Do you ever find that certain words or phrases annoy you? Their over use or misuse gets under your skin? Well one thing that gets on my nerves is hearing human beings referred to as “consumers”. As if our purpose in this world is to use up resources.
Governments and corporations use the term often, and each time they do they devalue all that is truly essential about people – that we create, contribute, and leave legacies in our lives far greater then what we acquire or use up.
Here at BeLocal we think of and value people first at human beings. Second as citizens. And finally as Producers. We want to empower you to view yourself in the same way.
This starts by eliminating the word “consumer” from your vocabulary. Once you do, you can start respecting your own power. Power to create. Power to invent. Power to engage in the civic life of your community. And critically, the power to put your energies and resources into producing rather than consuming. If you are following the Dirt Simple blog, you’ll know that the first thing you should be producing is some portion of your own food. Turning part of your property, or even a window sill, into a place that produces food begins to free you from total dependency on the consumer economy.
Learning skills that allow you to extend the life of your things, preserve food, prepare for uncertainty, or generate an income from your home moves you even further from consumerism. You have to buy less when your possessions last longer. You can be more selective in what and when you buy if you are not in a scarcity mind-set, and diversifying your income may allow you to control other aspects of your life.
Being called consumers, and accepting that label, makes us dependent. Dependent on the mechanisms of the industrial economy. Dependent on lenders and credit-cards. Dependent on continuous employment. Taking the journey to Citizen and Producer is a journey toward independence. It’s a journey we need to take individually, and collectively, to build the local, resilient communities that can carry us into a better future.
So the next time you hear people referred to as consumers, maybe it will rankle your skin a little too. If it does, stand up and say no, I’m a person, a citizen, and a producer. I’m not defined by what I take, but what I give to my family, my community, and the world, each and every day.