HOW ONE SMALL TREE FARM AND A LEADING CORPORATION HELPED FUEL MY HOPE FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

HOW ONE SMALL TREE FARM AND A LEADING CORPORATION HELPED FUEL MY HOPE FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

Humans and wildlife need healthy forests to survive, and anyone who’s spent time in them knows how wonderful they can make us feel. Camping in the woods as a child instilled an awe for nature in me that I have never lost. And because of this, I know all-too-well how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by the rate at which we our losing the world’s forests. From clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching, and urban development, we have already lost nearly half of the Earth's original forest cover. Seeing trees cut down, in a once-wooded-area where I am from in Tennessee, making way for some fast-food restaurant, strip-mall, or parking lot, brings tears to my eyes on the regular. Is there no way around this feeling of despair and hopelessness for our forests, and our planet as a whole? Well, by visiting one, small FSC-certified tree farm in Arkansas, my hope for the future was fueled in a much-needed way.

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THE BEST PODCASTS ON HEALTH, SUSTAINABILITY, AND MINDFULNESS.

THE BEST PODCASTS ON HEALTH, SUSTAINABILITY, AND MINDFULNESS.

I have curated the best podcasts on health, sustainability, and expanding your mind in the list below. I also included MY first two podcast interviews at the bottom for you to learn more about me. Whether you're interested in sustainability, the human body and mind, the environment, vegan health, social justice, or just want to be inspired; there's bound to be a podcast for you to discover. I hope you enjoy!

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THE TRUTH BEHIND ZERO WASTE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE PRIVILEGE.

THE TRUTH BEHIND ZERO WASTE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE PRIVILEGE.

This year, for Earth Month, I decided to experiment with going zero-waste. I began with the simple idea that anyone can do it and, by doing so myself, that I would make the world a "greener" place. Some prominent zero-waste influencers suggest that this is a possibility for all of us, so we should all try. And to some extent, I agreed. I quickly discovered, however, that a complicated set of corporate and institutional structures prevent most people from ever coming close. 

I saw first-hand that waste-free living is nearly impossible if you aren't extremely diligent and privileged with free time to do so in the first place. Is striving for zero-waste on an individual level the best way to use that privilege for the betterment of our planet and society as a whole? Or should we also be demanding governments finally get involved with us? 

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STOP SUCKING!

STOP SUCKING!

Stop mindlessly using single-use plastics already! Seriously, it's driving me insane. According to a report by the WEF and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, "There could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050." This is a worldwide problem. With serious consequences being felt now, lasting last far into the future, we can no longer afford to let our society's plastic-use go unchecked.

We're in 2017 with great affordable alternatives, yet plastic consumption continues to grow. And it's growing fast. “Global plastic production has increased from 2 to 380 metric tons (Mt) annually from 1950 to 2015.” This according to a recent global study by Roland Geyer published in Science Advances. And "half of the total plastics manufactured during this period (3900 Mt), was produced in just the past 13 years.” Our ever-growing addiction to plastic is causing a massive shift in our ocean and terrestrial ecologies but is being widely ignored for convenience and societal norms. Not only is it being ignored, but oftentimes being sold to us as the best way to consume.

Throwaway-plastic use is even being glorified and promoted in modern, celebrity/influencer culture. Many Instagram stars and celebrities take food photos and post shots of themselves with plastic coffee cups, straws, and other forms of single-use plastics on a regular basis. When I see a picture like this, not only am I completely baffled, but I want to cry. These images are the most lucrative form of advertisement in our social-media driven world. People of all ages look to them for inspiration for how to live and behave. So why are there so many plastics being promoted in these shots? Mindless plastic consumption isn't glamorous. On the contrary, it's burying our planet alive and suffocating the Earth's creatures. Big and small.

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THE BEST BOOKS ON SUSTAINABLE, HEALTHY LIVING

     If you are searching for inspiration on living a more sustainable, clutter-free life; seeking help from experts on how to transform your diet and stick with your goals; are interested in sustainable fashion; or are wanting to build your own health empire; these books are the resource you've been looking for.

      Written by some of the most influential authors of our time, they have provided me with extensive knowledge and inspiration. They continue to influence my drive to take part in the sustainable movement, and are my go-to resources when I am looking for answers. 

     Check out some of my favorite books below. I hope they can inspire you along your journey too.


Frances wrote EcoMind because she believes that solutions to global crises are right in front of our noses, and our real challenge is to free ourselves from self-defeating thought traps that keep us from bringing these solutions to life.

Drawing on the latest research in climate studies, anthropology, and neuroscience, she weaves analysis and stories of real people the world over who, having shifted some basic thought patterns, are shifting the balance of power in our world.

