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Change is Slow Among the 99 Percent

3 Dec. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich
sustainable lifestyle, #OWS, occupy movement, U.S. citizens, consumerism

Although we seem to be seeing a change in some Americans' ideology with the Occupy Movement, there is a huge shadow hanging over this movement. This shadow is our own inabilities to make lifestyle changes, even when we are proclaiming at the top our lungs that we want the government, corporations and the top one percent to change their ways. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to seriously re-evaluate our lifestyles. This lifestyle change, however, is not going to be easy. And it is apparent from the 52 billion dollars spent around Thanksgiving that people are not all too concerned about how their shopping and spending sprees directly support and strengthen the top 1 percent, mega-corporations, consumeristic capitalism and a plethora of unethical business practices.

"Having lots of cheap stuff did not make this country what it is today and will not make this country what we want it to be tomorrow."

We are used to wanting, buying and having lots of cheap stuff. Ten dollar shirts, thirty dollar shoes, fifteen dollar jeans, and a dollar burger. We are used to spending a good share of our free-time, or leisure time, shopping until our materialistic wants are satisfied. This is unsustainable and undermines us as citizens of this country. Our thirst for "cheap" stuff also contributes to the continued oppression of citizens in developing countries. We cannot simply blame corporate America and the top one percent for these acts.

We are a part of this consumeristic capitalistic system and, therefore, need to take ownership for our role in that system. We cannot keep protesting, signing petitions and attending marches in the name of stopping the evil practices of corporations, the rich and the government, when we are not making changes ourselves. We are not innocent bystanders. We must recognize our wrong doings, and then make the appropriate changes before we can further protest the actions of others.

I believe if we made some serious changes to our spending habits, we would see a serious weakening of a system we already say is broken. We are the foundation of this consumeristic capitalism because without our buying power, mega-corporations would eventually crumble. Theoretically speaking. So what can we do now?

  • Shop local [no chain retailers]

  • Think quality or quantity

  • Buy U.S.A made products

  • Buy organic, fair-trade, and/or sustainably-made products

  • Boycott companies that have questionable business practices [this is going to be most major retailers]

  • Don't buy what you cannot afford

These changes, to some extent, mean spending more on products because they are of better quality and value. This is good because the products we buy are representative of the quality and value of the jobs and companies that supply those products. We can be successful, but only if we can start looking beyond short-term gains. Having lots of cheap stuff did not make this country what it is today and will not make this country what we want it to be tomorrow. So what are you waiting for? Now is the time for change and progressing this great country forward.

Image: thanunkorn /


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