Resources on Social Ethics


How can we respond effectively to issues of hunger, poverty, etc.?
Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Justice and Peace Organizations
Faith-Based Magazines and Newspapers
World Hunger and Poverty
Poverty and Hunger in the U.S.
Third World Debt, Structural Adjustment
Central America
Corporations and the Third World
Economic Globalization, Free Trade
Fair Trade/Socially Responsible Purchasing

Modern Slavery

Child Labor
Socially Reponsible Investment/Microlending/Alternative Banking
Alternative Development
Child Sponsorship
Human Rights
Nonviolence and War
Death Penalty

Simple Living Resources

Ecology/Global Warming
Meditation/Contemplative Prayer
Signs of Hope

How can we respond effectively to issues of hunger, poverty, etc.?

1) Educate ourselves and others. Numerous internet resources for further learning are listed in the sections which follow. To return to the listing of categories, click here

2) Make career, lifestyle, purchasing, and investment decisions with social and ecological implications in mind.    

3) Provide financial support for grassroots development and grassroots social change organizations
  Several highly respected organizations that support excellent, inspiring grassroots projects include:
          Oxfam America
          Rights Action
          Catholic Campaign for Human Development

4) Work to influence public policy. Many of the organizations listed in the various categories below undertake such advocacy activities, provide action alerts to give you information on a timely issue, etc.

5) Consider a post-graduation, summer, or school year volunteer commitment
   For an excellent source of both domestic and overseas volunteer opportunities with Catholic volunteer organizations (including a database that can be searched by desired location, type of volunteer work, etc.), visit the website of the Catholic Network of Volunteer Service   

6)  Sponsor a child or elderly person in the Third World
   A highly respected sponsorship organization is:
       Unbound (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging)

7) Consider giving "gifts of service" as alternative presents for Christmas, birthdays, etc.
  A donation of $50, for example, can cover the cost of an operation to restore sight to a person blinded by cataracts in Nepal, Tibet, India, Guatemala, and several other countries. A card will be sent to your gift recipient (or to you, to give to the recipient) letting them know that a donation for this purpose has been made in their name. For general information visit the website of SEVA'a Gifts of Service program.  

Catholic Social Teaching

U.S. Catholic Bishops - the website of the "Social Development and World Peace" division of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference. Provides information on what the bishops consider to be some of the most urgent contemporary social issues.

Major CST Documents - on-line versions of many of the most important documents (papal encyclicals, etc.) of official Catholic Social Teaching.


Catholic Justice and Peace Organizations

Ignatian Solidarity Network – a network of Jesuit-affiliated persons and groups addressing a wide array of social justice issues

Catholic Worker - information concerning the Catholic Worker movement, a movement founded in the 1930s by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. The Catholic Worker movement is committed to the works of mercy (sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, etc.) and to nonviolent action on behalf of social justice. There are over 150 Catholic Worker houses and farming communities in the United States.

Pax Christi USA- the major Catholic peace organization in the United States, which includes many bishops as members

Network - a national Catholic organization, founded by women religious, which is committed to lobbying Congress on a variety of social justice issues

Maryknoll Global Concerns - information on global issues provided by the Maryknoll missionary society


Faith-Based Magazines & Newspapers Emphasizing Social Justice

National Catholic Reporter - a weekly newspaper devoted to coverage of the Catholic Church and of domestic and global news. Many of its stories are posted on the website.

Sojourners - website of a monthly magazine founded by evangelical Christians committed to work for peace and social justice. A sharp contrast to the evangelical preachers commonly heard on radio and television.


World Hunger

Bread for the World - an ecumenical Christian organization addressing issues of domestic and global hunger

Food First - a leading "think tank" on issues of global hunger, economic globalization, etc. Publishers of such ground-breaking works as  "World Hunger: Twelve Myths," widely considered to be the best introductory book on the topic of world hunger.

World Hunger Notes - good source of hunger information

Poverty and Hunger in the United States

Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revivalgrassroots movement addressing issues of systemic poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, the war economy, etc. and highlighting proposals for deep social change

Children's Defense Fund - well-known organization, founded by Marian Wright Edelman, that focuses upon a variety of issues concerning children in the United States. Devotes particular attention to issues of poverty and hunger.

National Center for Children in Poverty - a research center focusing on children and poverty, located at Columbia University. Provides up-to-date data and analysis.

Food Research and Action Coalition - another good source of information and action suggestions concerning hunger in the United States

Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless - information on homelessness in Cincinnati and constructive ways to address the problem.

FreeStore/Foodbank - Cincinnati-based organization providing free food and clothing to those in need in the tri-state area.

Over-the-Rhine Community Housing - Organization based in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati which works on issues of affordable housing.

Shelterhouse – shelters for the homeless in Cincinnati


Third World Debt, Poverty, Structural Adjustment

Jubilee USA  - The U.S. branch of the Jubilee campaign for Third World debt relief

Global Issues – good resources on poverty, hunger, structural adjustment, etc.

Share the World’s Resources – more resources on poverty, hunger, harmful IMF and World Bank policies, etc.


Central America/Latin America

Rights Action - organization providing support for grassroots human rights and people-centered development projects in Guatemala and Honduras. Also a source of educational materials.

Washington Office on Latin America – excellent resources on social justice issues in Latin America

Guatemalan Human Rights Commission - Up-to-date information concerning human rights in Guatemala


Corporations and the Third World

United Students Against Sweatshops – student-led movement opposing sweatshop working conditions

CorpWatch - an excellent source of information, action alerts, etc. concerning the activities of corporations throughout the world. Devotes attention both to the impacts of individual corporations and to the broader systemic impacts of structural adjustment and  neoliberal economic globalization.


