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A Cradle-To-Cradle Factory Where Circularity Includes Its Employees

November 15, 2018
I’ve known Hannah Theisen since I began blogging. We’ve never met in person but skyped and written long winded emails to one another numerous times as we navigated our former shared careers. She’s my friend, undoubtedly, and one of those rare people who blooms brightly with benevolence in a real and wonderful way.

About two years ago, Hannah and her husband packed up their home in Minnesota, sold their cars and nearly all their stuff, and moved themselves to Manila to invest their lives in A Beautiful Refuge, a sewing and screen-printing business created to offer sustainable and flexible employment opportunities to women in crisis. 

While this small scale business made a difference in the lives of the women who worked there, it could only provide a solution to a small group of women, rather than making a monumental difference in the fashion industry as a whole. So Hannah and her husband gathered their strength and their community, and came up with an idea which could change the face of fair fashion forever.
HOW TELAstory's TRULY FAIR FACTORY CAME TO BE
Hannah was a blogger before she became a business owner in the Philippines, and has a deep understanding of the ethical issues in conventional factories, as well as the ‘ethical washing' sometimes seen in ‘ethical’ brands. 

Garment workers in the Philippines are generally paid between 7000 and 20,000 Philippine pesos per month ($131.00-$375.00 USD), a wage which is beneath the cost of living, especially for those who are parents. A recent survey found that only 1 in 4 workers in small-scale garment businesses are paid the legal minimum wage, and only around half receive government-mandated benefits. 

The TELAstory facility was created to give more power and better profit to Filipino garment workers by paying full benefits and a real living wage, while manufacturing clothing in a responsible and environmentally friendly way.
✬ A CUT ABOVE THE REST 
TELAstory will provide ethical manufacturing services to conscious fashion brands, as well as producing an in-house line. In an unprecedented move toward transparency in an industry where worker abuse, dishonest marketing, and poor working conditions are rampant, TELAstory’s website will include a real-time view into the factory as garments are made. Each client will have a login portal where they’ll be able to “track” their order, see which staff are working on assembling their garments, and see photos from the day’s work in the factory. Some of this information will also be made available to end users.


CONSIDERING CIRCULAR IN A WAY WHICH GOES FULL CIRCLE ✬
TELAstory’s inaugural line of 100% Philippine-made, natural and sustainable garments are being made available through Kickstarter. Each garment is proudly created from biodegradable, sustainable fibers- cotton, pineapple fiber, and abaca fiber, and dyed with indigenous plants- turmeric, talisay leaves, and mahogany bark. Using these natural fibres and dyes protects the planet and the workers who come in contact with each creation every step of the way.

“We wanted to create garments that were not only proudly Filipino made- from the cotton seed being planted in the ground to the finished, ready-to-wear garment- but eco-friendly enough to compost!," Hannah shared, "We’re even using coconut shell buttons to ensure that every detail taking into account the garment’s life cycle and impact on the earth.”

A FUTURE MODEL FOR A FAIRER WORLD ✬ 
Conventional clothing production has a myriad of problems built into every level of creation, from the genetically modified seeds used to create our garments - which strain farmer's budgets, to the pesticides used in their fields, to the harsh chemicals used in dyes, the toxic waste from fashion factories which pollute waterways, to the chemically treated clothing which finds its way to our landfills. It's a hot mess, and the only way to change it is to transform it completely. Which is what, in my projected view, TELAstory will do, leading by example and lead heart and justice.

HOW YOU CAN HELP MAKE THIS DREAM FOR MANY A REALITY
You can help make this factory a thriving reality by pre-ordering one of the beautiful ethical and sustainable products they create, like the ones pictured below, through Kickstarter. By doing so, you will be investing in three sacred things: empowering women in the Philippines, a fairer and greener model for the garment industry, and a piece of biodegradable ethically produced clothing to carry with you through life which will remind you of the day you helped create change.

✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THIS BEAUTIFUL PROJECT ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬


12 Ethical, Sustainable, Slow Fashion Brands For Fall

October 31, 2018
As a child of the North, the changing of the seasons has always been something I've held close. I adore a sunny holiday as much as any folk, but throughout my life of vagabonding through this bright and beautiful world, I've always felt most at home in, and most drawn to, the countries of the North.

Fall in the higher latitudes is a dance, gracefully sweeping across the land in time with the fading of light. Offering one last burst of beautiful colour before the landscape slips off to its sleepy shades of brown and grey for the winter.

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I keep a small but curated closet made up of durable biodegradable materials, attempting to gather items which will ride along with me, as best they can, from spring to winter. While sweaters don't often find their place in summer, and boots belong perhaps only in fall, you'll notice some repeats of my favourite pieces and brands from previous seasonal wardrobe shares over the months and years.

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⟠ TAMAY & ME Embroidered Jacket ⟠ SON DE FLOR Peter Pan Collar Shirt ⟠ ALLY BEE Sleeveless Jumper ⟠ PO-ZU Chev Boots 

ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Handcrafted using traditions centuries old, Tamay and Me embodies the art of slow fashion with both patience and care.⁣ Each stage of a product's creation is intricately tied to the Red Dzao and Black Tay way of life. Following the cyclical turning of the seasons steadily, from seed to sew. In the creation of their jackets, from conception to closet, ⁣it's nearly a two-year process. The completed garments reflect the love and care put into each creation, and every piece symbolises their way of life in which community, camaraderie, and nature are the sources of joy and pride. ⁣Tamay and Me's creations represent a turn to tradition and tailoring, protecting artisan skills which are threatened by the speed of fashion as we know it.⁣
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Embroidered Jacket ⟠ Lu Scarf
WHERE TO BUY? tamayandme.com
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Fighting against the trend of cheap, mass produced footwear, Po-zu creates ethically made shoes using sustainable materials including GOTS certified organic cotton, British wool, coir, natural latex and pinatex. All of their shoes are made in a small factory in the historic town of Guimaraes in Portugal, employing 70 locals who are not only paid a fair wage, but work in a safe, toxin-free environment free from harmful glues and solvents. 
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Chev Boots Sneak L
WHERE TO BUY? po-zu.com

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⟠ GUNG HO Lobster Embroidered Sweatshirt ⟠ Second Hand Jeans ⟠ PO-ZU Sneak L 

ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? The ethos for design behind Gung-ho is fascinating, embodying completely the art of slow fashion with a type of rare authenticity that goes full-circle. Each design is clever and meaningful, combining a whimsical aesthetic with versatility, quality and purpose. ⁣⁣⁣Each of the prints or embellishments are created to tell a story which connects people with environmental issues in a way that is fun but impactful. Sophie, the woman behind the brand, donates a portion of each purchase to a corresponding charity, and personally organises events, like cleaning up the banks of the River Thames, to transform education into action. ⁣⁣⁣All of the fabrics used are sustainable and sourced from fairwear foundation-certified factories. Once designed, each piece is hand printed or embroidered at small local businesses within the UK, before being tailored by hand in London. ⁣⁣
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Lobster Embroidered Sweatshirt Peach Peonie Flower Earrings
WHERE TO BUY? Gung-ho-design.com

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⟠ ALLY BEE Sleeveless Jumper ⟠ Vintage Jeans ⟠ SON DE FLOR Peter Pan Collar Shirt 

