Green Products: Buy to Help Wild Animals and the Planet

Use Green Products: Buy to help the planet, not to destroy it!

Consumerism is part of our environmental problem but can also be part of the solution: Embrace your power today when you hit the shops!


First, what does “green products” stand for?

By this I mean all the things we buy that present no harm to the environment. I could also have used: environmentally friendly, sustainable, ethical, non-toxic products. The opposite of these products are all the things we buy that are detrimental to the environment...

Green products can include natural, organic and eco friendly products, recycled or biodegradable material...

eco-friendly-Tshirt

I'm an ecowoman! Yeah!

Embrace your Green Power Today when you Hit the Shops!

Consumerism is part of the problem but can also be part of the solution: indeed, the power of the consumer (=you and me) is limitless!

Businesses are only around because of you!

By buying or not buying, you decide what the market looks like. If no one wanted to buy products that create habitat destruction, pollution, does not respect the animals, or sometimes directly threaten wildlife survival, these products would not be available in the market anymore.

This is one of our most powerful tools: to buy or not to buy.

"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want"

Anna Lappe

Cleaning Products: Clean the House without Dirtying the Earth!

Find green products that clean your dishes, your floors, your clothes without releasing nasty chemicals to the environment (= outside your house) – or to your environment (= inside your house)!

Research has actually proven that the inside of your house is more polluted than the outside (despite all the exhaust gas and microparticules from cars outside!)! This is even true in the largest and most industrialised cities in the world...

Crazy isn’t it?

And that’s often because of all the cleaning chemicals (add also pesticide like mosquito and other insect killing sprays and air freshener) we use in housekeeping.

So if you hated housekeeping before reading this page, there you go, you were right all along!

As usual though, there are ways many to decrease your indoor and outdoor pollution, notably by using green products such as:

  • biodegradable cleaners,
  • natural cleaners,
  • or at least safer alternative to the worse chemicals.

Check the CleanGredients® list that gathers cleaning ingredients that are safer alternative. Safer ingredients break down quickly to non-polluting compounds and help protect aquatic life in both fresh and salt water.

You can also look directly for products rated by the Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI). EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Program is assessing environmentally aware products and awarding Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI) Championships. Champion is the highest level of recognition offered under SDSI: this is good news for the environment!

These programs test many products and allow their logo only on the green products that are safe for you and the environment.


What you Eat can Help Wild Animals

Green products: food 

We all need to eat every day, there is no way around that! Eating is also one of life’s great pleasure, and a strong part of human cultures.

OK, you might have guessed it, I am a bit crazy about my food!

But because we buy food most days, the choices we make when we buy food have enormous consequences.

Buying food is actually one of the things all normal people do that can have the strongest negative impact on wild animals.

This is because agriculture and farm lands occupy a very large area on the planet. How we grow food and raise cattle have therefore long reaching consequences. How polluting and intensive the farming methods are, for instance...


Conservation tips for food:

  • If you can afford it, go organic!

Organic food decreases the pesticides and fertilizers released in the environment. Although more expensive, it has the added advantage of being healthier for you, thus potentially sparing you pain and saving on doctors' bills...

  • Don't eat endangered species

Sounds like a stupid statement, doesn't it? Who on Earth would eat endangered species?

Well, sadly, it is more common than you think.

Many endangered fish are still found at your local fish shop.

  • A special case: don't eat shark fin soup in Chinese restaurant!

Even just once, just because you have to try everything once... (Stupid saying: so you should try to cut you hand or set fire to your hair at least once?)

The process of killing sharks only for their fins is not only wasteful and cruel (long painful death for the shark) it also is unsustainable for shark populations.

  • Eat sustainable wild resources

When we eat directly wild species, the way we manage these resources has a direct-no-brainer influence on the preservation of these wild species! See our sustainable tuna example...

  • Buy locally and according to the season

By buying in season and locally grown food, we also decrease the carbon footprint of our food (how far around the world it had to travel...).

