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Our Priorities – Big Oil, Junk Food, and Wal-Mart

by Tiffany in Political Action, Tidbits

ballot boxI am a big fan of voting with your money for the world you want. This may sound simplistic to you but I really believe it. The people we choose to spend our money with have a great impact on our environment, the political system, and the state of our world. Even the food you buy at the grocery store is essentially a vote. Something as simple as buying a bag of apples can mean you are condoning slave labor and the use of illegal pesticides. When you pick up that bag of artificially cheap apples from the grocer what message are you sending that company if it is not that you approve of their business practices AND you support them? Makes you think doesn’t it? Instead of buying that bag of apples you might instead choose to buy a bushel of apples from a local, organic farmer. You might even pay twice as much per pound but the important thing is that you are voting for sustainable farming and you are supporting your next door neighbor instead of a greedy and corrupt corporation.

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with my mom recently when we went to the farmer’s market. Her immediate instinct was to say that most of goods were too expensive to buy…she could get them elsewhere for a better price. I had to remind her that there were more important issues at work here than money. I mean, I love saving money, but I love making my dollars count for something important even more. I LOVE being able to say that my purchases are not only furnishing my home or feeding my family…they are furthering the values and ethics that are important to me. What price can you put on that? Now, that is not to say all my purchases are made with only the most ethical companies…I have a long way to go yet in that respect…but I am “voting” in the right places more and more every day.

Today I ran across an article from Forbes that shows the 400 richest Americans. This list shows more than anything where American priorities are and I am not encouraged by the results.

Take a look at the top 25 companies that WE are making rich….the top 25 companies that represent our monetary “votes” and our values and ethics as a country. 5 of the richest people are affiliated with Wal-Mart…King of cheap and unethical. Two on this list are in oil, two are in entertainment, one is in the casino industry, and 3 are in the junk food (candy) industry. Add to those a bunch of computer industry moguls (just to round out the list) and you have American values in a nutshell. The list just gets even more depressing if you dig deeper. It also made me remember that we are heading into one of the biggest seasons for purchasing…the holidays. Think of all the voting that will occur.

These are the people we have catapulted into financial success…but have they done anything truly noble? Are they making the world a better place or are they helping to tear it apart? I am sorry but it bothers me to see big oil, junk food, and casino representatives making a fortune off the American people while 46.6 million of them have no health insurance. What if Americans started deciding to send their hard earned money to companies that make the world a better place…what an amazing world that might be…

  • Carey

    I’m not advocating Wal-Mart, but didn’t Sam Walton build his legacy with the successes he had with his local five and dime store.

  • I am not sure actually but it would not surprise me if it had a local startup. The company has a come a long way..and not for the better.

  • Stretch Mark Mama

    Well said, thank you!

    And it is difficult to spend more up-front to support what goes on behind the scenes…but money talks (but it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk……..) Great now we both have that song stuck in our heads….

  • Leeanthro

    Amen, sister!

    (I’m so anti-Wal-Mart on so many levels.)

  • I’m curious who you would like to see on the list? I question your lumping computer industry execs with Wal-Mart. At least some of them are trying to do good with all their money (Gates/Buffet).

    Love the cartoon. That sums up our grocery choices well!

  • Cindy

    I HAD to go to Wal-mart today to return a gift (cheap, plastic toy I refuse to have around the house). Right at the door was a whole row of fatty, artificial snacks for back to school – all priced under $2. That alone gave me a headache, compounded by the 15 minute wait at the return line. No amount of “savings” is worth this.

  • casual friday everyday

    You’re so very right. It’s about money. It seems like everything is about money. If we all do what we can to make a difference it will add up.

    Oh, and just for curiosity’s sake can you tell me more about you listing computer industry’s in your post about this topic? I’m not sure why they are mentioned and would really like to be enlighted.

  • Kristi,

    I would love to see more organic foods companies, health industries, biofuel companies…I know I am reaching. Maybe we can get there someday.

  • Nell,

    The computer/Internet companies just round out the list. In between our consumption of all those other products we must all return to our puters. :)

  • Jennifer

    One of the best ways to send your vote where it is most needed is to do your holiday shopping with women who are working from home – starting businesses and being at home for their families.
    Yes, the prices are sometimes higher – and sometimes not – but you are helping enable a mom to be available for her kids in a way that the traditional 8-5 (7-7) workweek does not allow.

    Then, next Spring, find a CSA farm to get all of your produce from – it’s organic (usually) and VERY fresh – picked that morning. This supports LOCAL farms, keeps the fossil fuel use down (not coming from China) and is healthy food for you & your family.

    Another thing I have begun doing… when I go shopping (not just to the grocer) I take along my own bag. Plastic take so long to break down, and most doesn’t end up in landfills anyway (looked at roadsides lately?). Paper isn’t much better – it is so thick that it too takes a long time to break down, and the resources used to create it are high. When I started carrying mine, I had people asking me where I got it (I love to start a trend!) I make them… I love to make bags. So, I started selling them too, enabling me to stay at home with my babies. if you are interested.

    Take a look at the world around you & choose wisely where you will vote. America is a country of consumers… and our pricing structure shows that. Prices are so much higher here than in “developing” countries because we can afford it. Did you realize that most countries pay around 25% of their income for food? We are blessed to have that % much closer to 10% – where our dollars go is where we focus our attention… a big house, a new fancy car, entertaining ourselves… whatever happened to family time? Game night? Hard work? Raising our children with values and morality?

    This is getting long (practically a post of my own) I just love to stumble across others that share the same views. Stop by my blog to leave comments of your own!

    Have a great one,

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  • Elizabeth

    Great article! I couldn’t agree more that it’s vital to be conscious of the fact that we vote with every dollar we spend. It takes a lot of effort and discipline though. I’m guilty of becoming lazy and complacent but I do my best to pay attention to where my dollars are going.

    Elizabeth’s last blog post..Day 64

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  • I’m a firm believer in voting with your money like this at well. But there are some other things you have to consider. Such as, all the jobs that Wal-Mart provides and the subsequent positive on the economy.
    In truth, Wal-Mart could do much better, but they have always prided themselves in providing cheap stuff for the average American. In many ways, that’s a good ethic in itself. Why, I have to ask, are Organic things so expensive? Could it be that those companies want to harp on the recent trends? Do they have any real good excuse for their inflated pricing?

  • oil painting portraits

    Thank you for sharing this information to us. Nowadays, the idea of GMOs has gone very strong from pet food to baby food. Isn’t that alarming? I can’t imagine letting my baby eat a cup of genetically modified corn kernels mixed with processed milk and artificial coloring just to make appear pleasing to the eyes. I really think moms should be informed on how to choose the right food for their family.

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