If I willingly buy from a company that contributes to environmental degradation or processed foods then I am part of the problem.
Saving fifty cents means nothing to me now. Just because a grocery store sells a cheap, non-organic version of a food item does not mean that I will buy it. I can almost visualize the chain of events that takes place when I make a purchase. Marketing techniques are savvy, taking into account each time a person like me opts for a slightly more expensive version of a product because it is organic. My actions in the grocery store are the equivalent of my donating money to charity. I pay more because I want to support businesses with ethics. Ours is a market-driven economy. Americans dislike governmental regulations and so rely on the market to control issues like corporate ethics. Unfortunately, not many people educate themselves about the marketplace and not many people can afford to make the choices that I do. Ideally, quality is more important than quantity. Buying food from people who take pride in what they do is a wholly different experience than buying food from people who do not care about ethics. I know that people who can barely afford to feed their families are more concerned about calories per dollar than about where that dollar ends up.
Simplifying my life means being more satisfied with fewer things. I used my car consciously today, because I needed to go grocery shopping.
This afternoon I walked to the drug store. I needed deodorant, and I bought a new product from a company that usually markets their products in health food stores. Just seeing their products on the shelves made me feel happy and aware of how people like me have made that shift possible. A few years ago, we had fewer choices in terms of products that were good for us and for the environment.
A lot of the products in my house are those that do not reflect my core values. I look around me and notice disposable razors and pens, clothes made in third world countries most likely using sweatshop labor, and some junk food. The transition from consumerism to simplicity requires mainly awareness. When I need to replace any of those items, I hope I can afford to do so by supporting ethical companies.
My roommate bought a Swiffer last week, claiming that it picked up hair better than a broom. He is correct, but the Swiffer product is the epitome of wastefulness. The static cloths it uses are disposable, and the apparatus is a heartless piece of work manufactured in a third world country. If I were not keeping this journal I might not have been able to think as deeply about how our willingness to participate in the consumer culture is affecting the planet..