I’ve come to see that in all of our identity, we have two different parts of ourselves. We have a consumer self and a citizen self. And that consumer self is spoken to and validated and nurtured from day one, so that muscle is really well developed. We all know how to be consumers; we know how to get online right now and get any product from anywhere in the world delivered to our door. And one of the things about familiarity is it can lull us into staying there. So we stay in this consumer realm.
Meanwhile, the citizen part of our self, our citizen muscle, has atrophied. I really see this when I show The Story of Stuff at public events. Somebody will almost always raise their hand and say, “What can I buy differently to solve this problem?” And I tell them, You know what? You can’t. Because the solutions that we need are not for sale. Even at Whole Foods.