One of the most crucial ways to make a difference is to use your power as a consumer, making your voice heard through your purchasing decisions. If you need to buy products, choosing to buy products from a socially conscious point of view is a great way to participate in civic engagement during your every day routine. Buying fair trade and/or local products reduces or eliminates the need for mass production and unfair working situations, benefits the artisan directly, and helps keep our local economy healthy and stable. By participating in this type of lifestyle, the local economy will grow and more individuals can earn their way out of poverty.
Do you find that you struggle buying people gifts for birthdays, weddings, graduations, and special occasions? Research is showing that it may be because people simply have enough. In a world filled with excess, "stuff matters less", according to this insightful Washington Post article. As Carolyn Hax encourages us, "It’s time to ask ourselves every time:
Strive to support your local economy through buying locally produced items and supporting local businesses. Buying locally not only supports our community and the people who work in it, but also reduces the environmental and financial impact of transporting products long distances. Buying local helps our community prosper and keep our local economy healthy, diverse, and stable. Learn about CIBA, the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance. Download the Willamette Valley Chinook Book App for free to get coupons to local, sustainable businesses.
Access resources from the Center for a New American Dream. The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans to reduce and shift their consumption to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice; they are focused on inspiring, engaging, and challenging Americans to re-examine their cultural values on consumption and consumerism and initiating a new national conversation around what “the good life” and the “American dream” mean.
Visit Better World Shopper. Better World Shopper is a site dedicated to providing people with a comprehensive, up-to-date, reliable account of the social and environmental responsibility of every company on the planet AND making it available in practical forms that individuals can use in their everyday lives. Coming out of more than 5 years of intensive research, this work is based on a comprehensive database of over 1000 companies and utilizes 25+ reliable sources of data to cover everything from the environment to human rights, community development to animal protection.
Utilize the Buycott app to assist you in supporting companies and products that share your values and ethics!
Consider shifting your consumer habits to reduce your consumption and buy more sustainably when you are shopping. See below for a resource of ways to become a more socially conscious shopper.
According to AlternativeGiving.org, alternative gift giving (or virtual giving) is "a form of gift giving where the donor, instead of buying a gift for the recipient, makes a donation to a charitable organization in the recipient’s name and the organization provides an "alternative gift" or "virtual gift" - usually a certificate or card - for the recipient." Alternative gift giving is giving gifts that pay it forward. Check out the following list for a few examples of alternative gift giving sites:
Fair Trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. It advocates the payment of a higher price to exporters as well as higher social and environmental standards. Check out this video from Fair Trade USA to get a better idea of what fair trade certified products can do for our global community.
In other words, fair trade goods are promote fair wages and fair working conditions for producers and exporters. They are goods produced by individuals that directly benefit those individuals through our purchasing power.
Check out the following list for a few examples of fair trade gift giving sites: