A guide to conscious consumption: Q&A with Sarah Marie Vera
As part of the Under_Label guide to conscious consumption, I reached out to Sarah Marie Vera (@sarahmarievera) founder of CONSIDERED Magazine (@consideredmag) to ask her to share an insight into her motivations and daily practises for living in a more considered way.
CONSIDERED Magazine is an independent, bi-annual print magazine which works with a community of creatives and artisans to share and inspire a sustainable, mindful lifestyle.
What does it mean to you to consume consciously? For me, conscious consumption starts with asking whether or not we need to consume something at all. Our needs vs wants have become so interwoven in today’s society with convenient shopping means and ‘must-have’ messaging by brands at large. When we ask ourselves whether or not we actually need something or whether we want it instead, we become more mindful of the drivers behind our consumption decision-making and can therefore make more conscious choices. I think this is a really important distinction.
Where did your journey with conscious consumption begin? My journey started at a very young age. Coming from a humble family set-up, we were taught to value and be grateful for what we had - whether that was a jumper knitted by my mother over a couple of weeks or a pot of soup made by my grandmother. I began to understand the effort and resources involved in making things and an appreciation of being mindful about what I bought, used and own grew from there.
How does it fit within your daily life? I feel better in my day-to-day life with minimal surroundings - my conscious consumption choices naturally mean I don’t tend to have a lot of ‘stuff’. This helps me feel grounded and less things mean less things to tidy which is always a plus! I’m particular about what comes into my home for that reason. When buying essentials, food etc, I opt for the most sustainable option where possible - I support my local organic shop weekly then top up at the larger supermarket, look for plastic free and organic where available, use environmentally-friendly body care and cleaning products. When I do make non-essential purchases they tend to be practical and if not second hand, purchased from a business whose ethics I admire. I also like to support local businesses where I can.
Why do you feel it’s important to lead a more considered, mindful lifestyle?
It’s so important for many reasons - the impact that being more mindful can have on our well being is proven and great. When we are mindful we can better appreciate the role we play in the bigger picture. We know enough these days about how our habits can make a difference to the environment and we have the power to change what brands offer us by changing our consumption habits to ones that are less damaging for people and planet.
Share one influence, one daily ritual, and one thing that sparks joy for you. There have been many influences over the years that have driven me to me more mindful in how I consume - aside from my upbringing, documentaries such as Cowspiracy and The True Cost really grabbed me in terms of how our daily habits have such a ripple effect on the environment and supply chain standards. One daily ritual at this time of year is opening the patio doors to the back garden first thing in the morning so I can hear the birds and allow a gentle breeze into the kitchen and making a hot drink - either a matcha, hot water and lemon or a tea, and just sitting for a few minutes before going to get ready and start the day. One thing that sparks joy at the moment is daily walks in the woodlands with my dog.
What would be your top tip for leading a more thoughtful, considered life?
Keep things simple.