A Friday of a Different Color
Occupy Boone is moving its message from the street to the
The collection of High Country residents aligned with the greater Occupy Wall Street movement is encouraging people to “go green” on Black Friday. It’s part of an effort to redirect the energy of what’s largely been known as a protesting body into direct, meaningful action.
On the day following Thanksgiving, Occupy Boone will launch a campaign that urges people to rethink the way they do their holiday shopping. Called “Buy Local & Green, Preferably with Cash,” the initiative encourages consumers to shop at locally owned businesses, make “green” purchases and pay in cash.
“Occupy Boone wants to do a number of different things that encourage people to look at the way we’re handling life on planet earth and just one of them is this,” Robert Roskind, a member of Occupy Boone’s general assembly, said.
The campaign aims to foster economic justice and strengthen the financial base of the community. Roskind said their goal is to keep more money at home, funneling it away from corporations, which have practices that are detrimental to many.
“These corporations, which are largely money-centered, not people-centered, cause a lot of pain and suffering,” he said.
Roskind said that pain and suffering amounts to minimum wages and lack of health care benefits for workers, who often times live in poverty and can’t afford their housing costs.
A better alternative, he said, is supporting local business.
“They don’t just see us a revenue base,” he said. “Statistically, they pay more to nonprofits, and they keep the money in the local community.”
Occupy Boone is pointing people toward High Country Local First, a new nonprofit dedicated to supporting locally owned, independent businesses and farmers. HCLF recently launched a “Shift Your Shopping” campaign, which promotes shifting money spent at online retailers and big box stores to local business.
Executive director Mary Scott said there is validity to the claim that buying local is better for community. She pointed to a recent economic impact study revealing that if every household simply redirected $100 from chain stores to locally owned merchants, the local economic impact would reach approximately $10 million.
“Every time you spend, you’re voting with your money, what you want your money to go to,” she said. “When it’s going to the big box stores, a lot of it is just filtering right out. If it stays here, if the owners live and work here, then it’s circulating through our local economy. They’re reusing it here.”
Robert Roskind hopes the information presented by HCLF and Occupy Boone will facilitate changes in consumer behavior and motivate people to shop at places like Green Mother Goods in Boone. The store, which sells handicrafts, among other items, is a good starting place for not only buying local, but buying green, he said.
“The green aspect is to buy things that don’t pollute the planet or pollute minimally,” he said.
Paying with cash is also helpful, Roskind said. A cash transaction saves business owners from having to pay a 2 to 5-percent surcharge to banking institutions. Not having to pay the fee allows them to give employees better wages and benefits and enables them to give more money back to the community, he said.
Roskind said Occupy Boone doesn’t know all the answers to countering economic hardships, but knows it’s time to effect a change that will contribute to the community’s wellbeing.
“We want to move to a system that is not profit-based, but people-based,” he said. “The system we live under doesn’t make sense. It’s caused too much pain and we need to change it. The power is with the people.”
For more information on Occupy Boone, visit http://www.occupyboone.wordpress.com. For more information on High Country Local First, visit http://www.highcountrylocalfirst.org.