Spend it forward, learn how you can offset your social and environmental impact to our planet by shopping mindful with AmazonSmile.
As everyone in California is well aware, we’ve had a much needed, and wet, rain season this winter. The rain has been nothing less than a blessing – the state is almost out of the drought.
On my recent road trip to Palm Springs with my friend Danny from New Zealand, I had one of my first opportunities for some packing for nomadic living and travel. Our adventure was during some of the most intense rains in February.
During the trip, I realized I had packed ill-prepared for the rain and along the way learned from Danny the importance of wearing alternatives to cotton-based fabric while traveling. It’s just one of those little things I hadn’t thought much about before (even having been born and raised in Oregon).
Our first day in Palm Springs, he drove us over to the nearby outlet mall. We explored some of the outdoor clothing stores (including North Face, Columbia Sportswear, among others). During our shopping excursion, he taught me a few tricks to finding warmer and drier clothing nomadic living.
For instance, when browsing sweaters on the rack, stick your hand up the sleeve, if your hand feels warm, it’s a safe bet it’ll do the job. Also, Danny taught me the difference in materials and best use scenarios – such as shirts for staying cool while jogging versus shirts for staying warm while hiking.
Cautious with my spending on the trip, I decided to wait until the next leg of my journey to Bakersfield to spend any money on clothing. While there, I stayed on the couch at my friends’ house – Jason and Saul.
Not having a car, I took an Uber to nearby outdoor clothing stores. The outing allowed me to feel some of the fabrics in the pants, shirts, shoes, and jackets. Unfortunately, much of the selection at each of the stores was sorely disappointing and cost of three Uber rides for a round trip, made the outing a waste of time and money.
As I continue on this mindful journey to nomadic living, I’m trying to become more conscious of my spending habits. In addition to the costs and environmental impact of getting around in Uber, I’m trying to be more careful where, and with whom, I’m spending money. Besides, I’m not a huge fan of the mind-numbing experience of shopping in crowded, over-priced, department stores or malls.
Researching Socially-Conscious and Earth-Friendly Companies
In the past few months, I’ve spent a fair amount of my time researching socially-conscious and Earth-friendly companies that produce eco-friendly travel gear – include Sherpa Adventure Gear, KEEN Footwear, Marmot, Osprey Packs, Sorel, and others.
In addition to finding warm, comfortable, and water-resistant clothing for traveling, I am also trying to mindfully-shop with eco-friendly companies. Living part-time at my parent’s house, couch-surfing with friends, and staying at dog-friendly hotels, it can be a challenge to get to around without a car. In some cases, finding local eco-friendly stores that sell travel adventure gear isn’t always easy. Enter shopping on Amazon…
Shopping on Amazon for Eco-Friendly Travel Gear
One mindful-company I’ve learned about, Patagonia, states on their website that they do not pose as the model of a responsible company. While they do everything possible they can, they are mindful and conscious of their environmental and social responsibilities. Shopping on Amazon from companies like Patagonia, I feel better that I’m choosing products made by socially-conscious and environmentally-responsible companies. But then it got me to thinking, what about Amazon itself.
Obviously, shopping on Amazon, just like almost everything else we humans seem to do has a negative impact on our planet – even if on a minuscule level. From ordering, checkout, to fulfillment, and shipping (especially shipping), I am aware my shopping activities on Amazon still have, to one extent or another, a negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, I’ve discovered, Amazon is also a mindful company aware of their environmental responsibilities.
So, until someone finally invents a real world Star Trek transporter, beaming products from fulfillment centers directly to my current location, I take into account Amazon’s environment impact offset efforts. By offsetting efforts, companies like Amazon are helping to decrease our overall negative impact. By shopping through Amazon, we can mindfully-shop knowing Amazon is working in many areas to offset their social and environmental-impact.
Below are several of Amazon’s social and environmental initiatives:
- Currently, Amazon is on track to being powered by 50% renewable energy by the end of 2017. As of March 2017, they’ve begun hosting solar installations on the rooftops of their fulfillment and sortation centers.
- In April 2016, Amazon joined Apple, Google, and Microsoft in support of the continued implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
- Amazon is working with Goodwill® to make donating easier for all of us. Using the Give Back Box program, a prepared shipping service, you can donate items you no longer need to Goodwill, bring new life back to your empty Amazon box.
“Spend It Forward” and Give Back Even More with AmazonSmile
According to their website, “AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.” Once you’ve signed in at smile.amazon.com with your Amazon account, you find the same prices, with added perk that Amazon will donate a portion (approximately 0.5%) of the purchase to the charitable organization of your choice.
- Many of the products on Amazon are eligible for donations. To ensure a product is eligible, look for “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. At any time, you can change which charitable organization your donation will go.
- To be sure you’re donation is applied using AmazonSmile, be sure to bookmark smile.amazon.com. Then, just make sure you’re logged in there before completing your purchase.
To start using AmazonSmile, visit smile.amazon.com and log in with your existing Amazon.com account.
Nomadic Living and Shopping Mindful with AmazonSmile
Transitioning to a nomadic life, being mindful and preparedness, become essential skills for travel. While shopping online is indeed convenient and comfortable, by choosing to shop mindfully from socially-conscious and eco-friendly companies who are aware of their responsibilities, each of us has an opportunity to decrease our negative impact on the planet.
For now, there’s no getting around all the negative impacts of package fulfillment and shipping, even choosing to order through Amazon instead of driving to a department store. Fortunately, we can offset our overall impact on the planet with mindful efforts like shopping mindfully with companies like Amazon.
Are you shopping mindful? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you, Jason