While the tops down approach of rewilding our governments and corporations (see last week’s blog) is a necessary step on the path to achieving a sustainable existence. It is not enough. We also need individual actions. We must actively participate if the change we desire is to manifest.

We have become a culture of use and discard, where we produce a lot of disposable, low quality items and then use them just a few times. It is a system out of balance where we simply produce too much stuff that is trashed too quickly. There is no regard for where those things go when we are finished with them. Out of sight is out of mind.

Apparel is a particularly significant industry in this rapid consumption model. Our desire to have the latest fashion has resulted in a fast production cycle where mass retailers produce inexpensive clothing to capitalize on trends before they pass. Even then, garments still become obsolete before their useful life has been consumed. Much more clothing is produced than is realistically needed. This pattern is repeated across many, many sectors of the economy.

The solution would seem to be consuming less and utilizing products longer; resulting in less production, but of a much higher quality. One way to do this is through less mass manufacturing and more individual production. There is an opportunity for people to invest their passion in doing what they love and producing a high quality product worthy of a much longer life. These cottage industries would produce merchandise that people truly value and enjoy owning.

Back to the apparel example, where consuming less and utilizing garments longer requires a change in the way we view our wardrobe. It becomes more about personal style than current fashion. It’s a spiritual solution! As we grow more comfortable in the individuality of who we really are, we will naturally want to express our uniqueness, relying less on current fashion trends and more on the expression of our own personal style. As a result, we can look at our wardrobe over a longer term and invest each season in a few, high quality items. Local designers and seamstresses will become our source for well-made and more unique clothing than can be found in the endless racks at the local mall.

Along the way, personal relationships are built and our experience is enriched. The dressmaker buys bread from the local baker and produce from a local farmer. Soon, a village community of cottage industries is supporting the local economy from the bottom up.

This cottage industry, village community approach is not limited to small, rural regions of the world; it can work as effectively in an urban neighborhood like the West Village of Manhattan. Individual effort can drive change as these ideas take hold and naturally begin to grow. We already are what we desire to be.

The seemingly small action of living authentically and purposely will sustain us all.

Author's Bio: 

Barry Lipscomb is a writer, healer and mentor with a mission to empower people to reach their potential. Through a practice of Focalizing, Chakra Cleansing, Blessings and Rituals, he works with clients to heal what prevents them from realizing their potential, mentor them along their journey to a more meaningful life and explore the possibilities for a successful, prosperous and abundant future, creating a more sustainable life for his clients and our world. For more information visit www.barrylipscomb.com