It turns out that gap between the world we long for and the world we thought we were stuck with can be bridged after all—if we can learn to think like an ecosystem. EcoMind shows us the way

Buy Book Here

In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.
From places already devoid of humans, Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that doesn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly-readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.

Buy Book Here

Bill McKibben insists we need to acknowledge that we've waited too long, and that massive change is not only unavoidable but already under way. Our old familiar globe is suddenly melting, drying, acidifying, flooding, and burning in ways that no human has ever seen. We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different. We may as well call it Eaarth.

Endless economic growth depends on the stable planet we've managed to damage and degrade. We can't rely on old habits any longer. Our hope depends on scaling back—on building the kind of societies and economies that can hunker down, concentrate on essentials, and create the type of community (in the neighborhood, but also on the Internet) that will allow us to weather trouble on an unprecedented scale. Change—fundamental change—is our best hope on a planet suddenly and violently out of balance. 

Buy Book Here

Marie Kondo is a professional cleaning consultant inspired by the Japanese book Throw-Out Skills with a lifelong love of all things house and home.

This book is a comprehensive manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house. She uses easy-to-follow line drawings to illustrate her patented folding method as it applies to clothing, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets.

Kondo also add in-depth advice on moving, packing, and dealing with necessary objects that may not spark joy. This manual is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy, and helps readers live better with less.

Buy Book Here

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

The Story of Stuff explores the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the “stuff” we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet.

Annie Leonard transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet. From sneaking into factories and dumps around the world to visiting textile workers in Haiti and children mining coltan for cell phones in the Congo, Leonard highlights each step of the materials economy and its actual effect on the earth and the people who live near sites like these.

Leonard shares concrete steps for taking action at the individual and political level that will bring about sustainability, community health, and economic justice. 

Buy Book Here

MagnifEco by Kate Black

In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh—the worst garment industry accident in recorded history— the industry has been forced to undergo a shift, and many of us are questioning our buying habits. Magnifeco is the Fast Food Nation of the fashion world—your guide to making a difference too.

In this guide, author Kate Black examines non-toxic beauty and ethical fashion; recommends a multitude of ways for consumers to make better decisions; introduces the brands and designers leading the way along this socially responsible path With this complete head-to-toe guide covering everything from hair and beauty products to shoes and footwear, you can feel better about everything you put on your body and be—magnifeco!

Buy Book Here

The Sustainability Secret by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn

The companion to the groundbreaking 2014 documentary Cowspiracy, this book presents shocking truths about the effects of industrial animal agriculture on the planet. The leading cause of deforestation, rainforest destruction, greenhouse gas production, water consumption and pollution, habitat loss, species extinction, ocean dead-zones, topsoil erosion, and a host of other environmental ills, animal agriculture is the biggest issue facing the planet today and one of the most controversial environmental secrets in the world of conservation.

Filled with anecdotes, statistics, research, interviews with the filmmakers and contributors, and unabridged transcripts from the film, this companion book supplements and expands upon the documentary in every way. 

Buy Book Here

Exercise physiologist Marco Borges is the author and founder of 22 Days Nutrition. He has shared his knowledge with countless celebrities and athletes; most famously Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Huge media coverage following their successful completion of the 22 Day Vegan Challenge inspired people around the world to adopt a plant-based diet. 

Founded on the principle that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, The 22-Day Revolution is a plant-based diet designed to create lifelong habits that will empower you to live a healthier lifestyle, to lose weight, or to reverse serious health concerns. Inside, you’ll find motivating strategies, delicious recipes, and a detailed 22-day meal plan. With this program, you will lead a healthier, more energetic, and more productive life—helping you to live the life you want, not just the one you have.

Buy Book Here

Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

Crazy Sexy Diet is a must for anyone who seeks to be a sexy, confident wellness warrior. Infused with a bit of sass and an advice-from-the-trenches style, it is a beautifully illustrated resource and plant-based, vegan diet plan to put you on the fast track to vibrant health, happiness and a great ass!

Kris Carr and experts, lay out the fundamentals of her Crazy Sexy Diet: a low-glycemic, plant-based diet plan that emphasizes energizing whole and raw foods, nourishing organic green drinks and scrumptious smoothies. She also includes the steps of her own 21-day cleanse and simple, sample recipes.

Buy Book Here

Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them. 

Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer "at the table with our greatest philosophers."

Buy Book Here

What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, how we answer it today may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves?

What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth. Beautifully written and thrillingly argued, The Omnivore’s Dilemma promises to change the way we think about the politics and pleasure of eating. For anyone who reads it, dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same.

Buy Book Here

Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin

From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal, and in this book he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love.

Salatin understands what food should be: Wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn't stop there.

Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact. His crucial message and distinctive voice make this a must-read book.

