The Ultimate New Years Resolution: First, Do No Harm

Posted on December 19, 2019


Life in the Boomer Lane prides herself in being the caring type. She is guided by strong morals and ethics. She values people over things. She volunteers. She donates money to people and causes that do good in the world. She is impressed with people who aren’t impressed with themselves. She is most impressed with people who seek to leave this world a better place than when they entered it.

That said, she has been quite concerned, lately, to find out that some of the things she holds near and dear to her are doing great damage to people and to the planet. She spends time teaching immigrants to speak English, while she wears clothing that harms countless people in the countries from which those students have come. She hosts many do-good gatherings at her house, presenting food and using plates and utensils that harm the environment.

This year, she has set aside her tried-and-true goals of losing weight, going to the gym on a more regular basis, and any number of items that will benefit her health and well-being. Instead, she will, this year focus out. She will, no matter the activity, have one goal: First, do no harm. It’s tougher than it seems, but easier than one might fear.

She knows that any change in behavior has a range of possibilities. One can lose weight by basically stopping eating or one can lose weight by being sensible about what one shoves into ones mouth. Here, then are LBL’s goals for 2020. LBL, herself, is still debating whether to go cold turkey on all this or adopt a more gradual approach

1. LBL will not wear clothing that harms people and/or the environment. This means not patronizing businesses that sell “fast fashion,” clothing that is cheap/stylish/ever-changing. Think Old Navy, Gap, Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, Topshop and anything from China. For those readers who are not familiar with the phrase “fast fashion,” LBL advises you to see the film, “The True Cost.” Don’t worry: There are lots of other clothing choices that don’t use slave labor or spew toxic chemicals into people’s water supplies.

2. LBL will not buy anything that is packaged in heavy plastic containers or that contains plastic in the manufacture. With a minimal amount of online searching, LBL has discovered detergent that is sold in pods (Dropps, and many, many more brands), shampoo sold in bars instead of bottles or sold in refillable bottles (Ethique, Lush and many, many more brands). Readers can take a munute to read National Geographic’s article on this.

3. LBL will not buy products that are made with toxins, instead of biodegradeable cleaners (like Grove Collaberative,) conveniently delivered-to-your-door). There are tons of these products out there.

4. LBL will not buy paper products that aren’t biodegradeable. She will buy paper products that are made from recycled paper. She will buy paper products that are compostible. She will buy paper products that are tree-free (sugarcane and bamboo grass). This includes paper plates/cups/napkins/paper towels/wrapping paper. She is already devoted to “Who Gives A Crap” toilet paper, made from recycled paper. And, as though that’s not enough, the folks at Crap give 25% of their profits to build toilets for people who don’t have them. She also buys from Brandless, which sells a ton of products that don’t harm the planet or your wallet.

5. LBL will stop eating meat. OK, maybe not. But she wil at least keep reminding herself that even the meat that is “organic,” “free-range,” and contains any other touchie-feelie words printed on the package is still cruel to animals. “But wait,” you say. What about “certified humane” meat? According to PETA, there is no such thing as “humane.” LBL has been told that there are small farms that do sell humanely raised and slaughtered meat. She will look for those. But maybe the best she can do is to try to lower her consumption of meat, even just a bit.

Here’s the bottom line. LBL doesn’t want to become a hemp-wearing activist who only eats berries that have dropped to the ground. She loves a good burger and cute shoes and anything that promises to grow her eyelashes. But she is aware that the growing-larger-by-the-day beast of consumerism is getting better and better at selling her products that, beneath the glitzy veneer of their packaging and advertising and taste, is doing nobody any good at all. LBL simply wants to become a bit more conscious about the impact that what she consumes has on others and on the planet.

She’s also more and more conscious that some beloved products are produced by companies whose political ethics are not in alignment with her vision of a fair and just world. But that will be saved for a later blog post. For now, she will go back to searching for products that serve her, serve the planet, and actually do make her eyelashes longer.

LBL believes that voting is a powerful way to make our voices heard. And so is the decision as to how we spend our dollars. That is her goal for 2020.