Can Western Women Save the World?
The Dalai Lama thinks so.

By Carolyn Parrs





His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a stunning proclamation last year at a Peace Summit in Vancouver. He said, "The world will be saved by the western woman." This statement shocked the audience and started a tsunami of responses in cyberspace. Can you imagine? Women saving the world?

After the initial elation I felt to hear such a highly respected male leader make such a statement, I thought to myself, duh, of course it will be women. We make 85% of the consumer purchases. We can save the world right now by what we buy – and don't buy.

Let's look at the numbers. It is estimated that American women spend about $5 trillion annually. That's over half of the US GDP. Wow. We purchase everything from autos to health care.
Here are some quick stats on our purchases:
91% of new homes
66% PCs
92% vacations
80% healthcare
65% new cars
89% bank accounts
93% food
93 % OTC pharmaceuticals
And here's what we're doing online:
22% shop online at least once a day
92% pass along information about deals or finds to others
171 average number of contacts in their e-mail or mobile lists 


According to the New York Times (August 23, 2009), "There are more women controlling more wealth in the US than ever before. Of those in the wealthiest tier of the country defined by the IRS as individuals with assets of at least $1.5 million, 45% are women."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what we can do if we rally our forces and use our economic power to change the course we're on. We've got the power. So what's standing in the way? Why aren't we using our smarts at the supermarket to make conscious choices in what we buy? Why aren't we sending big messages to Madison Avenue every day with our pocketbooks?

As a green marketer for the last 10 years, what I've noticed over and over again is this: We simply do not know what we're putting into our pores. Most of us are just plain uninformed.
Would you buy that brand new baby blue carpet for your child's nursery if you knew that a baby crawling on a conventional carpet inhales the equivalent of four cigarettes a day? (Source: Scientific American Magazine). Would you smear that satiny chartreuse paint on your walls if you knew that indoor air pollution is two to 20 times more toxic than outdoor air pollution, even if you live in an industrialized city? (Source: Environmental Protection Agency). We're getting out-gassed on a daily basis and we don't even know it.

For instance, in the US about 80,000 industrial chemicals are registered for use in all of the products we eat, touch‚ wear‚ and use to furnish our homes, but fewer than 20% have been tested for their impact on human health and the environment. These include ingredients in our food, household cleaners‚ and body care products. They include chemicals used on and in toys, furniture, clothing and bed linens.

Of those that have been tested, most have been evaluated for their acute impacts to adult males. Yet, women are the first environment for the next generation. Many chemicals stored in a woman's body are passed on to her child during pregnancy and later through breast-feeding.

Dynamic Living Magazine Issue Vol. 1  Jan/Feb 2011 continue to page 2