Photo by joanna deSilva
Blogging offers a unique tool for public accountability. I'm going to need that this year, as our family goes to the next level in making sure our spending doesn't harm the earth or anyone on it.
I've always felt a stirring for justice and hypocrisy bothers me deeply. Still, it's hard to feel that baby steps make a difference when it comes to the world's poor. It's easy to ignore issues so far removed from our day-to-day--like sweatshops and slavery.
I don't want to live in guilt, but I do want to live better. And more in line with our family's values...at every checkout line I stand in.
But ethical spending can be scary; it requires coming up with a new "normal."
I felt this fear a few years ago, when we decided to stop shopping at Wal-mart. I felt it again a year and a half ago when we transformed our eating habits and begin choosing whole, unprocessed, organic foods.
The fear always repeats a similar mantra, "We can't afford to do this. We're already doing so much. What if we don't have enough? What if we go broke? What if we fail?"
You get the picture.
But in 2011 we're not going to let anything hold us back in our quest to be ethical consumers.
Our companion on the journey? The Better World Shopping Guide, a little book that takes the guesswork out of deciphering which companies deserve our dollars. (I reviewed the book here last year.)
The book rates companies in over 70 categories (from supermarkets to body care), giving each a letter grade - A through F.
In 2011, our family's goal is to only buy from companies with either an A or B rating, or to acquire what we need from another sustainable source (like thrifting, an eco-friendly company, etc.)
Our family abhors the exploitation of children, which is why we moved to New England so Steve could work with Love146. But what message does it send our kids when we allow our purchases to exploit children (or adults) in other ways?
Twice a month I plan on posting here to share about our challenges and successes. I hope you will follow along and begin to consider your own purchasing choices.
As a first step, I highly recommend buying a copy of the Better World Shopping Guide. It's under $10, and is a small book you want to keep so you can refer to it repeatedly before spending. (I keep mine in my purse.)
I'm excited about this challenge, a little nervous, too, and hopeful that you'll be here to cheer me on and maybe even take a few steps on the journey with me.
*Have you given much thought to ethical spending? Have you taken any action steps in this area?*