‘Consumer activism’, ‘social change’ and even ‘purchasing power’ are buzzwords that are prevalent everywhere, even inside of circles where conscious consumerism ranks high on the charts of importance. However, I am saddened to see it has become socially acceptable to simply be aware of an issue, but with no real push to actually DO something about it.

I have been passionately following along with the Conscious team as they truly begin to change the conversation that surrounds our responsibility to make a difference in the world we live in. I believe strongly it is also time we start to change the hashtag awareness conversation and start focusing on the next important steps.

01 | Teach Our children
Youth today are confident and savvy. They appear in cameos on popular cooking shows and upload instructional YouTube videos of their lego creations or Minecraft hacks. They fully understand the power of social media and rally together to raise money for things like the jump rope marathon so that their school can add more books to their library.

The concept of social change is resonating with more adults on a daily basis thanks to social media. Add the reality that many entertainment superstars are creating non-profits and charitable organizations and you might think we are well on our way to creating a world of equality, fair trade and conscious consumerism. However, we need to start TODAY in our focus to raise up little conscious citizens of the world, so this conversation continues to be heard loud and strong, long into the future.

My own children know about the value of understanding where their food comes from. We shop at farmers markets as often as we can and have a small garden. After living in India for three years, they also fully understand what the poverty cycle looks like. It is so important for me to teach them where their “stuff” comes from (not just their food) as well as educating them on how to take an active role in breaking the poverty cycle.

02 | Support The Lost art of [fill in the blank] I hear so often the refrain that the craft of weaving is a “lost art.”  It isn’t lost at all, in fact it is simply that the majority of consumers have chosen to stop honoring the history and tradition of handiworks. One of my favorite things to do while living in New Delhi, India was to visit the shops of local artisans. To watch them work was a thing of beauty and I always left inspired by their creativity and talent, but also a bit fascinated by the immense love and soul that is placed into each and every piece. I’ve since returned to the United States, but I still find myself drawn to things that are created by hand as opposed to churned out in a factory.

03 | The Way We Spend Money Determines the World We Want To Live In
The Root Collective is a company who firmly believes in the purchasing power of consumers. When I exercise my right to shop consciously, I show that I have researched my opportunity to really flex my purchasing power muscles. Wearing clothing items that were handmade by an artisan who proudly supports his family based on the proceeds of those items, means that I can in turn teach MY children how important it is to know where your purchases come from.

When I explain to my youngest daughter that a man named Otto made my shoes, and a woman named Moureen made my necklace, she happily shares that with her friends. Not only is she proud to tell others about the man named Otto who made her mama’s shoes, she also has begun asking where our other products come from.

04 | Shop Consciously and change someone’s life
A life is changed when products are purchased from an artisan, as a bigger chunk of the proceeds go back in their pocket. Those proceeds directly put food on the table, send their children to school and enable parents to maintain regular doctor visits. When those things happen, children grow up healthy and educated, girls and women are empowered and a community begins to flourish. When families and community flourish, the ripple effect is huge.

Being intentional in how you spend your money can make a tremendous impact on the lives of others. By ensuring that your money is going to companies that respect the livelihood of the people they source from, you become an important part of making the world a better place. You can vote with your dollars every single day.

05 | Change the dialogue to be more “made in Africa” and less “aid in Africa”
Many socially economic issues could be alleviated if more of us simply exercised our right to make powerful purchasing decisions from the comfort of where we sit. Those daily purchases can make a difference and bring permanent and lasting change. Imagine the added impact if we started teaching our children that same truth? We should be teaching our children more than just how to save money and balance their checkbook. How you spend your money today decides the world they will live in tomorrow.

Photo by: Bertrand Juba Roberts

From the Editor
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers in the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you Sign-up for the Weekly and Subscribe to Conscious Magazine.