Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shopping And Ethics

By David F. Garner

One great way to practice your values is to put your money where your mouth is. We often default to the idea that the best way to make a difference in the world is to donate money to someone else who is making a difference. While that is a great way, there is another. That is to use the money we spend every day to make purchases from companies that align with our values. Economists call this buying power. You and I have the power to support companies that are ethical and to avoid those that are not. I strive to whenever possible. The best part is I don’t have to be rich to spend thousands of dollars every year supporting great causes! Of course we all would love to donate thousands to this or that non-profit. And when we can spare to donate to those we should. But we can also support ethical businesses with the thousands we spend every year on necessities.

You are probably thinking I am going to suggest we all shop at Whole Foods. While that would be nice, I too would not have enough money left to put gas in the car if I did that. So I propose that we start by avoiding the worst businesses. Of course no business is perfect. You could probably find dirt on any business out there. So I have arrived at two conclusions. One is that if a business repeatedly shows up as one of the most unethical than I will do my best to avoid it. And two is that if a business takes a stand for something I can get behind then I will shop there over other businesses if I can afford it.

In the articles linked below you can see why I have decided to avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible. Article 1 is perhaps the most unbiased review of Wal-Mart I have come across. There are two presenters in the article. I think that the first presenter doesn't consider the whole picture and therefore agree with the second that shopping at Wal-Mart has many unethical practices. Of course similar arguments could be raised to show that shopping at most any chain store is unethical. So I think it is important to pick stores that are close to an ideal. Those ideals may turn out to be somewhat different for each person. At the very least it is important to support stores that have practices you agree with.

I try to shop Wal-Mart as little as possible. Sometimes it is unavoidable. But I try to support better businesses. Kroger is not perfect either. But I think it is a better alternative-- closer to my ideals. So that is where I shop for most of my food. Article 2 demonstrates Kroger’s very strong commitment to customer service. It is better than I have experienced at Wal-Mart. Kroger will take request from customers for products to stock. I have personal experience with this. They stopped carrying an item I really liked and could find nowhere else. I asked them to bring it back and within a month they restocked it.

Article 3 shows that Kroger is on track to be the biggest organic seller in the nation. It highlights this and other ways Kroger tries to put the customer first. Article 4 is a ranking by Green America of ethical grocery stores. Kroger is in the red but it is two slots above Wal-Mart, which is at the bottom. As I mentioned above the least one can do is go with the more ethical alternative.

As for price, Wal-Mart may always be king. But with Kroger’s rewards plan I have found that overall, Kroger is not much more expensive than Wal-Mart. Article 5 is not really a judge of ethics. It is a ranking based on customer satisfaction and likeliness to recommend the store. Kroger comes in at 7 out of 14 with 14 being, yep, Wal-Mart.

Buying organic non-GMO food is another way to buy ethically. Many organic food brands are also fair-trade certified. Of course this can get really expensive so check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. This is a list by of 12 produce items you should buy organic and 15 items that are safest to buy non-organic based on levels of pesticides etc. Article 7 is another ethical list of which Wal-Mart is at the bottom. ASDA is the name for Wal-Mart as listed in this ranking. Article 8 is a report about seafood sales. Wal-Mart ranks a few spaces higher than Kroger. This was surprising to me. But no store is perfect. Kroger was one of the biggest sellers of non-sustainable seafood. However I don’t eat any seafood as a vegan so this was not a major issue for me.

There are of course plenty of other stores besides Kroger. I noticed that Aldi pops up in a few of these articles. I noticed it scoring high in my research. In fact in several price comparisons like this it ranked cheaper than Wal-Mart. They sell organic food too. Publix is another great option. And your local produce/farmer’s market is always a great option.

As for other areas, I like to shop at Goodwill a lot. Everything they sell is "recycled" and they provide jobs and training to the underprivileged. An option for pharmacy and such items is CVS. Their employee reviews are ranked similar to Walgreens. However they recently made a commitment to stop selling all tobacco products in their stores because they are unhealthy. They took a large profit loss but felt it was worth it. This is something my wife and I feel is important so we shop there for many items.

