Economic Cost without Ecological Loss
Shopping ethically for the holiday season
Walking along the path of sustainable living and becoming more environmentally friendly may seem large, or harder to comprehend or execute in daily life, but reducing your carbon footprint is easier than it may appear to be. In order to create change within the world under extreme circumstances, we must first understand the consequence of our actions as humans, and see the effects the world has taken due to the decisions that humans have made regarding our care of our environment. Then, we are able to fully implement the correct alterations and alternatives in order to prevent any further catastrophe and create a better environment for everyone and everything. By doing such, the world might not only thank us, but we shall thank it, and all it provides.
Because of the alterations we have made to earth’s ability to function, as a result, the earth has seen many detrimental effects. Some of these effects impact not only the earth’s physical composure, but also the organisms that live within its care. Global Warming, Climate Change, Pollution, Degradation, and the inevitable decomposition of our once healthy and preserved earth are all astounding reverberations that the earth is suffering at the hands of its residents lacking the commiseration of their mainstay.
Global warming is described as the rise in average temperature gradually over a certain amount of time, and Climate change is more of a broad term that is described as the noticeable change of different weather patterns that can be observed. Both play key roles when discussing the effects of our advancing societies. Examples of Climate Change include an increase in average weather events such as tornadoes or hurricanes, or even the change of the average amount of rainfall in an area over a certain amount of time, usually due to human activities. One of the effects the earth is seeing, due to Climate Change, includes that some of the oceanic circulations are changing, making some places warmer or colder than the average temperature, which can have extreme adverse effects on the ecosystems surrounding them. Some of the human activities, or things humans do to cause these issues, which contribute to the worsening of our ecosystems include the combustion of fossil fuels to generate power, manufacture goods, fuel transportation, and run cities. Deforestation is also a major contributor to the degradation to the biosphere which is, when caused by humans, an attempt to obtain the resources for our use or to clear land in order to build more infrastructure. As a result of these human activities, the carbon cycle is unable to function properly. Also, due to the recent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, these gases are trapping excess heat within the atmosphere causing the climate to become increasingly warmer, contributing to the change in average temperature and weather patterns in areas all across the world.
One of the most commonly addressed human activities that can cause a multitude of problems for our environments includes pollution. Pollution is one of the biggest killers worldwide, affecting over 100 million people, and has been compared to fatal illnesses such as malaria and HIV. Not only does pollution affect people’s physical health, but also the environments/ ecosystems in which humans and animals live. There are three main types of pollution consisting of air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution, all of which humans have an immense impact on.
A form of pollution humans alone have made a time dependent and possibly fatal factor not only to ourselves, but to the earth and its other inhabiting organisms, is plastic pollution, due to the immense consumption and production of plastic goods. Throughout the world, more than 380 Million metric tons of plastic are produced annually, which is likely to end up as pollutants, infiltrating our environments and oceans. Easily produced and cheap products, like those made of plastic, are commonly sold and made within most parts of the world, especially in the US, where capitalism and mass production thrives.
One of the largest contributions to the overall pollution and the harming of the environment can be derived from waste pollution from the production and consumption of goods. Waste not only compiles and creates ecological issues, but it is also costly in places such as New York, NY which pays daily for long haul trash at an estimated amount of 1 Million dollars to pay other states to take their trash and waste.
It has also been proven that around one-third of an average waste dump is packaging material, which makes up 30% of the annual waste in the US alone. Most people buy their products from major companies ranging from clothing to the companies that manufacture the foods sent to our grocery stores, which use mass production techniques in order to be as efficient and cost effective as possible. While making goods at a fast and cheap rate benefits the company, the environment suffers due to the pollution that occurs. Air and other types of pollution are often direct results due to the processes of producing these companies’ goods.
One of the main components that drives these companies to mass produce not only for their benefit is the constant need for new items which fuels capitalistic societies through marketing, occurring throughout most of the world. Because of the high demand for a constant source and supply of new products, even throughout the changing seasons, the earth has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of pollution produced. A prime example of production and consumerism that feeds on this very concept is fast fashion, which exploits the demand for new clothing constantly, and the cheaper price with the mass production of the items.
While these issues occurring in our environments may seem large and irreversible, and the damage that has already been done is detrimental to our ecosystems, we can still create a better world to live within for posterity and the remainder of our lifetimes. In fact, Main St. Charles
“Supporting Environmentally friendly and clean living businesses is inherently important for the health of the Earth, which is one of the leading factors that led me to create this business with my sister Melissa,” Tammie Stone from 2 Simple Sisters said.
Despite the common argument that more environmentally friendly ways of living and producing goods are more expensive, it can actually be cheaper and provide more of a benefit to not only the companies but to the world. For example, it costs 50-80% less to construct a paper mill designed to use waste paper compared to the construction costs of a mill designed to use new paper. Companies can not only use better methods of production, but they can also recycle. Only 1% of all plastic products in the United States are recycled each year, as are only 1% of all aluminum products.
Companies can easily establish a paper and cardboard recycling program to lessen the amount of waste produced. This would make an enormous impact, especially because people throw away enough wood and paper each year to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
In more previous years, alternatives to packaging, implementing and emphasizing on the use of recycling items, creating laws to protect environments, and the use of less plastic and introduction of other materials, such as bamboo, are all solutions that have come to light and are being implemented more often to lessen the environmental impacts caused by human activities.
“We recycle every package that enters our business and support other small businesses local and more far out in hopes of reducing waste and being as environmentally safe and aware as possible,” Tammie said in response to this detriment to the environment. “We also use biodegradable packaging for our goods such as packing peanuts to limit the amount of waste produced by our consumers.”
These refinements to our societies have an enormous influence on the preservation of our resources, wildlife, and environment, even while they may seem slow or insignificant in their beginning progress.
