NEW YEAR

NEW CONSYOUMER

CONSIDERED LIVING

Hi There!

If you’ve found your way to this page of resources for the first time, I just wanted to say a big (warm and summery) welcome.

Each January here at Sustainability in Style we explore the reoccurring series New Year, New ConsYOUmer. This theme began way back when this site was my personal blog. It was born from my interpretation of the common self-improvement catch cry of ‘New Year, New You’. A slogan that’s founded in a desire for New Year’s resolve to change for the better. As part of my (at the time of inception) personal exploration of Sustainable living, I changed the narrative of the slogan to look at the way I was consuming the world around me, from fashion to waste, to how I was interacting with the natural surroundings on my daily walk. Resources on this page reflect the diversity of this interpretation.

We here at Sustainability in Style believe that you can be a ‘new’ you this year if you choose to do so. However, we think you’re pretty perfect just as you are, and that the resolutions or goals aside, the new year can be harnessed as an opportunity for mindful reflection on how you interact with the world around you.

Welcome the New Year with authenticity and big love. 

Katie

MINDFUL CHARITY

When we think about consuming mindfully from a Sustainably Stylish perspective, the idea of gifting to charity or supporting charity organisations will likely spring to mind. This post was the result of meandering research over one of the early New Year, New ConsYOUMer series. It breaks our desire to give to charity down to eight parts and will have you contemplating your desire to give in a whole new light.

EIGHT LEVELS

OF CHARITY

Hi… Katie here, this post was created when Sustainability in Style was a personal blog, which means that the content is written in the first person. Just so you know, that first-person perspective was me, Katie, founder of Sustainability in Style. We’ve revived this content as part of our New Year, New ConsYOUmer series as it provides a different way of considering how you give.

CHARITY AND YOU

While researching for the ‘New Year, New ConsYOUmer’ series that is currently focusing (in 2015 when this content first ran as a post) on redefining the measures of success to include ‘well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving’ as a third ‘metric’ for money and power (check out this post for more info) I came across this hierarchy of giving by a Jewish sage
According to Moses Maimonides there are eight levels to charitable giving. These levels are:

  • The entry level of giving is when donations are given grudgingly. An example might be when a canvasser harasses you in the street for donations while you are trying to do your grocery shopping and you give money to get them to leave you alone.
  • The seventh level is the act of giving a little- less than one should- but doing so with cheer. This could be donating your change from your coffee to the charity box at the register. You know that thirty cents won’t do too much but it’s better put to use at the wildlife rescue centre than it is rolling around your handbag.
  • The sixth level is donating to the poor when you are asked directly. Giving to the man who sits near your bus stop every morning and asks you directly for money.
  • The fifth level of charity is giving without being asked.
  • The fourth level is giving when the recipient is aware of the donors identity but you aren’t aware of the identity of the recipient. The perfect example of this is the easter Children’s Hospital appeal where your donations are televised and all who are watching to see, and the hospital itself know that you donated, but you have no real idea who will end up benefiting from your funds.
  • The third level is when you are aware of where your charity is being given but the recipient is unaware of the source. An example of this would be placing an envelope of cash into your struggling neighbours mailbox.
  • The second level of giving sees that the donor and recipient are totally unknown to each other, just like blood donors and blood transfusion recipients.
  • The highest level of giving is to sustain a person before they become impoverished. This could be offering gifts in a dignified manner, providing them funds or a loan, or by assisting in their education or helping them find employment.
From past fundraising attempts, I have always experienced a level of doubt when encouraging others to give for a cause. Not because I don’t appreciate the cause itself, more that I feel that ‘everyone is fighting their own battles’ and have felt rude asking them to assist in another. Years ago I ran a large scale fundraiser effort in memory of a friend and really struggled with the emotions that I experienced when asking for donations (especially when people gave on the ‘first level’ of the hierarchy, begrudgingly).

INFORMATION TO ACTION

This wisdom is useful in assessing how we choose to give. The following are some examples on how you might give based on your Values Motivator.
ANIMAL WELFARE AND COMPASSION
The following are examples of how you might consider giving based on your Values Motivator category. 

  • Giving to a rescue charity who ask for money at the traffic lights.
  • Using a tap and go donation prompt at your local Vegan café while lunching with friends.
  • Being asked via crowdsourcing to donate to for a friend’s pets surgery bill.
  • Giving money to the wildlife rescue hospital at your local zoo so the donation will immortalise your name in a brick footpath. You don’t know what your donation funded but it will immortalise your name. 
  • Donating a large pile of dog food to your local animal shelter in an anonymous drop-off bin.  
  • Donating a homemade pouch for wildlife to a charity that your friend is involved with sees you donating to an unknown recipient and the gift arriving from an unknown source.
  • To gift from the highest level might be to preserve habitat as is, meaning that animal species do not become impoverished or need habitat. For domestic animals, this might mean neutering pets to ensure they do not end up with litters of offspring that become unwanted.  
SOCIAL EQUALITY
The following are examples of how you might consider giving based on your Values Motivator category. 

