The Buycott app is an excellent tool to help me take action in changing the world around me; it identifies way I can put my money where my mouth is*. Whoa whoa whoa, hold up – let me tell you how I’ve come to this conclusion. Often I fall into a little self-pity and wonder how little old me, a sole individual, can make an impact on big issues that the world is dealing with that I feel strongly about. I understand that action must be taken, but how? where? when? is it enough?
The Buycott app lets you scan the barcode of any item in the grocery store (and expanding to other items) and it will trace back to the parent company. The app is great at deciphering whether a company is an independent brand, or part of a larger company, as it traces the family tree of the company back to the source/owners.
Think about it, if we are spending all that money on food, we might as well make sure it’s going to good use. The money I spend is going to companies, often huge corporations, that now have my money, my support. By buying those items I am supporting that company’s actions. Before, the thought of trying to sort out which companies owned what and donated to which causes seemed WAY too daunting and overwhelming. In the app, there are campaigns that the user can join. There are campaigns for GMO labeling, access to reproductive healthcare, animal cruelty, child labor, slave labor (which definitely does exist, right now, in the U.S.) and many many more. So you can choose the campaigns that matter to you, and you can create your own campaign as well. The app is open to anyone, and doesn’t correspond with any one political affiliation. And the scanning function is pretty fun too. So scan everything! Give it a whirl.
These are issues I care about: of course I don’t want my money going to support slave labor! Of course if I buy organic I want it to actually be organic! Of course I want to be able to believe the words listed on the side of the box and not worry that it’s just manipulative marketing! This app helps me align my actions (spending money) with what’s important to me (causes), rather than blindly buying out of uninformed habit – just because that’s what I’ve always done. So then every grocery shop becomes an active exercise in my values – I get to choose what I buy with some clearer eyes.
For instance, I found out that a granola brand that I had been buying for a few years which looks like a mom and pop “all natural” healthy brand is part of Kellogg, which donated $790,000 to No on Prop 37 to demand GMO labeling. So the app kindly lets me know in RED across the top “You’re avoiding this company” based on my selection of that campaign. And for a brand that plays on the eco-friendly “all natural” granola, it’s clear that this is solely a marketing technique. Bam! Money where my mouth is – since I scanned it 10 months ago, I haven’t bought it since. And you know what, I’m fine. I don’t miss it. I have delicious oatmeal instead. I feel powerful. By choosing to change a habit, over time it adds up. Buying this granola brand at almost $5 a bag bi-weekly over 10 months is $100, just from granola, that now they ain’t gettin’ from me! That’s $100 of my money towards something I do support.
How I choose to spend and how you choose to spend is a choice, and this choice can be changed to impact the world around us. When enough people join and act based on the new information, the little decisions add up, and it will reach a tipping point. And this is how the little actions become a force of nature. Every choice matters.
For example: it impacts what your local grocery store will keep in stock (cause they do keep track of what sells and want to make money). If no one is buying x product, then they won’t stock it for long. And now you don’t have to keep track alone. Check out the Buycott app, an excellent tool to help you put your money where your mouth is and makes every trip to the grocery store a chance to take a stand on the issues most important to you.**
* PS. Money where your mouth is – aligning your thought and action. Yoga means union. Breath, body, mind, intention, action, and on and on. Bringing these elements closer and closer to union brings mindfulness to our thoughts and actions. One thing that unifies us humans all together is our need to eat, it’s beyond a habit (although many of us, myself included, eat more out of habit then listening to our bodies). Eating is the one thing that we all must do that we can also share with one another – having a meal together. So choosing what you eat and who you purchase your food from in a mindful manner is a practice of yoga.
** PPS. I’d love to know your experience with the app; comment below. Did it change any of your spending habits? Any other helpful resources that you know of? I’d love to hear from you!