Ever feel powerless? Like there are a million things wrong with the world and there’s nothing you can do about it? How dumb is it that so many of us feel that way when we are the most powerful people on the planet. Every single person makes a hundred decisions a day that affect the course of the planet and the societies we live in. Just by living a certain way we can be powerful agents of change.
1. Believe in what you buy
When people talk about consumers it rarely feel empowering but it should. As a consumer the choice you make on where to spend your money can have a profound effect on the world. How much do you know about the brands and of the things you buy? How much do you know about the shops you buy them from? This step is perhaps the easiest way to take everyday action against the negatives of the world but it can be intimidating and difficult to know where to start.
Luckily there is so much information online related to ethical consumerism. Just doing some research will help you understand how you can give money to companies whose values you identify with. And like anything it can be a sliding sale, something as small as choosing to change your brand of shampoo is still a massively positive action.
Check out the ethical consumer website for some great information on where to spend your money.
2. Bank on positives
Banking your money can feel almost like a non-action. After all, for you that money is not doing anything. A bank is a placeholder, like the modern version of money under the mattress. When it leaves the bank that money will go on to do something but right now it’s on sabbatical. Wrong. When you give money to a bank they use that money to invest in a variety of different things. The highest principle of this investment tends to be the making of more money.
Of course this generally comes back to you in some way. It’s nice to get a little bit of interest from money that’s sitting in your account. But it’s important to understand why that interest is there and that is because the bank has invested your money and the money of other people like you in lots of different things. Depending on who you bank with this could be anything from big oil and fossil fuels to political lobbies to supporting social enterprise. The crucial thing is that when you place your money into the care of a bank they will use it according to their rules and regulations and not yours. If you would not choose to give money to the organisations that your bank does rethink where you bank. Even place your money with a bank that will actively use it to create positive change in the world. It is amazing to think how the money you are NOT spending can make an impact on the planet.
Unsure where to start? Move your money has loads of information about ethical banking and what you can do.
3. Talk to people
So you’re now conscious and empowered, both about the money you spend and the money someone else spends for you. But your impact doesn’t have to stop there. Talking to other people about your power as a consumers is so important in creating a positive movement of change. This can be a difficult step for people but remember that it doesn’t have to be preachy. People are compassionate, we care about the world we live in but often we are uninformed or don’t feel like we have the tools to make change.
Having a conversation about how you decided to change banks when you discovered HSBC had been directly linked to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest is at worst an interesting talking point and at best an eye opening moment for your friend who had never really thought about the ethical practices of their bank before. Empowerment is the key. We empower ourselves when we make active choices about our money and we empower others when we share this knowledge with those around us.