⟠ ALLY BEE ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? I've been a fan of Ally Bee for a number of years, its owner is a champion in the sustainable fashion movement while also investing her time in her own local community as well, paddle boarding down the Thames to pick up garbage, and hosting film festivals which educate and inform and starting a not for profit, In The Drink UK, to guide thames side establishments away from plastic. Her creations are made with a cradle-to-cradle story in mind (and cradle to cradle yarns), producing each collection with a set of environmental standards that exceed compliance, choosing instead conscious consideration and constant questioning of the status quo. Ally Bee seeks out natural fibres and produces ethically from farmer to shop floor, choosing high-quality fibre cashmere, alpaca and wool yarns produced to high standards of land management and animal welfare which are dyed with toxin-free dyes. Because the fibres in her creations come from the earth, they can return to the earth at the end of their lifecycle and biodegrade. Her creations are intended to be a keepsake, made to live well beyond a season or if cared for properly, beyond a single lifetime. 
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Poncho Jumper ⟠ Sleeveless Jumper  Alpaca Jumper  Fingerless Gloves
WHERE TO BUY? ally-bee.com

⟠ SON DE FLOR ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Born with a heart for slow fashion and slow living, Son De Flor creates an enchanting collection of beautifully designed linen clothing. With each piece, they bring back the timeless feminine designs which once carried us through the seasons, offering a look that is both charming and dreamy. Each garment is made from natural durable materials and components which come from responsible producers in Lithuania, and is sewn at one of the oldest sewing factories in Lithuania by workers receiving a fair wage.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Peter Pan Collar Shirt ⟠ Twill Linen Skirt
WHERE TO BUY? sondeflor.com

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⟠ SON DE FLOR Peter Pan Collar Shirt & Twill Linen Skirt 

⟠ BYEM ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Proving ethics and aesthetics go hand in hand, BYEM offers a beautiful Scandinavian collection which minimises environmental impact while maximising ethical impact by using a supply chain which is entirely GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, and producing their clothing with factories providing fair working conditions. With each sale, they contribute to Läkarmissionen, a Swedish international aid agency working in Southern Sudan. The top I'm pictured in below is one of the pieces I’ve found to be amongst the most diverse for the various types of weather I’ve put myself in. It doesn’t wrinkle, packs up small, is warm, layers well, dries quickly, and makes even the laziest of outfits look stylish and put together.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORYAlma Sweater
WHERE TO BUY? byem.com

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⟠ BYEM Alma Sweater ⟠ Vintage Jeans ⟠ ALLY BEE Fingerless Gloves  GUNG HO Peach Peonie Flower Earrings 

⟠ PAR EN PAR ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Par En Par has created a beautiful collection, with the help of talented artisans, out of handwoven organic cotton,. Each piece is versatile and comfortable, stylishly transitioning through any function a wardrobe needs. The cut of each garment adheres to the ebb and flow of the female form, combining sexiness with comfort in a way most garments don’t. It’s a piece one could wear to a church wedding in the dead of winter, or for a half-naked beach frolic in the height of summer ... and every imaginable situation between. It seems to adapt to any situation, embracing you into your surroundings while its natural tones (created with AZO-free dyes) subtlety and simultaneously announce you to the room.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Playa Robe 
WHERE TO BUY? parenpar.com

⟠ MYSSY FARMI ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Myssyfarmi is a farm-based design company from Pöytyä, Finland, creating beautiful wool hats produced traditionally. Each aspect of their knit production is done ethically and locally. The wool is from their own herd of Finnsheep which are treated like pets, rather than livestock (not a single one the victim of Mulesing or harm). All the knits are hand-coloured with natural dyes on the farm, and each hat is hand knit by local grannies, creating a piece that is representative of both culture and community. I totally missed it when making my order, but you can design your hat yourself using their 'design your own' feature, so you can make a hat aligning perfectly with both your morals and aesthethics. 
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Muffi Hat
WHERE TO BUY? myssyfarmi.fi
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⟠ MYSSY FARMI Muffi Hat  ⟠ Vintage Jeans ⟠ ALLY BEE Sleeveless Jumper  PAR EN PAR Playa Robe ⟠ PO-ZU Chev Boots

ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? A purveyor of responsibly made garments, People of Leisure has created a beautiful bohemian collection, ethically sourced and manufactured in Los Angeles, California. It has a capsule-esque feel, covering casual to party wear with easy to style high-quality garments that are bound to last the ages. 
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORYHunter Green Valour Sweatshirt
WHERE TO BUY? peopleofleisure.co 

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⟠ PEOPLE OF LEISURE Hunter Green Valour Sweatshirt ⟠ TAMAY & ME Lu Scarf ⟠ Vintage Jeans ⟠ PO-ZU Chev Boots ALLY BEE Sleeveless Jumper ⟠ SON DE FLOR Peter Pan Collar Shirt
⟠ ELATE CLEAN COSMETICS  ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? All the makeup pictured on my face throughout this post is made up of the AW18 items from Elate Clean Cosmetics. Their collections offer a wide array of natural beauty products which are produced ethically and sustainably; created with kindness for all living things by being vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, toxin-free, palm-oil free and housed in biodegradable or recyclable packaging. The company is run by women and is committed to kindness circularly, confidently setting new standards for our skin, the planet, and the beauty industry as a whole.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Resolute Liquid Eyeliner Universal Creame Keen Kink Lipstick Brazen Lipstick Essential Mascara Lofty Shadow 
WHERE TO BUY? elatebeauty.com
** GET YOURSELF 15% OFF WITH CODE ‘LEOTIELOVELY’ **

⟠ SUSTAIN BY KAT  ⟠
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? In the sustainable world, we don't often talk about the chemical dyes in our clothing. Even some clothing marked as eco uses toxic dyes to get away from 'crunchy' colours, keeping our closets aesthetically on par with that of the 'unwoke' world. ⁣Sustain By Kat has created a line from all natural fibres which are dyed with leaves, seeds and fruit; removing carbon from the air instead of adding to it. Any 'waste' water created can be used in land irrigation closing out the circularity of the brand's story.  Her undyed apparel is free from any of the industry-standard optical whiteners and brighteners and industrial fabric softeners that are found in both conventional and sustainable brands. ⁣What's left is a beautiful brand of basics which can transcend any season.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORYPlant Dyed Harem Pants
WHERE TO BUY? sustainbykat.com
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⟠ ALLY BEE Alpaca Jumper  ⟠ SUSTAIN BY KAT Plant Dyed Harem Pants ⟠ TAMAY & ME Lu Scarf ⟠ 


⟠ KEMP GADEGÅRD 
ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE HOW? Created with an intention of durability, with an eye on aesthetics, comfort and detail, Kemp Gadegaard offers a contemporary collection of womenswear which can move through the seasons and years. Each piece is made from high quality, natural and organic fabric and is produced in Europe with the highest labour standards. The collection is minimal, comfortable, functional and beautiful, made to ride the ebb and flow of the female body, as well as the ebb and flow of the seasons, seamlessly.
ITEMS PICTURED IN THIS STORY? Valley Corduroy Trousers Black Bodycon
WHERE TO BUY? kempgadegaard.com
slow fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable fashion, fashion, aw18 fashion, green fashion, green closet, capsule wardrobe, capsule closet, ethical writer, Leotie Lovely, free people, bohemian fashion, circular fashion, cradle-to-cradle fashion, fashion revolution, ethical lookbook, sustainable lookbook, green lookbook, haulternative
⟠ KEMP GADEGÅRD Valley Corduroy Trousers + Black Bodycon  
slow fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable fashion, fashion, aw18 fashion, green fashion, green closet, capsule wardrobe, capsule closet, ethical writer, Leotie Lovely, free people, bohemian fashion, circular fashion, cradle-to-cradle fashion, fashion revolution, ethical lookbook, sustainable lookbook, green lookbook, haulternative

SPONSORED POST: This post was sponsored by multiple brands, each of which I personally selected and approached for this collaborative post. The story, including all content, experiences, suggestions and opinions, are my own. I was gifted or borrowed the majority of what was pictured to style for this shoot.
AFFILIATE LINKS: There are a few affiliate links in this post.If you make a purchase from one of these brands I may receive a few cents from the exchange. Consider it a sip of coffee from you to me.

