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8 Purchasing Practices to Stop Deforestation
The message behind the 2009 blockbuster movie Avatar is both timely and appealing. Pandora, the fictional utopia humans set out to colonize and strip of coveted resources, represents the Earth we have destroyed with environmentally destructive practices such as deforestation.
Deforestation is responsible for an increase in air and water pollution, the destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity, devastating climate and environmental change, as well as a decline in living conditions around the world. While governments and corporations can affect great change with the adoption of legislation and greener business practices, individual consumers can help stop deforestation through everyday purchasing practices. Help reduce deforestation by considering the following solutions.
Purchase recycled items
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Forest Products Annual Market Review, the U.S is the world’s largest producer and purchaser of paper. Consumers can decrease America’s carbon footprint and reduce deforestation by purchasing 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Producing goods from recycled paper, metal, plastic and glass uses less energy, creates less waste and decreases the need for new raw materials.
Post-consumer recycling, while an effective purchasing practice, will not ultimately stop deforestation. For ecological deforestation to end, paper consumption must be drastically reduced. Opting for paperless bills, checks and payments significantly contributes to mending the harmful effects of deforestation.
Buy products with the FSC certification label
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsibly managed foresting. Buy wood and paper products that contain the FSC label to guarantee your purchase is reducing deforestation.
Buy Rainforest Alliance Certified™ products
Trees convert the carbon dioxide we breathe out into the oxygen we breathe in. Trees are necessary for the homeostasis of our planet and our bodies. Rainforest Alliance Certified™ products ensure that the product you have purchased originates from a farm or forest dedicated to conserving trees.
Be conscious of your food choices
Cattle grazing is one of the primary causes of deforestation. America's fast food conglomerates are always looking for the cheapest beef, and trees in the Amazon and other forests are cut down to make room for profit. Limit your consumption of fast-food meat and always choose to buy locally whenever you can. Knowing where the food you eat comes from goes a long way in helping to combat deforestation.
Reduce the use of palm oil
Reduce your consumption of products that contain palm oil, a popular ingredient in many chocolates, breads and shampoos. Much of the forestland in Malayasia and Indonesia has been cut down to obtain this coveted ingredient, causing loss of habitat to indigenous species.
Use renewable energy
In some places, especially in developing nations, wood is still used as fuel to create electricity. Purchase renewable energy, such as that created from windmills, solar panels and geothermal sources. These alternate energy sources are highly effective solutions to stopping deforestation.
Stay at eco-friendly hotels
Travel with eco-friendly consciousness. Purchase direct flights to reduce pollution, and stay at hotels that are mindful of their energy use.