You Can Do It – Individual Actions, Conscious Consumption, and Personal Philanthropy
Take a look at these immediately applicable insights for conscious consumption, individual philanthropy, and service. (If you prefer to lobby for systemic change, check out the human rights page!)
Part 1: Five Sources for Conscious Consumption, Fair Trade, and Sustainability
- The British organization Ethical Consumer researches and rates company behavior based on 23 ethical criteria. They offer buyers’ guides on products ranging from appliances through food and drink or travel and transport. Their mission is to make global business sustainable through consumer pressure.
- Green America harnesses economic power to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Their contributions include Green Pages, “an online directory of products and services for the planet,” as well as The Green America Guide to Fair Trade.
- Fair Trade USA is the leading third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States. Their site offers information for producers and consumers, as well as connections to social networking to follow fair trade insights and updates – and information on fair trade impact.
- While the organizations listed above frequently use environmental impact among their criteria, TreeHugger strives to be the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream. TreeHugger offers regular insightful updates via blogs, twitter, and Facebook.
- Trying to understanding the ethical and environmental impacts of all of our actions leads many people to practice varying degrees of minimalism, something the The Minimalists have dedicated themselves to advancing through essays, a book, and an ongoing conversation.
Part 2: Understanding Opportunities for Individual Philanthropy and Service
- Individual philanthropy makes a difference, something Princeton Philosopher Peter Singer outlines clearly in The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, summarized in this brief, compelling video:
- While giving and serving makes an important difference, it is equally important to be an informed donor, volunteer, or philanthropist. Many individuals and organizations advance important rubrics for better understanding philanthropy done well, including:
- Guidestar offers opportunities to search organizational summary information, financials, and 990 tax forms, as well as Tips for Choosing a Charity and Donor Bill of Rights
- Good Intentions are Not Enough offers many excellent resources on becoming a well-informed donor, including The Charity Rater, as well as significant content to support smart service and informed volunteering, including regular guest posts from experienced international development workers.