Today's topic of discussion (ok, really thoughts, because that's all a discussion with one's self is...) is consumerism and responsible shopping. Husband and I have been working to move all of our spending towards smaller and independently owned retail souces of all kinds. Some people would disagree that this is a form of direct action, however I think it is a best bet.
If companies with socially irresponsible (read: destructive) practices are behaving so badly to ignite growth of profit, the best thing is to reprimand them by boycott. Their pockets seem to be their only vulnerability- I for one am more than happy to hit them there. Writing to inform them of such would strengthen the action, but I have yet to let any company know that they have lost my business. Perhaps this weekend would be a good time to tackle a project like that.
It seems more practical and supportive on a local community level to make sure that the money we spend our days working for is spent on the salaries of other people who are working hard. Not those that are building a fortune on the backs of those they oppress. I don't want to pay rich people to treat their employees and the planet the way they do! It is unacceptable and uncivilized to behave as such.
Don't get me wrong! Not everyone can afford to shop exclusively on Main Street. I understand that there are people out there supporting a family of 6 on minimum wage- budgets that only allot $3 a day for all those people to eat! But it seems the honorable thing to do given the education and resources. Making sacrifices is something we talk about a lot in this country- I am delighted to have the privilege of sacrificing more in cost now to help a local shop that has fair business practices. In fact, it seems an appropritate responsibility considering how outrageously lucky I am to live in this country, be in a position where I am no longer literally crying over the bills every month and have the education to understand the oppressive support structure of our economy.
There are lots of resources out there on how to shop more responsibly. I have been using the latest publication of the Better World Shopping Guide to assist me in some decision making. Especially when it comes to decisions where there is a product that I cannot obtain independently. For instance, gasoline. There is no good place to buy fossil fuels- they are horrible and a lot of the companies that distribute them are even worse. However, Sunoco corporation acknowledges global warming and is the only fuel company that has signed on in formal support of CERES to help build a better future. Hess is the second best place to purchase gas.
I would really love to know if anyone else is attempting this practice? What have you found? What works and what doesn't? Give me your feedback! I will eat it all up regardless of your POV.