If you were a company who released a “Social Responsibility” report today (Earth Day), what would it say? For me, or us – as a family – I’ve gotten stuck on the idea of “decreasing” my footprint for so long, that I’ve lost sight of what matters: offsetting it. That is, just like when you remove nutrient-deficient and inflammatory foods from your diet it’s just as important (if not more so) to add nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory “super foods”, we can do the same with our lives.
Of course the ideas like continuing to reduce waste, carpool or bike more, and shop local and small all stand to be truly important and powerful. But what I mean here is, knowing that we like to travel, get tons of packages in the mail, and just can’t seem to quit BPA-free sandwich baggies – what can I do to give back to the earth for the negative impact we are making. Here are the 3 simple steps we are focusing on in 2019 to offset our family’s footprint.
1: Cultivating life on your own land.
Nearly every person, no matter how small your porch or balcony or how large your homestead acreage, is able to cultivate life themselves. Whether you start small with house plants and vegetable garden or go big with honeybees and chickens, all life we can create and support that gives back to the earth helps to offset our own imprint. Here are some of my favorite articles to read to make this more accessible for you:
- Top 10 Healthiest Houseplants: Purify Air, Non-Toxic to Pets, and Hard to Kill
- Check out Crystal from Whole Fed Homestead who has been homesteading for 5+ years!
- The Seasoned Homemaker has a great post on How to Start Your Vegetable Garden
- Even Popular Mechanics blogs about How to Start Your Indoor Garden and How to Plant an Indoor Herb Garden
- Our throwback post from when the boys were little and we blogged about Our Garden
- Or plant some trees!
2: Donate trees, water, and energy.
Donating these resources is a direct way to off-set usage. Some organizations quantify so you can plan and manage if you have a goal for yourself, or you can simply give a number of trees or hours of your time. There are so many amazing resources to donate to or volunteer with. I’ll list resources for you – but I want to share about one I recently learned about: BEF, a non-profit organization where you can purchase “offset certificates” via a 3rd party monitored service for everything from CO2 and commuter emissions to water usage and home energy usage. You can purchase a one-time or recurring monthly investment to offset your personal usage, and I love that they specialize in programs for businesses to provide such reimbursement for their employees!
- BEF (Bonneville Environmental Foundation)
- Climate Action Reserve – reviews and certifies and catalogues offset programs
- MyClimate – helps you calculate how much you need to offset and then helps you do it!
3. Teaching the next generation to use less and give more.
One of the most effective, and least costly endeavors, to offsetting our own use of resources, is to teach our children to do better. Long after we are gone, it is the next generation who will be left with the effects on Mother Earth. I love that our schools teach my kids the importance of basic principles, but it is my job to pass that on in action as well as words. Not only do we recycle, but we talk about why we recycle. Not only do we shop local from farmers, but we sent our kids to farm camp to learn about that important work. And this year, it’s my goal to share about sustainability with children other than my own – I’d love to do a fun panel with a local mom’s group, or speak at an event – it’s officially on my 2019 to-do!
Here’s a list of resources I think are fantastic for sharing this with children of all ages:
- Our post on Arcadia Farm Camp and their website
- UNESCO’s list of programs devoted to teaching kids about the environment
- Children And The Environment: Why It’s Important To Teach Them Young
BONUS: 3 brands that support off-setting
My latest obsession: I can’t stop buying these – and have NO guilt! Not only are they super comfy and fashionable, but…
Rothy’s has repurposed 25 million water bottles (and counting) and turned them into chic, comfy fashion statements. Every minute, one million water bottles are sold internationally. Yikes. In 2020, it’s estimated that half a trillion (yep, that’s trillion with a “t”) will be sold yearly. And to make matters worse, on a global level 91% of plastic is not recycled.
There you have it. Shoes made from 100% post-consumer water bottles that make for great conversation starters with family, friends and even strangers. Think of it as reducing your carbon footprint by rocking shoes that have major soul. When you slip on a pair of Rothy’s you are helping out the environment one step at a time. And it looks and feels oh-so good.
2: Support B Corps
I wish I’d known about B Corp companies and what that status means earlier! These companies receive a rating for their commitment to sustainability and transparency, which means they put people and planet before profit. It is inherit to the program that they give back for offsetting, so by shopping with these brands you are financially supporting offsetting.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence.
Some of our favorites are:
- Beautycounter (which also means you support our small woman-owned family-run business!)
- 7th Generation
- King Arthur Flour
- Numi Organic Tea
- Plum Organics babyfood
- Alter Eco chocolate
- Earthbound Farms
- Peeled Snacks
- Klean Kanteen
Here’s the full list if you want to look a company up or learn more.
3: Hungry Harvest, and similar organizations
What I love about Hungry Harvest specifically, is that they prioritize working with local small or mid-sized farms and offset their own for-profit organization by donating to the hungry.
With the help of our Heroes, we’ve rescued over 12 million pounds of food from going to waste & we’ve contributed over 915,000 pounds of produce to hunger-solving organizations.
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