You can even be ethically conscious about where you keep your money! U.S. Bank has been repeatedly ranked among the most ethical businesses in the world. However, Bank of America is kind of like Wal-Mart, it should be avoided when possible. See this article but be warned it is somewhat explicit, or just do a Google search. Of course topping all the lists of ethics and sustainability is the clothing company Patagonia.

I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. I have provided a good amount here to begin. You don't necessarily have to spend more money. For example, switching banks shouldn't cost. And who knows, you may even save money. Either way you can sleep better at night when you know you are contributing thousands of dollars every year toward good causes!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Treasure Skit A short skit about true treasure.

Treasure Skit
A short skit about true treasure.
Person w/ nice clothes-Michael
Person w/ million dollars-Sinclair
Person w/ many, many children- Ryan
Person w/ most knowledge-Kaley
Person w/ love-Karson

Sarah’s part can be played by girl or guy, named Bob.

Narrator: There once was a woman
Sarah: Hi I’m a woman
Narrator: Yes we can see that. Her name was Sarah.
Sarah: No its not, my name is Bre!
Narrator: Yes we know, but for the skit its Sarah.
Sarah: But I don’t like Sarah!
Narrator: Fine. (to audience) Her name was _Emily____.
Sarah: It can’t be ___Emily__, ___Emily___ is sitting right over there!
Narrator: Than what do you want it to be?
Sarah: How about… Persefinies like the Greek Goddess?
Narrator: I can’t even pronounce that! We are sticking with Sarah!
Sarah: Fine (huphs)
Narrator: Sarah was on a hunt for treasure.
Sarah: (sneaks across stage like Elmer Fud and says) huhuhhuhuh, shshshshshshsh or you’ll scare da wabbit.
Narrator: (to Sarah) Sarah what are you doing?
Sarah: Hunting.
Narrator: Not that kind of hunt. And besides, Elmer Fud was a guy, and a bad hunter, he never caught the rabbit. You’re searching for treasure.
Narrator: (to audience) Sarah searched high and low.
Sarah: (looks high and low)
Narrator: Sarah looked far and wide.
Sarah: (looks far and wide)
Narrator: She was looking for the one treasure that would give meaning to her life. While searching she met many people with many kinds of treasure.
            Person with nice cloths enters stage.
Narrator: One person she met had very nice clothes.
Sarah: Wow, you have very nice clothes!
Person w/ nice clothes: That’s all you need in life dear. Suit up! It’ll make your life ledgen-wait for it-dary. (winks at crowd, and walks on)
Sarah: But what happens if they get stained? Then I wont be happy anymore!
Narrator: Next Sarah met a person with millions of dollars.
            Person with millions of dollars drags large bag onto stage.
Sarah: Wow, you have a lot of money!
Person w/ millions of dollars: Yep I do, How did you know?
Sarah:            The Narrator said so.
Person w/ millions of dollars: Oh, well that’s all you need in life Sarah. You can buy anything else in life you need or want, even suits! (smiles at audience while saying “even suits” and walks on)
Sarah: But that money looks so heavy, and what if someone steels it? (ponders her question then says) Mr. Narrator?
Narrator: Um, yes Sarah?
Sarah: I don’t think clothes or money are the treasure that will give me meaning in life.
Narrator: Don’t worry Sarah, the skits not over yet. Just keep searching.
Sarah: Ok.
Narrator: Next Sarah met…
Sarah:            (interrupts) Mr. Narrator?
Narrator: (aggravated) Yes Sarah?
Sarah:            (whispers) I gotta use the bathroom.
Narrator: Cant you hold it?!
Sarah:            Yeah I guess.
Narrator: (to Sarah) Good. (to audience) Next Sarah met a Person with many, many, many children.
            Person with many, many children enters carrying a large wallet of pictures.
Sarah:            Wow, you have so many children!
Person w/ many children: Yes that is all you need in life. Children to make you laugh and take care of you when you get old. I have 5000. Would you like to see? (drops huge pile of accordion wallet pictures)
Sarah: Wow. But how do you feed them and remember all their names? That seems impossible.
Person w/ many children: I don’t. (walks on)
Narrator: Next Sarah met the man with the most knowledge in the world.
            Person w/ most know. (enters with his noise in a book and runs into Sarah and falls on the floor and says) Hey watch where your going. Don’t you know who I’m the person with the most knowledge in the world?!
Sarah:            Sorry but you ran into me.
Person w/ most know: No, don’t you think I would know if I ran into you? I do know more than you! (Person walks on)
Sarah:            Mr. Narrator?
Narrator: Um, yes Sarah?
Sarah:            I don’t think having kids will make me totally happy in life. Also I don’t think knowing everything is it either, especially if you don’t have the wisdom to use knowledge or manors. Can I go to the bathroom now?
Narrator: You are right Sarah, and not quite. (to audience) Next Sarah met a Person who didn’t seem to have anything.
            Person with nothing enters (and goes to Sarah hugs her and says) You look like you needed a hug.
Sarah: Um…thanks but Im not available.
Person w/ nothing: No, no that’s not what I meant. I mean from a friend who cares. Everyone can always use a friend.
Sarah:            Oh, well you can’t have enough to give everyone.
Person w/ nothing: Well not alone. But with Jesus in my heart I never run out because he is the source of all love.
Sarah:            What if other people don’t love you back?
Person w/ nothing: That’s ok. My Creator and friend, Jesus, share with each other and still have enough to share with everyone.
Sarah:            Wow, that sounds like something I want, a true treasure no one can take!
Person w/ nothing: It is! (walks off)
Sarah:            Mr. Narrator?
Narrator: Yes, Sarah?
Sarah:            I love everyone in the world (giggles).
Narrator: Um…ok…but I think you should practice your wording before sharing your treasure.

