SUPPORTING THE GREEN ECONOMY:
A CALL FOR
Obama's science advisor John Holdren assesses our future more pragmatically in stating, “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We're going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be”.
Yet others among us see this less as a harbinger of doom and more as a call to personal action. According to environmental leader Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “Where our government refuses to take the lead, individuals need to make better choices. Right now there are huge opportunities for citizens to participate in this by buying green energy, by getting involved in the new energy economy, by electing public officials who are going to support that economy”.
Essentially this last advice translates into a call for consumers to more carefully consider the companies they support by doing ample research before making a purchase. Knowledge and personal responsibility become key as changing patterns of consumption can make a huge difference in a market-based economy. We see the power that corporations wield. Yet citizens have the right to avoid supporting those corporations making environmentally damaging products or policies.
Moving Toward Conscious Consumerism
A growing number of shoppers are making more responsible choices, prompted by news such as the recent California indictment of retail giant Target for dumping hazardous waste in order to avoid disposal fees exposes the downside of cheap, mass produced goods. The cleanup costs are never factored in to the sale price since corporations are often not accountable for paying them, especially when goods are produced overseas.
Environmentally responsible products may cost more in the short run, but the savings to our health and the health of the planet are considerations consumers are increasingly willing to pay for. Companies like Santa Cruz based organic cotton and hemp clothing manufacturer No Enemy, have seen this trend grow steadily over the past ten years since the business first launched. According to founder Paul Cheatham, “We’ve seen a growing community of conscious shoppers. They’re purchasing quality clothing that’s organic and responsibly made in the US because they care about the future of the planet. They see their purchases as inextricably tied to the future of our society.”
There is so much we can do as individuals simply by modifying our habits to the best of our knowledge and ability. It is time to stop waiting for our leaders to make the choices most beneficial to our health and the health of our planet. The future depends on the efforts of each of us. The choice is ours, the time is now.
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