The Web of Global Relationships

“What if at the Apple store, as part of the display, we saw a photo of the factory worker who made the iPhones?”

This question was posed in class by one of my Clarke undergraduate students as we discussed Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, (On Care for Our Common Home) and the social and ecological impacts of consumerism. 

“Yeah, and what about clothes?”  Another student chimed in.  “We see the label that says ‘made in El Salvador,’ or whatever, but what does it mean?”

We live in an interconnected world.  When we get up each day, we may put on pants made in Haiti and a shirt made in Bangladesh. Then for breakfast we eat a banana grown in Costa Rica and drink coffee from beans grown in Kenya.  That’s three continents before we even step out the front door!

Yet, as my students astutely noted, it’s easy to be oblivious to these connections.  It’s easy to find the bargain and not ask questions about the people and systems behind our purchases. 

As women religious, we are committed to justice: being in right relationship and working for the common good.  All of us as consumers “vote” with our dollars. The first step becoming aware of these connections. 

How are you connected to people across the globe through your consumer choices?  Do these choices align with your values?

Rhonda Miska
Sinsinawa, WI 


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