30 Day Conscious Consumer Challenge
Written by Codie Sanchez Baker
How to Turn Protest into Progress
Put Your Plastic Where Your Purpose Is
All around the world we see protest, signs held aloft, voices raised, and people telling us what they stand against, but not always showing us what they stand for. Believe me I get it ...
This is me 15 years ago organizing a rally at my school. I had a rallying cry, I called the local radio station for coverage and I held a reconciliation council with our Principal, after orchestrating a walkout. My poor mother and her gray hairs. I know there is extreme power in standing outside the crowd and speaking your truth.
So this week as I watched millions of humans march across the world, I got goosebumps. I felt sad to miss seeing the signs held aloft. I went back and watched MLK’s I Have A Dream Speech and the thousands marching in solidarity for the same foundational idea so many years ago. American pride exuded from my very pores. Then this week we've all been inundated with social media commentary on both sides of the aisel.
But the problem is.. Regardless of what issues you stand behind, I believe we need more than protest.. we need progress, and I'm not sure we are getting it.
Look at the Occupy Wall Street movement, as a member of Wall Street who worked at Goldman Sachs during the crisis, I can say with some confidence that they did not truly achieve their goals. I recall them picketing outside our office in 2008. I remember looking down on them from stories above as my colleagues watched for a moment before going back to work. Whether right or wrong, they held our attention for an instant… but ultimately they were outside the building, they didn’t have a seat at our table.
Flash forward to today.. Where are those that camped across the world against the 1%? Are they working at a bank perhaps? Maybe not, but I'd wager they are banking at one.
Now their fight wasn’t mine but I see a cycle of progress-less protest repeating, and my next logical question is where will the millions who wore pink hats this week be in a year?
Obviously, pink adorned celebrity statement didn't influence an election. I doubt their protests (however eloquently re-tweetable) will influence our government. However much I love their music and art, we don’t follow their opinions for our electoral decisions. We humans don’t really like to be told what to do, by anyone. Ask your rebellious teenage children.
So whether you are a champion for women, veterans, gun rights, how do you actually enact change?
I would argue not with protest, but through the power of your purse and your paycheck. It starts with one simple question, whose kingdom are you building?
Government is Powerful but Enterprise is more Powerful.
Whether you are a housewife, student, employee, or executive, you can affect massive change by targeting the lifeblood of capitalism, democracy, America and power... money.
Companies are what back candidates, companies are what allow candidates self-funding to propel to positions of power. The truth is that government is powerful but enterprise is more powerful. Cut off cashflow, redirect revenue, align assets and the power shifts. Media, social media or otherwise, is not the way. Money is the way. But how do you do so?
The average American spends $55k a year. What if we redirected IT?
US CONSUMERS BUYING POWER IS $11 TRILLION
Women drive 70-80% of consumer purchases*
Women in the US have $8-9 trillion of annual household buying power**
Women represent 47% of the US labor force
Latinos represent $1.7 trillion of annual buying power ***
Latinas are the fastest growing entrepreneurial group
Latinos are 17% of the US population
Millennials have $600 billion of buying power ****
50% of millennials want to start a company in the next 5 years
I would propose three steps to progress.
Step 1: Tell Me What You Are FOR Not AGAINST
This isn’t just for the pink hatted, this is for the military supporters, this is for the gay rights supporters, this for the women’s rights or the pro-life right supporters. My opinion is worth no more than yours in the issue you choose, but you must decide what the hell you stand for.
What will you support?
Step 2: Whose Kingdom Are You Building?
Now you must ask yourself a tough question. Whose kingdom are you building? If you are willing to post on social media, to hold signs, to raise your voice in debate, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?
We as Americans work 34.4 hours on average a week, or 1720 hours week. We are the most productive nation in the world. So when you look at the company you work for, what values do they hold? AND are they aligned with yours? Are you working for a company that sells sugar laden products when you fight for healthy eating? Or for a manager that doesn’t promote women but you are a man with daughters? Or are you an adaptive and your company won’t invest in accessible workplaces? If so, what are you willing to do about it? Whether it is quitting, pushing for change, hiring more diverse members or raising your voice, will you speak the language of power? Money.
You by working for your company are helping to build that kingdom, make sure you believe in what you are building. Your life force is going into it, is there any more powerful force?
Step 3: The Power of The Purse
What does every company need to survive? Customers. You are the most important aspect of every company. Without users, customers, clients, they crumble. So what if you decided to become conscious of where you bought? What if instead of lobbying only you put your trillions of spending power to work? When you go to buy a coffee, which company do you go to? When you buy clothing do you buy them from an international fast fashion company or do you buy them from a made in the US company who supports veterans? What about when you invest your money, can you do it at a women owned firm? How about your car? That’s a big purchase. Who is your realtor? Just the best, or the best with purpose? What if instead of thinking of just the cost of the price tag we thought of the cost to our society.
That’s where my challenge comes in….
TAKE ACTION: 30 Day Conscious Consumer Challenge
For 30 days, can you be conscious about everything you buy. I’m going to. For the next 30 days I will try to only buy from the below types of companies. When I fail, I will be conscious of it, and I will document it...
For me I will support:
- Founders I know and believe in (Support my trusted humans first)
- Small businesses (Support local and non-franchise first)
- Minority owned businesses w/ an emphasis on Latino’s, women and veterans
- Purpose driven companies. (Support businesses that believe in more than profits)
Before you say well that would be easy..
Think about it, airlines, hotels, gas, cars, insurance, apps on our phone, technology, food, restaurants, gifts, flowers, clothes. The average American spends $55k a year. How much more is that than you could ever donate to a political cause?
If you want to join the movement of 30 Day Conscious Consumer Challenge, CLICK HERE to subscribe to updates and comment below your name and the causes you stand for. We'll be building a list of where we buy and the stories of others who are joining the movement. Also tweet or tag us on instagram (@codiesanchez) twitter (@codie_sanchez) with #Consume4Change.
PROGRESS NOT ONLY PROTEST
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