In praise of fuss

1st March 2011 by

I’m sadly prone to moaning about stuff and not getting off my behind and doing anything about it. So this month I encourage you, in fact I challenge you, to make a fuss.

You don’t necessarily have to superglue yourself to a bank to make a difference. Fuss may also be easy, fun and polite.

Sign an online petition, or, now and again, reply to a consultation and send an email to your MP. Get to know your MP, (mine is currently asking calm informed questions about carbon emissions from coal fired power stations – and getting real answers for the minister for Climate Change Charles Hendry* – get free alerts from this wonderful website ). Pat him/her on the head when s/he gets something right. Who’s a good elected representative? You are! Yes you are! Get out of your comfort zone.

When you are boycotting something, send a short note explaining you are doing so (otherwise, trust me, they won’t have a clue). Boycotts do work and they have a long history of contributing to social change. In 1791 following Parliament’s refusal to abolish slavery, a boycott led to a 30-50% drop in the sales of sugar. Shops responded by selling sugar guaranteed to have been produced by ‘free men’. Learn more here.

Or write to a company of a product or service you do use to ask them about their ethical policy – you’ll have a lot of sway as a proper consumer what gives them money and everything.

If you made a fuss and it didn’t work? Well maybe it did in an intangible way, maybe you inspired someone else to make a fuss and they did get something done, maybe you helped to create a backdrop for a more fuss-making society. As a person who I can’t remember once said; democracy is only as good as we make it.

*His mum was in our shop (at CAT) yesterday. Oh my, we did get excited. Yeah, we get all the stars here.

Put Your Money Where Your Ethics Are

3rd October 2009 by

This month we’re challenging you to put your money where your mouth is. Get the ethiscore on your bank and if you don’t like it, pester them to change it or change your bank. Commercial banks have been known to invest in arms, oil pipelines, tar sands oil extraction and operate in tax havens. In 2006, the carbon dioxide emissions embedded in RBS’s project finance was greater than the carbon dioxide emissions of Scotland itself- shocker !

But smile, there are other banking options out there, including Co-op (and their internet branch Smile ) and Triodos .

Statistically you’re more likely to get divorced than change your bank account, so we challenge you to prove statistics wrong. If you do feel wedded to your old bank, ask to see a copy of their ethical policy and tell them what they think about it. And if you are divorcing your bank, it’s always a good idea to tell them why you think their behaviour is so unreasonable.


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