As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, it once again becomes time to make some resolutions.
For my part, I’ve resolved to increase my blogging frequency, work on my tennis serve and spend more time with my family. Oh, and continue to take steps, both large and small, to make the world a better place.
That might sound dramatic, but it’s really not. As individuals, we exert far more power than we think, and we can change our consumption patterns to protect the environment—not to mention people’s livelihoods—all the way around the world.
An exciting new infographic that we created shows you how. Timber products get shipped to the U.S. because we want to buy them. We have a responsibility as consumers to use our buying power to influence the companies that import Asia-Pacific lumber or products made from it, and their actions will in turn have an impact on a whole chain of forests, communities, loggers, timber traders and product manufacturers in Asia-Pacific.
The infographic explains both how this works and how our actions affect people, forests and wildlife (including orangutans) on the other side of the globe. They derive a host of benefits from these forests, and the infographic lays out your role in protecting those benefits.
So, let’s resolve to do better and make a difference for the jaw-dropping, life-giving rainforests of Asia-Pacific. Here are some easy suggestions on how to make an important conservation impact in 2013.
1. Look for the FSC checkmark-and-tree logo on the forest products you buy. I’ve mentioned this before, but the Forest Stewardship Council is the only global, third-party process that verifies a wood product’s sustainable pedigree. When you buy FSC-certified products, you’re supporting companies committed to doing social and environmental good.
2. Buy from retailers that are dedicated to stocking sustainable products. In recent years, retailers, including some big names, have made public commitments to green their supply chains. The next time you go to a retailer—whether it’s a big-box store or a mom-and-pop shop—do some research and see if you can suss out their stance on sustainability.
3. Buy locally. If you can’t be sure that the timber products you’re buying were made in responsible ways, then buy locally. That way you can find out more about a product’s roots and ensure that its transportation footprint was as light as possible.
4. Make more careful choices about the everyday products you use. For example, it isn’t just wood products that have an effect on Asia-Pacific forests. Palm oil, which is used in products ranging from cereal to cosmetics, often comes from Asian oil palm plantations, which sometimes hasten deforestation and deprive local people of natural resources that are critical to their survival. With a little effort we can all do a better job educating ourselves about the impacts of our purchasing choices. So, check the websites of the large consumer goods companies and get a sense of their policies and practices on sustainability.
And last but not least, you can resolve to support the Conservancy’s work in Asia-Pacific, where we’re working on a wide range of initiatives—on not only forestry but also fisheries and hydropower—that are all about using resources in sustainable and socially responsible ways.
Show your resolve and stand with us. Have a great 2013.
(And also, check out the infographic!)