HOLISTIC LIFE It's not just what you eat
Those who practice it incorporate it into their everyday decisions.
By L. CROW
Holistic is not just a method for healing. For many, it is a way of life.
This could be eating only organic foods, being a vegetarian, or using only green (earth-friendly) products.
However, some people are extending holistic into the way they do business. This not only includes businesses that are green, but those that are socially responsible in other ways, such as the way they treat their employees.
SRI, or socially responsible investing, is gaining popularity. Those who wish to invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds have a choice to invest in companies that are not involved with tobacco, alcohol, firearms, animal or environmental abuse, or mistreatment of people.
Committed to the cause
Carol Gottesman, a holistic healer from Hubbard, is committed to the environment. "It is important to support what you believe in and put your money where your values are," she said. "I value the environment. We have no idea what we're risking; ignoring our earth that is truly our mother.
"When we pollute the air and water and strip the planet of its resources, we are really taking away our life force. I don't think people get it. Life itself is in jeopardy. I invest in companies that don't put chemicals in the water or air, or earth, such as pesticides."
Marianne Slater, assistant manager at The Flaming Ice Cube in Boardman, buys Burt's Bees products because they are 100 percent natural and the company does no animal testing.
A portion of their profits also go toward protecting the environment, she said.
Finding the right company
Marsha Karzmer, founder of the Youngstown Homeopathic Study Group, said she likes network marketing companies that sell products through distributors and gain customers by word of mouth.
"They provide a wider range of products than are available in stores," Karzmer said. "I never buy mainstream health and beauty products like you would find in a drug store. And I also research the products I use to see if, for instance, they contain carcinogens or if the company does animal testing."
While there is probably no way to find a complete list of all companies and their socially responsible status, there are sources to help people make wise decisions.
One company that provides socially responsible funds to brokers is Calvert. It was founded by Wayne Silby and John Guffey with one mutual fund. In 1982, the Calvert Social Investment Fund was created because the company wanted to have a mutual fund made up of companies that did not invest in South Africa in order to not support apartheid.
Since then, Calvert has developed strict criteria in which to screen companies for their SRI. These include:
UGovernment and ethics: Is corporate governance and ethical business practice in line with Calvert's standards, and are the incentives of the management and board in line with the shareholders?
UWorkplace: Does the company provide a safe and healthy environment for employees?
UEnvironment: How does the company handle waste and treat the environment? Companies involved with nuclear products and pollution are excluded.
UProduct safety: Are the products safe? Companies involved with tobacco and alcohol are excluded.
UHuman rights: Does the company meet Calvert's criteria?
URights of indigenous peoples: If the company does business overseas, does it behave culturally offensively, or is it respectful of the culture and environment?
UCommunity relations: Is the company involved in philanthropy?
Keep in mind that these lists are never comprehensive, and just because a company is not listed, it doesn't mean it is not socially responsible.
The Front Porch People
Ren & eacute; Laventure, specialist and educator of community, environment, and simple living, heads up an organization in Pittsburgh called The Front Porch People, a grassroots group concerned with socially responsible living.
They publish a newsletter called The Front Porch which has researched companies and provides information on buying green, and lots of other tips for conscious living and consuming.
Much of what they do is based on the values of The Center for the New American Dream, a large national organization that can help people make conscious choices to do business with companies whose values adhere with their own.
XLaughing Crow is a practitioner of holistic healing. She may be reached at email@example.com.