Fair Fashion's Dirty Little Secret: The Truth About Gold

October 17, 2018
For thousands of years, gold has been coveted by human civilizations. Etched into history as the essence of luxury; its beauty and immortality has placed it on a godly altar to be coveted and revered, shaping the memoirs of humanity.

We have adorned ourselves with it since prehistoric times, sculpting its soft sheen into breastplates, beads, headpieces, earrings, necklaces, scepters, rings and trinkets. The most ancient gold jewelry discovered thus far was found in the prehistoric graves of Varna Necropolis, dating back 6,500 years to 4,600-4,200BC. In the excavation, 3,000 gold artifacts were uncovered, anchoring our gilded enchantments to depths deeper than even recorded history delves.

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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GOLD

From ancient civilizations to the modern day, gold has driven empires to rise and fall and enticed countless treasure hunters to explore remote areas of the planet in its pursuit. Gold has acted as an emissary in pledges of devotion, forged powerful alliances, and for the lucky few, telegraph top-rung status on the ladder of success.

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Since antiquity, gold has been used to decorate buildings, monuments, and statues and create coins, sculptures and jewelry, outlasting all other materials with its distinction, ductility and durability. Today, 78% of the total yearly gold supply is made into jewelry, sealing its place to ornament our frames for futurity.

THE TRUTH ABOUT GOLD

Yet, through all its sophistication, glamour, history and power, gold has hidden beneath its brilliance some deep shadows.

Of the 20 million small-scale artisanal gold mines in the world, only ONE has both ecological and humanitarian regulations in place. While Fairmined and Fairtrade gold can be accredited with improving the treatment of miners and their living conditions, neither certification directly deals with the harmful effects of the chemicals used to extract gold from ore. 

These harmful chemicals, namely mercury and cyanide, impact the immediate local environment and beyond, accumulating in water-laid sediments from the mining communities, through the food chain, to our very mouths. Carried by our rivers, oceans, and winds, it corrupts the environment from within, spreading like a disease across the globe.

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According to the United Nations Environment Programme, up to 15 million men, women, and children risk mercury poisoning daily as they toil in the gold mines of developing countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Tanzania. In adults, mercury poisoning can result in everything from memory impairment, muscle weakness, and trouble seeing and hearing, to brain, lung, and kidney damage. In children and babies, these effects magnify tenfold, impairing their development. In some cases, even before birth.

To combat the multitude of issues faced by this chemical, The United Nations created a treaty which went into effect in 2017, signed by 128 of the 195 countries in existence. It is called the Minamata Convention on Mercury and specifically addresses the human activates which are contributing to widespread mercury pollution. The artisanal gold mining sector is the largest source of atmospheric mercury in the world, contributing to one-quarter of mercury emissions worldwide.

While industries such as fashion, food, beauty, and health have begun making transitions to transparency, ethics and sustainability, gold has flown under the radar. The single mine on the planet which reaches the standards set by this convention is the only one certified to produce and sell Fairmined Ecological Gold. But without stronger purchasing demand for pure (clean, fair, ecological) gold, miners will have no financial incentive to adjust their processes, and it will remain alone.

THE FUTURE OF GOLD

Finally, there is a sustainable alternative that elevates luxury and gold itself to new heights. 

The solution is a new premium jewelry brand called FUTURA, which was created as a progressive marriage between social enterprise and luxury jewelry. With exceptional quality, legendary designs made with the purest certified toxic-chemical-free gold in the world, FUTURA represents the future of fine jewelry. 

