It can sometimes seem as if the world is on the brink of falling apart. In the past few years, the feeling has become more acute. I consider the effect of media on my analysis of current events, four years in college studying environmental issues that plague our work, and six months spent living and working in a developing countries as factors in shaping my worldview.
When it all gets combined, I can't help but feel pretty helpless.
In the United States, one of our society’s most salient values is individualism. We embrace the power of the individual as an idea. Yet it seems now, more than ever, the average individual is quite powerless. We feel completely incapable to contribute to bigger world issues.
Often, we don’t even know how to try.
As a millennial, I am too often faced with the doubts of even voting - wondering what good my one petty vote can do. What can I possibly do to affect the turnings of this world? What can I do to change it for the better?
Yet I am reminded of how change has happened.
When I consider what has shifted our world in the past few decades, I think of Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, and countless other influential companies. They created a new paradigm for the way we engage and interact in this world. We live in a completely new way because of the broad reach they had on the way individual people operate in the world. [For example, interactive GPS on our phone has forever changed the way we travel in our day-to-day lives.]
And yet, these companies are only as good as the people who use them. The reason Facebook and the rest of them have become such powerhouse companies is because of the collective of people who log-in and then, begin to engage. The influence these companies have are all given by us as people.
Billions of dollars are spent every year by corporations on market research. Studying and figuring out why people do what they do and what influences them. This is because companies know all their power exists in gaining people's influence.
If you’ve read the earlier post, the myth of neutral, you understand that everyday we are contributing to the oppression and exploitation present in our world. You also know that because of supply and demand, what we put our money toward makes a difference.
Maybe we are a little helpless when we act as individuals - but when we link arms and cast our vote into the marketplace using our money, we can make a larger impact than any one company, even Facebook, can make.
Be encouraged and empowered, change is already happening. This movement of conscious consumers has already leveraged amazing and dynamic change. The Organics industry is currently operating at over a billion dollars. It has completely changed the marketplace.
Fair Trade & Direct Trade Coffee and Chocolate are well known and easily available in mainstream markets. There is a huge movement, especially in Europe for Ethical Clothing and it is growing everyday. These are realities that have been made possible by those who have caught this vision.
So vote with your dollars, utilize your purchasing power, cast your votes into the marketplace and watch the turnings of this world change. It all starts with us responding differently when presented with daily decision-making.