Conscious consumption empowers each of us to vote with our wallets, every day.
We must, in order to be conscious consumers, do a bit of homework. And we must be willing to release attachments. One of my earliest real movements toward conscious consumption was inspired by a friend who encouraged me to stop purchasing items made in China. An awful lot of our consumer goods are made in China! As an environmentalist and peace advocate, I had already dipped my toes in national and local retail boycotts such as Nestle, Rose’s discount stores, etc. Searching for ‘made in the USA’ was a whole new level. On a simple trip to the drug store for sundries, I could easily encounter far more items made in China than in the USA. Reducing the overseas goods helped me reduce my spending, and it helped me stop and think.
Now we find ourselves living in an America in which the White House considers it appropriate to single out some American businesses to endorse, and other American businesses to condemn, while the administration hawks its own wares, and has its own businesses from which it refuses to divest.
Conscious consumption is one way we can focus our support on people and businesses that share our concerns in this challenging political environment. Personally, I find it unsettling that the white nationalist who serves as ‘chief strategist‘ and hopes to “deconstruct” our American government, apparently made a good bit of the wealth that has enabled his racist and misogynistic meddling, through royalties from the Seinfeld television show. I want to wash every Seinfeld episode out of my eyes and my memory now. We want to be more careful about what we support, watch, buy, etc. We need to do more homework.
Recently on social media, I have seen a phone cover advertised that has tempted me. It has a pretty floral design, combined with the words “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” Seemed like a great way to purchase a practical item aligned with our resistance values. A small voice inside told me to do a little homework. The company selling this nifty resistance-themed phone cover is Piper Cleo, which at first glance looks like it sells cute artisan novelties. Searching for details about the company turned up several red flags, and not much of a track record. Although they claim to donate to charity for ‘every three’ items purchased in several different categories, they do not actually provide specifics of how this contribution system works. The owner of the company has had a complaint filed that he contracts with artists to sell their work, then allegedly arranges with lower cost producers to make imitations. This while moving from one company to another, perhaps to help mitigate against developing a recognizable reputation. A little more homework turned up a few choice items the company owner selected to re-tweet, which place him clearly in support of voter suppression in North Carolina and identify him as a supporter of our current president’s attitudes and policies. The phone cover is not looking so good. Grateful for the reminder of what a little homework can accomplish, to keep ourselves from becoming accomplices on the opposite side we intend.
Keep the Faith. Stay Awake. Do the Work. Keep in Touch.