And to all a good night... by Gia Machlin, December 23 2009, 0 Comments

Consumer Power

Well the Copenhagen conference did not exactly have the outcome many had hoped for, but let's look at the positive in all this: two years ago, we had a president who did not even acknowledge that man made Global Warming existed. Now we have one fighting for a global climate agreement. And while many feel that Obama let the world down, one reporter who was in the room at the talks said "I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying "no", over and over again." I'm guessing it was some combination of China's manipulation and Obama's need to accommodate all his domestic interests that brought us to where we are. There is not much we can do about China, but we can help change the priorities right here in the U.S.

How? Are we all powerless pawns of big business's schemes? The answer is NO! Of course first you need to buy in to the unpleasant fact that business has power and that business decisions are made based on profit. Sure there are socially minded business pioneers out there like Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms and Ray Anderson of Interface, but they are few and far between. They were able to find a way to make money and do good and the same time. But for the most part, when it comes down to profit vs. doing good, business will come down on the side of profit. That's the basis of our capitalist society and, well, it isn't going to change in my lifetime.

So where does this leave us? We must not forget that WE are the consumers and without us many businesses could not exist. How is it that we have allowed ourselves to be duped for so long? Fine, before the internet, social media, and the "age of transparency," companies could get away with keeping damaging information locked up in their secret vaults, but not anymore....Things are coming out, choices are becoming available, and we need to show that we will not stand for being poisoned, losing our oceans and lakes, and of course, being made extinct by Climate Change.

I was visiting with a friend this past weekend and was reminded about how much I am in the minority. Here is a well educated, intelligent, caring, socially minded, gay mental health professional, for Pete's sake!, and she is still buying junk food full of chemicals, still buying water bottles, still using plastic bags - what will it take for her to WANT to make more healthy, positive, sustainable choices? Not to pick on anyone, but aren't we all responsible for this planet? Don't we all have the obligation to speak up against businesses and demand quality products that will not harm us, our children, or the environment? If people stop buying products such as plastic water bottles, the companies will have to stop making them! If people demand food and personal care products free of toxic chemicals and materials, the companies will have to change their ingredients. I refuse to believe that the only way companies can be cost effective and competitive is to use materials that are poisonous! I'm sure that is not true.

It's all about being informed consumers and not letting the big corporations pull the wool over our eyes any longer. I refuse to sit back and be manipulated and I urge all of you to do the same. Make your voices heard, vote with your wallets, stop buying all this CRAP and demand the quality products that you and your family have always deserved!!

Please make a pledge this holiday season to make ONE change, just one, that will send a message to corporations that you can and do hold the power to make a difference. And please reward the companies that are already making a difference. Share your pledges and actions in the comments section below! We'd love to hear from you!

Here are some resources:

Climate Counts ranks companies on their efforts to be good climate citizens.

Green America approves companies that have met strict Environmental, Fair Trade and Labor standards.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board has a directory of companies that sell recycled products.

And of course at EcoPlum, all of our products meet one of the third party certification and approval standards commonly relied upon by industry, and we give back with every purchase - either to you or to one of the great non-profits out there working tirelessly on saving our environment.

Peace, Love, Happiness and Empowerment to you this holiday! Happy Holidays to all...and to all a good night....