The Whole World In Your Hands
Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
William Blake, On Another’s Sorrow
If you don’t sincerely attempt to live out what you claim to believe, then don’t claim to believe it.
A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back—but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.
Marian Wright Edelman
For the first time, a living organism can consciously do something to halt a mass extinction. Perhaps most important, for the first time a living creature can gaze out across the species of the Earth and say: This is beautiful. I care. I will not let it go.
Rick Gore, National Geographic magazine, June 1989
Although initially we can see how helping our family and friends assists us in our own survival, we may evolve the mature ethic that sees all humankind as family, and all life as allied associations. Thus, we expand people care to species care, for all life has common origins. All are “our family.”
Bill Mollison, Permaculture, A Designers’ Manual
Listen, here’s what I think. I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
Chocolat, screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs, from the novel by Joanne Harris
Heaven is under our feet is well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau
Each man’s body is a measure for his property, just as the foot is a measure for his shoe. If then, you abide by this principle, you will maintain the proper measure, but if you go beyond it, you cannot help but fall headlong over a precipice, as it were, in the end. So also in the case of your shoe; if once you go beyond the foot, you get first a gilded shoe, then a purple one, then an embroidered one. For once you go beyond the measure there is no limit. Epictetus’ Encheiridion, or Manual, translated by W.A. Oldfather
The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That’s the essence of inhumanity.
George Bernard Shaw
A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.
Albert Schweitzer “The Philosophy of Civilization”
Suffering… no matter how multiplied… is always individual.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Whenever people say ‘We mustn’t be sentimental,’ you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add ‘We must be realistic,’ they mean they are going to make money out of it.
These temple-destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.
Charity is indivisible. If a man resents practical sympathy being bestowed on animals on the ground that all ought to be reserved for the species to which he himself happens to belong, he must have a mind the size of a pen’s head.
C.W. Hume, The Status of Animals
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest.
Henry David Thoreau
You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fate
Thus godlike sympathy grows and thrives and spreads fary beyond the teachings of churches and schools, where too often the mean, blinding, loveless doctrine is taught that animals have neither mind nor soul, have no rights that we are bound to respect, and were made only for man, to be petted, spoiled, slaughtered or enslaved.
John Muir, The Story of My Boyhood
If [man] is not to stifle human feelings, he must practice kindess towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals.
Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics
Beyond Profits: Companies that Care
Sambazon & Giving a Damn
Interesting that the great spy novelist John Le Carre would turn his talents to a highly relevant mystery in Africa in his book The Constant Gardener (also an excellent movie) that puts a spotlight on the corruption and degradation resulting from scientific and corporate greed. When you delve into this subject, it seems pervasive and discouraging. But then there are others of an entirely different ilk, dedicated to world service instead of mere profit. My current favorite is Sambazon. They are the #1 source, and the only organic source, of the Acai fruit from the Amazon, the latest superfood—a super-nutritious antioxident with a long list of benefits. Their sustainable methods build the economy while preserving the rainforest and benefiting indigenous peoples. You can buy their smoothie drinks at most health food stores and juice bars. Greenpeace has said acai is “the most important non-wood forest product in terms of money from the river delta of the Amazon.”
If you want to look to the past for similar inspiration, my personal favorite is George Washington Carver—a brilliant botanist and humanitarian. He was born into slavery in Missouri, in 1864 or 1865, towards the end of the Civil War, and overcame nearly impossible racial barriers to earn not only a college degree, but a masters degree in agricultural science. He dedicated his life to agricultural research at Tuskegee, starting with assisting poor farmers with such advances as crop rotation to nourish Southern soils depleted from cotton. He had patents he never sold, or didn’t apply for, seeing them as a gift from God. U.S. Presidents and global leaders, from Roosevelt to Stalin to Henry Ford, came to him seeking counsel. He turned down Thomas Edison’s offer of $100,000 to work for him (equates to over a million dollars today). No surprise that he counted Mahatma Gandhi among his friends. His genius was inseparable from a deep humility. He said, “It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.” His gravestone reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”
Entrepreneurs have used courage, compassion, determination and initiative to start companies with a focus beyond profits—on benefiting the Other and the Earth. Following is information from the websites of four: Real Goods, Newman’s Own Organics, Peace Coffee, The Body Shop.
