29 January 2011

What Difference Does It Make?

from "Ethical Shopper," 6/6/09

Why bother? What does one small action do for the planet?

Well, there's the cumulative effect. If, every day, you use your reusable mug to buy a cup of fair trade coffee, rather than buying conventionally grown coffee in a cup that will be thrown away, at the end of the year that's 365 cups that didn't go to the landfill and one farmer who sold ten or so pounds of beans that were farmed using sustainable practices and sold at a price that allowed her to support a family -- rather than at artificially depressed prices created by middlemen forcing a bargain.

In addition, there's a potential ripple effect when your friends notice what you're doing. I'm not talking about spending all of your time preaching. But it will come up, and you can use the opportunity to let them know, politely, what fair trade coffee is and why you prefer to buy it, and there will be a ripple effect. Some friends will ignore you, others will respect you, and a few will follow your example.

Same goes for all of the other purchases made, deferred, or decided against that crop up in your life, one at a time. Cumulative effect plus ripple effect ends up being more powerful than you think.