  • Become a vegan, a vegetarian, or try to decrease your protein intake

Different diets are more or less healthy for us, we all know that.

But different diets are also more or less environmentally friendly!

Being vegan is probably the best human diet for our planet, followed by vegetarian. And the more meat you eat, the biggest your negative impact on the environment!

Sorry meat-lovers... 

Find the impact of your diet on your heath and the planet, as well as some tips and recipes on the vegetarian page. You don't need to go 100% vegetarian! Every little bit helps!

Special cases:

Sustainable tuna

Palm oil

Green products: medicine

This is a tough subject but we have to talk about the huge influence Asian traditional medicine has on the extinction rate of beautiful wild animals.

Asian traditional medicine has been practiced for thousands of years and many Asian practices are well recognised as efficient.

But some remedies of Asian traditional medicine are more controversial.

Take Rhinoceros horn for instance. It is made of keratine, which is exactly what your nails are made of. Rhinoceros horn is supposedly great medicine for various ailments including:

  • fever,
  • rheumatism,
  • gout,
  • snakebites,
  • hallucinations,
  • typhoid,
  • headaches,
  • carbuncles, (what the bloody hell is this anyway??)
  • vomiting,
  • food poisoning,
  • and “devil possession".

What a list! Sounds a bit too much like a magic potion to me!

But if Rhinoceros horn was really effective at curing all these ailments, surely eating your own nails would do just fine too?

 

The most worrying of the situation is that nouveau riches are finding such endangered animal medicine fashionable and trendy, and attribute to rhino horn yet some more properties:

  • aphrodisiacs,
  • food supplement,
  • hangover remedy,
  • curing cancer...

These uses that are not related to tradition. The extinction of rhinos is not driven by tradition but by an emerging class of nouveau riches in Asian countries, from Vietnam, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea to India and China.

Education to the fact that rhino horn has never been found to have any strong medicinal effect (and it has been researched) might not work fast enough to save these amazing wild animals.

Stats show we are doing worst than before...

May 2013 declared the bloodiest week for rhino poaching in Kenya

In 2013: 1000 rhinos killed in South Africa alone!

Some countries (like Nepal) are successfully fighting poaching. We can learn from them.

Winning the war on traffic of endangered wild animals seems to involve at least:

  • Strong political will: a commitment at the very top political level.
  • Law enforcement targeting traders - not the little hands on the ground doing the dirty job.

When poachers are send to jail, traders can always exploits poverty and find many more candidates to do their dirty deeds. But to be a trader demands more contacts, organisation and investment: if you arrest them you really slow down the traffic.

  • Empower communities: give communities direct financial incentives (like 50% of the wildlife tourism proceeds) so that they can afford to be on the side of conservation and protect wildlife themselves (never work for wildlife against local people, it is unfair and it doesn't work).
  • Send the army in.... Fighting the very lucrative business of protected wildlife trade is highly dangerous. Poachers are armed and will kill. Sending National Park rangers is often deadly. Just as when a government is fighting drug lords, more and more often to fight poaching you will need the army.

So there is hope... We can actually protect these beautiful wild animals against illegal trade for medecine - a trade booming with the Asian nouveau riches.

 

What can we do about it?

  • Raise money for rhinos: you are only limited by your imagination

For example, in the past people have raised money by things like: bake cake, wash car, hold a quiz night, run in a rhino suit, give up alcohol (I am not making this up!), see more examples at Save the Rhino fundraising ideas

  • If you live in a country where rhino horn and other endangered species bits are available, don't be fooled by the miraculous list of ailments they are supposed to cure. Don't buy them.
  • As a tourist, don't buy them, even just once for a try, or as a souvenir. If you see some for sale you can also have a friendly chat to the saleperson, and make your opinion -that these animals are more useful alive for us all to enjoy- known.
  • Support political will:

1- write to politicians in the countries where poaching is strong (Kenya, South Africa) and promote the touristic value of seing these animals alive in National Park.

