Ready for the weekend


I Just found an interesting post on social media and compassion that I wanted to share. Hope everyone will have a good day: What are your plans for the weekend?
What about doing something nice to a unknown person? Buy a ice-cream and give it to a random

The Power of Social Media in Ensuring Conscious Consumption

By Charles Immanuel Akhimien – Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

Conscious Consumption is a social movement which centres on the understanding that our consumption impacts ourselves, our communities and our world at large. It covers not just choosing what to buy and where to buy it from, but also how to use what we buy and dispose of waste. Simply put, it is becoming aware of what, when, where and how you consume.

On January 28, 2011, Egypt’s President, Hosni Mubarak, took the drastic and unprecedented step of shutting off the Internet for five days across the entire nation. His reason for doing so was simple: to halt the flow of communication and coordinated assembly taking place over social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. That Mubarak took this desperate step, which cost Egypt an estimated $90 million and outraged the international community, demonstrates the incredible power of social media.

Social media today is an exceedingly powerful tool in the 21st century. It has become more than just a fad, as it aids the starting of trends by influencing people to change their behaviours. In Nigeria for example, since late last year there has been a #teamnatural revolution that started via twitter when someone started tweeting about how potentially toxic hair relaxers are. It garnered a lot of support on twitter and various blogs up to the point that most young ladies I know no longer use relaxers but go with their natural hairs; furthermore everyone is blogging about natural hair and how to care for it, with relaxers and weaves fast going out of use.

An individual’s consumption especially with regards to food usually follows a cultural trend. Today food waste is as much a cultural thing as anything else, and as such it is imperative that in order to tackle this problem people develop a new culture, a new way of doing things. Social media is one such veritable tool through which this can be achieved. It is now the fastest way to send a message across to the younger populace.

The crux of social media is human interaction. Social media affords people the opportunity to interact. Social network sites like Facebook, Myspace and twitter are particularly popular, as are blogs, and they educate citizens on the correct choices regarding their consumptive patterns as well as monitor their progress because conscious consumption is a daily affair.

The Think.Eat.Save campaign introduced by the UNEP and the FAO is one that has spread rapidly through social media and has been taken up by green bloggers worldwide, with the aim of reducing drastically the amount of wasted food around the globe. The task is an enormous one, but it is my hope that in due time when a consumer is faced with the choice of purchasing food; the decision to buy is made consciously. A would-be shopper should ask himself/herself, “Is this food item really necessary? Is the quantity necessary? Is it made in line with my values? As a result, people will find themselves consuming consciously by supporting organic agriculture and avoiding food wastage. They will thus learn that to be consumption conscious is responsible.

Green apps are mobile phone apps that help to reduce waste. AmpleHarvestis one of such apps. How does it work? Often times, crops yield more than expected, leaving you with a surplus harvest. For these times, the app helps connect home gardeners with surplus produce with registered food pantries, thus reducing food waste and feeding families in need.

Mahatma Gandhi summed up the need for sensible, conscious consumption when he said “The Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s need, but not every everyone’s greed”.


The opinions expressed in these articles are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of UNEP.

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