The difference between consumer and stakeholder
Would you rather have a stake in the environment or merely consume it?
If a bank loaned me money the relationship would be that of a consumer. The bank has no interest in my business, only on making a fast profit at my expense. The bank will require that I pay back its loan plus interest. The bank would see me as a cow to be milked for every penny it can through bank charges and selling me expensive unnecessary financial products. The bank has a parasitic viewpoint to its customers in making profit without regard to encouraging happiness, health or abundance in its customers. If an individual invested money in a business they are in effect a stakeholder, their focus is on producing a healthy profitable business so they gain a return on their money, the downside is they take a loss if the business fails. It is in the interests of the investor to do everything in their power to assist the business to succeed.
In the old economic global order you and I are classed as consumers. Our interest is limited to the consumption of products and services sold to us by the providers of those products and services. We have no say in the processes or the provision of the products or services: for instance the process that employs children in factories to provide Apple products; or the processes of Monsanto that kills bees.
The contract between consumer and provider is limited to a short-term exchange of product and service for money, often with a notion that what is consumed will in a short time be thrown away for a better one, or as a result of the design that gives it a short-term life cycle to encourage further consumption.
Consumers are placed in a state of constant need
The consumerist system is designed to see you and me as nothing more than a hungry locust, we the consumer are always placed in a state of need in a system that often favours an outcome of parasitism where one side loses and one wins. The idea is we satisfy this need by spending on products we often do not need, regularly and continuously; wiping out our savings, the legacy for future generations, and enslaving ourselves in perpetual debt to money merchants (banks) to keep this unsustainable system going. Consumption is the golden ideal in this system, where the health of a nation is measured by the amount of consumption via the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recession is considered bad indicating consumption has slowed or reversed. Spending is good and saving is bad in such a system.
When you get involved in the conversation on sustainability you and me are often referred to as stakeholders. As stakeholders we take on a radically different world view to that of the consumer. As a stakeholder you have an interest in the community, economy and the environment you are involved in. No longer are you merely consuming resources, you have authority, and responsibility for those resources. You become like the investor in the business, investing in the health of energy systems thus reaping the benefits of the prosperity in terms of happiness, health and abundance that the energy system will bring. Instead of being a bystander you are centre stage in the conversation and processes of anything that you have an interest in. You become a change master, in that now you have the power and voice; you are the change maker, in that you not ruler, priest or merchant makes the changes.
The attitudes, ideas and processes that worked at the expense of the environment for the last 50 years around spending, consumption and relentless growth are no longer sustainable. The energy systems are no longer coping, are breaking down into disorder. The consumer is heading towards extinction, the rise of the stakeholder is the beginning of a new order. The choice remains if you wish to continue to be a consumer or take on a new role as a stakeholder.