You’re It

It’s easy to be critical.

You can take a stance on the war in Afghanistan, how to manage our natural resources, how to help other nations to “develop” (whatever that term means), when/how to impose limits on the market… We’re all eager to express our opinions and point out the follies of our counterparts.

But it’s far harder to do something constructive about it.  That is precisely where the disconnect lies.

Worried about carbon emissions and the health of our planet?  Don’t drive a car, only buy local, and shun environmentally destructive golf courses.

Think we should end the war in Afghanistan?  Go protest or write your representative.

Against Walmart’s labor practices?  Don’t shop there.

Want to relieve the plight of the homeless?  Educate yourself about who is doing good work and donate or volunteer your time.

Angry at the greed of bankers?  Take control of your investments and put your money where your ethics are.

I think sometimes we tend to underestimate our power, particularly in the realm of consumption.  The beautiful truth of the capitalist system is that you’re it: businesses are a reflection of your needs.  It’s so easy that most of us might not even realize our participation and the immense power we carry in our pockets.

Everyday you vote with your dollar.  If enough people agree, good businesses respond to meet that need.  The other businesses that ignore the market will die sooner or later.  The correlation isn’t always perfect, but for all intents and purposes you are in control.

In other words:  Starbucks doesn’t kill small community coffee shops – you do.  (Full disclosure – I enjoy Starbucks and own a few shares of their stock)

So, if nothing else, at least put your dollar where your opinion is – you’re pretty much already doing it.


~ by responsiblenomad on October 9, 2011.

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