This Action Mandala suggests shopping values, certifications, and trends that can help you express your values with your money.
How To Use The Kind Shopping Action Mandala
The idea of our Kind Shopping Star Mandalas is to help guide you towards shopping more compassionately.
Start with The Compassionate Shopping Essentials Mandala. (You can purchase it emblazoned on a Tote Bag: here.) Or, simply chose a product that you wish to purchase. Then, use the Action Mandala above to find ways to make your decision more healthy, sustainable, and/or just.
When you think of an item you need, see if you can find something to buy that meets one or more of the criteria presented on the star. The middle of the star represents the best way to find something: Grow it or make it yourself. If you can’t get it that way, then you will want to buy it. It would be great if you could find items to purchase that meet the highest ideals of all 5 stars. Though, compassionate shopping is about starting to care, and about doing your best. See if you can find items that meet one or two criteria. Then, gradually add to the areas of compassionate shopping that you focus on with every purchase.
Each of us is on a path towards living and consuming in a more sustainable and compassionate way. The compassionate shopping mandalas are a way to visualize the shopping choices you are making, and to notice the work you are doing towards becoming a more compassionate shopper.
The Six Areas of Compassionate Shopping Action:
1. Least Impact Zone Don’t even shop! Reduce, Reuse, Recyle. Do-It-Yourself. Grow-It-Yourself. Handmade.
2. Shop Local. Where is this item, or this food coming from? Shopping locally supports your own community. If you try to buy items that were made in a place closest to you, you are also saving the cost and pollution of delivering them. Buying local food means the food is fresher, went through less hands, and supports local farmers.
3. Shop Fair Trade or Union. Was this item made with respect for workers rights and human life? Buying products that are union made supports workers in their right to decent working conditions. Looking for products with the description “Fair Trade” is another way to respect workers. (Note that Fair Trade also incorporates other values, such as respect for the environment. Some info at www.fairtradefederation.org.)
4. Think Small — Small Business, Cooperatives, etc. Was this item produced through fair business practices? (This goal is also connected to the second criteria.) Big corporations are proving to be a problem for the world. Seeking out smaller businesses, local businesses, and family businesses is a way to support sustainable growth, and to trade money with people closer to your interests and community. Cooperative Businesses are a wonderful ideal, where a handful of workers own their own business. Nonprofit organizations often have a nobler mission than simply collecting money. There may be a nonprofit whose work you admire that sells products you need. (While nonprofits are often more worthy entities, and have received some approvals to serve, you should still consider their mission yourself, or consider doing research at Guide Star.)
5. Compassion for animals. Was this item made with respect for the life of animals? There are various ways to show compassion for animals — it’s not only about being a vegetarian. You could seek out products made with alternatives to leather. You could use health and beauty products which are not tested on animals. You could decide to become vegetarian or vegan.
There is a lot to be said for choosing to be vegetarian or vegan. Many people choose this option to be compassionate to animals, and to use less of the world’s resources. An excellent book, which offers a gentle transition to a vegetarian lifestyle is The Gradual Vegetarian by Lisa Tracy.
6. Organic. Is this item made with as few chemicals as possible, so that it is better for you, the people who must make it, and the environment?
Currently, the word “organic” is the best way to find food that is grown in a healthy and authentic manner. The word or label “natural” on food products, gives much less assurance that the food is pure. Still, with the idea of “natural is better” in mind, you can start by buying fresh food and produce, with the least amount of processing. And, you can consider looking at the ingredients and ruling out items with artificial flavors, artificial colors, genetically modified ingredients, or chemicals with long names.
You can also purchase clothing and towels with the “organic” label. Chosing these items keeps chemicals away from you. And, it also means that less chemicals are involved in production, and less farmers and workers are exposed to chemical processes.
You can purchase a “Shop With Compassion” Tote Bag,
with this Action Mandala as a reminder,
at the Peace Couple Cafe Press Shop:
Question to ask as you implement compassionate shopping
with the Shopping Action Mandala:
Which of these criteria have you used before?
Which criteria do you think are the easiest to accomplish?
Which criteria do you think are the most difficult to accomplish?
What are the hurdles you face in meeting each of the criteria?
Which criteria do you think are the most important?
Is there a certain store or a certain shopping area where it is easier to find products that meet these criteria?
If you can’t find items locally, and would like to find places on-line to practice compassionate shopping, please consider using the Peace Couple Shop: here
You do not pay extra for the items you purchase through us. And, we get a credit that supports the work put into this website. Thanks for your support!