What Does it Mean to Vote With Your Dollar?

Submitted by egreene on

Want to create a greener world that works for all people? One of the most important things you can do is vote with your dollar. Where you spend and invest your money is a powerful way of voting each day to support local communities, fair wages, and a healthy planet. 

Here at Green America, we’ve helped educate and mobilize consumers to use their money for a greener world, and we’ve seen the results in the growth of organic foods, fair trade products, clean energy solutions, and community banks and credit unions, just to name a few. Voting with our dollars works. 

When we talk about building the green economy, it's about more than being informed about corporations—it’s about actually supporting businesses that have adopted green practices, are growing the local economies, and pay suppliers fairly. Where you shop and what you buy when you do sends a direct message to business owners. If many of us shift our spending at once – to preference non-GMO foods, for example – it can force large corporations to scramble and drop harmful ingredients from their products. And in the case of small businesses, it helps them stay afloat in a competitive, deal-driven market. 

Green America's mission of creating a green economy that works for all – one that preferences social justice, environmental preservation, and healthy communities, is one that we can participate in at any time. Like casting ballots in an election, decisions we make every day cast votes for our values. When people support small businesses with forward-thinking practices, we call that #VoteWithYourDollar.  Vote With Your Dollars is a powerful way to build the green economy we need, without Washington. 

One of the most powerful actions you can take to Vote with Your Dollar keeping your money in your wallet, to not buy what you don't need, and to not line the pockets of CEOs of big box stores you don't agree with. Our culture is obsessed with deals, but those deals are paid for by the people who work low wages in factories or in big-box stores. In the case of shopping on the biggest store, Amazon.com, well, its track record isn't the cleanest. Every dollar you don't spend, is a dollar you can put in a community bank or credit union, where your dollars will be used to finance jobs, housing and social services that every community needs.  Or, it can be donated to a charity that is helping those less fortunate, combating hate, or taking action on climate change. 

It’s unrealistic not to shop at all, and unnecessary. The money you use to buy necessities, treat yourself, or spend on gifts for others is a vote cast for your values. Here are our tips for feeling good about the products you buy, but also the businesses you support.

Vote with your dollar

  • Every time you buy at a local business, you tell the world your community is worth more than a big-box store sale. 

  • Every time you buy organic, you tell the world you want more farmers to grow healthy, safe food. 

  • Every time you buy certified fair trade, you fight poverty. 

  • Every time you buy from a business owned by women or people of color, you help build an inclusive economy. 

  • Every time you don’t buy something, you tell the world you don’t need more stuff to have a good life.

Where do we go from here?

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