Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier features editor
In a culture that pushes its participants to live up to unrealistic standards of perfection, a holistic approach to a sustainable lifestyle is unapproachable. Many environmental advocates, such as social media influencers and gurus, sustain that unless the pursuer of a green lifestyle is able to incorporate organic and vegan products within every aspect of their daily lives, then the pursuer’s efforts are pointless.
A “green” lifestyle comes at a price. An environmentally conscious buyer is often required to spend more money for products that are vegan and organic. For example, nonplastic food containers are more expensive than plastic containers. On walmart.com, a 10-piece glass set of bowl averages at about $10. However, on the same website, 40-piece plastic set of containers (tupperware) prices at about $11.
While Walmart is not a locally owned, locally sourced farmers’ market, it is a large retail market that allows a college student the opportunity to buy cheap products in bulk. I have to accept the imperfect position that I am forced into by corporations such as Walmart that price match small businesses. As a result, the cheaper price will always fall onto a chain business that can afford to lower their products’ prices.
In a position where the product with lowest price will win, small businesses do not stand a chance with demographics who do not have disposable income.
The responsibility to not buy an organic and vegan product should not fall onto the consumer, and the expectation that the buyer should spend more money than they have available should be reprehensible.
The decision to shop at a chain corporation because of the low prices and bulk options should not be held against the consumer. Instead, the corporation should be held responsible for competitive pricing and wages that can have a resounding effect on an entire community.
‘The Wal-mart Effect’ is the term coined when referring to the economic impact that small businesses feel when a large company such as Walmart is built in a small community. According to NPR, Walmart is such a big global chain, that it does not matter whether or not the consumer shops at the store or not: Walmart affects everyone’s lives.
Super stores’ influence on the world should be acknowledged when demanding that followers of a green lifestyle have to adhere to certain higher status individuals’ expectations that then influence their followers. People with lower incomes who are still invested into changing their lifestyle with vegan and organic should be able to start one step at a time, not all at once.
So, while I continue using my $5 plastic hair brush that has lasted me three years and is much cheaper compared to bamboo hair brushes, I know that my plastic product will continue to work for several more years. Because even though the bamboo hairbrush is a more organic alternative, it is also irresponsible and wasteful to throw away a product that is still useful.