  • A grudging gift could be buying a charity chocolate that you don’t want to eat from a child who asks for a donation for their school fundraiser.  
  • You might give a small donation from your coin purse (despite a wad of notes in your wallet) to a social charity fundraiser you appreciate that’s canvassing for donations in your local shopping centre.
  • You may give to someone who asks you directly for money for their social enterprise.
  • You give a gift to a mental health support service without being asked.
  • A sperm donation to a childless couple struggling to conceive is an example of the recipients knowing about some (or all) of the details of the giver.
  • Supporting a bursary or scholarship for education where you choose the recipient, but they do not know who the giver was.  
  • A random act of pay-it-forward kindness is an example of the second level of gifting. You might pay for the next persons coffee, but they will never know who the kind stranger was.
  • Offering yourself as a listening ear to a friend or acquaintance can be a way to help someone BEFORE they need it. Sharing with others is a great way to bounce ideas from each other and mitigate potential problems.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
The following are examples of how you might consider giving based on your Values Motivator category. 

  • You might be asked to give your time to a tree-planting because you promised to and you have to go despite the unbearably hot weather and an invite to a beach outing.
  • There is an anti-logging petition circulated that you sign. It makes you feel good. Signing it provides links to more petitions that you know you would want to sign, but you close your computer and don’t invest any more time into it.
  • A conservation charity asks for your donation and you give to them.
  • You gift a parcel of land for a community garden in your will.
  • Donating a large sum of money to a bushfire appeal where your donation is acknowledged on their social media pages, but you do not know where it will be spent in the recovery process.
  • There’s excess produce in your garden so you give it to a food co-op that will rehome it anonymously to a family in need.
  • You place your old books in a free street library. You do not know where they will end up and you will never know who left the book that you selected to take home with you.
  • You purchase a home on bushland and choose to preserve the natural landscape as a natural ecosystem and land for wildlife.
SIMPLICITY AND STREAMLINED LIFESTYLE
The following are examples of how you might consider giving based on your Values Motivator category. 

  • Giving to a door knocking charity that interrupts you (perhaps during your busy evening routine of putting the kids to bed) so they will leave quickly.
  • Providing a store-bought collection of cookies to the bake sale because you feel you are too busy to cook. You are happy to be providing a donation but know you could have provided differently.
  • A friend asks you to help them apply for a job and you agree.
  • You donate your organisational and management skills to help plan the school fundraiser fete.
  • There’s a fundraiser at work for a co-worker’s ill child. You do not know the person but write a card to them and include a financial donation.
  • You give a collection of high-quality workwear to a charity you support that helps dress jobseekers for interviews.
  • A co-worker organises a Christmas gift drive for children in need. You drop gifts on your co-workers desk with no clue as to where they are going.
  • You choose to become an Angel Investor for a social enterprise that offers micro loans to small artisan groups in developing countries.

 

GET YOUR FREE WORKSHEET

This is your New Year, New ConsYOUmer worksheet designed to get you thinking about how you can take action in Sustainable Style this year. We take your big-picture ideas and simplify them down into smaller ‘go-for-it’ actionable steps!

READ: BOOK CLUB

Have you heard about our live book club meet ups? They began in 2020 as a way to connect (and stay sane) during the pandemic. We meet up once a week for an hour via Zoom, and talk about what’s happening in our lives, what we learned from this week’s reading (and associated activities) and how our learning influences our Sustainably Stylish Self. Book club attendees get access to private book club content course pages with prompts, activities and additional sustainability focused readings. Each week our Zoom catch up is summarised in a video recording (we don’t record the live zoom because it’s your private discussion group) so that any wonderful revelations can be shared with those joining in at a later date.

 The best part about our Read: Book Club Live is that it’s totally free to join.

 Once our book club sessions are complete, the course content will be available as a ‘work-at-your-own-pace’ offering in our members site launching in 2021. Enabling our members to read through solo or organise a group with some other Mindful Living HQ members.

Find out about our latest Book Club session here. 

 KISS ECO-OVERWHELM GOODBYE

Has the New Year got you feeling a bit stressed out? We’ve got you covered with FREE resources to help you combat eco-overwhelm.

Click here to find out about our unique approach to caring for your Sustainable Self (including our eight-part toolkit) as you live life in Sustainable Style.

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