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August 23, 2017
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You Can Vote Every Day – With Your Dollars
The power from
e leanor g reene
All shopping is
not created equal
— we all have our
preferred soaps and
rather walk a bit fur-
ther to my favorite grocery store
than the closer one at the end of
Sometimes these choices are
based on convenience, familiari-
ty, quality, or price. But how of-
ten are they based on the impact
they’ll make on the world?
Since I started learning about
environmentalism, I’ve discov-
ered the dark sides of products I’d
been blissfully ignorant of — like
that they come from companies
with no regard for the environ-
ment, or they’re made by people
who don’t get a living wage.
With politics the way they
are, it can feel like
big business will soon
be able to get away
with anything. It can
all seem unbearable,
and it’s not possible
to campaign 24/7 —
making dozens of
phone calls a week or
marching every weekend.
So how can I make sure my
purchases aren’t undermining my
By voting with my dollars.
Voting with your dollars can
be done every day. It’s a goal, but
For example, I buy fair trade
coffee. It might cost a dollar
more, but I know the farmers who
grew those beans in Ethiopia,
Colombia, or Peru are making
a wage they can get by on. Fair
Trade works by paying a premi-
um to producers, which is then
reinvested into improving the
farm or community.
It’s a start at least. I could take
another step and buy coffee from
a local business instead of the
chain I go to. I also shop at a gro-
cery chain, but I could do better
by going to local businesses or
farmer’s markets more often. I
buy organic dairy and eggs, but if
I had a bigger budget I’d go all
When I learned that my bank
doesn’t treat customers well —
and worse, loans money for fos-
sil fuel projects — I changed to
a local credit union. It’s not like
I’m making so much that a big
bank will miss me. But in a credit
union, my money goes into home
loans, local businesses, and de-
velopment I support.
Last fall, during the Standing
Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight against
the Dakota Access Pipeline, we
learned that big banks including
Sun Trust and Wells Fargo were
giving loans to the company
Now at least I know I’m not
supporting that project. And if
you write or call your bank when
you leave explaining why, they’ll
We can’t expect ourselves to
be perfect, but we can push our-
selves to be better.
Sometimes voting with your
dollar means keeping it in your
wallet. Every dollar you don’t
spend on junk is a dollar you can
put in a community bank or cred-
it union to finance jobs, housing,
and social services that every
community needs. Or it can be
donated to a charity that helps
the less fortunate, combats hate,
or takes action on climate change.
The organization I work for is
trying to build a green economy.
That means more than trying to
avoid supporting harmful cor-
porations — it means actively
supporting businesses that adopt
green practices, grow local econ-
omies, and pay suppliers fairly.
Where you shop and what
you buy send a direct message
to business owners. If enough of
us shift our spending and invest-
ments at once, it can force large
corporations to reconsider their
supply chains and business prac-
tices. And it can help small busi-
nesses stay afloat.
It can be hard to feel like your
voice matters when you vote.
But your money has the power
to support Earth-friendly practic-
es, fair wages, healthy food, and
local economies. It has that pow-
er every time you reach for your
Eleanor Greene is the asso-
ciate editor of publications at
Green America. Distributed by
A Prayer for Advocates for Children, Families
Fighting for just
policies and practices
b y M arian W right e delMan
Below is a prayer for child advocates.
Teachers and school administrators are al-
ways on the front lines advocating for chil-
dren so maybe one of them could use this today as they
prepare for the new school year. They are not alone.
Parents and grandparents and all who care for chil-
dren and strive to be good role models for
them are child advocates. Doctors, social
workers and others who work with and serve
children are child advocates. Librarians and
coaches are child advocates. Political leaders
who put children first are child advocates.
And all are joined by the millions of peo-
ple, with or without children of their own,
who spend time and talent fighting for just policies and
practices that help children and families and all who
are vulnerable and needy.
A Child Advocate’s Beatitudes
(i nspired by c larence J ordan ’ s s erMon on the M ount )
Blessed are the poor in spirit — who do not measure themselves by
money or worldly power but who ask God for what they need and are
not mired in pride — for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are those who mourn — who are concerned about the
needs of children and the poor and others in need who cannot speak
for themselves — for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek — who do not seek only their own good but
their neighbors’ too — for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness —
who do not work for the praise of others or earthly gain or fame and
share gladly their talents, energy and money — for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful — who know they are sinners and are
dependent on God’s and others’ forgiveness every minute of every
day — for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart — who are not hypocrites but who
struggle to live what they preach — for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers — who do not prepare for war while
talking about peace, who do not kill others in order to stop killing,
who do not love just those who love them but reach out to make their
enemies friends — for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake —
who do not run or waver in the face of criticism, threats, or death —
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who speak kindly and not meanly of others —
who do not tear down others but build them up for the kingdom’s
work and children’s well-being — for they shall receive their reward.
Blessed are the just — who do not adhere to the letter of the law
and regulations for some but ignore them for others — for they will
hear God’s well done.
Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense
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