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Why Conscientious Consuming Matters

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you read our previous blog, you probably found some great ideas on how to be a conscientious consumer when it comes to shopping for greeting cards, flowers, chocolates and other pink and red things. We’d like you to continue being a conscientious consumer past this holiday, though, and spread some love to the planet all year round.

So … what’s a conscientious consumer? Essentially, it is being someone who buys products that are beneficial to Earth because Earth needs our help. The statistics are quite alarming.

Throughout the world, an estimated 123,000 acres of forest are lost every day. About 80 percent of this deforestation is caused by poorly managed agriculture. About 10 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to deforestation, and at this time in our history, half of the world’s forests have been destroyed or degraded. With this loss of habitat, thousands of plant and animal species are going extinct every year, and on top of it all, indigenous peoples are being pushed from their homes and communities to the point where now, they only own 10 percent of the land that was once theirs. *

Obviously, none of that is good. But there’s good news: There’s hope!

Have you heard of the Rainforest Alliance? The Rainforest Alliance has been around for more than 30 years working with businesses and farmers across 78 nations to promote agriculture, forestry and tourism that minimizes its impact on fragile ecosystems, endangered species and indigenous peoples. They accomplish this through training and educating business- and farm-owners on how sustainable practices are better for the planet and, therefore, business.

The organization has had incredible results. More than 104 million acres of land are now sustainably managed. More than 1.3 million people have been trained in earth-friendly land management, and more than 1.3 million farms utilize the Rainforest Alliance’s methods to conserve the plants, animals and natural resources around them. It’s estimated this has removed greenhouse gases equivalent of nearly 8.8 million cars from the environment.

Under the Rainforest Alliance’s standards, these farms have also worked to improve the livelihoods of their neighbors and employees – not using child labor, paying at least the minimum wage, and giving employees access to healthcare and safe drinking water. $130.5 million has been earned by indigenous and forest communities thanks to these better practices.

So, all of this is great, but “How do I support the Rainforest Alliance?” you may ask. Good question! Look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on the products you buy at the store. This green seal featuring a frog means the product was sourced from a farm, forest or tourism enterprise that is fully environmentally and economically sustainable. Go support the good guys!

Check out their website to browse the 746 coffee, tea, chocolate, fruits and nuts, and paper services brands that are now Rainforest Alliance Certified!

* Statistics according to Rainforest Alliance.

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