Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Book, a Website, and an iPhone App

BACKGROUND:  Two things to keep in mind as you read this post:
THE PRAYER OF ROMERO:  "We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest."   by Kenneth Untener (1977)
*  LIFE IS NOT "BLACK AND WHITE":  We know that there are many good reasons to buy foods that are labeled "organic" and coffee or chocolate that are labeled "fair trade."  But it's not a black-and-white issue.  At times it's most appropriate to choose foods that don't contain these labels.  The question is, "What are my options?"  "How can I challenge myself to make socially responsible choices?"

BOOK:  The Better World SHOPPING GUIDE (#4) by Ellis Jones ($10) is a handy little book which helps us to be able to make socially responsible choices when we shop.  Twenty years of data from a wide range of sources is used to grade companies and products, with grades ranging from A+ to F, on the basis of 5 issues:
HUMAN RIGHTS:  sweatshops, third world community exploitation, unión-busting, etc.
THE ENVIRONMENT:  global warming, toxic waste dumping, eco-innovations, etc.
ANIMAL PROTECTION:  humane treatment, animal testing, factory farming, etc.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:  family farms, nonprofit alliances, political corruption, etc.
SOCIAL JUSTICE:  unethical business practices, discrimination, harassment, etc.
The ratings are almost guaranteed at times to surprise you, especially when you discover that your favorite coffee, chocolate, or (fill in the blank) has a much different score than what you would have expected.

WEBSITE:  www.betterworldshopper.org
The website contains much the same information as the book and is very easy to navigate.

iPHONE APPBetter World Shopper 
The App has much the same information as the book.  It has an additional advantage of providing the most recent grade on a company/product as their business practices either improve or worsen.


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