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Food

FOOD

A booming, ever-growing population is demanding more and more food to be produced every year. Now, more than ever, are we seeing the importance of sustainable food. This is not only about ethical food production, but also about the rapidly growing waste of food and resources.

Many brands are becoming aware of these problems, and it is becoming easier to find sustainable food brands in today’s day and age.

From wholefoods manufactures, to chocolate producers, to smaller, quirkier brands finding fun and innovative ways to cut down on their environmental impact – the sustainable food market is growing in leaps and bounds.

There are so many brands focused on sustainability these days, sometimes you just have to look a little harder.

Some of the key players in today’s food sustainability game are:

  • Nature’s path – leaders in zero-waste large scale facilities
  • Stonyfield – focussing on organic and sustainable dairy farming
  • Mars – leading the way in innovative cocoa farming
  • Branana – finding innovative ways to optimize what would be discarded food waste
  • Ben & Jerry’s – the unlikely climate activists and spreaders of awareness

 

Besides making an effort to support sustainable brands, what can you do to eat sustainably and support a better environment and future for our earth?

It can seem like a seriously daunting task, but there are actually a lot of extremely simple ways to get with sustainable living today!

The most effective way to get started is to keep these simple steps in mind:

  • Eat locally
  • Eat seasonally
  • Cut down on meat

 

Making these changes is so important! We elaborate more about it with these reviews, but it really is not that hard to wrap your head around. Start living more sustainably today by shopping with more consciousness and keeping these simple tips at the forefront of your mind when making purchases.

It’s not just a healthier way of life; the earth will thank you too!

Fashion

FASHION

Fast fashion is a glaringly guilty culprit in the environmental decay we face today. Somehow, the fashion industry has convinced us that we need to buy this season’s clothes…every season. What do they want us to do at the end of the season? Throw it all away and start again!

Honestly, it’s madness, and it’s not sustainable.

Fashion is often overlooked when we focus on sustainability, but is fast becoming one of the biggest sources of pollution on earth. Not only are we actively encouraged to get rid of clothes in what soon amounts to piles and piles of waste – but the way these clothes are produced is often both unethical and unsustainable.

Thankfully, there are ways to still look fabulous without supporting unsustainable clothing production.

Hemp is easily one of the oldest ways to produce clothing. It has been around for centuries and has seen a come back in recent years. It used to be the go-to product for sturdy and sustainable clothing and garments,and has been making a comeback in recent years. It is durable and more sustainable to farm, so it is fairly obvious why!

Hemp is the much needed alternative to synthetic cotton; which is grown in unethical ways and contributing massively to greenhouse gasses. Cotton only uses 2% of agricultural land, yet it can account for 16% of global pesticide use. It takes a lot more land to produce cotton than it does to produce hemp, it grows slower and is more labor intensive. So why is it still the go-to for many fashion brands?

Thankfully, some brands are seeing the light and leading the way, away from harmful textiles and unenduring fast fashion items.

  • Recreator

Recreator boasts a large collection of hemp fashion apparel, suitable for almost any occasion

  • Hoodlamb

A Dutch company leading the way in hemp winter wear.

They are PETA approved and all of their products are vegan-friendly. If you are looking for winter hemp-wear, they are the go-to supplier. They are the leaders in hemp winter jackets and they ship to almost everywhere in the world!

If you’re still not enticed to start sporting hemp fashion apparel, there are other ways to go green with your fashion choices.

Find out more about how you can upcycle, recycle, and what other fashion brands are leading the way in sustainable fashion innovations.

Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE

A sustainable lifestyle leads to greater health, both for yourself and for the world around you! It starts and ends with your own personal choices. What you eat, what you wear, how you travel, and how you manage your household, are all aspects that come into play.

There are a lot of low-effort ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. It can be as simple as having a short shower instead of a bath, or even doing things that barely impact you at all, such as turning off appliances that you aren’t using.

Recycling is another low-effort way to make a big difference. There is so much waste in the world, we all need to do our part in minimizing it. Recycling has become extremely accessible in recent years, leaving no excuse for us not to practice it!

When it comes to non-recyclable plastic, the most obvious course of action is to say no! When saying no isn’t a viable option, maybe making use of eco-bricks is.

Eco-bricks are a great way to make use of non-recyclable products. You can find organizations in your area that are looking for eco-bricks, or you can even use them yourself.

There are a ton of sustainable lifestyle brands out there aiming to make your journey to sustainability as effortless as possible.

  • Greenvelope

With a time tried business model revolving around beautiful invitations, cards, and other traditionally printed items, Greenvelope is trying to take the concepts of e-cards one step further by combining the concept with traditionally beautiful that we all nostalgically remember.

  • Lionheart Imports

An importing initiative that focuses on finding new ways to ship items across the world.

  • Valley Forge

A company focused on finding sustainable bedwear.

These companies are illustrating that sustainability is about taking old ideas and revamping them in ways that cause no harm to the environment. Find some more, here

Innovation & Cities

CITY INNOVATION

Cities face the challenge of staying green while coping with the massive growth of urbanization. Sadly, there are many examples of major metropolises that neglect any responsibility to the environment and focus only on their own growth. An easy solution can be found in many of New York City’s rooftop gardens or by reducing the carbon heavy transport options with support for bicycles.

Dubai is the first culprit that comes to mind. The relatively new development is focused entirely on rapid growth and does nothing to ensure any level of sustainability. Despite being built on oil reserves, it is running out of energy to power itself! The ridiculous amount of energy needed to maintain all the ongoing construction, dispose of waste, and keep the city ticking, was quite possibly overlooked in it’s hasty ‘build now, think later’ style of rapid urbanization.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are newly-emerged cities that are so focused on sustainability and green living that they have literally built these ideas into their architecture. These help reduce the build of stress on its citizens.

