Friday, March 16, 2007

We Vote With Our Dollars

I recently came across the following quote from John Robbins at

We vote with our dollars, and we spend a lot of our dollars on food. Yet people don't often see their diet as a political statement. But it is. When you vote for McDonald's, that's one kind of vote. When you vote for organic food, that's another kind of vote. What you support with your dollars is what will exist in the future. Every time you spend a dollar, you are saying to the people who produce that product, "Do it again." That's how it will be read, that's how it will be interpreted and that's how it will be manifested.

There has certainly been an increasing expression of concern for the environment around world in recent months. It is reaching a fever pitch, as various political parties trip over themselves in the rush to the green paint brushes in response to opinion polls saying the environment is the number one concern of voters.. Letters to the editor plead for greater environmental efforts. However, the big box stores remain full, our highways remain clogged, and the masses continue to rush for the latest gadget, fancy food item, or escape vacation. People are telling the pollsters their feelings of concern, but when they vote with their dollars, they continue to increase the pressure on the planet. For most people, it seems, they don't want to consume less, they just want to believe that their consumption habits don't cause problems. As Sharon Astyk says on her blog:

Say it out loud. WHAT I BUY WARMS THE PLANET. MY SHOPPING DEPLETES WHAT FUTURE PEOPLE WILL HAVE. BUYING STUFF HURTS PEOPLE. The problem is that shopping also feels good. Now I'm not much of a regular shopper, but I know that heavy sense of pleasure you get when you wander into a bookstore as much as anyone. I've shopped for comfort, I've bought things and thought momentarily "this will make it better." I understand how much fun shopping is. And it is still the problem.

In other words, we have met the enemy, and it is US! Trying to shop our way out of this problem is a contradiction in terms.

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