Friday, February 17, 2012

Voting and Shopping are Separate But Equal: A Response to Sami Grover

This is a response to the blog post on Tree Hugger entitled, 5 Reasons Why Voting and Shopping are Not the Same Thing by Sami Grover.

While I certainly agree with the title statement, shopping and voting (i.e. political activism) are not the same thing, I don't think that the underlying sentiment that political action is somehow superior to conscious consumerism is accurate. The two are separate but equal means to achieving the same end: that is a healthy environment and society.  Ethical consumerism is not seeking to inspire lasting political change, specifically. There is rampant frustration with the political system and many are tired of waiting for regulation to pass that would reform corporate behavior and protect environment and society. Responsible consumers bypass the need for a political middleman to communicate their desires and instead send their message directly to corporations (which have arguably more power and influence than the government anyway).

Canned tuna companies were pressured through consumer boycotts to end fishing practices that endangered dolphins before governmental legislation mandated such. While I certainly agree that systematic and lasting change is necessary, why do we assume that it must originate from governmental legislation?  Why downplay an alternate route to the same kind of social and environmental change? Whatever the vehicle of change you choose, the important thing is that you get behind the wheel and drive!

2/20/12 Update: Sami Grover responded to my response here.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed - our world runs on profits. If we don't give our money to companies they will be forced to change. Government influence may be more concrete and consistent, but if the media did a better job of exposing non-sustainable companies I'm sure people who would be willing and able to spend their money somewhere else.

    - Your pal T