03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Everything They Do, You Do

Everything They Do, You Do

That's an interesting title, isn't it? No, it's not the name of my new indie band, but it's a concept I think needs to be scrutinized thoroughly as we enter the new decade.

I went to Starbucks today and on the back of my cup it says, "Everything we do, you do." What they mean is that they're working with Conservation International on supporting farmers who utilize environmentally-friendly practices. By purchasing their products, Starbucks says, you're helping keep CO2 out of the atmosphere.

It's a nice thought, but it works the other way as well. What if McDonald's, Exxon Mobil, or AIG had "Everything we do, you do" as their slogan? Indeed, our economy functions in this way. The corporations that we vote for every day (via the purchase of goods and services) do something out in the world. By supporting their products, whatever they do, we do.

Therefore, every purchase of a Big Mac supports the industrial farming and cattle processing industry. Every purchase of a pair of Nike shoes supports the harsh and unethical treatment of workers in Indonesia. And yes, even filling up your gas tank supports the decades-long conflict between the U.S. and the Middle East. I write this last one, as I'm as guilty as everyone else.

Fifty-nine million of us voted last November for positive change. But President Obama, as George W. Bush before him, has not asked us to sacrifice anything in pursuit of this change. As we look toward the future -- and the birth of a new decade encourages us all to do so -- we must remember that everything they do, we do.

If we really want change, it will take more than one president. It will take a concentrated effort from each of us to use the power of the dollar -- the energy the U.S. has always run on -- to voice the values that are truly important.

Healthy and ethically-prepared food. Clean and safe working environments. Affordable prescription drugs. An environmentally secure 21st century. If everyone who wanted these things put their money where their blogs are, we'd see that change we seek in months, not years.