“Our modern values reflect who our customers are and our values define what we stand for – we are collaborative, liberating, transparent, and compassionate,” FUTURA founder Robert Donofrio says. He made the decision to no longer work with brands that contribute to damaging the environment and humanity through their secretive and destructive choices. Donofrio has spent the last two years to assembling a better solution for the conscious and discerning consumer. 
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Donofrio, in collaboration with some of the world’s leading artisans, jewellery historians, and women who represent the compassionate premium customer, created FUTURA with the intention of shining a solution into the dark shadows of the gold industry, by procuring all FUTURA gold exclusively from the sole mine currently certified as Fairmined Ecological  The certifications held by every ounce of FUTURA gold guarantees a traceable supply chain, fair working conditions free of child labor, while also ensuring environmental and safety protection for the planet, mine workers, and their communities. It’s a story of luxury forged in dedication to circularity.

FUTURA'S commitment to Fairmined Ecological Gold is intended to encourage the transition to mercury-free artisanal gold mining for all mines, a shift which would reduce the total annual global mercury emissions into the environment by 30%. It will help diversify and reinforce local economies while protecting human health and the environment, and contributing to the effort to achieve the goals set by the United Nations’ Minamata Convention on Mercury, and beyond. 

For the first time, there is a pure gold jewelry brand offering adornments we can be proud of to gift, wear, and treasure.
YOU CAN SHOP FUTURA'S EXTREMELY CONSCIOUS COLLECTION HERE
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** this post was sponsored by FUTURA, I was not paid for this post, but had previously written this piece (which I was paid to write) for their blog. We have since decided it would be best shared here. I hope you enjoyed it. It took me the better part of a week to research and write!

6 SELFISH REASONS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE RAINFOREST AND 10 EASY WAYS TO PROTECT IT

September 20, 2018
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 “An organism that is too greedy and takes too much without giving 
anything in return destroys what it needs for life”. 
 Peter Wohlleben

It is no secret that forest destruction sits high on the human pyramid of vacuous venality, especially when it comes to rainforests. Forests are falling at an alarming rate, according to the Rainforest Alliance, each minute, 85 acres are destroyed completely. Below are only a few of many reasons why this should worry us deeply, as well as 10 simple switches we can all make to protect it.

6 SELFISH REASONS YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT DEFORESTATION

“Trees are the ultimate creation in terms of design; they make oxygen, sequester carbon, fix nitrogen, distill water, provide habitat for hundreds of species, accrue solar energy’s fuels, makes complex sugars and food, change colours with the season, create microclimates, and self-replicate”. 

ONE. We Breath Air
Trees create oxygen, which we humans rely on to breath. Without oxygen, we would suffocate and die ... 'tis just a physiological fact of how our bodies work. Currently, as much as 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest. To give you some perspective on how important each tree is, an acre of trees (from the rainforest or a regular forest) can generate enough oxygen daily for 18 people to breath.

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An acre of trees can also store 2.6 tons of carbon (pollution) annually, trees remove gaseous pollutants from the air such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide, while also intercepting particle matter and preventing it from being airborne. In the U.S.A, trees avert $6.8 billion per year in health costs, removing massive amounts of air pollution through their leaves. In 2010 alone, trees saved 850 human lives and prevented 670,000 cases of acute respiratory disorders in Americans.

The U.S.A represents only 4.4 percent of the world's population. Multiply those results by the entire population of the world and these metrics prove trees deserve a standing ovation, not genocidal decimation. 

TWO. We Need Water
Rainforests are critical in maintaining the Earth’s limited supply fresh water. Human beings need at least two liters of fresh water a day to survive, and multiple liters in addition, to cook and clean for ourselves.

Moisture generated through the process of transpiration travels around the world. When forests are cut down, less moisture goes into the atmosphere and rainfall declines, leading to drought. This doesn’t just affect areas local to the rainforest, moisture generated by rainforests in the Amazon can end up falling as rain in places as far away as Texas. It’s not just the ‘others’ who suffer from our irresponsibility, we all suffer together. The forests are also an integral part of the agricultural output around the world, without fresh water, we’ll dry up our food supplies as well.
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THREE. Trees Are Our One Of Our Best Defenses Against Climate Change
Sequestering carbon is one of the thousands of ways trees protect the environment. Humans pump 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere yearly, blindly burning fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas at a rate so fierce we’ve already surpassed the ‘tipping point’, trailing darkness over our future. 

