My Facebook feed has never been so busy with people full of enthusiasm for democracy and voting as it was this past week, leading up to the Ontario provincial election.
Now that the election is over, many people will be under the impression that voting is over too. It isn’t. It never is. Granted, elections are a bit more exciting and more well-publicized, but we have the opportunity to vote virtually every day…with our dollars, and with our actions.
I wish more people would treat this with the due care and consideration that it warrants. Literally every single time we open our wallets we are presented with a choice; an opportunity to vote for the kind of world we want. Every time we open our mouths or turn on our computers, we can do the same.
On a micro level:
A vote for almond milk is a vote for kindness to dairy cows.
A vote for the vegan option at a restaurant is a vote against violence.
A vote for a locally owned business is a vote for the community.
A vote for a puppy mill pet is a vote against a shelter animal.
A vote for a non-toxic cleaning product is a vote for the rivers and oceans.
A vote for a non-animal tested cosmetic item is a vote in favour of liberating laboratory animals.
A vote for plastic trinkets is a vote against sea birds and water life.
A vote for mass-produced food is a vote for food conglomerates.
A vote for eating meat is a vote against respect for animals.
Those are just a few examples.
Each of our individual choices can have a profound impact, positively or negatively. But it’s the cumulation of those choices that really packs a punch. You have the power to do damage; alternately, you have the power to empower and uplift. Take the time to think about what your consumption really means.
That’s not to say that we can simply buy our way to virtue. Often, the best choice may be to buy nothing at all. If you don’t have much money (and even if you do), you can use your voice to make a difference. Volunteer. Advocate. Defend. Educate. Listen. Learn. Make someone’s day with a smile or kind words.
We can lobby others for change, be those companies, organizations, governments, or other people, but change needs to start with ourselves.
But every time we do cast a dollar, we are voting. Every time we interact with others we voting.
Get the vote out.