In honor of Earth Day and Earth Month I wanted to highlight some of the steps that we take as a company to reduce our negative impact on the natural world. There's no way for any of us to never cause harm, but we can lessen our negative impact. We at Heliotrope do our best to reduce our footprint and put meaning into the overused terms sustainable and ethical.
As I thought about this subject, I realized that I didn't know much about the origins of Earth Day. It seems like Earth Day and environmentalism have been around forever. They are both concepts I take for granted. To my surprise I learned that the environmental movement as we know it, is only a little more than 50 years old.
A Brief history of Earth Day
The first Earth Day happened on April 22 in 1970, this Friday marks the 52nd anniversary of an event that transformed the world.
Into the 1960s, most people were not aware of the effects of industry and pollution on the health of humans and on the natural world. There were people who organized on a community level to clean up a stream, or respond to an oil spill, but there wasn’t a larger consciousness about our negative impact on the natural world.
In 1962, Rachel Carson published her groundbreaking work Silent Spring and this created a turning point. More people became aware of pollution and how it affected the health of both the environment and humans.
Organized by two senators - Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson and Republican Peter McCloskey - Earth Day was created to build on this growing consciousness. Earth Day marked a shift from small and disconnected community based responses to local problems to a recognition that there were larger interconnected issues at play. The first Earth Day galvanized 20 million people in demonstrations across the country.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded later in 1970 and for the first time in our history, several laws such as the Clean Air Act were passed to protect the environment. In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act.
Earth Day was a catalyst that changed both public consciousness and governmental policy and law. This marked the beginning of the recognition that humans caused many types of environmental damage and should be responsible for not only cleaning up this damage but protecting the environment and preventing the damage in the first place.
Earth Day has evolved over the years, but it remains a day when people around the world rally and take action to support a healthier planet.
Doing Our Part
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that we live up to our claim and reputation for using natural, simple and organic ingredients. Our values are important to us, and creating healthy skincare products - for humans and for the planet - is one of the main factors behind how Jonathan developed Heliotrope as a company. I wanted to go into a bit more detail about some of the efforts we make.
Alicia has created a few posts on Instagram and social media about how we prioritize simple strategies to reduce waste like refilling products. Because glass and plastic containers require resources and materials, it’s an important practice to extend their life by reusing them as often as possible.
We are committed to sourcing local components and ingredients and making our products as close to our shop as possible. Buying locally reduces the resources such as petroleum needed to ship across the state or country.
The ingredients we use are ethically and sustainably sourced. We avoid ingredients that are toxic or harmful to you and to the environment. Our chemists update us regularly if the source of an ingredient needs to change, for example becomes unavailable from an ethical source. When this happens, we work to adjust the formula either by sourcing the ingredient from a different origin, or by utilizing a different ingredient to replace the original. Our goal is to maintain the integrity of our products - make sure that they are the high quality you’ve come to expect from us - and ensure that the origin is ethical. Many plants such as African frankincense are overharvested in the wild to meet the demand of the commercial markets in the global north. In this example, the frankincense we use is sourced from farms in India where it is grown more ethically and is still of a quality that meets our standards.
One way we hope to provide clarity is by being transparent about the ingredients we use and where they are derived. On Our Ingredients page, we provide several ingredients pages divided by the nature of the ingredient. Each page lists the name of the ingredient as it appears on our labels, a description of why we use it, of where it comes from and whether it is safe or if there is some caution required. (for example if there is potential that an ingredient can trigger a reaction that will be listed.)
We are constantly striving to improve, to reduce our negative impacts on our community near and far.
The problems we face may seem large and insurmountable, but it is important to remember that progress does start with simple small steps. We do have power as individuals to influence how companies do business and by supporting companies that are as ethical as possible it can create a larger ripple of change.
Earth Day History Source: https://www.earthday.org/history/