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Can shopping save the world?

News Section Icon Published 25/07/2012


If you’re reading this, and you care about our planet and its inhabitants, the chances are you sometimes buy products because you know they are "good". Be it fair-trade bananas, free-range eggs or going for the locally grown veg that hasn’t been flown halfway around the world in a carbon-spewing plane.

And these are important choices to make. But in her new video, Annie Leonard very clearly makes the case that whilst personal shopping choices are a great place to start – “it’s a terrible place to stop”. As she points out, Gandhi may have said “be the change”, but if he’d just made a personal choice to sew his own clothes and wait for the British to leave India – we wouldn’t know who he was today.

That’s not to say we all need to aim to be the next Gandhi or Martin Luther King either. We should, however, learn from the movements of the past and recognise that success won’t be based on nagging people to "perfect their day-to-day choices", but on citizens coming together to "demand rules that work".

As she says:

...our real power is not in choosing from items on a limited menu; it is in determining what gets on that menu.1

A rallying call for change

Annie’s first video, The Story of Stuff (as featured in our recent "Magnificent Seven" of sustainability videos), exposes the connections between major social and environmental issues and the way we consume "stuff". It’s now been seen by more than 15 million people2, and generated a whole "Story of Stuff Project".

The Story of Change is a follow-up – and this time it’s a rallying call to us all to be active in seeking solutions. Watch it now!


Watched the video and feeling inspired? You’re needed!

Annie points out in the video that millions of us already want the same thing:

Instead of this dinosaur economy that focuses only on corporate profits – we want a new economy that puts safe products, happy people and a healthy planet first.

And what’s more, all the tools are there for us to work together in an unprecedented way, if we can only commit to working together until we create the change we want to see.

At Compassion in World Farming, we want food to be produced in ways that look after the planet and its inhabitants. And we believe that can’t be done unless we can kick the habit of factory farming and focus instead on food and farming systems that are safer, fairer and greener. We can’t achieve this alone.

  • If you agree that we need a food and farming revolution and you’ve not yet joined us, start by pledging your support at the top of this page and we’ll keep you up-to-date on ways to get involved with our campaigns.
  • As the video points out, any movement for change needs all types of people to get involved, and that doesn’t just mean taking to the streets with a protest sign. Take the change-maker personality quiz that follows on from the video and find out where your strengths might lie. Then let us know what you get below!

To quote Annie one last time:

Let’s get to work to make the kind of change we know is possible.

Has the quiz or video made you think differently about the role you could play in changing the way food is produced? We’d love to know!

Our sources

  1. The Story of Stuff website
  2. "About the project" on the Story of Stuff website

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