Boycotts, Phone Calls, and Careful Investments: When Money Speaks Louder Than Words

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In recent years, we’ve entered a new age in which taking action to right wrongs, slow environmental degradation and “make the world a better place” seem not only possible, but also a recognizable path toward a respectful and responsible lifestyle. Most of us aren’t looking for sainthood; we’re just starting to notice structural cracks in the systems that sustain us, flaws we didn’t necessarily see before the rise of media and the internet, and we’re seeking ways to improve conditions for others while reducing the ways in which we personally contribute to these conditions.

Our complex lifestyles—our homes, clothes, food, educations, safety, and social interactions-- haven’t come to us by magic. Everything arrives in our world at a cost, and when information begins to flow freely we start to better understand how our lives fit into a web of lives and systems that make the world work the way it does. 

Some might say the arrival of social responsibility in mainstream culture began in the 1890’s, or the 1920’s, or during the FDR administration, or the 1960s and the Civil Rights era, or even the 1990s when the toll of modern lifestyles on the planet became visible from space and environmental issues started to become deeply personal. But there are a few activities that have gained new weight in recent months, and we’re happy to see large numbers of people working to extend their positive impact by making these moves; specifically, by moving and holding money in ways that harmonize with conscious and conscientious living.

Money talks. And sometimes money speaks louder than any other action within our reach. We can boycott companies that run afoul of us, and that’s a great place to start. But chances are, if you own an index fund or a 401K, you’re investing in businesses that you haven’t personally signed off on, and some of these may engage in activities you don’t necessarily support. If you’re looking for ways to divest yourself from these corporations, you’ll find more options and more help now that you would likely find even just a few years ago.

Start by checking out this simple guide. Investigate what your financial holdings are doing, and who and what you’re supporting without your knowledge. Then contact these companies by phone and take them to task, or send an email that explains your feelings, your position as a shareholder, and what you’d like the company to do in order to maintain your support. And of course, you can take simple steps to reallocate your personal finances to better align with who you are, what you believe, and the world you’d like to see around you. It’s easier than you might think! If you need some help, contact our team.