Most of us desire a comfortable life, one of convenience, all the food we need or want easily accessible in nearby shops, to have it all on tap – heat, water, light.

However, everything we choose to do, and in particular what we buy, is connected to some environmental and humanitarian impact. While it may be of immediate benefit at the point of consumption (providing food, drink, clothing, shelter, helping the economy etc.) there are usually associated negative impacts, such as waste.

Whether it’s wood taken from tropical rainforests, that has been felled without any attempt to manage and minimise the ecological damage, or products in excessive packaging, or meat from animals that have been intensively reared with no access to the open air, perhaps fed residue from carcasses of the same species (the underlying cause of BSE).

We need to be aware of where our food and other products have come from. To know their roots, how they arrived in the shops, or came to be delivered to our door – making connections matter. We cannot continue to isolate ourselves from the reality of what we choose to do, what we choose to buy.

We need to be aware of the very real connections between our choices and the related impacts on the ecology of the planet. To recognise and respect the connections between ourselves and every other living being, connecting with the natural rhythms of the earth, and ultimately, our place in the universe.

We could become stewards rather than consumers, to help sustain rather than destroy, the diversity, beauty and abundance of life on earth.

Here is a selection of related websites which can give more information on the ethical implications of purchasing and related issues…

Compassion in World Farming:
Fairtrade Coffee, Tea:
Forestry stewardship council:
CKC Birds:
Climate change –
Friends of the Earth:
Greenpeace oceans –
Sea life, species loss:
Schumacher organisation:
Soil Association:
World Wide Fund for Nature:
Ecological footprints:
Green Alliance: report on connections with children at
We are what we do:
Amazon Watch at

See also Leo Hickman’s ‘A Life Stripped Bare: tiptoeing through the ethical minefield’ an excellent and fun description of ethical realities at home (ISBN 1 903 91960 6).

Two Quaker sites that are involved with the problems of patenting: &

The UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights:
Apparently an American seed producer has obtained a US patent for a Mayocaba bean that he foundin Mexico so prohibiting Mexican farmers from exporting the bean to the USA and to face royalty payments!!!!

See also websites on earth energy e.g.

If you are interested in supporting thegrowing network of like-minded people, concerned at the impact of your purchasing decisions and the effects that your spending has on the world, future generations and planet Earth, please contact

Sharing planet earth: the common dream