Green Lifestyle

Published on March 27th, 2019 | by Scott Cooney


Voting with your dollars, and boycotting Trumpism

At Green Living Ideas, we love to talk about steps anyone can take to make the world a better place. One of the most powerful is voting. Perhaps an even more powerful one, just due to the sheer fact that you can do it every day, is voting with your dollars–choosing to support the kind of economy you believe represents the world you want to live in. We can do that by going to farmers markets and supporting local organic farmers. We can do that by choosing solar power over coal power. We can do that by buying a more fuel efficient or electric vehicle. By biking more and driving less. By buying locally made/grown goods from locally owned stores. The list goes on. I’ll assume most GreenLivingIdeas readers get this concept pretty clearly so I won’t belabor the point. Suffice to say, when you use your dollars in a good way, they multiply throughout the economy and reverberate positivity. Buying a natural soap from a local health food store that supports local organic farmers is a good example–even if you’re not buying that farmer’s produce, you’re supporting a positive economic ecosystem.

There is another way you can make a difference–and that is to *not* buy from companies or people that reverberate into the negative, corrupt, polluting, or extractive economy. These financial protests are basically boycotts. Let’s say, for example, that you want to boycott the Koch Industries. The multi-billionaire Koch Brothers who own Koch Industries have bankrolled much of America’s political division, driving our politics further to the margins, and they and their company have benefited greatly from the resulting decreased taxes and rollback of regulations on pollution (the brothers claimed that Obama was going to bankrupt everyone in America, but their net worth went from $14 billion before his presidency to $41 billion after, and that was before Trump’s giant tax cut for the ultra-wealthy!). As America’s largest polluter of toxic emissions, Koch Industries is a company that many people actively work to boycott. So if you wanted to boycott Koch Industries, you could use less plastic, oil, and other petrochemicals including chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You could also not buy any more AngelSoft, Brawny, Georgia Pacific, and Dixie products, as these products are big parts of the Koch ecosystem.

There are more ways. Yesterday, I went to get a cab at the airport (my phone was dying, so I didn’t trust trying to use Lyft), and the cabbie showed up wearing a Trump hat. I politely declined, and asked the airport attendant dispatcher if we could take the next one…she asked why and I told her it was because he was a Trump supporter and I wouldn’t give him my money. He appeared befuddled–here I am a white male in my mid-forties, and actively avoiding giving my money to a Trump-hat wearer. I made sure I was polite, but told him very clearly that I would never knowingly give my money to a Trump supporter, and moved my stuff to the next cab in line. With no one else in the cab line, it may have been another 20 minutes before Trump-cab-guy got another fare, so maybe it hurt his bottom line a bit. The next cabbie, who saw what happened, asked me why I’d chosen to skip the cab at the front of the line, and when I told him, he smiled and said he understood, and appreciated it. My traveling companions also said they were happy I had done it. We have to take a stand and let people know we won’t stand for sexism, racism and extremism in our country/world, and every little bit of protest counts. Especially those that move money in the right direction, because anyone who supports Trump probably cares about very little else besides money, and if nothing else gets their attention, at least losing money will.

If you see a company vehicle that has a Trump sticker on it, make a note, and maybe boycott it for now and for the future. To make sure the company knows, maybe post it on their yelp page, letting them know that they won’t be getting any of your money ever. Any company store that has a sign in the window supporting Trump…same thing. Or if you find out in other ways. Unbelievably, several of us went to get burritos in San Francisco’s Mission district on New Years Eve of 2016 (a month before the big orange dumb-dumb took office), and the owner, who relied on a cadre of low-wage non-English-speaking workers to make our burritos, gleefully pointed out how long the credit card reader was taking to process my friend Matt’s credit card as clear evidence of how much Trump was helping our economy (you can’t even make this stuff up–I have two witnesses on this). When we pointed out that he was still a month from even starting the job (his first job in his life?), the guy seemed confused, and tried to change the subject. So we made a note and wrote a Yelp review–never going to this place again!

Do it, people–get active and spend your money in ways that help create the world you want to live in. And reduce or eliminate spending on things that make the world worse. The CEOs focused only on quarterly earnings and the politicians they buy will pay attention to that, if nothing else.

Coal photo courtesy CleanTechnica pics


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About the Author

Scott Cooney is a serial eco-entrepreneur including being the solo founder of Pono Home,, and CleanTechnica; author of two books; former sustainability consultant with clients including Johnson & Johnson, Eastman Chemical, Wal-Mart, and Duke Energy; former Adjunct teaching the first course in sustainable business in the MBA program at UH Manoa; lover of local, healthy food and especially vegan nachos. Find Scott on Twitter

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