Products for an ecologically sustainable future. Awarded for being the most environmental catalog company two years in a row. From our distribution center that uses recycled and reused materials in every package to our Solar Living Center which is arguably the best demonstration of eco-building and environmentalism in the world, Real Goods walks its talk. Dedicated to promoting and encouraging choices that result in a healthier environment for life on Earth, the non-profit Solar Living Center is [a] 12-acre center… powered entirely by capturing the energy of the sun and harnessing the power of the wind. Tours provide an opportunity to learn about renewable energy, organic gardens and landscapes, passive and active solar design in architecture and the use of environmentally friendly building techniques and materials. Gaiam Real Goods flagship retail store built of 600 rice straw bales and recycled materials complements the site… Our renewable energy business grew 90% in the third quarter of 1998 over the same period in 1997—a change that reflects the public’s burgeoning energy consciousness.
Newman’s Own Organics
Newman’s Own Organics, established in 1993, is the organic food division of Newman’s Own, Inc. Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own in 1982, has donated more than $150 million dollars, 100% of the after-tax profits, to a wide variety of educational and charitable causes. Like the parent company, Newman’s Own Organics donates all its after-tax profits to charity…
We’re here to tell you why organic food makes sense for healthy living, a cleaner and safer environment, and great tasting snacks! There’s lots of background on organics, and a chance to let us know how you like what we are doing.
An alternative approach to coffee based on the belief that coffee should reward your taste buds while respecting coffee farmers and the environment.
The organic growth of Peace Coffee continues. We have established and cultivated one-on-one contact with our growers around the planet. We continue to deliver information to and create opportunities for our partner farmers. We believe that those who grow and harvest our daily fix have earned the right to a decent living and an honorable life.
The original Peace Coffee varieties numbered the same as our staff-two: Guatemalan and Mexican. Peace Coffee today includes a staff of ten and coffee varieties of fifteen. What remains unchanged is our complete devotion to the idea of a fairly traded, farmer-friendly product and the wonders of a great cup of coffee. We purchase premium Arabica coffee directly from small farmer cooperatives at prices that ensure a just income for coffee growers… Unlike most coffee that comes from estates, co-op farmers own the land and make the decisions….
Fair trade encourages traditional, low-impact farming.
Organic: chemical free farming improves the environment and eliminates risks to farmer’s health.
Shade Grown: coffee grown under the shade of other trees provides critical bird habitats and soil nutrients. According to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, shade coffee farms are second only to undisturbed forest in their ability to support bird life.
The Body Shop
Corporate mission statement of The Body Shop:
Our reasons for being:
– to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.
– to creatively balance the financial and human needs of our stakeholders: employers, customers, franchisees, suppliers and shareholders.
– to courageously ensure that our business is ecologically sustainable; meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.
– to meaningfully contribute to local, national and international communities in which we trade, by adopting a code of conduct which ensures care, honesty, fairness and respect.
– to passionately campaign for the protection of the environment, human and civil rights, and against animal testing within the cosmetics and toiletries industry.
– to tirelessly work to narrow the gap between principle and practice, whilst making fun, passion and care part of our daily lives.
The Body Shop International PLC is a values-driven, high-quality skin and hair care retailer operating in 49 countries with over 1,700 outlets spanning 24 languages and 12 time zones… The company’s campaigns against human rights abuses, in favour of animal and environmental protection and its commitment to challenge the stereotypes of beauty perpetuated by the cosmetics industry, have won the support of a generation of consumers. The company continues to lead the way for businesses to use their voice for social and environmental change.
Here are 5 goals they list on their website: Against animal testing, support community trade, activate self-esteem, defend human rights, protect our planet.
Action Against Hunger
American Red Cross
Campaign for Tibet
Council for a Livable World
Earth Charter Initiative
Earth Island Institute
Friends of the Earth
Free the Children
Greenpeople (eco products directory)
Habitat for Humanity International
Humane Society, U.S.
NRDC (Natural Res. Defense Council)
Newman’s Own Organics
Nonviolent Peace Force
Organic Consumers Association
Physicians Comm. for Resp. Medicine
The Rainforest Site
Union of Concerned Scientists