The only way to save the rhinos is if there is more money to be made with a live than a dead rhino...

2- write to politicians in the countries where the demand is exploding (Vietnam) and ask them to combat traffic at their end and raise awareness.

  • Visit these endangered species in the wild and make your opinion known to all invloved, the Park authorities and the communities around.
  • Support campaigns including education programs from anti-poaching organisations, like Save the Rhino.


If this is a cause you truly believe in, there are ways to support it. It is not as easy and straightforward maybe than supporting ethic and sustainable food and clothes. But your support is vital: otherwise, some very special wild animals might disappear from the wild in the next few decades...

 



What you Wear can Help Wild Animals and the Planet

Green products: clothes

We also have to wear clothes – most of us, most of the days, do, anyway!

First and foremost, I think there are just some types of clothes, if you are compassionate human beings and love animals, you should just not wear. I am talking, you might have guessed, about fur.

Then there is the way we “grow” clothes, which impact the planet in similar ways that how we grow food. I am talking about the cotton growing industry.

Green products for clothing include organic cotton clothes or alternatives (hemp, sustainable bamboo).

Green products: shoes

There are many brands now that offer eco-friendly shoes using:

  • natural products from sustainably managed sources,
  • recycled or vintage (re-used) materials,
  • Fairtrade and Organic cotton,
  • Fairtrade and FSC Certified rubber,
  • minimum glue,
  • some brands also include a vegan range (for example non-leather shoes).

Green products: accessories

They are more and more great accessories made out of recycling materials. That gives an entire second life to materials that would otherwise go straight into landfills.

My friend came back with a great bag from Switzerland. It look cool and tough, and it had a great extra: it was a 100% recycled from truck tarpaulins, bicycle bits, airbags and seat belts!!! Crazy!

recycled-bag

While we're on bags, I also found this amazing bag website. They tick all the boxes:

  • They use 100% recycled or reused material, direct rescue from landfills.
  • All bags have great messages to protect the planet and the wildlife, inspirational and funny quotes, all in order to raise conservation awareness - this is an awesome idea, it's much better to carry around messages to protect wildlife than Nike or H&M logos!!!
  • They look funky & groovy.
  • Oh, and if this wasn't enough, the bags help raise money for conservation projects! 
rhino-recycled-bag
wanderer-recycled-bag

They are called Rare Bags, RARE can stand for a few things:

  • Reuse And Recycle Everything (that reminds me, have you check how you can Reduce, Re-use and Recycle?),
  • Rescue And Renew the Earth,
  • Rage Against Rationalist Economics...
  • How rare and original their bags are!
  • Or how rare many species have now become on the surface of this planet... **Big Sigh**

Many of the messages are just exactly what I'm trying to promote here at Wildhelpers, so I reckon if you like it here, you will like it there! Now, I don't know this people but I wish I did... Check out their wildlife conservation awareness recycled bags!


Choose your Furniture to Help Wild Animals and the Planet

The provenance of raw material used to make furniture can be destructive to the planet, but there are alternatives.

It’s up to you to check whether your new garden table and chairs were made by destroying wildlife habitat and primary forests or by ethical, sustainably produced wood.

Forests, whether tropical, boreal or temperate, hold the majority of the world’s terrestrial species.

FSC Certified wood comes from forests managed sustainably. Look for this label!

FSC-logo

This is all Too Complicated... NOT!

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t!

Luckily for us, many people are working behind the scenes to assess how environmentally friendly all these consumer goods are.

Just look for the right -and hardly won- labels that will give you an insurance that you are using your consumer power to be part of wildlife preservation.

Don’t be fooled by cheap non-committal labels that are pale copies of the real deal: visit our green label list for real green products.


Use your green power to change the world!

Put your money in what you believe in: green products that support your values of protecting the planet and all the wild animals in need of a clean habitat.