We are destroying rainforests (and forests) at such a speed, that in 100 years, there may be none left at all. About 12% of all man-made climate emissions now come from deforestation in tropical areas. Without the help of the world’s forests, the layers of destruction caused by the imbalance we create will only increase in severity and pick up pace. Setting into motion a post-apocalyptic state in which 30% of animals will be at risk of extinction, oceans will acidify, wildfires will get bigger, droughts more severe, and entire countries could disappear due to sea level rise.

FOUR. We Need A Functioning Biosphere
Trees and forests provide habitat to the majority of species and animals on the planet, and of those forests, rainforests are amongst the most biodiverse habitats in the world. According to Peter Mohlleben’s book, The Hidden Life of Trees, “there are more life forms in a handful of forest soil than there are people on the planet”.

Rainforests are home to 30 million species of plants and animals, that’s half of the Earth’s wildlife and at least two-thirds of its plant species. They provide essential food and shelter for pollinators and wildlife which in turn provide us with the majority of our food sources and medicines.
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FIVE. Trees Prevent Soil Erosion
When deforestation occurs, the loss of trees, which anchor the soil to the earth with their roots, cause widespread erosion. This reduces crop yields, causing farmers to import foreign fertilizers and in turn, encourages additional deforestation.  After a heavy rain, run-off from loose soil ends up in our waterways, causing floods, shoals, and sandbars, smothering fish eggs, and causing regional decline in coral reef health. It also damages infrastructure, fisheries, and property. 

Erosion costs tens of billions of dollars worldwide each year. Without topsoil, we cannot grow food, and without food, we starve. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world has just 60 more years of topsoil, and thus only 60 more years of crop growth as well. Even in areas where tropical downpours don’t occur - but deforestation has - we’re so quickly stripping soil from the land that Farmers Weekly reported, we “only (have) 100 harvests left”.

SIX. Rainforests Provide The Base Ingredients To All Our Medicine
Scientists believe that less than half of 1% of flowering plant species have been studied in detail for their medicinal potential. There are 3,000 plants currently recognized by the U.S. National Cancer Institute to be active against cancer cells, and 70% of these come from the rainforests. We are destroying this untapped pharmacy at a rate of 1.5 acres per second, paying no mind to the possibilities it so freely offers us. Due to rainforest destruction, the Earth loses approximately 137 species of plants, animals, and insects per day.

FOLLOW THE FROG TO DO YOUR PART IN PROTECTING THE RAINFOREST

Put simply, decimating our rainforests for greed and gluttony is self-destructive. You can help reduce the impact you personally cause by halting your support of companies which fund its destruction.

These are just a few examples of items we all purchase and use regularly, which have safer options to buy that are Rainforest Alliance Certified™. The green frog certification seal you'll come to know indicates that a farm or forest enterprise encompasses the RAC pillars of sustainability—concentrated on social, economic, and environmental protection.

COFFEE
Nearly 2.5 million acres of forest in Central America have been cleared away for coffee farming. By looking for the Rainforest Alliance ’s ‘Green Frog Seal’ on brands you purchase, you can ensure that you’re helping in some ways in to prevent further deforestation. Here are two of my personal favourites from the plethora of Rainforest Alliance Certified brands: 


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TEA
Conventional tea is routinely treated with a broad range of agricultural chemicals which are harmful to farmers and the communities which surround them. These chemicals seep into the soil and waterways, causing a myriad of health issues to all the plants, animals and humans who dwell there. You can read more about the ethics and sustainability of tea HERE, if you're interested. Some of my favourite Rainforest Alliance Certified tea choices include:



