What an opportunity we now have in our hands.
I know that a lot of New Zealanders are going through some really hard and stressful times because of this pandemic, and there is much uncertainty surrounding the future of people’s businesses, jobs and the general functioning of our economic system. But the current economic system we inherited is not functioning well, and it absolutely is not sustainable.
We are facing a climate crisis of which the impacts on humanity will dwarf that of the pandemic, we have watched the distribution of wealth become horrifically unequal year on year, we have embarrassing rates of diet-related illnesses due to a corrupt and poisoned food industry, and we have plastic now raining down on us.
All these issues are interlinked and can be traced back to the forces of the linear, neo-liberalist, market-driven, short-term profit economics (whatever you want to call it).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – our current economic laws and policies were invented and implemented by economists and politicians who knew nothing about how the real world operates. These laws CAN (and must) be changed. The laws of the real world were discovered, and CAN NOT be changed.
We can not change the force of gravity, we can not create or destroy energy (only transform it from one form to another), and we can not control billions of years of evolution. We have to live and operate our economy in harmony with it. It’s pretty simple if you ask me.
But what can you do?
Well, where you choose to spend your money, and the business people you choose to support will literally shape the New Zealand we leave behind for our children and their children.
It’s a message we have been pedalling for a long time as a sustainability consultancy but it has become even more profound following COVID-19. Every dollar you spend is a vote on the world you want to live in.
Yes, there are many corrupt and unethical business people out there, but there are so many who aren’t. Business people here in New Zealand who are caring, kind, mindful, and working their arses off to solve these huge problems we collectively face.
We all need to take this time to think deeply about how we want to spend our money.
Do you want to keep giving millions of advertising dollars to Facebook who refuse to control the proliferation of fake news on their platform inciting hate and violence? While at the same time the New Zealand media struggles with the huge loss of advertising dollars? Forcing them to run their operations far leaner to survive. Reporters are under more pressure to get stories out quickly, often with shock headlines to grab people’s attention away from social media and with far less time to research and investigate their stories, greatly increasing the chance of inaccurate or incomplete reporting.
So what can you do?
Support the media outlets directly. They virtually all have options to pay for their content now.
Would you rather get your news from locally well-informed reporters or from a page on Facebook?
Buy your local newspaper. Advertise in your local newspaper and magazines. Advertise using local websites and local print.
Do you want to see big drinks companies who fill their products with sugar and make them cheaper than milk receiving more money than those who work with children to educate them on how to grow food (Almighty) or fund a development programme in Sierra Leone (Karma Drinks)?
Well, if not pay an extra few cents for your drinks. It doesn’t even have to be all the time. Maybe just once every three drinks you purchase. That will make a difference. That is you voting for the world you want.
Do you want to see more people driven off their land due the price of coffee falling below what it costs to produce, or do you want to see people developing their communities from the fair price they get from your coffee (Kokako).
Do you want to see massive multinational companies with dodgy histories of environmental and human exploitation keep making money from their questionably made cleaning products and petrochemical plastic packaging or do you want your money to support a family-owned NZ business that spend more money to use plant-based products, plant-based plastics, and who offer refill stations (EcoStore)?
Do you want to see our farmers trying to shift to organic but then left high and dry because customers aren’t prepared to pay an extra $2 for their milk, so they go back to using petrochemicals to grow their grass?
Again, it doesn’t have to be every bottle of milk you buy. But every bottle of organic milk you do buy will support that farmer to make the transition to a farming model that is less stressful for them and less stressful for their land.
So New Zealand, go forth and spend your money as you want the future to be. Let’s rebuild better and leave this place better than we found it.
Founder / Director
Go Well Consulting