01/07/2014 05:10 pm ET Updated Mar 09, 2014

Do You Earn a Living Wage?

A toast is in order. A toast to everyone fortunate enough to earn a living wage. Here's a toast to complacency. Yes, complacency.

Why am I writing in a frustrated tone? Well, it's far more than simply frustrating to think about the number of people earning below $1.25 per day. It's shocking. It's unacceptable. I'm concerned that we've come to a point in our society in which frustration over such a large issue is so often scoffed at as an inefficient use of our time and energy. I've even been called immature for it. But it too often feels like nobody's talking, at least not nearly enough. It's about time this conversation reached the masses. We don't have the time for only a portion of our population dedicated to this issue to keep the conversation going. We don't have time to settle. We need everyone, including you, to become a storychanger. It will take everyone shifting to supporting better-world businesses to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live a life with purpose and dignity.

In this battle, the enemy is you and me. Conversations about a better world must inspire action from within. The clothes on our backs, the food that we eat, the books that we read -- the buying decisions we make -- showcase the world we are comfortable living in. Comfortable. There is no other way to describe the way in which we've adapted to this conversation of a living wage. We are sitting comfortably, and as we so often put it, we "do what we can."

Collectively, we can do more. We can change that story. If we truly come together, it will be much easier to commit to making better buying choices.

So to everyone who earn's a living wage, here's what I hope we can do. Start a conversation at the dinner table. Start a dialogue at work. Ask everyone near and dear to write down everything they buy, and why. Ask around for better options. Read this article. Begin to learn about companies that are making our world a better place to live in. Learn about these issues. Empower your neighbors, your friends, and your family to support better-world business. Spread the knowledge that a better world is ahead, and be a living, breathing example of what it means to buy better.

This means being conscious of your choices when you leave a restaurant with a Styrofoam box. This means thinking about every banana you buy. This means reading labels on food products not just for your health, but for whether the ingredients were sourced fairly. This means sending emails to every brand and retailer you support asking them to be more responsible in the way they source. This means teaching your children to become storychangers, to become activists for better-world business. This means being a little more than frustrated - this means taking action. After all, the first step to tackling any problem is to acknowledge it, right?

Where is there a debate in the idea of a living wage? Who is against people earning enough to feed themselves, their families, and to keep a roof over their head? I don't see any debate there. So how do we go about paving a path forward that creates these opportunities? Let's start by buying better. It starts with you, right there in your chair. The story of our world is in our hands. Will you be a storychanger?

I think we can agree there is a problem. But are we willing to admit the solution is in our hands? It's time to end our complacency. Here's a toast to living wages for all. Let's make sure we know where the wine is coming from, though.

Whether you do or don't believe that the power of changing the story of the world for the better lies within each of us, I'd love to keep the conversation going. Feel free to email me at, or comment below. If you want to become or already are a storychanger, please email me!