We celebrate Earth Day to speak awareness across the globe, but it is the collective of our individual connectedness to our planet that has the power to create change. In honor of this Earth Day, the team at Global Imprint sat down and had a chat with some people and brands creating change. Here are a collection of their stories giving us hope this Earth Day.
JuneShine Hard Kombucha brews organic hard kombucha with a completely organic supply chain and produces canned cocktails with all organic ingredients except the spirit itself. Founded in 2018, JuneShine has made an impact on the city of San Diego’s clean compost program, joined 1% for the planet and is helping restore Giant Kelp Forests off Palos Verdes by purchasing carbon credits. While the brand name and story elicit sunny visuals of friends sharing drinks on a trendy rooftop, there is a lot more going on behind that pretty, painted can according to Head Brewer and Sustainability Lead, Luke Suttmiller. “We put a lot of effort into improving how we manage resources and impact the environment. Being an environmentally friendly company is not glamorous. It’s getting your hands dirty, and putting real effort into better waste prevention and improving people’s waste mentality,” explained Suttmiller. “We have a highly motivated staff sorting and cleaning our waste. Many recycled materials are not recycled due to a lack of understanding and poor separation. To ensure recyclable materials were indeed recycled, we created our own on-site waste separation program to sort and bale our own recyclables.” The program gained popularity, and JuneShine began working with other local breweries creating the San Diego Brewcycling Collaborative where each brewery uses their own labor to properly sort and transport waste to JuneShine for baling to divert waste from landfills. “There is strength in numbers. We are all competitors, but we are working together to be better stewards for the planet.” JuneShine is also working to remove plastic from their supply chain, reclaim CO2 emitted during the fermentation process and researching means to offset their carbon footprint through alternative practices instead of only buying carbon credits. “It all sounds big, but if you are willing to play small and keep progressing, we can create real change working collectively.”
Chad Brown wears more hats than we can mention, and is an environmental justice advocate, veteran, adventure photographer and cinematographer for chadocreative.com, and the founder of Soul River Inc, as well as Love is King. Soul River Inc, is a nonprofit connecting veterans as mentors and inner-city youth outdoors, forging strong connections between the next generation and our natural world. The hope is to inspire a generation of leaders that are guardians, teachers and environmental advocates for the outdoors in whatever industry or place of service they eventually land. “Spending time in our rivers, trekking forested trails, and witnessing a bald eagle or elk in its habitat is healing,” said Brown. “Connecting with nature is a powerful outlet to reduce stress, find focus, and develop positive values.” Brown went on to explain that connectedness is also incredibly beneficial to our community and the reason for founding Love is King, an organization creating safe spaces in the outdoors to explore and create memories without hate and aggression while providing the opportunity for BIPOC leaders to step into the realm of public land and freshwater conservation efforts. “BIPOC voices have historically not been invited to government spaces where decisions were made about land, wildlife and indigenous conservation policies. Love is King takes BIPOC Leaders to environmentally threatened and fragile areas to learn the threats the land is facing, meet with members of indigenous communities and various government and local stakeholders living there. Participants become environmental warriors of this land ready to protect it and advocate for it. We are disrupting a historical system with education and experience in the outdoors.”
Cimarron Anderson is at her best outdoors, and has built her life and livelihood around her innate need to be outside. “Connecting people physically, mentally and emotionally to ecosystems is what I love doing. We are so removed from nature and the natural cycle of our world we look at it as a place to visit rather than something we are part of.” Anderson is a professional adventure guide, van dweller, yoga and wellness expert with a wildlife biology and environmental studies background. She gives back to the planet by being a conduit for people to build confidence and connectedness in the outdoors. “People sleeping in tents on purpose is a luxury. I enjoy watching people grow and transition throughout their adventure. The first night can be a challenge, but it’s amazing to coach and facilitate these experiences outdoors. When people realize how little they need to be comfortable in wild places, their confidence builds, and they begin to enjoy disconnecting from the environments to which they have grown accustomed.” Anderson went on to explain that these experiences become sacred. “Someone might not care about building a highway through a wetland because it shaves 30 minutes off their commute, but when they become connected to the birds that need it for survival, they may vote differently. Real change has to come through personal connection. When we realize we are a part of this bigger ecosystem rather than visitors at a zoo, we behave differently. We weren’t meant to spend all our time in climate-controlled boxes. Walking places, going to green spaces even walking your dog around the block changes our brains. It’s good for the planet, and it’s good for our mental health.” Anderson also had encouraging comments for organizations overwhelmed by sustainability terms and trends. “Even animals use resources. The wolf is not bad for killing and eating the elk. We all want to have a negative carbon footprint, but if we all had a negative carbon footprint, then we wouldn’t exist. It’s about being mindful good stewards of our environment and its resources.”
HOPE Prints is a new digital photo retail company committed to plastic-free packaging and shifting how the photo retail industry looks at single use plastic bags. “Almost every other photo product ships individually in a poly plastic bag, but it isn’t necessary,” said Jessica Hauck, HOPE Prints CX Director. “Our products ship in plain, recycled paper because we hope to change the industry.” A lofty goal for a new brand. “If every photo retail company committed to eliminating single use plastic bags, we could eliminate millions of plastic bags from our oceans and landfills.” Hauck went on to explain that HOPE Prints are all printed and shipped together in one location rather than sourced from multiple locations and shipped individually. “It may seem small, but we believe grassroots efforts make tremendous impacts on communities, and that is our goal. Small acts grow to create big change.” HOPE Prints offers recycled plastic refillable photo tiles that allow customers to change their tiles without throwing them away and purchasing new. “Photo tiles are a popular trend, but kids grow up, our tastes and aesthetics change. It isn’t convenient to store tiles under your bed. “Many aren’t recyclable and if thrown away, they end up in landfills. HOPE Prints + refillable tiles allow you to slide new photos into the old tile or ultimately separate the frame from the photo and recycle it. “It’s more economical, and friendlier to our planet.”