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Sustainability, we hear this word thrown around a lot, but what does it mean? What does it mean on a global scale, in a business, and individually? Let's start off by defining what sustainability means. It is "the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level." But a better definition is: "avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance." That's what we are talking about in this article -- the avoidance of the depletion of our natural resources. How can we do that on a global scale?
Well to get into that would take more than one article. At a global scale it would take lots of moving parts, but to get to a global scale it would start with the business. As a business its our responsibility to make our products in a responsible way. You see a business on a global scale or a local level can have a huge affect on global sustainability. Let's review two examples: our food and our apparel. Sustainable crop production is a way of growing food in an ecologically and ethically responsible manner. This includes adhering to agricultural and food production practices that do not harm the environment, that provide fair treatment to workers, and that support and sustain local communities.

Food production is a very important issue because we all need to eat. But the way our food is grown affects much more than we could ever imagine. For example, the use of pesticides. Pesticides have a major affect on our health but even more on our environment. Studies have shown that pesticides are wiping out our bee population, degrading our soil, and affecting the workers heath in the field. Many companies are changing the way our food is grown to help sustain our planet and make for safer work place for individuals. Companies like:

Natures Path: Two of Nature’s Path’s three facilities have achieved Zero Waste Certification, which means nearly all of their waste is reused, recycled or composted. They’re also committed to conserving water, becoming carbon neutral, and improving the environmental quality in their surrounding community and beyond. 100% of what they produce is organic.

New Belgium: A Certified Zero Waste business, this bigtime craft brewer diverts 99.9% of it’s waste from landfills. They are also committed to reducing carbon emissions (both direct and indirect), improving water quality, and constantly working to make every part of their business even more sustainable. New Belgium has ranked high on B Corporation’s “Best for the Environment” list each of the last three years.

Justins:  Bees are responsible for 1 in 3 bites of food that we eat – including almonds and honey – both ingredients in Justin’s nut butters. Yet honeybee colonies are disappearing at a rate of about 40% per year, which means that California beekeepers only have a quarter of the bees they need to pollinate their crops. Justin’s is actively working to save the bees, which will in turn help save our food supply and preserve life for both plants and animals.

Dr Bronner: A company we've used for years ourselves, their focus has always been on protecting the planet, supporting employees and sourcing fair trade. Their near zero-waste methods help fight climate change through organic growing practices. 

There are many more companies we can talk about! Some produce companies and farmers are moving agriculture indoors as vertical farming closer to cities to minimize the transportation affects of shipping in our food. Companies are finding ways to make meat made from plants that taste almost like the real thing but eliminating the impact of animal agriculture. Great things are being done in the way our food is made. What about our apparel? 
We are seeing a change in the way our clothing is made too. Smaller companies are leading the charge in making sure that their products are made in an ethical way, fair trade and chemical free. The way apparel has been made for decades has been horrendous, with Fast Fashion as large culprit. Chemical spraying on cotton and other materials has made workers sick and has ruined the health of entire communities. The way our products are manufactured to this day continue to be in factories where the individual making each item has horrible working conditions, no rights and very little pay. They has also been more and more reporting of violence and intimidation tactics used against garment workers. The grim reality of these working conditions have led to hundreds if not thousands of deaths. But things are slowly changing for the better. Smaller companies are prioritizing making products in an ethical way, with organic materials, safe work environments and fair pay. This in turn has improved communities where apparel is made. With these changes children can go to school and life is improving for the garment workers. There is still a long way to go to make this the "norm" and not just a niché specific practice in the clothing industry. But every time you support a company striving to work within those lines, you are helping to make it more wide spread and accessible.

When we started Wakened Apparel, we researched how fabrics are made and watched many documentaries like "The True Cost". We made the choice to use apparel sourced and made organically, ethically, fair trade, or here made in the USA. Our blankets are made from recycled U.S. apparel that has been discarded, which have beens shredded back down into fibers. Then hand woven and dyed by artisans who make a fair wage which in turns helps their communities. Our apparel is made from sustainable materials like organic hemp, bamboo, ad cotton. We aren't the only ones doing this though. Large companies like Patagonia, Reformation, Everlane, and more are bringing awareness to ethical fashion and helping to pave the way for others to do the same. Now more companies are deciding to give back and help better our world. All of this is happening because of you! Your support towards businesses like these, tells brands and companies what you want to see more of. At the end of the day a business will follow the money. 
Your dollar has the most power in bringing change. When you decide to purchase locally, organically, and purchase from companies with an ethical mission you are bringing change. That is how we can be sustainable on a person level. We can also do small things like ride our bike to work (if possible), use reusable containers, say no to disposable straws, avoid single-use plastics when possible. For some eating a lot less meat or cutting meat completely can do a lot to reduce your carbon footprint. I've made it a goal to grow as much of the food we eat as possible. I found it was more cost effective and better for the environment to grow what I eat.  You see, we do have the power to bring change. When we make a purchase, we are showing companies what we value and those companies are listening. Global sustainability starts with us. And we have more control than we know.