B-Corporations: Best for the World

Day 358 – I have written about B-Corporations throughout the year. These are businesses that put people and planet before profits. They have made a commitment to better their communities, ensure their employees work under the best conditions and that their product does not harm the planet and may even benefit it.

Every year the B Lab recognizes the top-performing B Corps creating the greatest impact through their businesses. The Best of the World highlights community, customers, environment, governance and workers.

Click on each category for a complete list of winners.

Best for the World: Community

Best for the World: Customers

Best for the World: Environment

Best for the World: Governance

Best for the World: Workers

Help support these amazing companies around the world that are making a difference in the world.

Tomorrow, choosing reducing over recycling.

Palm Oil: To Boycott or Not To Boycott

Day 354 – There’s a lot to consider when deciding to use products with palm oil.

The negative aspects of palm oil:

  1. Logging for large palm plantations causes deforestation and biodiversity loss in the tropics.
  2. The palm oil industry demands cheap labor and inflicts human rights violations on its workers.

It’s hard to avoid palm oil. It’s in a lot of our everyday products. Processed palm oil is a common ingredient in cosmetics, shampoos and soaps, toothpaste, deodorant, and laundry detergent. It’s also a common ingredient in processed, packaged foods ranging from candy bars and potato chips to bread and instant noodles. 

So is boycotting palm oil a good decision?

According to the Sumatran Orangutan Society, a boycott unequivocally would not help workers, forests, or orangutans. On the contrary, it could have unintended consequences, like increased demand for soybean or sunflower oils that require five to 10 times more land. Or it could depress palm oil prices, encouraging its use in biofuels and livestock feed — products whose ingredients receive less scrutiny from consumers. In addition, about 4.5 million Indonesians and Malaysians currently earn a living from palm oil production. We know the industry is in need of fundamental change: The status quo fuels child labor, worker exploitation, and sexual abuse. Yet a wholesale boycott that could deprive workers of a primary source of income without recourse.” – Earth911

The best we can do is read labels carefully and do a little research as to where the palm oil we are using is coming from. Knowledge is truly power.

Tomorrow, the solution to removing microplastics from the ocean.

Toolkits to Help You Live a More Sustainable Life

Day 347Sustainable America has created a series of useful toolkits to help people live a more eco-friendly life.

GUIDE TO WASTING LESS AND BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE HOME

The guide covers the following:

  1. Sustainable Steps for the Whole Home
  2. Kitchen & Dining Room
  3. Living Room, Family Room and Den
  4. Laundry Room
  5. Bedroom
  6. Bathroom
  7. Home Office & Workspace
  8. Garage, Basement and Outdoors

A TOOLKIT FOR STRENGTHENING YOUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM

The guide covers the following:

  1. Supporting Your Local System
  2. Building Your Own System
  3. Investing in Greater Change

A NEW TOOLKIT FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE

The guide covers the following:

  1. Food
  2. Environment
  3. Fuel

TOOLS FOR REDUCING IDLING

Whether you want to educate drivers in your neighborhood or launch your own idling reduction campaign, Sustainable America has a range of resources and toolkits designed specifically for you.

There are so many resources available to us. Many are just a click away. Living a more sustainable life does not have to be a lonely experience. You have plenty of help.

Tomorrow, tips for a more sustainable Christmas.

Keeping Soil Healthy is Key to a Healthy Planet

Day 339World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5, as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.”United Nations

One way to keep soil healthy is the use of regenerative agriculture practices. There doesn’t seem to be a very specific definition to describe this practice. However, there are certain methods that can be seen as “regenerative”.

  • Incorporating crop rotation and cover cropping
  • Increasing plant and crop diversity
  • Practicing conservative tillage to prevent erosion and increase soil health
  • Animal integration, managed grazing and pasturing
  • Composting and waste reduction
  • and more

Whether regenerative agriculture ends up being a scientifically-proven way to fight climate change or not, its methods still offer many benefits to the ecosystem, producers and consumers alike.” – Sustainable America

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. The need for farming practices that will address these issues is critical to a healthy planet.

