For the better part of my time working in NRM, I decided to donate a percentage of my after tax earnings to worthy causes.
Fair Share International suggested 5% is a good amount ( http://www.fairshareinternational.org/ ), whereas Peter Singer (in his One World book) suggested something more like 1% to start with.
I ended up donating about 3%, and it went to:
- Amnesty International ( http://www.amnesty.org/ ),
- Oxfam ( http://www.oxfam.org/ )
- Australian Volunteers International ( http://www.australianvolunteers.com/home )
- Australian Marine Conservation Society – specifically for their sustainable seafood guides ( http://www.amcs.org.au/ ), and
- The Australia Institute (http://www.tai.org.au/ )
But, where does the rest of my money go?
More than a third (haven’t actually done my tax return yet!) goes to the Australian government. So how can I influence whether that is spent on creating a more sustainable and just society? By being an informed participant in our democracy….and that means many things (not just voting!).
Then, the rest of it goes on stuff. Some things I need (food, clothing, shelter, retaining the services of friends and family), and some on travel, bikes etc. BUT importantly, being concious about who I give the rest of my money to can clearly make at least as big a difference as giving it to these nice, charitable organisations.
After all, some of the NGO’s and charities probably spend a lot of their time working to reduce the negative impacts of businesses and practices that I may support through my purchases (and the way I vote). Fundamentally, most of the businesses I deal with will change their practices, or build different products if I request and demand them….or buy the competitors / alternative products; and are able to react quite quickly and creatively when something threatens their bottom line and demands that they reconsider their products in the face of demand from informed consumers.
So, every time I go to buy a product I think about these things…and make sure that MORE than 3% of what I earn goes towards creating a more beautiful, bountiful, just, peaceful and creative world….
Just in case any of you Australian have spare money to give away right now, search on this website for someone appropriate to give it to: http://www.ourcommunity.com.au/