CHOCOLATE
Many big chocolate corporations play a hand in deforestation, the popularity of the plant has driven farmers in West Africa to clear their rainforests in order ot make room to grow more cocoa plants. In addition, another ingredient found in chocolate, palm oil, is at fault for the destruction of the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests. You can read more about the ethics and sustainability of chocolate HERE. These are three of my favourite Rainforest Alliance Certified brands creating chocolate with a conscience:

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SOAPS / SKINCARE / HAIRCARE
Rainforests are cleared across the globe in pursuit of palm-oil, a substance found in a vast number of food and beauty products. Thus far, an area as large as Germany has been cleared in the Indonesian rainforest in palm-oil's persuit. Recent research, published in the European Geosciences Union journal Biogeosciences shows that this rapid deforestation has caused increased temperatures in the region, affecting the plants and animals that dwell there, and making these parts of the country more vulnerable to wildfires. 

Most of the companies we get our beauty products from ignore these issues, and most consumers aren't aware they're supporting this level of destruction. You can find out more about what ingredients palm oil hides under HERE, and the additional harms it causes HERE. Below I've shared three of my favourite Rainforest Alliance Certified brands selling skin and hair care products without palm-oil in it:

BATHROOM TISSUE & PAPER TOWELS
In America, 98% of toilet rolls sold come from virgin woods due to the country's insistence on having extra-soft, quilted, multiply. ONE tree makes about 1,000 rolls of toilet paper and Americans use an average of 7 billion rolls per year ... so that's 7 million trees per year being chopped for our butts and bits ... never mind the rest of the world. By choosing Rainforest Alliance Certified brands for your bathroom tissue, napkins and paper towels - like my fav, SEVENTH GENERATION - you'll be saving a significant amount of trees yearly.

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BANANAS / ORANGES / PINEAPPLES 
The fruit industry is infamous for clear-cutting rainforests, polluting waterways and using dangerous agrochemicals to grow their produce. Many companies are now partnering with the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, to develop solutions to these issues. The standard encompasses policies to protect natural resource conservation and biodiversity of the rainforest while improving the of livelihoods of those who live there.  Some of the Rainforest Alliance Certified brands helping to tackle these issues include:


FLOWERS & PLANTS
Our obsession with flowers and plants in our homes has lead to an intense increase in their importation. Most of the flora we purchase has been grown with liberal doses of agrochemicals. Because flowers and plants are not food, governments don’t impose reasonable restrictions on pesticide use. This threatens the health of workers and their community, as well as the safety of their local drinking water and the waterways of the planet itself.

Rainforest Alliance Certified flower and fern farms comply with the strict requirements of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard. The standards have been set to protect ecosystems and wildlife habitats, conserve water and soil, and promote decent and safe working conditions for workers, while ensuring that farms are good neighbors to rural communities and wildlands. You can find Rainforest Alliance Certified flowers and plants at places like KROGER or COSTCO.
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GREEN VACATIONS
Our impact as travelers is mostly negative, by choosing Rainforest Alliance Certified hotels and tour operators in Latin America and the Caribbean, you’ll be visiting destinations that are not only fun and beautiful but also benefit local communities, ecosystems, and wildlife. Head to Rainforest Alliance's website before you book your next vacation HERE to ensure your impact as a tourist is minimal. 

WOOD
As discussed above, deforestation is a major factor in climate change. Products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified are grown and harvested on farms and forests which follow sustainable practices.

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RUBBER
Due to the low cost associated with the production of synthetic rubber, natural rubber producers are often driven into poverty or have to turn to practices which cause the deforestation of their treesRubber products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified are grown and harvested on farms and forests that follow sustainable practices. For example, PATAGONIA has created a collection of Yulex wetsuits which are Rainforest Alliance Certified!

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SPONSORED POST: This post is sponsored by the Rainforest Alliance, as usual, opinions and content direction is my own.

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