17 August 2011

Zombies Brewing

"The Taste of Blood & Brew"
Photo by Trista
My husband and I just finished watching Beer Wars -- a documentary about the beer industry and what it takes for independent brewers to get any traction.  What a wretched business!

Don't get me wrong; I very much enjoy beer.  I support the small companies in our area and buy niche' products when I can.  My irritation comes from the knowledge that the beer giants do everything they can to eliminate their competitors.  What is worse, though, is that Americans buy into their marketing campaigns. 

Even worse than mindless consumption is the devouring of our politicians' brains by this (and the other two) corporate giants.  By taking their money, our senators and house representatives pledge to support these beer companies' interests, and they all work together to keep the small, delicious companies out of our reach.  There is a question posed at the end of the movie.  Will we have access to the beers that we like, or will we allow the corporate giants to tell the government what we should be able to drink?

I think that we have this question in many arenas, not just in the brewing world.  It boils down to whether we buy into the marketing campaign or whether we choose to employ our brains.  Every dollar that we spend sends some message to someone.

Do we buy into the marketing of big, heartless corporations and offer them pieces of our brain in return for their product placement on our shirts?  Are we purchasing our fuel at stations that contributed to the oil spill in the Gulf?  Are our jeans made in a factory that relies on child labor and dumps toxic chemicals into streams used for drinking water?  Change.org is an online petition center that helps keep me informed regarding the ethics (and lack thereof) that my money is supporting.  I encourage you to visit the site, view the petitions and sign the ones that speak the most to you.

I don't want to be a consumer zombie.  I want to know what my impact is.  I want to make a difference in the world, and to leave it in better condition than it was in when I entered the land of the living.  Will you join me in supporting small businesses, local commerce and fair trade coffees, chocolates, teas, baskets, instruments, jewelry and clothing?

May God bless you in your justice endeavors and all of your ethical decisions.  Amen.

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