Economic Globalization, Free Trade
(Also see the entries above under "world hunger," "third world
debt, poverty, structural adjustment," and "corporations and the Third World")

Global Issues - one of the best websites on globalization and many other global justice and ecological issues

Share the World’s Resources - another excellent website exploring many global justice issues

Global Exchange- works on a wide array of campaigns against 'free trade', in favor of 'fair trade,' etc.

Focus on the Global South - provides Third World perspectives on global policy issues.

Public Citizen Global Trade Watch - information concerning the World Trade Organization (WTO),  NAFTA, and other "free trade" issues.


Fair Trade/Socially Responsible Purchasing

Better World Shopperresources for evaluating various companies/products on their level of social and ecological responsibility

Fair World Project - resources concerning fair trade and how to purchase fair trade products

Green America - an excellent resource for socially responsible purchasing

Ten Thousand Villages - an online source for many different types of fair trade goods

SERRV - A Greater Gift - another source for fair trade goods


Modern Slavery

Free the Slaves - a leading anti-slavery organization; connected with Kevin Bales, one of the world’s foremost authorities on modern slavery

Anti-Slavery - another prominent anti-slavery organization; in existence since 1839!

Not for Sale Campaign - anti-slavery organization led by David Batstone, author of Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade - and How We Can Fight It


Child Labor (formerly Free the Children) - an organization of young people working to end child labor and to improve the lives of children around the world

Child Labor Coalition- stresses education and action to overcome child labor


Socially Responsible Investment/Microlending/Alternative Banking

Community Investing  - excellent clearinghouse of information on community investing, including community development credit unions and banks, community loan funds, etc.

Cooperative Fund of New England - opportunity to invest in worker owned businesses, food and housing cooperatives, etc.

Calvert Impact Capital - offers investments in anti-poverty projects around the world

Self-Help Credit Union - one example of a community development credit union; a good place for investing in socially responsible, federally insured certificates of deposit (CDs), etc. - nonprofit organization that enables you to make small loans (as little as $25) to specific Third World low-income borrowers to finance projects that can help them rise out of poverty. You choose the borrower from among numerous applicants on the website. The borrowers are screened by local nonprofit organizations in the borrower’s country.


Alternative Development

Oxfam America - one of the most respected international grassroots development organizations. Focuses on projects that empower the poor, are ecologically sustainable, and respect the positive features of local culture.

EcoViva: Community-Led Initiatives for a Sustainable Future - supports community-led social justice movements in Central America implementing innovative solutions to poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change.


Child Sponsorship

Unbound (formerly Christian Foundation for Children and Aging) -  highly respected child sponsorship organization founded by lay Catholics. Also provides the opportunity to sponsor elderly persons in need.

Human Rights

Human Rights Watch - information concerning human rights around the world. Publishes an annual overview of human rights abuses in each country, which is available on their website, along with numerous other special reports, action alerts, latest human rights news, etc.

Amnesty International - another organization working for human rights throughout the world


Nonviolence and War

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict – excellent site with extensive resources on nonviolent action as a tool for overthrowing dictatorships, bringing about positive social change, etc.

Albert Einstein Institution - organization committed to the study of nonviolent social change. Publishes in-depth reflections on the history of nonviolent action and nonviolent strategy, including many case studies of the successful use of nonviolence to overthrow dictators, resist occupation, etc. Founded by Gene Sharp, the world's foremost theorist of nonviolent action.

CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies)another website with excellent information on nonviolent action around the world, founded by leaders of the student movement that nonviolently overthrew the Milosevic regime in Serbia

About Face: Veterans Against the War, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Courage to Resist – each of these are organizations of current or former US military personnel and their families who are critical of recent/current U.S. wars

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - family members of persons killed in the attacks of 9/11 who support alternatives to war and militarism


Vegetarianism, Animals

Christian Vegetarian Association- explores the biblical and ethical bases for Christian vegetarianism

Factory Farming - website with extensive information on the treatment of animals in modern “factory farms”

Vegan Outreach - information on the many reasons for choosing a vegan diet

Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians - explores the bases for vegetarianism in the world's religions, etc.

International Vegetarian Union - international organization providing extensive resources concerning vegetarianism

In a Vegetarian Kitchen - website with many excellent vegetarian/vegan recipes


Simple Living Resources  

 New Dream – resources on simple living


Ecology/Global Warming

350.orgorganization that has played a central role in facilitating a global grassroots movement against climate change

Sunrise Movement – U.S.-based youth-led movement against climate change

Youth Climate Strike – another youth-led organization in the U.S. taking action against climate change, part of the broader international climate strike movement

Global Warming articles - lots of excellent articles on global climate change

Answers to Global Warming Skeptics - good resources that respond in detail to the arguments of global warming skeptics

Worldwatch Institute - excellent resource on various ecological and social justice issues; publisher of the annual State of the World reports

Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club - information on numerous ecological issues


Meditation/Contemplative Prayer

Zen meditation instructions - introduction to Zen meditation by Zen Master John Daido Loori

Buddhist Meditation - free online talks on meditation practice, along with some guided meditations, by a variety of teachers. Also see here and here for more.

World Community for Christian Meditation - website of an international community of Christian meditators, meditating in the tradition of  the Benedictine monk John Main. Lots of good information and articles concerning meditation.

Centering Prayer - extensive resources concerning the Christian practice of centering prayer.

Contemplative Outreach - another website devoted to centering prayer.

Signs of Hope

Yes! Magazine - magazine that focuses on positive, hopeful stories in the struggle for social justice and ecological sustainability throughout the world