Think Global, Act Local: How to Celebrate Earth Day
Today, April 22, is Earth Day and, as a skin care company that prides itself on sustainable production and natural ingredients, we have made a quick list of some easy ways you can celebrate the planet and help the environment with simple, everyday choices.
Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970. It was an initiative taken to draw attention to environmental issues troubling the world and to raise awareness around ways people could demonstrate support for environmental protection. With global warming no longer a sci-fi scenario from some distant future, but a very real and imminent threat to the global environment and human life, it is crucial for all of us to recognize the impact we have on the planet.
Each of us has what is called a carbon footprint – the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by our actions and lifestyles. With the harmful effects of human activity already evident in the natural world around us – from animal species becoming endangered or going extinct, to water, air and soil pollution, deforestation, over-logging, destructive industrial farming and fishing, melting ice caps and rising sea levels – it is clear that we must take action, today and every day. So, we have compiled a short list of easy ways you can help the environment this Earth Day.
Single-use plastics are one of the most harmful types of waste threatening wildlife habitats and animals today the world over. As plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade, it lingers in the earth and the ocean, causing devastating destruction to land and marine ecosystems. Plastic is making its way into animal food, destroying the soil that provides plants with nutrients and eventually, even finding its way into human food. Microplastics have been found inside the bellies of fish, while tens of thousands of wild animals die every year as a result of large plastics, industry debris, factory waste, fishing nets, industrial material dumping into lakes and rivers, and poisonous gases from heavy industry.
Being mindful of the amount of plastic you use can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and the environment. Avoid buying products with unnecessary amounts of plastic packaging. Think about it – does that already naturally wrapped orange really need to be wrapped in cellophane? Take reusable fabric bags with you to the market, reuse containers like glass jars and food tubs, and buy organic, locally grown produce and fair trade, non-GMO products, ideally from your local farmers market, which reduces the need for packaging. You might even consider reducing the amount of meat you consume, as a plant-based diet is less harmful for the planet. You can also restock items like beans, pulses, grains, rise, nuts, flour, sugar, tea, coffee and so much more, and many markets are encouraging shoppers to come with empty containers they can refill, rather than buying new items each time. When it comes to plastic, remember the four Rs: refuse, reuse, refill and recycle.
Plant a tree or help an animal
There are many Plant A Tree programs that allow you to make a donation so that a tree can be planted on your behalf in an area where it is needed, for example in the over-logged Amazon Rainforest, in desert-expanding areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, in scorched Australia and many parts of deforested Asia. Likewise, there are numerous, sadly underfunded, programs that allow you to sponsor an endangered or threatened animal, like polar bears, penguins, rhinos, pangolins, sea turtles – even the honeybee needs our help! Your donation can help provide an animal in need with food, water, shelter or medicine, or it will help the organisation to continue its valuable work. You can find a number of nature preservation organisations, institutions, volunteer programs and initiatives that aim to protect the environment and natural habitats, and you can find a list here.
At home, you can also invest in a garden if you have the space, where you can grow your own herbs, fruits or vegetables, helping minimise some of the impact transportation and food logistics have on the environment and providing your family with fresh, homegrown produce. Do some research and chose native plants and wildflowers, are they are better for your local ecosystem, and they help the bees. You can also start a home compost, which will reduce the amount of food ending up in landfills and it will provide you with natural fertiliser for your garden. If you must use pesticides, chose eco-friendly products, and be aware than many rodent control products contain deadly chemicals that can end up in the wild animal food cycle, as owls, foxes and other small carnivorous animals feed on dead (read poisoned) mice or rats. Protect your local wildlife by looking into eco-friendly ways to manage any rodent or pest problems around the home.
Go green at home
Selecting eco-friendly products is a great way to make a small difference every day. At home, you can swap out conventional light-bulbs for low-consumption LED lighting, reduce water and heating usage where possible, switch off computers and screens when not in use, and recycle paper, plastic, aluminium and glass. You can also swap out chemical household and laundry cleaning products for eco-friendly, biodegradable ones that will not harm the environment, should they make their way into the ocean or the soil.
