Lately, positivity seems like a scarce resource. There always seems to be a breaking news report of some kind of disaster, attack, or previously unknown issue within some facet of our world. However, with all the negativity going on in the world, I think now is the time to talk about some ways to combat some negativity. Sadly, superheroes and superpowers aren't part of our world, and we can't influence cities or millions of lives directly, as much as we would love to. However, we can all still bring some light and positive energy into this world by changing small things in our life, that both send a message to those negative issues in our world or can help us overcome and change the problems our world is facing.
A personal step I've taken has been difficult, and that's been cutting out fast fashion. The true behind-the-scenes workings of fast fashion are growing more and more prominent within the public sphere, and have made me question what I'm willing to ignore in the name of a good deal. Before, I was glad to shop at stores like Forever 21 for their deals, and their on-trend clothes. However, after learning about their far from ethical methods in order to make and sell their clothes at these low prices, I've found myself less drawn in by their sales and styles and instead opting to shop places with more visible and ethical production practices. I'm aware what I'm doing isn't going to end all of the underpaid labor going into the clothes on the sales racks, but I'm glad I stopped my contribution to that system, however small. As a college kid, it can be difficult to get into ethics when buying clothes or any goods, but I definitely recommend the app/website "Good On You." They not only help you discover the impact brands have on different aspects of our world, but they also have some really helpful posts. One I always go to is buying ethically on a college budget, and there are so many that can help people with different incomes and styles find clothing that is made by brands truly trying to make the fashion industry more visibly ethical.
There's a change I'm currently struggling with myself, but that I've seen so many people make over the new year that I think is really amazing. Working at a coffee shop, we use a lot of paper cups, plastic cups, and plastic straws which only get thrown away after one use. However, I'm lucky to work for a company that encourages people to bring in their own mugs or to reuse cups, offering a discount on drinks if they do so. When it comes to water bottles, I never struggled with this—in fact, my family has plenty of reusable water bottles in case any get lost. However, when it comes to reusable mugs and cups for other drinks, I've struggled a bit more, the straw department more. I'm trying to combat this though, despite how convenient plastic cups and straws are. Again, my singular choice to change this aspect of my day to day is not going to end the harm done on the environment, but I feel that stopping my personal contribution is a really good step I, or anyone, can take.
We can't change every aspect of our life or quit what we've been doing for years, cold turkey. There are people out there who truly love shopping at Forever 21 and stores like it or who don't like the idea of having to remember to wash out and bring a reusable mug, cup, or straw every time they plan on going to their local coffee shop. The ethics of a brand, or the impact of waste on the environment just truly aren't huge deals to some people, and that's okay. Regardless, taking the time to evaluate your beliefs and values, and change small parts of your life that directly come into the conflict with those values can bring a lot of good for yourself while also putting it out there into the world. The classic saying goes, "practice what you preach," and taking steps to really doing so in your everyday life can bring about a world of change. These changes may not end unjust labor, environmental issues, or anything large scale in a day, and they're not always easy for us to implement in our daily lives. Just taking the initiative to do so, however difficult, can bring about an amazing amount of positive energy and happiness into our lives, knowing we have stopped our contributions or our own negative impacts to harmful practices going on in our world.