Is it natural? Is it ethical? Is it sustainable? Is it safe?
These are the questions I ask myself before I buy or use a product. I want to protect the earth, and I also want to protect myself.
There are of course dictionary definitions for all these terms and hard-line truths, but each person needs to decide their limits and loyalty.
Natural is naturally occurring. Somewhere on earth, the mineral, oil, or substance exists and can be used unaltered. I am also willing to use manufactured equivalents of naturally occurring substances, since I feel like the earth has a system in place to deal with them, because they are familiar to her. Moderation is key.
Natural does not mean ethical, sustainable, or safe. The farming of natural products can cause suffering, destroy the habitat of people and animals, and some are also extremely toxic.
Ethical and sustainable go hand in hand. It is collaboration, humans with one another, and humans with the earth. Do the farmers get paid fair wages? Are the homes of people and animals protected? Is it local? Is it biodegradable? Is it pollutant? I always ask myself whether I would want to swim in a river of what I pour down my drain.
Safe is healthy and helpful. I try to be knowledgeable about the mental and physical impact of the products I consume and apply. I not only avoid things that are dangerous, but also actively try to seek things that promote health and energy.
I don’t always find a good balance, and I don’t always stick to my principles, especially the safe part (get in ma mouth, sugar!). But I strive for the ideal, and the ideal is symbiosis.