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself”​ – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tomorrow, a look at what Taiwan is doing.

Indoor Vertical Crops, the Future of Farming

Day 338 – Traditional farming takes can take up a great deal of space and require a lot of water. Sadly, our planet is running out of space and fresh water. To help alleviate the problem, companies are creating vertical farms. One such company is Plenty, located in San Francisco, California.

Vertical farms provide numerous advantages over traditional farming.

  1. A perfect environment is offered, avoiding the unpredictability of changing climates.
  2. No bleach or pesticides used on plants. No GMOs.
  3. Crop yields are increased over 350x compared to traditional farming.
  4. Hundreds of acres of farmland are compacted into the size of a big box retail store.

Plenty offers a variety of different greens.

There is no denying that the planet is changing and that climates around the globe will begin to undergo major changes. Many have already started the transformation. Vertical gardens will be key in providing people with fresh produce.

Tomorrow, celebrating World Soil Day.

How Much Trash Does One Person Make in a Year?

Day 326 – An unlikely source, TitleMax, looked at some gross data to calculate what one person produces in garbage in one year by type of waste.

Here’s what they found.

  1. Mail – 23.06 pounds per person
  2. Toilet Paper & Paper Towels – 22.36 pounds per person
  3. Paper plates and cups – 8.22 pounds per person
  4. Cardboard boxes – 187.77 pounds per person
  5. Cartons – 34.97 pounds per person
  6. Glass beer and soft drink bottles – 12.74 pounds per person
  7. Other bottles and jars – 24.52 pounds per person
  8. Metal durable goods – 92.80 pounds per person
  9. Aluminum goods – 10.89 pounds per person
  10. Steel cans – 11.78 pounds per person
  11. Aluminum cans – 9.04 pounds per person
  12. Durable plastics – 72.99 pounds per person
  13. Plastic plates and cups – 6.75 pounds per person
  14. Plastic trash bags – 6.50 pounds per person
  15. Plastic bottles and jars – 17.77 pounds per person
  16. Plastic bags and wraps – 24.27 pounds per person
  17. Clothing and footwear – 70 pounds per person
  18. Food waste – 220.96 pounds per person
  19. Yard trimmings – 91.53 pounds per person
  20. Wood – 854.20 pounds per person

That’s a grand total of 1,803.12 pounds per person

We can help reduce our waste by refusing, recycling, reusing and composting items off the list.

Tomorrow, reusable sticky notes.

Too Much Seafood Going to Waste

Day 325 – It’s World Fisheries Day! The first World Fisheries Day was celebrated on November 21, 2015. The day is dedicated to highlighting the critical importance of healthy ocean ecosystems and to ensure sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. 

So, today was the perfect day to write about the large amount of seafood that is wasted every year. It is estimated that every year, almost half the seafood supply in the United States is lost, amounting to nearly 500 million pounds of protein waste. Globally, we lose 110 billion pounds. Getting fish from the sea to the table takes many steps through the supply chain. With each step comes a great deal of waste. It is estimated that 17 to 22 percent of fish caught in the US are discarded before reaching port. On top of that, many fish spoil during transport. Even more goes to waste at the markets and once they reach households.

Thankfully, there are some companies trying to combat the waste. They’re making fish jerky, turning fish skin into wallets and coin purses, making bioplastics for fish packaging, and much more.

There are things you can do to reduce seafood waste:

  1. Choose seafood caught or farmed via environmentally sound methods.
  2. Don’t be afraid to purchase frozen seafood. 
  3. If possible, buy whole fish straight from the source.  
  4. Find uses for your leftover seafood. 

“If current trends in overfishing and ocean pollution continue, scientists estimate that we’ll run out of seafood by 2050. Reducing global seafood loss will not only cut down on waste and reduce the amount of discards dumped back into the ocean, it’ll help combat overfishing and hopefully maintain a protein-rich supply of seafood to nourish a growing global population.” – Sierra Club

Tomorrow, the amount of waste one person creates in a year.

