I distinctly remember when I first heard about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It was about four years ago and for at least a month, or six, I had a practiced and passionate monologue I would deliver to anyone who would listen. I spoke about the corruption of our political system, the babies and families being poisoned by lead, and the unbelievable fact that a city was charging the residents for the poisoned water. If they chose not to pay, they risked losing their homes. What was missing in my monologue was the ties to unbridled capitalism.
As with many of my impassioned pleas, people would listen and be saddened by my news and then move on with their daily routines in clean water lives. What else could they do?! I wasn't able to do anything more than spread the word. What was that helping? Clearly nothing — since this crisis has continued for a solid four years.
People with money and means sent water trucks, others sent bottled water — which seems really ironic to me. As far as I know none of the very rich sent pipes or money to fix the infrastructure because of course that is the government’s job.
This past week our corrupt capitalist system was under more light about its brokenness. Megacorporate citizen, Nestle, applied for a permit to extract water for pennies on the dollar in — wait for it — Michigan! (You can’t make this stuff up!!!) 81,000 residents sent their objections to state EPA office but Nestle still secured their permit.
As I have asked in the past, when will people understand that their retirement funds depend on capitalistic corruption for their future comfort? These funds and profits are at the expense of other peoples’ lives, ecosystems, and the health and welfare of our communities.
I understand this is what we live with for a system right now. However, in order for any system to work in needs buy-in from the majority of its members. I have noticed that people don't buy in when their personal lives and families are affected. So, I would ask everyone reading this to imagine that your children, parents, or loved ones were being poisoned by their drinking water so a CEO and stock holders could make untold millions. Does that make it more personal?
I found out this week that my sister, Blythe, has been boycotting Nestle since the 1980s because of their insolent and outrageous practices pertaining to pushing baby formula in Africa. She has been vigilant about keeping updated on their takeovers and expansion, choosing not to buy any of their products. Her standard reply to family members wanting to purchase anything Nestle has been, “Nestle kills babies. We don’t support that.”
If you don't own Nestle or other related stock but want to learn more here’s more information https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestl%C3%A9. Other Nestle products include Kit Kats, Perrier, and Haagen-Dazs. For more products please see: http://nestle_is_evil.tripod.com/nestleisevil/id1.html. I urge you to reconsider how your investments and consumption patterns are directly and negatively affecting those around you.
Can you find sustainable and ethical ways to invest for your retirement? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your personal comforts for the good of future generations? Are you willing to ask others in your circle of influence to do the same? If each of us doesn’t start thinking this way, how will we alter the pathway into the future?