If you spent all of your savings in 9 months, wouldn’t you panic? What if earth’s resources are facing the same predicament right now?
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Global Footprint Network, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 22 in 2017. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester. What’s more shocking is that roughly 30 years ago, our demand for ecological resources began to outpace the rate in which they can be replenished by nature. Since then, each year the date falls earlier and earlier, mainly due to growing population and increasing daily consumption.
What can we do to stop Earth Overshoot Day from creeping up the calendar year after year? Putting population growth aside, we can all start by making changes to some lifestyle habits and consumption behavior from the producer and consumer points of view. Let’s look at some smart ideas to green up our lifestyle and help protect our planet.
OKOGREEN is the first enterprise in Taiwan to be certified by the Fairtrade Certification Mark
Small factory makes big changes in global consumption
As you walk into the industrial area of Sanchong District of New Taipei City, you can smell the rich aroma of coffee coming from an average-looking residential building. Welcoming you at the door is the sound of the coffee bean roaster at work. This is OKOGREEN, the first enterprise in Taiwan to adopt the Fairtrade Mark. The founder and general manager of OKOGREEN, Wenyen Hsu, plays an important role in the promotion of the fairtrade movement in Taiwan. Determined to promote fair trade his whole life, he finally achieved his dream by being certified by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). Hsu’s company OKOGREEN provides ethically sourced and traded coffees from around the world to coffee lovers as well as over a hundred companies in Taiwan. OKOGREEN has the power to change global consumption.
Change the world in everyday life
Fairtrade covers three aspects social justice, organic certification and ecological protection
The global price of coffee tends to rise and fall like a roller coaster. Fairtrade was started to give third world farmers stability in this unpredictable market environment by offering a Fairtrade Minimum Price, which protects them from volatile price drops and improves their quality of life. Hsu says that Fairtrade Standards also protect the rights of consumers by promoting organic farming, which, as well as being better for the environment, has a positive impact on consumers’ health. Fairtrade empowers communities and improves their negotiating position within the supply chain, enabling them to negotiate a higher price for their product than the conventional market price.
Fairtrade shops often sell bright, multicolored cotton ropes. Those aren’t artificial colors; they’re the natural color of crops. Most people aren’t aware that there are actually many different kinds of colors of cotton. But because white cotton is easy to dye and sell, farmers only plant white cotton. Also, in the Andes, local people cultivate alpacas for their fleece, which can be used for knitting, weaving and other economic purposes. As a result, hardly any farmers breed alpacas that aren’t white, causing them to face distinction. FLO aims to improve product diversity and ecological balance.
In Peru, local residents plant their own crops due to their remote living environments. However, when they face insufficient use of farmland, they have no choice but to cut down forests. Brazil nut trees are the main species in rainforests. They grow up to 3 to 4 stories tall and provide habitat for animals. So if rainforests vanish, the 42 species related to the Brazil nut tree also disappear. In fact, Brazil nuts have many benefits including protection against cancer and the oil extracted from these nuts contains skin conditioning properties. Local residents can make a living by collecting Brazil nuts and also reduce damage to rainforests. Fairtrade certified products are also organically certified to build biologically diverse agriculture and maintain a healthy ecological balance.
Discover the significance of Taiwan tea to the world
Since its establishment, OKOGREEN has bought coffee beans from 7 coffee exporting countries around the world. By continuously promoting their concept, more and more people are identifying with them. OKOGREEN strives to develop more diversified products, introducing Taiwan tea. With a tea shop seen in every corner, OKOGREEN fears of the loss of local tea culture. As such, they aim to bring people back into the wonderful culture of Taiwan tea by introducing different types of tea, their place of origin and characteristics and promote local tea culture to the world through Fairtrade so that more people can feel the warmth and elegance of Taiwan tea.