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Three Ways To Buy Peace

Still Life by Till Warwus
(Still Life by Till Warwas)
They say peace can’t be bought but I disagree because how you spend impacts more than you realise.
Here's three ways which I believe can make us more sustainable and have a huge impact on world peace.

Firstly – How we spend does have a huge impact on the world.

Secondly – Money spent is the outcome on desires, needs and wants. Changing the behaviour or intention on how we spend can create the outcome of peace.

Thirdly – We tend to separate our values with the way we actually live. For example, we want a better world but we will buy the cheapest item because it’s the cheapest.

There is no such thing as cheap. Everything has a cost.

Let's have a look at those three thoughts and see how they could help reduce our own foot print and make our life more sustainable and more fulfilling.

Firstly – How you spend your money does have a huge impact on world peace.

Here’s some facts about what we buy.

A product is made up of components and they come from somewhere.

People are involved in one way or another.

Natural resources are needed in varying degrees to make just about everything.

There is always some form of waste created from every item we have available in the market place.

I made a decision a long time ago that I would not join the ‘race to the bottom line’ and being a consumer myself, I have developed an ability to filter through the marketplace of genuine products and inferior ones. I believe that being sustainable we have to form the habit of asking these questions;

Where is this from?

Be aware though that just because something is made in China does not mean it is cheap and nasty. It depends on what it is.

For example, there is a perception that Made in Italy means quality. Mostly it does but recently there is the story of tomatoes. The Italian tomatoes that are .99c at the supermarket are more than likely canned by desperate refugees who are not paid wages and work in appalling conditions. Which brings me to the next point that we just don’t know the truth behind so much, how can we determine a genuine article?

Do the maths – if you buy a new t-shirt for $5, chances are it’s not good.

If you know the amount of water involved in processing the cotton to make the t-shirt, you’d be astounded.

Then someone has to make it.

The pieces are cut in bulk so that’s ok but a person has to sew it up.

Then it has to travel to wherever it is being distributed.

I ask myself, what is that person being paid?

The fabric must be very low grade to begin with and the dyeing process must be very wasteful because it costs money to treat your waste properly.

I would love to be proven wrong but I would imagine the chemical treatments are just pumped out into the waterways because that’s the cheapest way to get rid of it and to sell t-shirts at that price you have to do everything as cheaply as possible.

So, cost is usually the greatest indicator of just how bad a product is. But don’t be fooled either, many brands can charge the same low cost t-shirt at $99 instead of $5, simply because of the brand power.

So then how do you know?

This creates the opportunity to ask more questions.

More and more we are being to exposed to the back story of brands and companies.

My rule on this is, if there is no story and no way to find out, then pause on the purchase until you do know.

(In regards to the t-shirt, a good quality one will feel completely different!)

I usually settle on brands and companies that I feel secure with and stick to them, it makes things a lot simpler.

I don’t buy on price unless its unavoidable. I go without until I can buy a quality item.

Here’s some proof that buying cheap is not the same as saving money.

I bought a pair of NZ Made Linen pants in Jan 2009 which cost $500 (ouch!). I can’t do that very often but I still wear them! They are still the best pair of linen pants I own. I have had to buy other pants in the last nine years as I need more than one pair but they have come and gone. They would have cost anywhere between $50-$150. I bought two linen pairs a year ago to wear to work, on sale at $50 and they are out of shape now so they have been down-graded to weekend ‘sloppy’ pants.

Here’s the actual cost.

2009 – Spent $500 on Linen pants.

(one pair pants) $500 / 9 = $55 per year – Still in use

2010-2017 – Two pairs cheaper pants each year costing an average of $70.

(14 pairs pants) $980 / 7 = $140 per year – I can wear one pair of jeans to work out of all these pants, some I still wear but are not as comfortable. My linen ones I wear all week until I have to wash them.

This may seem complicated but if I’d bought 2-3 more better quality pants out of the $980 I’ve used on cheap ones I’d still have them and they would not be in a land fill (I do recycle my clothes but think it’s better to buy less than recycle, only a small percentage gets recycled).

In Summary – A sustainable life is one where you are consciously aware of the impact all your actions have on the world around you. You are courageous enough to make some changes not just for yourself but for the planet.

Wayne Thieband - Boston Cremes 1962

(Wayne Thieband - Boston Cremes 1962)


Secondly – Money spent is the outcome of desires, needs and wants. Changing the behaviour or intention on how we spend can create the outcome of peace.

What triggers your spending behaviours?

The subject of emotions and spending behaviours is huge and I’m not going to use up your time on this, however we all have triggers and emotions that are a catalyst for buying things. When you have some awareness of where things come from, how they are made then it can really help slow down those impulse purchases. Your moral code is more developed because you are allowing the right information to be known to you. You have allowed yourself to look at the bigger picture when you are in the marketplace. Perhaps you just think twice about packaging. That’s a good place to start. Making mental calculations when looking at price from a holistic point of view – remember ‘cheap isn’t the same as saving money’.

Knowing the power of your emotions.

Emotions are strong, and could cause you to buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Try to think of Value in terms of, helping communities, adding value to your life, supporting an ethical business or brand or something of real beauty. Again, my linen pants are a good example of ‘less is more’.

Thirdly – We tend to separate our values with the way we actually live. For example, we want a better world but we will buy the cheapest item because it’s the cheapest.

There is no such thing as cheap. Everything has a cost.

The sacrifice.

You can’t say you are worried about straws in the ocean if you buy plastic straws every time you have a party.

We know that to have one thing, we sacrifice another. For more than 20 years I have been trying to change my life and help world peace through what I make and what I buy. As an artist, I make things, images, products and experiences. I am aware that what we buy affects the environment.

When I developed my range of fabrics I decided to use only sustainable fabrics, no plastic in my packaging, and everything made locally where possible.  I use Organic cotton, Hemp or consciously sourced Linen.

This has meant, slow growth and a very humble life with not much opportunity for shopping! However, I buy well and buy quality and it lasts and I don’t have much in my home that doesn’t deserve to be there. The things I create I do with the intention of sharing this way of living. My customers aren’t just customers, I see them as comrades in the fight for a happy world. I see them as a way to share my appreciation of life itself.

I want to thank you for reading! I’d also love your comments or thoughts on how as consumers we can become more conscious and sustainable.


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