Voting with your Dollar

We’ve got a few short years on earth and then we’re gone. When all is said and done, we all want to be remembered for something good. We want to have some sort of impact. There are a lot of ways to make the world a better place but most of them are really hard. I can’t drop a couple million bucks to build a hospital in Ghana. Heck, I can’t even afford a plane ticket to Ghana. Is there anything that an average Joe can do to make a difference?

Yes! Start voting with your dollar. I’m not talking about campaign contributions (heavens, no!). I mean deliberately buying products from companies that support your cause.

Think about soda pop. There are a lot of things influencing your decision for which one to buy: price, flavor, convenient sale location, what your friends are getting, etc… . But honestly, most sodas cost about the same. Flavor opinions fluctuate. We end up picking something on a whim. However, what if we added one more term to the equation: sustainability. Pepsi’s bottle is made out of 100% plant material. Coke’s? A mere 30%. Maybe sustainability isn’t your thing. How about rain-forest preservation? You may want to consider Ben & Jerry’s next time you go for ice cream. 1 Recycling? Starbucks. 2 Global Warming? General Electric. [3] Diversity? AT&T. [4] The list goes on.

Investing a little time to learn what companies have your support can go a long ways. I’m not saying to go out and spend more money on all this stuff. You’d get a lot more bang for your buck if you donated directly to a responsible non-profit. This is about letting it influence your decision when purchasing things you were already going to buy.

This is the idea behind an organization called carrot mob: uniting and using our purchasing power to push companies to be more socially responsible. They have a funny little video that drives this message home (below).

Will buying one pint of Cherry Garcia save the rainforest? No more than one vote will elect the next president. However, our efforts combined will send the right message to companies that have their priorities in line: “We see what you are doing… and we like it.”