Doing things differently since the Carter Administration
The world we live in is much different than what I remember as a child. It is not the world that changed, however; it was me who changed. The changes I’ve experienced allow me to see the world not as small and individual transactions but as a complex enterprise that we are all involved in. From turning the faucet on to buying groceries, whatever we do on a daily basis affects those around us. It’s a simple observation that we, as consumers (including me!), contribute just as much to how humans are treated here in the United States and around the world. Is it possible to avoid corrupt and exploitative practices?
Women still earn about 77¢ for every man’s dollar, even after “Equal Pay Day” was enacted in 1963. Worse, the margin is even steeper for female minorities. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/women-and-equal-pay-wage-gap_n_3038806.html) On average, woman earn an unbelievable $11,000/yr less than men. Sexism exists, and it’s evident in that wage inequality exists in every state. (http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/fairness/fair-pay.html)
You don’t see your local Coca-Cola delivery driver gunning down union workers or stealing water from children, but it happens. Water is big business and Coca-Cola has made sure to get it’s fair share. Horrifyingly, while millions of people have little to no access to potable water, “Coca-Cola has negotiated 27 water concessions from the Mexican government. Nineteen of the concessions are for the extraction of water from aquifers and from 15 different rivers, some of which belong to indigenous peoples. Eight concessions are for the right of Coke to dump its industrial waste into public waters.” (http://killercoke.org/) The violence of this corporation doesn’t end here. Read more…
“Today, at least 1.1 billion people (about one-sixth of the entire human population) do not have adequate access to clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion people lack proper sanitation—causing nearly 250 million cases of disease and 5 to 10 million deaths worldwide every year. And even though water is a renewable resource that can be managed sustainably and equitably, the global water supply is in fact rapidly declining due to misuse, pollution and for-profit privatization gambits.” (http://www.foodispower.org/water-usage-privatization)
Nestle is not so sweet once you bite into its chewy nougat. From poisonous baby formula to slave labor, Nestle’s got it all. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/fair_trade/slavechocolate060414.cfm) And we eat right out of Nestle’s corrupt and slimy hands. Hey, don’t worry if you become diabetic: Nestle’s got that covered, too. Just use their product Diabetisource, for control-tube feeding. (http://www.nestlehealthscience.us/products/diabetisource-ac-)
The real challenge we face is whether we can avoid this complex and corrupt system. I don’t think we can avoid the interwoven climate of consumerism. We’re on a self-perpetuating train that rides in circles. Living off the grid is nearly impossible to do in this country. Most people need to purchase “things” from time to time in order to survive. Some of those “things” are produced by corrupt corporations. Sometimes people have little choice but to work for these companies, too – not because they want to but because it dominates the available job market in their region. (http://www.welfaretowork.org/history.htm)
I really hope someday I can say with confidence that everything I do, from the moment I wake up to the moment I begin to dream, is pure and has no ties to large corporate corruption and no ties to violations of human rights. It’s terribly difficult to escape the cycle because these companies practically sit with us at the dinner table every evening. They dictate our lives through million-dollar advertising and careful product placement. I can’t escape it but I will keep trying.
p.s. If something happens to me, you might want to have a chat with Nestle and Coca-Cola.