An Intentional Thought: Little Ways to Make a Big Difference

I think it's really easy to get overwhelmed by all the bad things going on in the world.  Some of them seem way too big to even tackle alone, and some injustices are so obscure or so taboo that they're not really talked about by the general public.  Luckily there are a few really easy ways to make a difference just by going about our daily life.

1.  Buy Fair Trade!

"Fair Trade began modestly in the 1940s when a few small North American and European organizations reached out to poverty stricken communities to help them sell their handicrafts to well-off markets. Later, a fictional Dutch character, Max Havelaar, was developed as an advocate for exploited coffee pickers. Today, Fair Trade is a global effort. Consumers can enliven developing countries, relieve exploitation and promote environmental sustainability by purchasing Fair Trade-labeled food.

One of the most important aspects of Fair Trade is this: funds are specifically designated for social, economic and environmental development projects. However, we don’t pretend to know what’s best for each community. That’s why we’ve enabled a democratic system where each community determines how their funds are used."

Image and quote from Fair Trade USA.  Read more here!

2. Shop locally at Farmer's Market's, and buy second hand when you can.

Not only are farmer's markets cheaper, but they also support local businesses, and all food is locally sourced and seasonally sold, so less gas is used in getting the food to the market (a car ride versus overseas shipping).  Click here to find the one closest to you.

I'm a huge proponent of shopping second hand, because your financially supporting reusing and recycling, rather than supporting sweat shops and unhealthy labor situations.  I've blogged a lot about some amazing second hand finds I've scored from Goodwill or rummage sales.  My friend Meredith has an awesome thrifting blog too - view it here!

3.  Finally, there are some great organizations with free, weekly ish emails that are excellent sources of information, and often have ideas on how to take action.  My favorites are...

Sojourners: Faith in Action for Social Justice -
Jim Wallis is the CEO of this organization, which blends faith and politics really well.

General Board of Church and Society: Faith in Action -

The Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice -
This is a local organization (that I interned for last summer!) and focuses a lot on justice for lower income families in the area.  Sign up at the bottom of the page.

This one is my favorite, because it's all petition based.  The idea is that anyone can create a petition for whatever they would like to see change, and it really works.  I have signed petitions that have caused Jamba Juice to stop using styrofome cups, released journalists from foreign detainment, and (my favorite) inspired networks to commit to having a woman moderate one of the presidential debates.

Remember, every little bit counts! So even when it seems to overwhelming, remember this about your actions:

Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. - Matthew 13:32

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