“Every purchase you make is a vote for what you want our future to be like. These are real votes that really count. I’m voting for a better tomorrow. Vote responsibly. Our future depends on it.”
Above is a comment I left for someone on facebook whose status read simply “shopping…”. I’ve touched on this subject in the comment section of another post, mentioning then that it was a topic worthy of its own post. Well, this is that post. The itch finally hit me to expand on this idea. The following is a surgically removed (and slightly altered) section of the previously mentioned comment, from previously mentioned comment section, from the previously posted post 😛 :
“We the people have way more power than we are lead to believe. Power that can’t be taken from us. The power to vote, and I’m not referring to the type of voting that involves politicians. That kind can actually be taken away, but not that it really matters. Politics tends to be a big game of tug-of-war. The republicans win some, they make changes and undo changes made by democrats. The democrats win some, they make changes and undo changes made by republicans. It’s a never ending cycle that keeps things pretty much the way they are. If and when there is real change it is slow in the coming, and it’s usually “we the people” that spur on that change. People in action, not people voting for democrats or republicans.
The kind of voting I’m talking about can make changes every day without the help of, or interference from politicians. I’m talking about the kind of voting we do every time we reach into our pockets and pull out money. Every time we make a purchase we are voting. Now that’s a powerful vote people don’t even think about the fact that they have. That’s the kind of voting that can make real change sooner rather than later.
Every time you buy something, you’re voting. You vote whether to go green or not. You vote big corporation or mom and pop. You vote made in America or made thousands of miles away in a sweat shop, then shipped half way around the world. You vote big box store or health food store. You vote health food store or farmers’ market. You vote conventional or organic. You vote CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) or raised on an actual free range farm. We make the world what it is by the things we buy.”
Now I’m going to try giving more slightly detailed examples so you can truly wrap your mind around this concept. I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea and start stocking up on over stuffed pillows, because they want the future to be soft, fluffy and ruled by pillow fights.
Is there a recycling program where you live? When you go shopping do you go out of your way to buy recyclable items? If and when you buy recyclable items are you making sure that said items are actually accepted by your recycling station? Many items that are labeled as recyclable end up in landfills even after you put them your recycling bin, because not all recycling stations accept all recyclable items.
Same concept, different levels of thinking. When you go shopping do you look for items that are made from recycled items? Do you look for items that are 100% recyclable (glass/metal)? Do you look for environmentally friendly items that can be thrown into your compost bin? Do you have a compost bin? The more recyclable your items are, the better it is for everyone, with the understanding that they actually get recycled. If the things you buy can go into a compost bin, even better.
When you buy conventional beef you are voting for CAFOs. You vote for cows fed unnatural foods that result in unnatural strains of E. coli. The kind of E. coli that originally only killed people via hamburgers. Now it’s finding it’s way into a variety of vegetables. This happens when it rains on a CAFO. The bacteria originates in a cow’s digestive process, and makes it’s way into the world riding in the cow’s manure. The rain washes the killer bug into neighboring agricultural land and water ways. That water is used to irrigate crops, and now you have E. coli contaminated veggies. It’s a similar story with conventional chicken, only think salmonella.
When you buy conventional milk, again you are voting for CAFOs, not to mention growth hormones and antibiotics that are passed on to you and your family leading to numerous health risks.
When you buy conventional fruits and vegetables you are voting for supposedly “healthy foods” that have been grown from seeds being doused with chemicals from day one. A little running water isn’t going to do much to change the quality of what you are going to put into your mouth. Quite often you are also voting for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) that currently don’t even have to be labeled as such. And let’s not forget all those chemicals now in the soil. Over time they will find their way into the ground water. Rain will carry them into streams, lakes, rivers and eventually the oceans, not to mention every fish along the way.
When you buy organic you’re voting for a clean, healthy environment and clean healthy food. It may cost more, but you’re also voting for a cleaner, healthier body. An extra dollar spent today is a dollar saved tomorrow via fewer trips to the doctor and fewer days missed from work. You’re voting for a better tomorrow. I think that’s worth the extra dollar and I’m sure your grand children and their grand children would agree.
There isn’t anything this train of thought couldn’t be related to and this post could go on and on forever, so that’s the end of my voting examples. If you have questions or examples of your own you want to share, my comment section is always open.
Here’s something else you want to keep in mind; don’t give your vote away. Don’t give your vote to a homeless person. Use your vote at the homeless shelter. Don’t give your vote as a gift; the recipient might be voting for poison, sickness or death. Don’t give your vote to a religious organization unless you know where every one of their votes are going, and you agree with them all. These are your votes; use them wisely.
Is it possible to not vote? I say no. If you have money in a saving account, that’s voting for bank interests. You’re putting money into the pockets of the banks. The banks that got bailouts. The bailouts that you have to pay for. You’re voting for our society to hand over a bunch of its votes to those that don’t deserve it.
What if I put my money in a piggy bank? That seems like a vote of no confidence to me. That’s not a bad thing. It could also be a way of saving up for a huge vote. That in and of itself could be a vote against credit and interest payments. Maybe you’re saving up to vote for renewable energy: solar panels and/or a wind turbine for your home.
Hey, now there’s a thought. There’s a bank you can put your money into. Your home! The bank where you are president. Hell, the land where you are King! You-topia! 😀 Don’t vote for more of the same. Be the change you want to see in the world by buying the changes you want to see in the world.
Don’t teach your children the value of the dollar; teach them the power of their vote. It’s not the answer to all of our problems, but it’s a giant leap in the right direction. The next time you reach into your pocket and pull out a dollar, stop and seriously consider what you are about to vote for. Now remember, seriously, vote responsibly. The whole world is counting on you.
What’d You Say???