Buy Book Here

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. By urging us to once again eat food, Michael Pollan challenges the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach — what he calls nutritionism — and proposes an alternative way of eating that is informed by the traditions and ecology of real, well-grown, unprocessed food. Our personal health, he argues, cannot be divorced from the health of the food chains of which we are part.

In Defense of Food shows us how we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context. Pollan shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Buy Book Here

Jason Wachob is the Founder and CEO of MindBodyGreen, the leading independent media brand dedicated to health and happiness with 15 million monthly unique visitors. 

In his first book, Jason redefines successful living and offers readers instead a new life currency. In this prescriptive memoir, he shows us all how to build a life, not a resume, and why it's important to make frequent deposits into our own 'wellth' accounts.

Don't just take his word for it, read exclusive material from popular contributors and see what they have to say about becoming truly wellthy, including: psychologist Sue Johnson, Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Aviva Romm, Joe Cross, meditation expert Charlie Knoles, EWG director Heather White, and yoga phenom Kathryn Budig.

Buy Book Here


     Thanks for checking out my favorite books on sustainable living, nutrition, and health for ourselves and the environment. Your continued support inspires more than words can express. Be sure to leave comments below, letting me know what your favorites are, so that I can continue to learn with you. 

Q&A WITH FREEDOM OF ANIMALS FOUNDER MORGAN BOGLE

Freedom of Animals is one of my favorite accessory brands.

Beautiful Handbags, including Clutches, Totes, Cross-Body Purses, Backpacks, and Day Bags for work that transition to night, are some of the staples of the current collection.  

The founder, Morgan Bogle, designs her bags with a complete understanding of the modern aesthetic that women desire in a handbag today.  Freedom Of Animals has been featured in many contemporary fashion publications, is completely vegan, and is as sustainability sourced as possible.

Morgan uses her social media as a platform to spread awareness about the issues closest to her heart; from Pitbull rescue and adoption, to the anti-Ivory trade movement, to the importance of volunteering for everyone. 

See a capture from her Instagram below:

A screenshot from the Freedom Of Animals Instagram account.

Sustainable Fashion is moving beyond the trend now. 

Morgan is such an inspiration to me, because F.O.A. not only fills a much-needed void in the accessories market, but she also uses her place in the spotlight to highlight greater issues. She is an avid animal-rights activist, and donates a part of every purchase to wildlife conservation efforts around the world.

Values such as Morgan's are so important to be highlighted. I hope you enjoy the interview, that they have inspired, below:


Q&A with Morgan Bogle

What is your name, Where were you born/ where do you currently call home, and what is your occupation?

Morgan Bogle. Portland Maine, but I grew up on a sailboat in the Caribbean. I call the East Village, NYC my home. I am the  founder of Freedom of Animals

Please describe your company, Freedom Of Animals

Freedom of Animals is a sustainable and cruelty free bag line that is made in the USA. We use the most eco friendly materials that don't harm any people or animals and support a local economy. Additionally we partner with conservation organizations and big retailers to spread the message of the importance of conscious consumption.
Morgan Bogle wearing the "Melia" bag from 2013.

Morgan Bogle wearing the "Melia" bag from 2013.

What does “Sustainable Fashion" mean to you?

As a designer it means using materials that are post consumer, have low chemical content and are made locally. As a consumer it is being aware of where the products come from, what they are made of and who was impacted during production.
Do you think more local/ sustainable fashion is possible? Totally. There is incredible craftsmanship in the USA and a plethora of sustainable and technologically advanced materials on the market. I am not against supporting communities world wide but having one element of your product being eco friendly is important to me.


What does "green living" mean to you? 

Being mindful of our actions. Daily reminders such as recycling and using less energy is always important but bigger picture decisions are even more important and that is being consciously aware of everything that you are consuming from fashion to transportation to food to living arrangements. 

How can a green message reach a broader audience??

It will take time but social media, inspiring marketing and coming up against not having much of a choice anymore will start to change peoples perspective.


I truly believe that living an AMAZING, ABUNDANT, FUN, and FASHIONABLE LIFE does not have to be in opposition with living green and sustainably. 

...Do you have any tips for like-minded companies/ bloggers/ designers to help better reach the young women and men (teens-twenties) that are the audience for current magazine and television marketing?

I spent a year researching what I could do to be a part of the betterment of the world and I think it is everyone's responsibility to do the same. It is now more available than ever so my suggestion would be to research how we can all be a little bit more mindful on a day to day basis.

     The values that designers like Morgan are building around their businesses, are not only necessary for our earth and future generations, but can also inspire beautiful design for fashion-conscious consumers. Please visit the LABELS I LOVE page, featuring FREEDOM OF ANIMALS for more info. Also please be sure to check out Morgan's Instagram and follow the Freedom of Animals website to shop and see updates! 

Thank you for reading!