Singapore is a great example of a newly-emerged green city. The urban giant is focused on becoming a ‘city in a garden’. There is an annual Tree Planting Day, showcasing how even average citizens can get in touch with nature for the benefit of the city. There are also numerous green initiative projects to be found in waste management, agriculture, and architecture.

  • CapitaGreen

An office building in the middle of the city district. It is covered in plants and foliage and hosts and impressive ‘sky forest’ on its roof.

  • TreeHouse

Another plant-covered building. This one holds the Guinness world record for being the world’s largest vertical garden. The plants that it is adorned with filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air to reduce the residential estate’s carbon footprint.

  • Trash Island

Probably the most impressive innovation to come out of Singapore is the beautiful and luxurious trash island (Pulau Semakau) that functions as a holiday tourist resort and an amazing trash solution all at the same time.

How do you turn trash into an island with a flourishing eco-system? Convert your waste into something usable again? Read more about sustainable cities here.

Cannabis

CANNABIS

The cannabis industry is growing exponentially, creating unexplored ideas and boosting industries globally.

The rise of cannabis culture has been deemed ‘The Green Rush’ as investors rush to break into the madness – but what is really going on in the cannabis industry and is the potential for growth as great as it seems?

Cannabis used to be a taboo topic. Relatively recent laws have allowed it to prosper. Hemp has been decriminalized entirely in the United States and around most of the world, and a growing number of states and countries are decriminalizing, legalizing and utilizing medicinal cannabis, CBD, and even recreational cannabis.

It’s an exciting time for marijuana and its only getting better. Medicinal marijuana is being studied to fuller extends and is being used for the treatment in cancer, seizures, epilepsy, depression, insomnia, and skin conditions from cosmetic to life-threatening.

CBD is being explored for its many uses and is making appearances in food, skincare, beer and more, as well as being utilized in its oil form, which is celebrated for its vast uses.

Hemp is making a come back – especially in the fashion industry. The crop that is regarded as the first human crop to be cultivated for use in product production, once took a dive when laws made it difficult to farm and use. With changing laws, the hemp industry is growing like never before.

Hemp is a highly sustainable plant and favored compared to competitors for a wide range of reasons:

  • It requires little water
  • It does not need pesticides
  • It is carbon negative
  • It enriches the soil it is grown in
  • It grows fast and offers high returns

 

The cannabis industry has been unleashed and it’s here to stay – we have only just started to see the potential in what this plant has to offer.

Nature

NATURE

Coexisting with nature isn’t only desirable, but necessary for survival. I briefly spoke about green cities such as Singapore, and how they have realized the importance of this by infusing nature with modern architecture. What else can be done, and what else are people doing to aid conservation?

In Europe, where cities are much older than Singapore, there is a lot of pressure to adapt existing architecture to coincide with nature. Growing importance is placed on renewable energy that utilizes natural resources in respectful and non-harmful ways.

Electric transport is one of the leading ways that cities are turning greener, However, this is only a good thing if electricity is also being created in greener ways.

Despite a few exceptions, Europe is largely moving away from fossil fuels. This is amazing because there is so much natural renewable energy out there to be harvested.

It’s an expensive endeavor, happening mainly because of external pressure on governments to do better.

In any state that is dependent on fossil fuels such as coal, there needs to be pressure on governments and energy providers to make the change to renewable energy. The only way we can hope to achieve this is by pushing education and putting pressure on those with money and power to make the change.

People often think that they are insignificant in change, yet social pressure can and has made leaps and bounds of change before. Don’t believe me? Look at plastic straw bans around the world.

What started as a small social media movement has made entire cities completely ban single-use plastic straws. Where they aren’t banned, there is so much social stigma against them that even those who genuinely don’t care about the environment (for some absurd and unknown reason) are finding themselves embarrassed to be seen toting one in the beverage.

An entire industry has been born out of this movement that started on social media. Some brands that are offering plastic straw alternatives are:

  • Straw by straw
  • Loliware
  • Aardvark Straws

Social pressure can and does make a difference!

Our voices can travel further than ever before thanks to social media – and we can change the world one small step at a time.

Art

THE ARTS

Art has always been used as a means of delivering important societal messages to the population. With sustainability being at the forefront of modern problems, it is no surprise that many artists have taken to deliver messages about sustainability and environmentalism through their work.

‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.’

This is not a new concept – even Claude Monet was considered an environmentalist artist. He was known for depicting man’s relationship to nature. Although most of his work was produced over a hundred years ago, he could already see the impact that mankind was having on the world around him.

In modern times, a surge of environmental artists have emerged to take a stand against what human beings have done to their planet. Some of them are doing it in subtly hostile ways that force humanity to look at its errors.

Chris Jordan is one of those bent on exposing consumer culture for all its ugliness. He became recognized for his photographs depicting garbage and waste. His pieces bring light to the products of consumerism and have often been described as shocking and vile.

One of his tools for exposing capitalist culture is creating short digital image progressions, combining photographs and digital media, that he calls ‘slow motion apocalypses’.

Jordan is not creating art to be pretty and aesthetically pleasing, he is doing it to scream at the world that it is time to wake up.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have artists who are aiming to inspire through their work. Nil-Udo is a shining example of this. The sculptor has been active for decades; creating art that focuses on building aesthetic images of utopia into natural landscapes. His work aims to show us that man-made paradises can exist next to nature, and that the beauty of nature amplifies the beauty of man-made creations.