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Making Change with Money

We know full well the power of money, for good or for ill uses. For example, we may feel that in Washington we have auctions not elections. We've seen how boycotting certain products has protected species and forests from annihilation. Companies that violate environmental and human rights don't deserve our support. We can purchase from businesses that respect people and the environment so these businesses can thrive and grow. We wield enormous power as consumers in what we spend, or don't spend. We also must recognize the enormous forces at work in our market economy, which places higher value on financial gain over human welfare in order to create dissatisfaction in our lives and generate demand for those products that supposedly will satisfy us. Another frightening aspect of this is that developing economies like India and China are trying to emulate the material standards of industrialized countries. We simply do not have the resources on this one planet to provide that.

We exist in a system and culture that promotes consuming as a path to self- and social improvement. We are considered Consumers first and foremost, rather than human beings, citizens, family and community members, individuals. We don't have to go along with this system. One of the best ways we can use our money for change is to support "Main Street," our local community's small banks, credit unions, farmer's markets, locally-owned retail stores.

Main Street
We have a similar power if we are fortunate to be able to invest money in the stock market. When we make these choices, why not invest in those companies whose products do least harm, and perhaps even add to the natural environment? The Dow Jones Sustainability Index is one group that annually assesses more than 1,000 of the world's largest companies and rates them for environmental and social, as well as financial performance to help investors make these kinds of decisions. As PAX World Mutual Fund says, "Before we buy their shares, we want them to share our values."

There are a number of organizations that can inform us on the way we buy, invest or donate money to serve a better world.

Now What? Use these resources to learn more and work for change: