Last November at the Green Festival here in San Francisco I attended UC Davis professor Ellis Jones’ lecture Shopping for a Better World. I was so inspired by his philosophy that I bought his books immediately (and then I stalked him for about an hour trying to get him to sign them, but I digress.)
The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make A Big Differenceand the The Better World Shopping Guide: Every Dollar Makes a Differenceare two publications that should be required reading for anyone who is trying to understand why spending money on products made by green companies is so important. Jones’ philosophy has really informed the work that we do here at Eco to the People. Jones believes, as we do, that people innately want to help, want to do the right thing and support the right companies but are often stumped as to how to get started.
The Better World Handbook breaks down actions that the average person can take – using energy-efficient appliances, for example – explains why they are important and offers sane ways that these actions can be accomplished.
In the Better World Shopping Guide, through a fairly complex ranking system, Jones has graded companies in a variety of categories on their environmental and social responsibility. It’s like a report card for companies that make things like cosmetics and gas and juice, so that you can see at a glance those companies that are working to improve the state of the environment. I whip it out in the grocery store and at Walgreens with some regularity and am getting used to the staring. (If you prefer to be more discreet about your dorkiness, you can download a version onto your iPod for $5.)
Jones says it best: “You don’t have to be an activist to make a difference in the world.” You just have to spend your money wisely.