24 January, 2009

Put your money where your mouth is!

Help your congregation practice conscientious buying:

Ethical shopping alone is not a "magic bullet." As Christians, we still need to think about our level of consumption. The New Internationalist, a magazine devoted to fighting global injustice, suggests asking these questions before making a new purchase:

Do I really need it? Or can I do without? If I really need it, then...
Can I avoid buying a new one? Can I borrow, share, swap, grow, make, or find it secondhand? If I really need to buy a new one...Can I find one that doesn't damage people or the planet? Or can I at least try to minimize my impact? After I've bought a well-made product...How can I look after it to make sure it lasts as long as possible? What maintenance should I do, and how can I mend it if it breaks?

Intentional consumption is directly opposed to our culture’s preference for quick, disposable, and cheap goods. Asking these questions before making a purchase can be inconvenient. It takes time to research companies that have high quality standards and fair trade practices. But thoughtful purchasing practices are worthy habits to develop for people who want to improve the world one step at a time.

Encourage your congregation to buy from retailers who support trade justice.

There are many fair trade retailers who are easily accessible and worthy of support. Keep your eyes open for them, support them, and spread the news! Here are some places to start (but don't forget your local and independent retailers):

Co-Op America
Equal Exchange
Global Exchange
Organic & Fair Trade Products and Resources
Just Salvos

taken from this month's Faith & Justice newsletter, from Sojourner's.

~ Rob

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