Let's talk about privilege and sustainability

 Well hello to you my reader chums! If you've been following me for a while, then you'd know over the last few years, I've been trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle and make those eco-friendly changes where I can in my day to day life, whether that's when I travel, in my beauty routine or how I dress.

Looking after the planet is very important to me; I want to live in a world knowing we're doing our best in caring for it so the earth has a future for the next generations to come. However, in making all these changes to my day-to-day life, I've come to more of a realisation of the privileged position I'm in to be able to do this.

Let's talk about privilege and sustainability

What is privilege?

Privilege in any sense is an advantage in life, whether that's your wealth status, gender, race, or class. Unfortunately, how society works is that some people hold privilege over others - and it's important to be aware of that, and how you can use that status for change.

The term privilege can be quite subjective but to me, it means I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I am privileged, as a lot of people have it worse than me. In terms of privilege and the purpose of this post, I'm wealthy in the sense I have a roof over my head, I travel freely, and can afford certain luxuries in order to choose a lifestyle I desire - and I'm very grateful for that.

How does my privilege affect lifestyle choices?

This leads me to this point, having money means more freedom and opportunity as it's one less (huge) thing to worry about. I'm not rich in any sense and have experienced being extremely poor with no luxuries in sight at all. However, my point being is that I have a taste of financial freedom and can choose the way I live my life because of that.

Sustainability is a privilege. In an ideal world, we'd all live a sustainable lifestyle and could invest in reusable items, organic clothes, and food, but for the masses, this isn't feasible. Many people live on a low wage bracket, more than we realise and that means they live in making ends meet and buy what they can afford. They do not have the financial freedom to make the lifestyle choice of being more eco-friendly.

Having financial freedom means the wider your opportunity and choosing the life you want to lead. It comes from a place of privilege me even saying that. A lot of people don't have the luxury of choosing their dream lifestyle because they have a family to raise, are single parents, have lost their job, or work more than one job just to cover their bills - and I can say this as my family was once in the position. If I look back to those days, my parents couldn't choose to be more sustainable by investing in organic cotton clothing, buying from local produce delis, or into eco-friendly beauty/house products. We bought what we could afford in the cheapest of shops - and that was okay. We had to live and many people are like that today, and shouldn't be shamed for choosing the non-eco option when it comes to their lifestyle.

Having privilege now is important for me to be aware of as when I preach about 'everyone should be more sustainable', I say it to interest those who have the means to go about leading that lifestyle. I can guarantee everyone wants to help the planet and do their bit but not everyone has the option to.

How can those with privilege lead the way with sustainability?

Living sustainability will most likely always be a thing of privilege, however, it's those who have privilege who can lead the way with that and be the one to make a change. I would love it to be more of an accessible thing for everyone but in this current climate, that won't be the case.

So, what can we do? I've written many posts about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle and there are lots of changes we can make - simple things you wouldn't even think about.

The first thing to do is research. Research when you're buying your clothes and beauty products from, read up the history of where you're sourcing food from, and how you travel about. See how anything you buy is made and the ethics about how it's made and how/where it has been imported from. Investing in local produce, reusing things as much as possible, and sharing transportation are a few key ways to start. It's about the ethical procedure behind certain industries and what they evolve to become - and how we can lessen that impact. For instance, fast fashion is not only unethical in how it's produced material-wise, it's also unethical by who it's made by. the people making those garments are paid a tiny amount for their job that isn't liveable. Then, you can look into ways to minimise the negative effect you have on the planet.

By those with privilege leading the way to make these environmental changes and investing in the products to make a lesser impact on the world, we are the ones helping with the worldly change - and it can lead the way and ultimately help those who don't have the accessibility to this way of life. I mean this in the sense that by taking actions into our own hands, we will lessen the impact on the earth and have a future for everyone in this world. We need to be the change we want to see - and help those who don't have the accessibility or opportunity to make the change they desire.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What is your opinion on this topic?

Thank you for reading <3

54 comments

  1. This is such an important aspect of the discussion that's often not acknowledged enough, thanks for talking about it! I often think about how shaming people isn't a good strategy - I'd say that sharing information and tips and encouraging to do little things instead of aiming for perfection tends to work better :- )

    Daniela
    www.danielanina.com

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  2. You always nail it with these kind of controversial posts. Very sensitively handled but I feel motivated to learn more about this and my role in the world in 2021. We're all in this together and your information will help so many!

