The way we think about charity is dead wrong.
And the story continues with the fact that we don't seem to think that our every day purchases can make meaningful changes.
My husband and I are very conscious of our purchases. We know it is one the most effective ways to make a difference, especially when we don't have a budget that allows to donate liberally to charity.
We buy our toiletries from Seventh Generation: 100% recycled tissues, paper towels and toilet paper. We find that it is actually less expensive to order Seventh Generation products from Amazon than it is to buy their products in stores. After using tissues and paper towels, we add them to our compost heap. They're mostly fiber and compost easily.
We buy 95% organic food, supporting less pesticide use and more ethical growing trends. The 5% that isn't organic comes from local farms that can't afford organic certification but do claim to use natural growing practices. Some things we can't find organic locally, such as a mint oil that contains no alcohol or sweeteners. So we order Simply Organic Peppermint online.
We live a 99.9%+ vegan lifestyle, supporting ethical treatment for ecosystems, animals and hospital workers. One of the rare exceptions to our vegan lifesytle is when a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Share) includes something like local organic greek yogurt from well-treated pasture-raised cows. We aren't going to let that precious labor of love of go to waste by not eating it.
We buy as much as we can local by shopping at farmer's markets, purchasing a local organic CSA, buying local artisan soaps and many other things that we occasionally purchase. Last summer my husband bought some locally brewed organic beer.
Starting about a year ago I stopped purchasing fabric and clothing that wasn't 100% organic. I've started sewing myself a new organic wardrobe with organic cotton and organic thread. People don't realize that around 25% of all pesticide use is on COTTON and that polyester is toxic to human health.
Wearing organic clothing can be just as big of a help in saving animals from suffering as a vegan diet. Why? Because the pesticide use causes all the wildlife it impacts to suffer, starting with the wildlife around the farm where it is sprayed to the marine life that suffers from increasing levels of pesticides making their way into the oceans.
We buy Dr Bronner's Soap and use that as shampoo and body wash. My husband prefers mint, but I find that a bit harsh for my skin. I like eucalyptus.
Organic cold-pressed olive oil takes the place of conditioner. I use organic cold-pressed raw coconut oil as moisturizer for my skin.
If there isn't an ethical healthful option available at the grocery store or drug store to meet our needs within our budget, we order online. One example of this is that there is no suitable tooth-care available locally. Even the organic options contain glycerin. An episode of our radio show Eat Life; Live Well elaborates on this topic further.
For my probiotics, I consume Akea Essentials, a fermented product based on research of the most long-lived people in the world, a company that employs American labor.
I do all of the above, but... I don't currently donate to charity. I do sign petitions and spread information and do my best to make ethical informed decisions in my work life as well as my private life. One of the most important petitions I think anyone can sign is the one against the construction of Belo Monte Dam, which, if built, will destroy the Amazon. One of the last rain forests in the world will be lost to us, as well as hundreds of cultures, thousands of lifestyles, and billions of flora of fauna. Every creature on the planet will have less oxygen to breathe if that series of dams is built.
If I had weeks to invest into the research of charities and if I had a significant amount of money to donate, I might do it. I'd be delighted to do the research if someone could pay me to do it. Just like you, I have to put food on the table, and so I can't just do so "because I feel like it" or because I want to. I have to purchase food, clothing and products to take of my body in any event, so I do some small research into these things to make sure I'm buying something good for the planet and good for me.
In my lifetime I hope to understand how better to serve you, and in serving you better I hope to be able to live a more comfortable life. I think that is just. I think I should make a fortune in the process of making the world a more beautiful, more safe and more sustainable place, don't you?
And what will I do with my fortune? Why, I'll give it right back to you by supporting small family businesses and organic companies. I'll hire friends and family to build solar panels, I'll grow a business that thrives on being a valuable contribution to the world, and I'll give you a job. I'll purchase land that has been decimated and I will rework that soil into thriving certifiably organic soil. I'll grow permaculture gardens that bear fruit. I'll raise ethical children to take after me. I'll leave behind me a legacy of children and business that are carefully crafted for eco-friendly sustainability.
Are you with me?
If so, sign up for my newsletter so you can follow me on my journey.
Support my journey as you support yourself. You can think of buying from me (check out my Etsy Shop!) as donating to charity, or possibly better. Why not? Why can't I be a for-profit charity? (For reference to this comment, watch the video embedded at the top.) That is exactly what I am. The more you purchase from me, the more determined I am to better serve and to purchase responsibly.
Thank you. Namaste.