Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day is Every Day

OK, technically, today is Election Day but we vote every day.

We vote with our money. When we purchase a cheaply made, lead -laden piece of Chinese crap, we are casting our vote. We are letting big business know that it's not only OK to import this junk but we approve it and will purchase more. When Americans flock to the local Walmart to stand in line at 5:00 in the morning on Black Friday, we are casting a vote.

Think about it. We, collectively, can change the way that this country does business. We can let them know that a vehicle that gets ten miles to the gallon is not acceptable. We can purchase our food from local organic farms and send a message that we want our local farms back. I don't want to purchase fruit and veg that has been shipped halfway across the world. We can purchase fair trade coffee so that the farmers can get a fair days wages. Every dollar that you spend is a vote.

For years, we have let big business and industry tell us what we want. Where has it gotten us? It has left us with inefficient cars that are built to last only five to ten years. It has left us with chemical filled foods. It has left us with a country that doesn't even grow enough food to feed itself. It has left us with little or no public transportation and urban sprawl. We can send a message by investing the little money, that we have left, in green technology. It has left us with a consumer driven economy that has failed because they told us what to purchase. They helped push our greed along by telling us to have it all and have it all now. It has left us with the same energy dependence problems that we were facing thirty years ago.

So how do we change things? We change it little by little. I am reminded of our power when I walk into a store and name brand items are now available in Eco -friendly counterparts. For example, I usually purchase Seventh Generation or Method cleaning and laundry products. Now all of the major brands offer green products. If we, collectively, purchase the green products then perhaps they will completely do away with the bad products. I would rather purchase fewer items and purchase quality then purchase ten tons of unnecessary crap.

I have been an environmentalist (tree hugger, as my co-workers say) for twenty years. I purchased my first reusable canvas bag in 1990. It was called the "Earth Bag". I still have it.
I thought people would never catch on. Then being green became fashionable. I am amazed at how far we have come in just the last few years. We can continue to do more. So remember every time that you are making a purchase that you are casting your vote. Cast it wisely and with forethought so seven generations after us will still be enjoying this thing called Planet Earth.

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