By Pat Brady, DivvyBack
Tired of talking about voting? You betcha. However, I’m talking about the powerful vote each of us has to make environmental change in the world. If you don’t like the Earth warming up or our waters polluted, you can “vote” for change through your purchasing behavior. The emotionless marketing engine of commerce constantly tells you what to do. Usually it’s: “Buy sugar coated cereal,” “You deserve a break today,” or “Don’t squeeze the Charmin.”
We tell ourselves we are strong enough to ignore those messages, but we aren’t. The 5,000 ads that we get bombarded with each day create a hypnotic buzz in our heads and we find ourselves at the cash register purchasing a bag full of guilty pleasure candy-coated human treats that we know will do us and/or the environment no good.
Damaging yourself with chocolate or whatever is one thing. After all, it’s your body. Damaging the environment is a different story. I’m sure none of you intentionally wants to damage the environment but you and I do it every day. We wreak havoc on the forests by purchasing tissue products made from trees, we pollute our nearby watersheds with nasty detergents and toilet bowl cleaners and we heat the planet by driving cars and heating our homes (I’m not advocating for getting rid of your car or turning off the heat – hang in there until I make my point).
Jared Diamond wrote in his book, “Collapse” about the effect we can have on corporate purchasing. He uses an example of the demand for sustainably-raised lumber at some Home Depot stores. Customers began asking for this type of lumber and said they would be willing to pay more if it was stocked at the store. Home Depot responded and sustainable wood sales became possible and are flourishing.
Most efforts at environmental change are top down. We are a nation of policy wonks and we too often look to experts and the government to solve our problems. Sure, policy can make tremendous change, for example, the Clean Water Act. Let’s do more. The Earth’s climate is changing and we all need to pull on the oars (or something like that) to steer a different course. Seriously, we owe it to ourselves to do whatever we can as individuals as well as encourage and support the organizations and institutions that can make wholesale change.
So, you ask yourself “How do I make world change as an individual?” One simple way is to sign up for a subscription and buy all Earth-friendly and tree-free products from DivvyBack (you knew I was going there). Or just buy green products. Insist on them at your stores and pay up if you have to…or you could just buy your regular consumable products from DivvyBack and skip the trip to the store.
Green products do tend to cost a bit more today. Why? Because they don’t have the production scale of other products. Over time this will change. Our fantastic capitalist system will take the demand we generate and drive factories to optimized perfection in order to push prices down.
In my world, I’m aware of the bamboo supply chain which starts in Asia. We could grow bamboo here. We have lots of land that would be perfect for this and not cause eco problems. When demand shows up it won’t take long for business to realize the cost of transportation can be cut out of the chain. Products made by machines create good jobs that do not depend on cheaper foreign labor. This is a good fit for the U.S.
So when you vote every day with your purchasing choices, Vote Green!