‘What if they gave a war and nobody came?’ *
This seemingly naïve question popularized as an anti-war slogan* during the Vietnam War could be adopted as a response to how to resolve the problem of over-consumption: ‘What if a product came on the market and nobody bought it?’
This simplistic question is in fact the fundamental key to a sustainable future. Not consuming is the first step to conservation and reducing resource exploitation, energy consumption, pollution and the green house effect. The second step is conscious consumerism. It is of course unrealistic to imagine a world where we would not consume anything. But reducing consumption and consuming consciously are responsible actions that will provide a sustainable future.
Industrialisation and now globalisation have brought us more ‘things’ than we could ever hope to use or even want, which coupled with advertising and availability, have conspired to turn us into mindless, hyper consumers of ‘stuff’ we mostly throw out. And this extends even to agriculture, where the biggest consumer of an estimated two-thirds or all things grown conventionally is the rubbish tip.
More and more people are becoming aware of the flaws in this system and are making conscious choices to limit consumption, while others feel impotent and locked in to a regime they didn't choose. But choice is possible and choosing is powerful. If enough people were to stop buying products that are wasteful, unsustainable, unethical, polluting, environmentally hazardous, toxic and unsafe, they would cease being produced. The power of consumers is an absolute, but that power needs to be channelled and disciplined. The question is, how far can you go? What are the right choices and how do I know what the right choices are?
One of the traditional ways of manifesting one's disagreement with a product or an action was to boycott it — refuse to buy it or support it in any way. This is still a valid form of protest, but there is a more pro-active approach called ‘buycotting’, where you consciously choose to buy certain products instead of others because they are ethical, fairtrade, organic, environmentally sustainable, etc. Our world is entirely controlled by economic forces and so the consumer's power to choose has far-reaching consequences.
TASTE will develop these themes under these two headings to provide you with updates and suggestions about what to boycott and what to buycott:
Refusing to buy or handle products as a form of punishment or protest. This section provides substantiated reasoning for boycotting certain products and companies because of environmentally unsafe practices, human rights violations, toxic ingredients, green-washing and other unethical factors. It explains why you should stop drinking Coca-Cola or consuming any of this company's other products, why you should boycott Nestlé, BP, Exxon / Esso, Shell, Monsanto, Unilever, McDonald's, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithkline, L'Oréal… As well as providing healthy alternatives to these products.
This is the pro-active alternative to boycotting where one consciously chooses to buy something because of its environmental and healthy properties. TASTE is committed to promoting environmentally safe, organic and biodynamically produced products that do not harm the earth but actually strive to heal it. This section provides links to other sites that help to inform and guide us about consumer choices so that we can all participate in sustainable, conscious consumerism.
*The line comes from a poem attributed to Carl Sandburg written in the 1930's:
‘What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again.’