3 Easy Green Resolutions for 2012
Going green doesn’t have to be hard work
What’s your New Year’s resolution? To join a gym? Give up smoking? Maybe you’re worried you won’t last past the end of January… Well, here are a few ‘green’ resolutions that are easy to stick to, as our volunteer Alexandra explains:
“Most of us think that ‘going green’ has to be completely life-changing: that we’ll need to give up the car, stop flying, grow our own salads. Actually, there are plenty of really easy small changes to the way we shop that can make our lifestyle instantly greener. In fact, the only hard part is changing the way we think about shopping and consuming. But we all need to make the change soon: it’s not as if we have any time to waste…”
Alex’s easy green resolution # 1: help stop environmental damage
“A week or so ago, I was sitting in a café on an Amsterdam canal when a guy next to me ordered RedBeans coffee. I’d never heard of RedBeans, so, being the curious girl that I am, I checked them out. It turns out that each RedBean has been sustainably grown, is Fairtrade certified, and packaged in aluminum-free wrappings. Maybe we should call them ‘green’ beans…
“And they’re not the only ones. In fact, these days, it’s just so easy to choose greener tropical commodities, from cocoa, to coffee, to sugar, to bananas and pineapple. Look for the logos of the Rainforest Alliance, Utz, Fairtrade… While they may be more famous for fighting for fair wages, they’ve all got a strong focus on environmental sustainability, too. And they don’t cost as much extra as much as you might think. These certifications are the best guarantee that the food you stick in your body was grown sustainably and bought from the farmers at a fair price. Definitely worth the extra.
“So, I now sit on the same stool in the same café… But instead, I’m helping save the rainforest while I drink my RedBeans latté. In fact, this resolution entitles me to indulge more often… Easy!”
Alex’s easy green resolution # 2: help end unfair labor conditions
“While certification programs are boosting farmers’ wages, there has been plenty of hard work improving working conditions in other areas and sectors – especially the fashion sector. At Rank a brand, we sniff out brands’ policies on labour conditions – and look for reports on how they perform. For example, we check whether brands pay living wages. So all you and I need to do is check the Rank a brand scores of a few of our favorite brands, and simply shun the worst performers.
“Take Zara and Mango, as an example. They sell pretty similar clothes, for pretty similar prices, so why not make their labor conditions the ultimate factor in deciding where to shop? Having seen the scores – Zara scores 9 points, and Mango only 2 – I’ve made the not so difficult choice to shop at Zara. While I sacrifice nothing in price or style, the gain of the person on the opposite side of the world is tremendous. They actually get enough money to put food on their tables!”
Alex’s easy green resolution # 3: stop climate change
“This is possibly the hardest to do without making big sacrifices. So I’ve had a look for some easier ways to cut my share of our carbon emissions. The answer, buy local.
“No, not at farmers markets, which are always only ever on the third Sunday of the month, but only when it coincides with the full moon… Just go to the same old supermarkets, but check on to see where your potatoes or peppers were grown. The closer to home, the greener they are.
“In fact, whenever you’re in the supermarket, there are a few simple ‘rules’ that help you make the greener choice. If you’re choosing between two products, look for the one that:
• Has a Fairtrade, MSC, Utz (etc) certification logo
• Was grown closer to home
• Is less processed
• Has less packaging
For those of you looking for some more hardcore green tips, check out these blogs:
Let us know how you get on with these easy green resolutions – and tell us if you have any suggestions of your own!
Have a good & green 2012!