Pecha Kucha night in Columbus took place last Thursday under a cool evening sky at Junctionview Studios. This was my first Pecha Kucha experience and I was looking forward to soaking up the inspirational presentations and meeting new people at the event.

I was also there in support of Matt Barnes and Jacob Taylor of CivitasNow. Matt and Jacob were featured presenters and delivered a sharp, poignant speech on what they dubbed “Intergenerational Crime.” Assuming the stance of defense attorneys for the planet, the two encouraged everyone in attendance to join a global jury that needs to re-consider simple choices like “paper or plastic” in order to stop the environmental crimes we carry out each day on future generations.

For example, Jacob made a point about how Matt’s young son Jaxon didn’t choose to live in a state where a trash landfill is the seventh-highest elevated point. My takeaway from this was, we makes choices everyday that have far-reaching effects for how future generations will live and we need to be better aware of the consequences.

One way to be accountable, or make a “verdict” as Jacob and Matt said, is with your wallet. They suggest that in order to change our behaviors and choices, we have to embrace a concept called “enlightened consumerism.” Making informed decisions on WHY rather than WHAT we spend our hard-earned dollars on, is an integral key to understanding how we can be better consumers.

Like Jacob and Matt said, you don’t buy TOMS footwear because they make you run fast or jump higher, heck they don’t even look that great sometimes. It’s not about what the shoes can do. Why do people buy TOMS? That’s the bigger, more important question. Enlightened consumers spend money with TOMS because they know the founder “cares about protecting the feet of Argentinian children.”

Matt, a TED talk junkie, borrowed a famous line from Simon Sinek to encapsulate the example. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

If more of us stop to think about the “why” before we lay down the credit card to purchase something, we can all help usher in a new wave of consumerism and reduce our current crimes against the future generations.