For years the American public has professed to care about the environment, yet their purchasing decisions did not reflect this value. Consumers have decried labor conditions, yet sought the lowest-price option for goods. The sustainability community in the United States has long called for a consumer awakening to the fact that each time they make a purchase, they are ‘voting with their dollars’ –supporting practices, governments and policies that they dislike in survey after survey.
That is why I have watched with growing interest as Occupy demonstrations began and have grown from New York to more than 150 cities across the country and around the world. Using social media, I reached out to participants and organizers (I was admonished not to use the term ‘leaders’ as their role was to convene, not to direct) of the various movements. And what I found surprised me.