What is a Green Restaurant?

Day 321 – On our road trip this summer, I noticed a sign on the window of the Grand Canyon Lodge’s restaurant. It got me thinking about what is involved in becoming a Green Restaurant.

Founded in 1990, The Green Restaurant Association, an international nonprofit organization, has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement as the leading voice within the industry, encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With its turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it accessible for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in Energy, Water, Waste, Food, Chemicals, Disposables, & Building.” – Green Restaurant Association

The Green Restaurant Certification Standards include 8 categories:

  1. Water efficiency
  2. Waste reduction and recycling
  3. Sustainable durable goods and building materials
  4. Sustainable food
  5. Energy
  6. Reusables and environmentally preferable disposables
  7. Chemical and pollution reduction
  8. Transparency and education

If you want to find a Green Restaurant near you click HERE!

Green Restaurant Association also wants to educate the public. You can find more information about the following topics regarding restaurants and the environment.

  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Waste
  4. Disposables
  5. Chemicals
  6. Building
  7. Food

Whether if we’re eating at home or dining out, we should try to make sure our impact on the planet is not a negative one.

Tomorrow, vacuuming sky to clean up carbon emissions.

The Sustainability of Honey

Day 317 – A was recently told that I need to reduce my sugar or I’ll end up becoming a diabetic. I gave up Pepsi, which was not easy, but my reoccurring kidney stones convinced me it was time. I am now drinking a lot more water. However, I still enjoy the occasional hot cup of tea, especially now that the weather is getting colder. I started putting honey in my tea, rather than the two teaspoons of sugar I was adding. It got me thinking about honey and it’s sustainability, along with possible health benefits.

The production of honey has the potential of having the lowest negative impact on the environment of all the sweeteners. It really comes down to where you get your honey. If you are able to make it at home, then your are actually making a positive impact on the environment. Not only will your honey be produced without processing, but raising bees will encourage you to garden more sustainably, and the bees will provide the important ecosystem service of pollination for you and your neighbors. The carbon footprint of the honey making process increases when the production becomes more complex and the shipments involve a great deal of travel. If you are not ready to take on your own hive then consider purchasing your honey locally. I have been buying my honey from Heaven’s Honey Inc. Local Honey. I know you can find it at Jewel.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of honey:

  1. The antioxidants in honey can help lower blood pressure.
  2. Honey can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and help raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
  3. Honey can lower triglycerides.
  4. Topically, honey can help heal burns and wounds.
  5. Honey can help suppress coughs in children.

So, the next time you see a bee swarming overhead, think twice before swatting at it. These little guys are helping create a pretty awesome food.

Tomorrow, it’s not easy being eco-friendly when you’re a Type 1 Diabetic.

The Ballpark Farm

Day 309 – I had no idea, that is, until my mother-in-law sent me a picture. There is a farm at Fenway Park and it’s been there since 2015.

Here are some interesting facts about the farm.

  1. More than 5,900 pounds of fresh produce are harvested each growing season at Fenway Farms.
  2. Fenway Farms provides fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruit to Red Sox fans dining at Fenway Park’s Dell/EMC Club restaurant along with use in concessions throughout the park.     
  3. The 5,000 square foot rooftop farm is sited within Fenway Park positioned on the roof of the Front Office located on the Third Base side of the EMC Level.
  4. Urban farmers from Green City Growers maintain Fenway Farms regularly, including during many home games. Fans will often be able to see farmers at work.
  5. This project serves to engage Red Sox Nation in the value of eating fresh food.
  6. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 children and adults interact with Fenway Farms annually, helping to expose thousands to the food growing process, often for the first time in their lives.

Fenway Farms is helping to make America’s most beloved and oldest ballpark one of America’s greenest.

Tomorrow, your own at home recycling machine.