There are countless ways someone can help preserve the biosphere, the Earth and all of it’s ecosystems, just by their own actions. Is especially important during the holiday season to live sustainably, or to aim to reduce personal and societal environmental impact by reducing someone’s “carbon footprint,” from November through December, due to the increase in items being purchased with monetary value. By living more sustainably and practicing more ethical lifestyles anyone, especially during the holiday season, can make an impact on the environment by contributing to less pollution. It has been observed that Some of the easiest ways to live more sustainably include buying close to all clothing items second hand, and avoiding shopping through fast fashion, not buying new clothes for every new season, donating clothes instead of throwing them out when receiving new clothes, buying from and supporting companies that practice sustainability and or ship in packing alternatives that are more environmentally friendly, which can usually be easily found on their website. Other ways to live more sustainably include eating organically and supporting local businesses instead of mass producing companies that use poorly paid workers for labor, and emit large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which causes global warming through the combustion of fossil fuels.
Because of the rate that technology continues to advance, climate change and global warming have become more of a prominent and imperative issue than ever. It has been warned that if climate change or other global effects due to human activities continues or increases, that there is only an estimated time of nine more years until climate change and its effects will be irreversible. This means that due to the inability or unwillingness to change our ways of life or habits, the place in which we live or its resources may cease to exist or become incapable to support its occupants, which may have been otherwise preventable.
With the introduction of the twenty first century, also has come the introduction of better living and more sustainable options for shopping. When shopping for clothing, to reduce someone’s carbon footprint, they can buy from places such as thred up, depop, or purchase clothing items from thrift stores such as salvation army or goodwill, rather than directly supporting fast fashion and buying items of clothing with a “timeless nature” rather than fitting in with a current trend of clothing. Large companies have also been founded on the principles of more organically and ethically sourced products such as Trader Joes, who promises the prohibition of all GMOs within all of their food items, and Whole foods which is known for selling organic and natural products, with the addition of banning all artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives within their items sold.
“We are starting to see a shift, I believe, into more of an environmentally friendly way of agriculture, which can be difficult due to the long processes that are required in order to be considered organic due to the processes that must occur in order to remove and prevent any damages to earth done by human activities such as pollution by pesticides or chemicals.”
“It has also come to light, the importance of reusable products, in order to cut down on plastic waste and use, with products such as Beeswax Wraps, reusable food bags in place of plastic ones and many other new alternatives.”
The rise in smaller businesses throughout the world have also opened under similar principles throughout this decade supplying and carrying ethically sourced and handmade items, offering a range of products has also become apparent. A few examples of small or locally run businesses that support more eco-friendly living and supply products of that complexion here in Missouri include Zee Bee Market in Maplewood, MO, 2 Simple Sisters Located on Main St. St. Charles, Dharma and Dwell located in Webster Groves, SOAP Refill Station in Springfield, and Whisk, a sustainable bakeshop located in St. Louis, Missouri.
2 Simple Sisters, a clean living and environmentally friendly shop on Main St. Charles offers a variety of products. All of their items ranging from teas and coffees, chocolates, beauty and body products for all, reusable kitchen and foodware, and recycled and reused materials within their items sold within varying decorations and household items, are all chemical-free, organic, preservative and chemical-free, and sustainable. All of which are harder to find within most communities.
“There are not many other businesses like ours in this area. We are the only “clean living” business within this area that I am aware of. That is also one of the reasons that makes us matter so much, as we want to provide a space where people are able to buy these goods that help the environment and support others doing the same.”
Tammie and Melissa Stone, the owners of the 2 Simple Sisters establishment strive to offer the community with products that reduce the strain put onto the environment by humans.
“We also really want to be able to educate the community on the issues surrounding the environment and how we are able to reduce the impacts by our own doings. Most people are not aware of these things, even despite their great importance. We are extremely open to just having conversations with those interested in more sustainable living, as we value the importance and need of education on this topic,” Tammie said.
Their Beeswax wraps, made by another small business run by women called The Traveling Bee, are perfect for the holiday season to freshly preserve food items and other perishables without the need for plastic use. These make great gifts for the holidays not only to the earth, as you are reducing your carbon footprint as well as your personal waste produced, but also to others. They come in a broad variety of different colors, prints of animals such as dogs and cats, and designs, making the item also personal and fitting to whomever individual were to receive this lovely gift.
All of their products including their coffees, chocolates, tees and other food items are not only organic and rid of chemicals and pesticides, but they also are locally and ethically sourced.
“What is really special and possibly one of the most important things about our products is that they are all safe to use in your home, on your body, and skin and in order to lessen the toxic load on the body different from many mainstream or larger companies,” Tammie said.
Supporting local businesses is not only essential to the survival of smaller organizations and companies, but it also promotes the use of better practices for the production and selling of products. “Shopping Small” also allows for a purchase to be made from a company that uses less infrastructure, emits less pollutants through production and the transportation of their goods, and overall causes less waste. In doing so, someone is also able to reduce their “carbon footprint.”
What comes with physical monetary value and cost, like most other things that occur in life, often seems to cause a loss of some kind, to which in this case it is ecological, as a subsequent result. Without change starting within the body of one person, change mustn’t occur, because change is a collaborative effort amongst many individuals, which can take for what can seem an insignificant small effort from one to create a colossal change.While the holiday season means many different things to every differing individual, the main facet to the season is to spend time with the people we love and are loved by, hopefully surrounding one other with positivity and gratitude, and by contributing to a healthier, safer, and more preserved earth through sustainable practices and supporting ethical businesses we can also ensure that we will have a place to do so in the future.
You can shop either online at 2simplesistersmarket.com or in store location at 506 South Main Street St. Charles, MO 63301.