Bec investigates how to eat ethically.
“Educate, Inspire, Empower”. The vision of consumewithcare.org rang familiar with me as it echoes the values of the work I do in Nepal. It’s a fantastic model from which to create change. Always keen to engage with other change makers, I was excited to learn more from Natalie Penn and Debbie Kertesz, founders of consumewithcare.org. The website is a platform aimed at creating a community of conscious consumers, working together to raise awareness on the impact our food choices have on animals, and change habits through sharing inspiration with others.
I thought I’d continue the spirit of Consume with Care by breaking down my questions into the same values:
Bec: Children tend to be far more open to change than adults, so our greatest potential for raising awareness and transforming this into changes in behaviour in relation to making animal-friendly food choices is with children. How would a conversation with your children on these issues look?
Nat & Debbie: Children are naturally inquisitive and because of the work we do our kids are often asking us questions about the food we eat and where it comes from. We try to walk a fine line to provide them with truthful answers while at the same time not shocking them with information that they are too young to process. We always try to make our messages around food positive, so they grow up with a love of good food and remain positive for the future. For example, rather than discussing with them the horrors of factory farming we talk with them about more humane alternatives that are out there that are better for the animals, better for us and better for our planet as a whole.
Bec: There is so much information out there on the internet these days – it can be difficult to know what to trust and how to apply it. What are your top tips for people sifting through information trying to find the answers to their questions to become more conscious consumers?
Nat & Debbie: You are so right! There is so much information out there and so many issues to consider that the act of shopping has become a minefield. Our top tips for becoming conscious consumers are:
- Choose quality over quantity. When it comes to meat, Australians eat three times the world average and double the amount recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Many people argue that buying ethically-farmed meat isn’t affordable but if we cut down on the amount we consume, it can be.
- Make changes one at a time. If you need to prioritise why not start with the eggs you buy and then maybe move on to chicken and pork products as these are all intensive industries where conventionally-raised animals are confined indoors in overcrowded conditions their entire lives.
- Believe in your power as a consumer. Read labels and learn about the food or products you purchase and how they contribute to bigger picture issues, positively or negatively.
Bec: Wave your magic wand over the world. What would your new world look like when it comes to the plight of animals and consumers’ behaviour?
Nat & Debbie: Wouldn’t that be nice! Our new world would be one where all animals raised for food were treated humanely, honoured with the five freedoms:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear and distress
This would essentially be a shift back to small scale farming, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. We would not be eating animal products at the rate we currently are.
Consumers would be fully informed about the products they buy, with clear and honest product labeling, and be motivated to spend their dollars only on what they need, making use of a plethora of amazing products that are environmentally sensitive and are not tested on animals.
Bec: A common response amongst the ‘I’m too busy’ generation is that this is all too hard/complicated/time consuming/expensive! Give us the Twitter version of the problem and the solution (you can have one Tweet for each!).
Nat & Debbie:
It’s all too hard:
Nothing is more important than your health and that of our precious planet. By making a few small changes you can make a big difference.
It’s all too complicated:
For animal products choose organic or certified free range or buy from the source so you can ask questions about how the animals were raised.
It’s too time consuming:
We must use time wisely and forever realise that time is always ripe to do what is right (thank you, Nelson Mandela)
Bec: If everyone who reads this article could take one step today that, when combined with everyone else’s step, would result in a significant difference, what would you like them to do today?
Natalie & Debbie: Our aim is to empower consumers to vote with their wallets. Your voice and your dollar count – you can bring about change.
Whatever you are passionate about, be it fair trade, child labour, animal welfare, excess packaging, toxins or GM, there is a way you can take a stand every time you make a purchase. Choose an issue, get informed and take action by shopping with a conscience. Prioritise animal welfare and environmental issues for the wellbeing of our planet, our children and our souls.
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Our current consumer habits are leading us down a path of self-destruction. We need to make changes and fast for a sustainable future for our children and our planet. Nat and Debbie have created a wonderful platform at www.consumewithcare.org, full of information and ideas. Join the conversation and share your favourite stories, foods, ideas. The power rests with each of us to make conscious choices.
Bec Ordish – Women’s Empowerment
Bec is passionate about learning and about life. She wears many hats through which she explores her passions, including running the Mitrataa Foundation, an organisation she founded 13 years ago to provide women and girls in Nepal with the skills and knowledge to empower themselves. Her dream is to be an inspirationalist – someone who inspires others to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams, to find their gift to the world. If we build on what is working, on our gifts and passions, we can tackle any problem faced by the world. She lives in Nepal with her two daughters, Nimu and Saraswoti. Bec can be contacted at www.mitrataa.org
Life Balance = Laughter. Cuddles. Conversations.