 
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AN INTERVIEW WITH CORA HILTS AT RÊVE EN VERT

Cora Hilts and her company Rêve En Vert, are such inspirations.

Founded in 2013, Rêve En Vert has established itself as the premier online retailer of sustainable luxury. To us, sustainable luxury is quality fashion made from a place of consciousness, and we hold our designers to three tenants of production: independent, local and ethical. At Rêve En Vert we don’t sacrifice style for ethics. We are committed to driving awareness of how consumers think about the fashion industry. Rêve En Vert exclusively features designers who operate their businesses with respect for people and the planet. Our highly-curated collections deliver long-lasting fashion you can feel good about.
— http://revenvert.com/ethos/

Read my interview with Cora Hilts below:

Please describe Rêv En Vert

     In the simplest terms, Rêve En Vert is the sustainable version of Net a Porter. We wanted to create the premiere online retailer of luxury sustainable fashion.

What does “Sustainable Fashion" mean to you?

     Our motto is sustainable luxury fashion, which to us means quality fashion made from a place of consciousness. We use three main tenants -ethical, local and independent - to define how we look at our designers, and they all have to check two of those boxes.

Why is the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 so important to Rêve En Vert?

     Between the 30th of November and the 11th of December, all eyes will be on Paris as the United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place for the twenty-first time. This year sees the conference take place at perhaps its most critical conjuncture as far as the global conversation over climate change is concerned. The focus this year rests specifically on the discussion of cutting global CO2 emissions. The goal for Paris in December is pretty clear-cut: to achieve a legally binding agreement, with universal participation among all nations, to keep global warming below what most scientists say is the critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius of warming.
     This is really pivotal moment for not only the climate, but the time to change the way humankind is going to deal with the environment and the way we treat our planet moving forward. What the delegates to this Summit decide to do at this time will conceivably change industry, create different sorts of innovation and resource, and set the tone for what we all have to do to preserve the planet. We really wanted to help create awareness so people would lend a voice to their support of proactive steps. 
Do you think more sustainable, on-trend/ contemporary fashion is possible?
     Definitely I believe that or I wouldn’t have started Rêve En Vert! I think now you see a definite rise in a more conscious consumer-we want to eat organic food, we think of organic beauty products, we go on wellness retreats to re-collect with nature, etc., yet this woman still has no place to shop for high-end fashion that is sustainably and ethically produced. I think if that were an easy and luxurious option for her, she would always choose to purchase fashion that is produced with respect. 
...Is it able to reach everyday consumers who may shop in "fast fashion"? Many people don't have the extra income required to pay the "true cost" of their clothing, and seem to believe that more sustainable options are too expensive/  simply unavailable?
     I think that is always a factor because we have come to expect our fashion to be so cheaply produced and so quickly-it’s a really bad expectation to have but we think they way to fight this is through education. We have an editorial section at revenvert.com that we curate to provide people information about where their clothes come from, why it’s better to shop sustainably and to have them understand the process of considered production. I know this won’t change everyone’s shopping habits over night but I do think it creates a good start-we want people even if they can’t afford to shop all sustainably to start making the decision to buy one well-made sweater that perhaps costs a bit more but will last for years to come rather than 6 or 7 badly made ones that they will throw away at the end of the season.
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What does "green living" mean to you? How do you live green?
     Green living means making the most conscious decisions possible and to maintaining a real connection with nature. I eat as locally and seasonably as possible, I always am trying to reduce my plastic usage (getting rid of those plastic bottles or bags!), and most definitely consuming less but of more quality. When I was younger I used to consider going to the mall a treat, now I think of going to a yoga class the same way. I think that being more mindful automatically leads to a greater awareness of our surroundings and wanting to protect them, and I hope we are able to do that more widely though our work with Rêve En Vert.

     Rêve En Vert is running a VIP influencer campaign throughout the month to create awareness for the U.N. Climate Change Conference happening in Paris (COP21). Below is some information about the campaign:

Reve En Vert_Paris Climate Change Summit_Screen Grab_01
It’s not only politicians and state leaders that will be there meeting and flying the flag for environmentalists. Many famous people have been out lending their voices to the cause, including model Cameron Russell who is organising a “Models Who March” protest up to Paris. Many people from the world of fashion will be making their mark by joining those in Paris assembling for the summit later on this month. All of us will be affected by the effects of climate change so this event will be critical in framing the international response in preserving our planet.
— http://revenvert.com/paris-climate-change-summit/

  Photo of Cotillard Marion courtesy of R.E.V.

  Photo of Cotillard Marion courtesy of R.E.V.

Thank you as always for reading! Check out the Rêve En Vert website and Instagram at @revenvert to see what’s happening, and search the hashtags #sustainablestylist & #COP21.

 
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