WHAT ONE SMALL CHANGE CAN YOU MAKE?
As we celebrate Earth Day each April 22nd we sometimes ask ourselves how much impact can any of us have? The answer is each small change has the potential to make a powerful impact! Not only is Earth Day a day to promote environmental awareness for the continued protection of our planet through increased sustainability, it is also a day where we are reminded of our personal responsibility.
The global consumer products industry has been undergoing a major transformation over the last few years toward an increased focus on health, wellness and product sustainability. As consumers we are more aware that what we purchase and consume have a real impact on health: personal, community, and our environment. One of the most empowering and meaningful realizations is that each one of us can help drive positive change by investing in goods and services that prioritize fair-trade practices, investment in local economies, and reduction of harmful chemical exposure for all species.
One small change to consider is to buy products that are multi-use or refillable; these can significantly decrease our reliance on unsustainable materials. Also consider other materials beyond plastic; such as steel, aluminum, glass or wood are great alternatives and are 100% recyclable or biodegradable. Any change we can make, large or small, can have a tremendous positive impact on the health of this beautiful planet we get to call home for many generations to come.
Why does it matter?
We carry the great privilege and burden of impacting the health of all the organisms, water, air and soil more than any other species that ever existed. It is critical that we think of sustainability. What exactly does sustainability mean? Well, it is a complex concept that can be defined in different ways, but at its core, sustainability presumes that our natural resources on this planet are finite and advocates for responsible use of these resources in the present so that we don’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
To put into perspective the negative impact of our current consumerism let’s again think of our use of plastic; since its invention in the early 1900s, more than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been created— this is roughly the weight of 1 billion elephants! Sadly, over 80% of all this plastic becomes waste that goes into our landfills or ends up contaminating our natural environment, and since plastics generated from fossil fuels can take anywhere from 450-1000 years to decompose, the global plastic crisis keeps growing every year. It may not feel like it, but each of our small changes adds up to a ton!
ABOUT OUR GUEST CONTRIBUTOR:
Dr. Nicole Acevedo is a reproductive and environmental health scientist with expertise in ingredient and product safety and sustainability. Dr. Acevedo is the Founder of Elavo Mundi Solutions, LLC, a scientific consultancy that provides personal care and household cleaning brands clear solutions for cleaner, more sustainable and high-performing product development. She is also actively involved with international working groups engaged in creating viable business solutions for cleaner, safer, more sustainable product development across different industries.