Issue 007 / Conscious Travel, Activist Artwork and How Walmart Tricks People into Saving Money

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

How to Trick People into Saving MoneyThe Atlantic
A fascinating look at how Walmart uses behavioral economics — and lessons from the lottery industry — to convince users of its prepaid MoneyCard to build up their savings. The program targets the nearly 67 million low and middle-income Americans who are “unbanked” or “underbanked" and helps them not only save money but also access a financial ecosystem they were previously crowded out from.

My Dream Job’s Uniform Turned Into A Health NightmareGOOD
A flight attendant shares how donning a new uniform led to a range of health problems — from thyroid issues to anxiety to a cough that wouldn’t go away. She claims that thousands of her colleagues have had similar reactions to airline uniforms, which are often coated with special chemicals to make them more stain-resistant and wrinkle-free.

Where There’s a Wall There’s a Way: Artists Take Aim at Sumatra’s Palm Oil IndustryThe Guardian
A group of international artists led by Ernest Zacharevic recently launched Splash and Burn, a collective artistic response to the global palm oil industry. Through a series of public art projects on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Zacharevic hopes to start a dialogue around deforestation, the displacement of wildlife and other issues connected to palm oil.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the WorldUnited Nations
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are big, audacious and seemingly unattainable. But rather than shy away from the challenge, the UN encourages you to take action! They argue that everyone — even the most indifferent, laziest person — has a role to play and outline a few simple ways to take action.

Why Your ‘Organic' Milk May Not Be OrganicThe Washington Post
This investigative report exposes how deep flaws in the certification process for USDA Organic milk make it possible for producers to bypass regulations on grazing and grass-feeding. 

“Where can you do good work? The answer is so obvious as to be painful. Right where you stand. That’s where you do good work.”
— Designer and author Mike Monteiro in “Ethics Can’t Be a Side Hustle,” an open letter to designers that’s just as applicable to the rest of us. 

Spotlight: Traveling Consciously

Few things bring me greater joy than traveling. But with adventures come impacts, not least the high carbon footprint of airplane transport. To mitigate these impacts, I’ve started making some shifts over the years. Here are some changes you can consider:

  • Travel with less. Not only does this save fuel on flights, but it also makes it easier to choose less impactful transport options when you're on the ground, whether that’s walking, hopping on the bus or taking a train. 
  • Spend locally. By supporting locally-owned hotels, restaurants and shops, you ensure that the money you’re spending stays in the community — crucially important when you’re traveling in less-developed countries.
  • Avoid short flights. Airplanes use a lot of fuel when they take off and land, giving short flights a proportionately higher carbon footprint than longer-haul journeys.
  • Consider taking an impact trip — but make sure to do your research. With the growth of “voluntourism” has come many projects that are run poorly and can actually harm the communities they aim to help. One outfit worth exploring is Journey, an impact travel company run by a former non-profit executive. 

Happy trails!

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!