When it comes to personal care, opt for products like shampoos, sunscreens and body lotions that contain natural ingredients, that are produced in a sustainable or upcycled way, and that are biodegradable – they are better for both your family and the planet. For example, plastic microgranules in body scrubs are another form of microplastic that ends up polluting the ocean, so opt for a body scrub that contain natural microgranules, like our ChitoCare Beauty Body Scrub that contains walnut shells. You can also use reusable, washable washcloths instead of wet wipes or bleached paper towels that are non-biodegradable and often contain harmful chemicals. Other green personal care items you can chose include refillable razors, recyclable or upcycled toothbrushes, and eco-friendly, biodegradable menstrual products.
Go green on the go
When going to your local café, take your own reusable cup instead of buying your latte in a paper or styrofoam cup. Many cafés are encouraging consumers to bring their own coffee cup by offering them a small discount, while many food businesses are introducing biodegradable cutlery, chopsticks and take-away containers. Ditching plastic water bottles and investing in a metal decanter is another easy way to massively reduce the amount of plastic piling up in landfills and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a massive island of rubbish and waste floating in the North Pacific Ocean.
You could also set up a carpool with your friends and neighbours to reduce car gas emissions, use public transport or a bike instead of your car to get to work, and, where possible, take a train instead of a plane to go on holiday. You could even start a recycle drive, clothes exchange program or tool-sharing class at your local school or university, to encourage children and youngsters to recycle and reuse.
Put pressure on politicians
As individual humans, we can make radical changes to our lifestyle to become more environmentally aware, to go green wherever possible and to reduce our carbon footprint. However, all our actions are a drop in the ocean compared to big industry. We could make every change possible to our own lives, but that would still not stop large for-profit industries from creating waste, polluting the environment and disregarding eco-friendly practices. This is why we must also put pressure on the people at the top.
Send a letter to your local politicians and demand that they take the necessary actions to protect the environment and future generations. Demand accountability from large industries, stricter regulations when it comes to carbon emissions, cutting out fossil fuels as soon as possible, and greater investments in and incentives for green and renewable energy sources. Locally, you could ask for an environmental committee to set up school programs, awareness campaigns and community engagement activities, to inform the people and get both the young and old involved.
Seize the day and enjoy nature!
Today is a great day to go outside and appreciate nature and all it gives us – from the food we eat and the materials we use to make the houses we live in and the clothes we wear, to the fresh air and clean water we all need to survive. Head outside and notice all the ways in which Mother Nature is so delicately balanced and beautiful. Think about how you might negatively impact this balance and what you can do to positively influence it.
Take a walk in your local park, go for a run along the seashore, go bird-watching, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. You could also arrange to clean up rubbish and plastics from your local beach, park or wildlife area. It’s a fun activity to do with family and friends, and it will teach children the importance of protecting the environment in an active way. Remember to stop and smell the flowers however, as they are all in bloom thanks to the arrival of spring, and watch out for any little critters or bugs!
How ChitoCare Beauty is doing its part
The beauty industry is taking note of an increased consumer desire to make environmentally positive choices, and a growing number of companies within the industry are making changes to how they produce and what they put into their products. Upcycling raw materials, investing in recycled or reusable packaging, using natural ingredients, and employing sustainable production practices are all ways in which beauty companies are doing their part for the environment, including ChitoCare Beauty.
At ChitoCare Beauty, we aim to set a good example within our industry by showing respect: for our customers and the environment. Utilising our resources in a socially and environmentally responsible way is a major driving force behind what we do. Our company-wide practices ensure that we protect human health and the environment by upcycling waste, fully utilising natural resources and by abiding by applicable national and international regulations. We are proud to offer sustainably produced skin care products that contain natural ingredients and upcycled raw materials.
By following the age-old saying of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and by recognising the opportunities that lie in sustainable, long-term, eco-friendly thinking, we make use of waste products from the Icelandic fishing industry, namely the discarded shells of the Pandalus Borealis shrimp, which is the raw material for our primary active ingredient, chitosan. Chitosan is biocompatible, biodegradable and certified natural.
We recognise that only by respecting nature can we continue to benefit from it, and we hope we can shape a future that looks to the sea for inspiration while upholding ethical, sustainable practices that safeguard the source of our collective prosperity and wellbeing. The pristine waters around Iceland are our heritage and we cherish the fact that we, like our ancestors, can thrive from the riches that the Arctic Ocean provides. This sustainable mindset is a point of pride for us, as we set an example for industries worldwide, proving that innovation, development and healthy, glowing skin do not need to come at the expense of our cherished planet.