The other day, we were tagged in the comments of an Instagram post by another ZW shop owner in California. The post simply said "Action speaks louder than activism" and really hit home with me after the last couple of months. Through my own activism, I've seen a lot of people join discussions that were meant to bring about change only to hang up from that call and hope that something is different. I've left a few calls where I wondered, "Why did I spend the time doing that? What did we actually accomplish?"
This IG post actually resulted in talking with the founder of the company who posted it, and to an interesting conversation. I don't know too much about these shampoo and conditioner bars, but my hair frequently gets to try out new ones to figure out whether or not to bring them into the store. (There is actually a backlog of shampoo bars in my bathroom to test now, so if you're reading and interested in helping test some and give feedback, send me a message... I could use the help!) Anyway, more samples are on their way. Being a business owner and zero waster, I suggested that it doesn't have to be a full sample, and that it would be totally fine to just send end pieces or discarded blocks. They responded back with something that will stick with me because it was energizing - "I roll out the red carpet for game changers. No scraps for you, sorry."
"GAME CHANGERS," she said. That's what this is all about. Changing the game. Our world is made of and packaged in plastic. Virtually none of it is recycled. The rules that underlie it have to change, and it won't change by talking about it or brainstorming ideas. The game will change when we take action to rebuild the system. It's not going to change with the idea of a refill store, but with the actions of hundreds of people coming to refill their dish soap and laundry detergent each week. It's going to change with the actions to choose the item that doesn't have the plastic package. It's going to change with businesses providing plastic-free options.
At its base, the word Activism implies action. Active. The state of being Active. So let's not let Activism be another discussion without action. It's got to be about taking action at the end of the day.
And to end on a positive note, recent news shows that Activism + Action works! The CPUC was set to approve a plan that would make residential solar ownership more expensive, effectively killing the incentives to install these systems on homes. However, as a result of ACTION taken by homeowners, environmentalists, the solar industry, and more, the CPUC decided to delay that vote to approve so that they can better study alternatives. We're not done yet - but at least it's a step in the right direction.