Thomas Skit: A first person narrative of how Jesus impacted Thomas the Disciple.

Thomas Skit
A first person narrative of how Jesus impacted Thomas the Disciple.

"Growing up I always live in the shadow of my older brother Matthew and twin sister Lydia. Matthew always got good grades. Lydia was so artistic. And me, I wasn’t good at anything, so they got all the attention. Matthew grew up to become a successful tax collector. Lydia met and married a rich clothing merchant from Thyatira. I still lived at home when he came to town. I’m talking about Jesus, the one that supposedly healed all those people. I didn’t believe it of course. Until one day Matthew came to the house saying we had to come meet this man who was changing people’s lives!

After following him for a month or so, this popular teacher asked me to be his follower! I wasn’t sure if he was actually the Messiah or not, but I was happy to be chosen as a special student of this popular teacher. I ran all the way home to tell my parents I had finally succeeded at something. But of course, Matthew was already there telling them how Jesus had asked him to be a follower also. But I didn’t care. I had the chance to find out for myself if this Jesus really was the promised Messiah as he claimed!

I followed him everywhere for the next three years, until the unthinkable happened. Jesus was captured and killed by his enemies.  It was horrible. But then a few days later all the other disciples started telling me they had seen Jesus alive, back from the dead. I knew people don’t come back from the dead, so I told them that unless I saw him myself and felt his scars, I wouldn’t believe it.

Well that was a silly thing to do. Jesus knew what I had said, and decided to play a trick on me. He appeared in the middle of a locked room with all the other disciples present and said, “see me for yourself, feel my scars, I am alive!” I was dumbfounded, I couldn’t deny it anymore. All I could say was, “My Lord and my God!” What I learned is that hearing about Jesus is not nearly as meaningful or life-changing as experiencing him for myself. I encourage you to ask Jesus to let you experience him for yourself."

By David F. Garner

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pathfinders Orienteering Honor Workbook

I created this workbook or worksheet for completing the Pathfinder Orienteering Honor when I taught it. I am sharing it free here for anyone to download and use to teach this honor. Or you can use it to just learn about orienteering! Also a great homeschool project! There are answers if you scroll down in the document. It is set up to be a student copy and instructor copy. Print out just the blank worksheet for the student copy and the section with answers for the instructor copy.

Here is the link.

You can also find the answers here.


Pathfinder Geocaching Honor Worksheet

I created this workbook or worksheet for completing the Pathfinder Geocaching Honor when I taught it. I am sharing it free here for anyone to download and use to teach this honor. Or you can use it to just learn about geocaching!

Here is the link.

You can find the answers to all the requirements here.