what is sustainability, and how can you practice it right now?
Sustainability has become a huge buzzword across pretty much every industry. With so many agencies and companies talking about sustainability...it’s easy to lose sight of what it really involves...and get overwhelmed by the topic itself.
In honor of Earth Month, we wanted to bring it back to the basics and revisit a few things:
- What is sustainability...exactly?
- Why is sustainability important?
- What can you do to live more sustainably right now?
- How is Davids committed to sustainability?
For those of you who are already well-versed in this topic, don’t worry! You’ll get something out of this too. We made sure to include recent facts+figures, so that this article can provide everyone with some new info about sustainability!
the basics: what is sustainability?
The concept of sustainability first appeared in a forestry handbook in 1713, and it described a process in which you never harvest more than the forest can regenerate. Since then, the word has evolved a bunch of different times. When ecology became a discipline, the term was used in the context of all biological systems...not just forestry. At that point, sustainability described the ability of an ecosystem to conserve its biodiversity over time.
You might be wondering...when did sustainability become all about humans? Because of course, eventually....it did.
Sustainability didn’t begin to center around humans until the late 1900s...when human dependence on fossil fuels started to explode. At this point, sustainability began to focus on how humans live on the planet: the impacts of our actions, the availability of natural resources, and the requirements to maintain a healthy ecological balance.
In 1987, the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations coined the term sustainable development which is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs.” This idea can be separated into three pillars:
- Social development: which promotes the overall well-being of humans and our societies. Healthy, sustainable communities ensure the respect and protection of personal, labor, and cultural rights...and access to basic needs and resources.
- Economic development: which involves systems that allow communities to maintain their independence and livelihood.
- Environmental protection: which holds humans accountable. It ensures that we don’t live in a way that damages our planet...ensuring that future generations have resources to live too.
These days, you mostly hear about the latter. As a family-owned and operated sustainable toothpaste brand (and in the spirit of Earth Month), we’ll be focusing on the environmental side of things too. But keep in mind that environmental sustainability involves social and economic development by default, so promoting sustainable social+economic development is not lost on us.
Although environmental sustainability can be discussed in so many different contexts (for example, from engineering to fashion)...we’ll be discussing it mainly in the context of consumerism.
why is sustainability important?
Let’s be honest, consumerism and the environment don’t have the healthiest relationship history.
Consumerism has changed drastically in the past few decades. In the 1990s and early 2000s...population, technology, and culture sparked a massive increase in consumption that still continues (and continues to grow!) today. These consumer trends have a huge impact on different areas of environmental health and climate change. To name a few:
Sidenote: In the world of toothpaste, roughly 1.5 billion plastic tubes of toothpaste are thrown away every single year. If you noticed at the top of this article, it says it’s a 7-minute read. That means roughly 20,000 plastic toothpaste tubes will be tossed in the trash while you read this article.
While consumerism is a broad subject...ranging from animal agriculture to toothpaste...the impacts of consumerism show that adopting more sustainable consumer habits across the board can make a massive difference in the health of the planet.
Here are some simple tips to promote more sustainable consumer habits right now.
easy tips to live more sustainably...right now!
calculate your carbon footprint
If you haven’t already done this...it’s a great way to wake you up, analyze your impact, and adjust your actions. Your carbon footprint is the estimated total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that result from your daily actions.
The average person in the U.S. has a carbon footprint of 16 tons...among the highest rates in the world. The global average is around 4 tons.
This Carbon Footprint Calculator estimates your household footprint. It can help you identify your biggest areas of impact...and encourage small, gradual changes that will help us avoid exceeding that 2℃ rise in global temperatures.
At the very least, it can spark a mindset change when it comes to your daily actions and consumer behavior. We believe mindset is essential in living a more sustainable life. That’s why it’s next on the list!
master your mindset
When it comes to living more sustainably, mindset can take you a long, long way. Half of the battle is learning about the problem (which is why you’re here!) and using that knowledge to change your mindset around your daily actions...and question things you might not normally question.
An easy way to spark this mindset shift is to redefine the old “reduce, reuse, recycle” mentality. Instead, the method should look like: “rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle” placing more emphasis on mindset. By adopting this method, you can better identify which things you really need and drastically decrease your impact.
Let’s take a look at how far mindset can go in a single room...the bathroom, of course. The next time you’re in your bathroom, take a moment to simply think about the products that line your sink and shower. Consider asking yourself:
- Does each product add value to your life, or could you go without them in the future?
- Do they create unnecessary waste, or are they reusable, biodegradable, or recyclable?
- Does the product contain chemicals that will end up back in the environment?
- Can you identify any easy, more sustainable swaps for these products?
Don’t forget, small changes (in mindset and in practice) can go a long way....remember the 1.5 billion plastic toothpaste tubes thrown out every single year? If everyone simply thought twice about their toothpaste purchases and committed to using recyclable toothpaste tubes like Davids, it would make a huge difference.
For more inspiration on sustainable swaps and ideas to reduce waste room by room...and one product at a time...check out the products and advice at the Zero Waste Cartel.
If you didn’t already know this, we’re big fans of minimalism. Minimalism involves the intention to live with less...and focus more on the things that really matter rather than having more things.
At Davids, from our ingredients to our design...and everything beyond and between...we believe in the value of simplicity. For example, fewer (but more thoughtful and intentional) ingredients can pack a huge punch of benefits without harming the planet.
By adopting a “less is more” mentality, you can see major positive shifts in your health, relationships, finances, and more. But a minimalist mindset can also have a major positive impact on the planet. By striving towards minimalism, you can drastically decrease your footprint on the planet.
In other words: our consumer demands may have created a lot of the sustainability issues we see today...but that means our consumer demands have the power to fix them, too!
switch to Davids
At Davids, we’re committed to promoting sustainability through our own actions, such as:
- Sourcing: our ingredients are sustainably sourced, and they’re 98% USA-origin ingredients! This allows us to reduce our environmental impact from importing (plus, it allows us to stimulate the US economy). Many of our ingredients are also naturally sourced, so they’re minimally processed/altered from their natural state. This requires less energy and ensures that the ingredients that go down your sink don’t pollute the environment.
- Manufacturing: we’re family-owned+operated, and everyone involved in our process is paid a fair wage (above living wage).
- Packaging: from our toothpaste tubes to cardboard packaging, we’re committed to sustainability. We use recyclable toothpaste tubes, recyclable caps (HDPE), and recyclable+returnable metal rollers! We also use FSC certified paperboard packaging.
- Encouragement: we want to focus on the good and promote a positive, encouraging environment. Sustainability is a life-long journey...so of course, we want it to be enjoyable!
On that note, since the topic of sustainability can feel kinda overwhelming and negative....we wanted to leave you with some good news:
In the last few years, we’ve already seen a huge positive change in consumer habits. In 2019, a global survey revealed that 73% of consumers would change their habits for the sake of reducing their environmental impact. Now, that’s an encouraging statistic!
Harness that momentum and continue to make a positive impact, one step at a time. Right now, you can make an impact by switching to Davids...a premium, sustainable toothpaste.