator that the brand is reliable and the product is high quality.

Avoid fast fashion

Clothing can be one of the biggest hurdles for adopting an ethical lifestyle, but one of the most sustainable swaps you can make is actually using what already exists. Fast fashion may be cheap to buy, but the fashion industry is responsible for between 8-10% of global carbon emissions, as well as vast quantities of water and poor labour practices, so using what’s already been produced reduces the reliance we have on creating new items.

The solution is to shop secondhand where possible and explore charity shops and clothing swaps in your local area, where you can pick up new-to-you items at a fraction of the cost. Sites like Depop and Poshmark make it easy to find clothes secondhand online, for added convenience. But there are also an increasing number of ethical brands popping up that enable you to invest in better quality garments that are designed to last, made ethically by workers who are paid a fair wage and work in suitable conditions, and are made from materials that don’t cost the earth.

Ethical living encompasses many aspects, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat, how you travel and how well you manage resources such as water and electricity. Once you’ve adapted to alternatives you’ll find that, more often than not, these green swaps save you money and time, while also benefitting the planet.

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.