Welcome to Hipster Al Gore! I hope you enjoy it. What’s not to love? We’ve got mediocre recipes, ridiculous stories of things I’ve done in the name of Earth, and tips on how to be broke. You may be asking yourself, “sure, this blog is a ton of fun, but what is it actually going to accomplish?” To the haters, I say “hear me out.” I am under no assumption that my words will single-handedly lead a revolution. I’m not a scientist, and I can’t claim to understand much of anything but the obvious about climate change. But, I will always argue that you and I can make an impact, and this blog is here to offer you ways that we can.

Listen, guys. I know that taking a reusable bag to the grocery store every time isn’t going to solve climate change or clean up our oceans on its own. Individual actions, apart from your dietary choices and ditching your car entirely, aren’t doing much of anything to save the world or humans from extinction.

Many people understand that corporations and governing bodies are the only real game-changers and that the rest of us are basically powerless in fighting them. This is half true.

But, don’t give up just yet. An actually effective way to reach corporations is by putting your money where your mouth is (a great cliché for “eating money”) and doing what we liberals like to call “voting with your consumer dollar.”

Vote with your consumer dollar

The idea is that, in order for corporations to change their ways, they need an incentive to do so. Every time you spend money somewhere, you’re telling that company that you support what they’re doing, AND you let their competitors know that they are falling short somewhere.

It works, too. If a hell of a lot of people stop buying Monsanto produce and switch to organic, farmers will notice that demand and change their practices to fill it. We’ve already seen this happen with organics, and if we change our purchasing habits enough, it will affect many eco-friendly industries.

Ok, maybe you’re reading that and think, “Obviously! The problem is that I can’t afford to switch from the grocery store brand of dish soap to the biodegradable hippie brand. I’m not made of money like you, a gorgeous and intelligent woman running this extremely successful and glamorous blog.”

You’re totally right. I am gorgeous and intelligent, thank you. You’re also right, though, that you don’t need to buy that expensive brand of dish soap to send an equally powerful message. Choosing green brands over regular ones is great if you can, but it’s just as impactful, arguably more so, to just buy less.

Less is more (another applicable cliché!)

Every time something gets manufactured, we’re using precious resources, and at some point, that will create waste. Even that $9 bottle of organic soap has a carbon footprint. So don’t feel bad if you can’t afford it. But instead of buying the cheaper version, first consider whether or not you even need dish soap in the first place. Can you make your own from castile soap for pennies? Most of the time, the answer is yes.

Now, I know shopping for new toys is a great way to fill that void in your soul that seems to appear every Monday and after bad haircuts. So, I’m not asking you to quit shopping altogether, just make the thrift store or antiques shop your new retail therapist.

I have one more argument for buying less, and that’s what’s referred to as “greenwashing.”

Beware of greenwashing

Greenwashing is when companies understand the demand for eco-friendly or ethical manufacturing, so they make it seem like they’re doing a great job when, really, they haven’t made huge strides. It’s kind of like “all natural Cheetos”–they’re still terrible for you, but they’re technically all natural.

Greenwashing is very hard to identify, and I am often too lazy to. I don’t have time to research every product I need to buy to see if it is actually ethically sourced or if it’s just a t-shirt made from organic cotton but dyed with harsh chemicals that are running off into a village in Bangladesh’s clean water supply. I honestly don’t know how to combat this, so as of now, I’m here to help you find answers to questions and to share any brands that I trust.

a minimalist shirt from Forever 21, the king of fast fashion. see what I mean?

Let’s walk a mile in baby steps

So, having said all of that, the purpose of this blog is to share ways we can all make small steps to fight climate change, unethical manufacturing, and anything else I’m moved to fight. BUT, I understand that we are vain, poor, and lazy humans who would rather not change our lifestyles.

I’m not going to ask you to make any commitments. Those minimalist guys are over the top. Vegans, tbh, are too much for me. I’m probably never going to get to zero waste, mostly because I’m too shy to demand no straw at restaurants. Having strict rules is meaningless and sets you up for failure, discouragement, and breaking bad.

So, Hipster Al Gore is here to help you do your best, whatever your best may be. Every consumer-dollar-vote counts. The least you can do is show up to the polls.

Peace be with you, and also with you.