    Rosie

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  3. I completely agree with what you said and I don't think it gets spoken enough. Privilege has a huge impact on sustainability as well as other topics and as you said it's not feasible for someone with a lower income and bigger family to take the same steps. I think sustainable products should be more affordable and we should ask for a change in these. Great post x

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  4. This is really interesting! It's so important not to shame people for not being sustainable- you don't know someone's specific circumstances and it can be an expensive choice sometimes. Thank you for sharing x

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I completely agree with you xx

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  5. This is a really interesting post and I never really thought about privilege from this aspect! It's so important to not shame people for not being sustainable, we can encourage, but we should never shame anyone! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  6. This was a really interesting post to read and it’s so important! I totally agree that privilege has a impact on sustainability! X

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  7. This is a wonderful post - thank you for speaking about an important topic! I agree with your statements about privilege being incredibly impactful on your ability to live sustainably. I hadn't really ever thought of it this way - so thank you for having me challenge my own thoughts about sustainability and the ability to participate in purchasing sustainable products. Great post!

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  8. This is a really interesting topic to talk about and I find it very informative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Lauren

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  9. I love that you recognize and talk about how sustainability and changing lifestyle choices relates to privilege! You're totally right, and it means that us with the privilege to do so have more responsibility to lead the change because we CAN.

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  10. I really enjoyed your post, it is such an open and honest perspective. I have also been working on living a more sustainable life, primarily through a plant-based diet. Thank you for drawing attention to this.

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  11. Love this post, and it has such an important message. I reminds me of the quote (think it was said by Emma Watson) 'As consumers we have so much power to change the world' x

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  12. You are right; one should not judge others for the way they live; nevertheless, educating people in producing less garbage, reusing things, maintaining a healthy weight, not wasting water not only saves them money but benefits the planet too.

    Great post, Della. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. I love this, while I'm not exactly rich I do see myself as privileged as I don't have to worry about money all the time, so this means I can spend a bit extra on reusable things. I always try to make eco friendly swaps when I can!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  14. Over the years as I've become more financially stable this has become so much more apparent to me. I've become much more aware of my choices and that even small actions can be impactful and meaningful. I agree too about not shaming people who can not afford more substainable options.

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    1. I'm really happy to hear about that and glad you agree xx

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  15. This is such a thought-provoking and important topic to talk about. I love that you highlight, as much as people want to be eco-friendly and sustainable, sometimes that just isn't the reality of what some can do.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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  16. What a wonderful post to read! I'm trying to change some of the things I do in order to help out our planet it's so important x

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  17. This is so important to talk about and think about. I have also been changing my lifestyle the last few years so that I adapt to more sustainable living throughout the whole year. But I also realise that I am privileged to even have this kind of lifestyle too. Thanks for sharing this great insight into privilege and sustainability xx

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment xx

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  18. This is a really interesting post & taken from an angle that I believe needs a bit more air time. I've definitely changed my lifestyle over the las couple of years, but that's because I've have the privilege to do so. Thanks for sharing this!

    Claire.X
    www.clairemac.co.uk

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  19. Totally agree with you & I think it's so easy to tell people to be more sustainable but you do need money to be sustainable x

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  20. Wow, I had never considered this topic before and you have addressed it with care and detail. It has given me a lot to think about :-)

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  21. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Sustainability is such an important topic and we can all make our little contribution with small everyday decissions.

    rogueandrouge.org

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  22. A bitter sweet post! It's certainly an unbalanced playing field. Made all the more so when where the most work is needed is with, the less privileged. And if we are able to do that, would reap the rewards sustainability wise.

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  23. YES! I totally agree with you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. I´m so happy to see that every year we all get a bit better in living more thoughtful and sustainable :)
    have a great start in the new week,
    Tiziana
    www.tizianaolbrich.de

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  24. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic, we do need to address the balance of things that are sustaibale becoming afordable for people on low incomes one day :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  25. This is such a great post. Its so important to highlight the fact that not everyone can afford to make the sustainable choices they might want to. I'd love to make so many more than I have done already, but I lack the funds to be able to do so.

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  26. Beautifully written post! Plus very important to remember.

    xoxo Olivia | http://www.oliviaandbeauty.com/

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  27. Wonderful post! I agree in some cases sustainability comes with privilege! I think everyone can make small changes for sure in terms of sustainability, tote bags instead of plastic bags, metal straws/no straws instead of plastic straws, walking where you can, bringing a water bottle instead of buying one, bringing your own take out containers etc but for bigger things, for sure comes with a price! Loved your input on this. Thanks for sharing xx

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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  28. Very well written topic totally agree with your views. Never thought of it that way but you are totally right

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  29. Well done handling a tricky topic. Thanks.

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