Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Your wallet is a powerful tool — and if you know how, you can use it to champion the environmental and positive societal impacts of combat climate. It comes down to understanding the things you’re buying: where they come from, how they’re grown or manufactured and how they’re packaged and distributed. Choose wisely and you may even help nudge the economy toward long-term ecological sustainability. Here are a few steps you can take:

Enrich

Learn how a given brand’s products are made. Is the manufacturer supportive of healthy ecosystems? For example, one approach that’s having a positive impact is regenerative agriculture, a movement that embraces a wide range of techniques to improve topsoil, increase biodiversity and enhance resilience. One of these is “cover cropping,” in which plants like alfalfa, rye, clovers and buckwheat are grown, then mowed and left there to form a natural mulch atop the soil. To help consumers better understand the importance of soil health, NUTRO™, a natural pet-food brand that’s part of the Mars family of brands has been supporting a nonprofit called Kiss the Ground, which carries out soil education and advocacy. One of the group’s current projects is a documentary miniseries about soil-regeneration projects across the United States.

Repair

SHEBA®, a Mars cat food brand, has pledged its support for the restoration of more than 45 acres of coral reef by 2028. The brand is working with reef restorers around the world toward this goal, including Kuleana Coral Reefs, a nonprofit founded by Native Hawaiians that uses a combination of indigenous and modern scientific practices to restore degraded reefs around Oahu. One such technique, called “immediate return of ecological services,” or IRES, involves transplanting damaged coral colonies to other locations on the seafloor, where they will be more likely to survive. With the help of Mars-made products like SHEBA, Kuleana Coral Reefs is now expanding its portfolio from 10 to 30 restoration sites around the Hawaiian Islands.

Recycle

Learn about what a brand is doing to minimize packaging waste. The key to waste reduction is to recycle, reuse and compost. Mars is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce the amount of packaging its products require and to make sure that much of what’s left can be recycled — for instance, changing M&M’s theater boxes
in the U.S. to be fully recyclable (apart from the plastic overwrap). Similarly, Mars has switched to a new kind of material made of 15% recycled content for their party-sized tubs of M&M’S, STARBURST® and SKITTLES®, a move that is saving about 300 tons of virgin plastic each year.

Sustain

Find out where a brand’s ingredients come from. Are they produced in a way that’s ecologically sustainable? BEN’S ORIGINAL™, part of the Mars family of brands, has pledged to source 100% of its rice from farmers who use climate-smart production techniques. Traditionally, rice fields are kept flooded year-round, but an approach called “alternate wetting and drying,” or AWD, allows them to dry out before being irrigated for rice planting. This saves water, reduces greenhouse-gas emissions and lowers the amount of fertilizer that needs to be applied — all in all, ultimately a more efficient and cost-effective method for the farmer.

So sure, being an earth-friendly consumer requires a little extra effort, but knowing you’re having a positive impact is well worth it – and it’s a virtuous cycle: The more you learn about the products you buy and the companies that make them, the more effective your efforts to slow down climate change will be.

Headshot of Jeff Wise

Jeff Wise is a journalist specializing in aviation, adventure, and psychology and was recently featured in the Netflix documentary “MH370: The Plane That Disappeared.” He lives north of New York City and for fun flies gliders and single-engine airplanes.

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By admin