sustainabilty: what we need to think about

sustainabilty: what we need to think about

Why is it important for a great food place (as well as for knowledgeable individuals everywhere) to talk about environmental issues such as plastic garbage, organic produce, the importance of a plant-based diet, and how such a diet positively impacts the planet? The answer is that in order for individuals to fix life-dominating problems, they have to become aware of those problems first.

That's true for individuals, and it's also true for the consciousness of humanity. It's difficult for the collective consciousness of a community, a state, or an entire world population to shift in a positive direction if denial and resistance exist.

Why do we resist factual information about our environment? For a number of reasons. Such information is very disturbing, for one thing. It causes anxiety for a person to realize that humanity is contributing to the volatility of our home planet. Many natural disasters occur on earth, and we often increase the chances of such things happening by our lifestyle patterns.

I don't mean to be judgmental by saying this. And as you read this article and consider its information, I request that you don’t judge me. We were born into a life in which many of the detrimental things that we do are common practices. Those practices have been normalized by consumerism, and they have been maintained because we get addicted to the things that we get from living the way that we do.

Yet I believe that there's something positive about this being the case. I believe it's positive that when previous generations made mistakes and we inherited the side effects, we were given awareness and a chance to change the pattern for future generations. And I believe that this is how species evolve—by improving from one generation to the next. Speaking for myself, I practiced lifestyle habits that contributed to environmental problems in the past. I have since ceased many of my bad lifestyle habits that contributed to those problems. I have also been informing my children about the problems and how they should attempt to live in ways that won’t worsen them.

Some people become open to necessarily disconcerting information very quickly and make efforts to change. But some people need to hear messages over and over again before they respond. Sometimes we're not willing to change because we don't think that anything we do will make any difference. But such thinking doesn’t acknowledge the effect of the super consciousness of our species: It doesn't take into account that what one person thinks will affect another person, or that another person will affect one or more other people with the same positive way of thinking. When such a dynamic begins happening, the number of people that are affected over time grows exponentially until the number reaches millions or even billions.

We can make a difference. We can think about the problems, talk about them, and take positive actions. Then, slowly, over time, changes that need to take place will happen.

The human race lives more intelligently and more skillfully when it lives closer to the earth, follows natural patterns, and attempts to not use more resources than what are needed. There have always been people who cared for the land and honored it, as well as people who were negligent in doing so. We humans are now a band of over 8,000,000,000 people, and the evidence shows that the vast majority of us are in the negligent category.

I believe that most human beings are good, don't have malicious intent as far as environmental issues are concerned, and are basically just following in the footsteps of what the rest of society does. And at least to a degree, it's understandable that most people would desire the safety and convenience that often comes from using products and engaging in practices that are environmentally unfriendly. Yet there's a certain amount of self-centeredness and a lack of both understanding and responsibility among those who have no concern about environmental issues.

Having said that, environmentalism is a very complex subject. All creatures affect the planet in very different ways. Humans (and other creatures) need earth's resources to survive, and it can be difficult to determine how to benefit from earth's resources without doing significant harm to the planet.

We must ask ourselves hard questions about how we conduct ourselves in our global environment. It's true that various products and production methodologies do significant harm to our planet. And that begs the question, which came first—such harmful methodologies and products, or the initial demand for them? Another question is, what are some of the ways that we can temper our demand for things that are produced in ways that cause detriment to our planet and its creatures?

If all of humanity adopted a plant-based lifestyle, it would be very good for planet earth. I don't believe that humanity is anywhere near the point of being able to globally adopt a plant-based lifestyle. But I think that people who switch from subsisting on flesh foods to subsisting on plant-based diets should become activists who tout the benefits of such dietary change. And even those who eat flesh foods can advocate for positive planetary change by doing things such as choosing to eat only animals that are cared for in a certain way.

We must understand that the earth and the creatures that inhabit it are both highly conscious. We may not all agree on specifics about how that consciousness operates and how we should respond to it. But there's no question that the earth is bustling with life and that the earth’s creatures communicate with each other. We must respect life itself and the lives of the multiple billions of creatures that we share the planet with.

We should seek the happiness of not only ourselves as individuals, but the happiness of both other humans and other creatures as well. We should strive to make it so that our planet becomes free from warfare and destruction. We are here on this planet to observe and treasure the sanctity of life and to make life better for our descendants. And when we do, both our group consciousness and our consciousness as individuals will expand in deeper and better ways. 

I need to think about these things and implement environmentally friendly practices in my own health food business. And I need to encourage others in my business to engage in such practices as well. Those in my business who can't start to move away from single-use plastics simply aren't trying hard enough or exercising creative thinking. They're also failing to realize that most people who buy products from health food outlets are concerned about environmentalism and sustainability. And such customers will cease to buy products from retailers who package their products using single-use plastic.

We should seek to put retailers who recklessly market products using single-use plastic out of business. This should be done not out of a sense of mean-spiritedness but because of concern for the planet and its inhabitants. Our very survival depends on it.

I noticed something during the height of the COVID pandemic around the years 2020 through 2022. After about 10 months of New York City being virtually shut down, I saw how clear the air looked. The river waters were much crisper and cleaner. The beaches near my home had much less plastic and garbage on them. And there was a great deal of wildlife that I previously hadn't seen on the shores of the beaches near my home: A tremendous number of beautiful birds, many dolphin pods, and on one occasion I saw a baby seal and its mom.

During that time there was a very pleasant quietness in the city that I’d never experienced before. There were far fewer airplanes overhead and much less noise from sirens. People were riding their bikes and walking a great deal more than I'd ever seen. And it made me think how great it would be if humanity shut down certain operations voluntarily for about four years. Such a thing is incredibly unlikely. Yet I'll never forget how pleasant the environment was during that time period, despite the terrible pandemic situation.

We need to talk about such things as individuals and as like-minded members of various communities. And I need to talk about such things in my role as the head of goodsugar. Of course I have to talk about things pertaining to what’s healthy for the body. But to make it clear that my company is totally committed to health and wellness, I need to talk about things pertaining to environmental problems and global resource sustainability as well.

My goodsugar organization does a great deal more than just talk about these issues, though. We are very committed to eliminating single-use plastic in our outlets. I am vegan, and the products goodsugar serves will be vegan. We will serve vegan products not only because of their health benefits but because we believe that large numbers of people becoming vegan will help end global starvation and will help halt the slow erosion of fertile land worldwide.

We will attempt to source local produce to the best of our ability. But due to our northeast location, we would be unable to produce 80% of our product for about six or seven months out of the year if we didn't get a lot of produce and other items from locations such as Mexico, Florida, and California.

We intend to buy only certified USDA Organic products. Such items do not contain pesticides (which are incredibly bad for the planet). We firmly believe that USDA Organic offerings are better for health and for the earth itself and that the USDA standard should be the only one that's allowed for people who plant, harvest, and distribute food.

We will handle the waste that our store produces in a very environmentally healthy fashion. Specifically, we will take the waste to a very large property, spread it out, and turn the material into mulch for replanting.

For water filtration, we will use mediums such as charcoal and paper filters to take undesirable things out of the water. We will not use the reverse osmosis process, which strips water of minerals and is extremely wasteful.

We want all goodsugar customers to be excited about the products we serve, how we serve them, and what we stand for as an organization. We will do all that we can to ensure that we provide customers with the best products of our particular niche available anywhere. And we will adhere to policies that are very environmentally friendly and that contribute to worldwide resource sustainability.

Back to blog