Issue 022 / Glitter, “Meat Taxes” & The Environmental Case Against Bitcoin (+ Tools for a More Mindful 2018)

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


As 2017 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to thank you — for subscribing, for reading, for sharing links that speak to you and starting dialogues that matter.

Since launching in February, the Reconsidered newsletter has shared 22 issues, 110 links and 117 jobs with a community of over 600 people who share in the belief that business can be a force for good.

And on the consulting side, I have had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen mission-driven organizations on projects I believe in. 

It is no understatement to say that 2017 has been a big year. Turbulent forces are reshaping the world as we know it, and at times it can be overwhelming.

But at other times, the upswell in citizen engagement has given me reason to celebrate. And to hope. And to believe in the power that we as individuals have to spark the change we wish to see in the world.

Let's see what 2018 has in store for us — and let's stand ready to do our part and create impact that is positive.

Wishing you and your families a restful and regenerative holiday season,
Jess


This Week's Five Links

This Moment Isn’t (Just) About Sex. It’s Really About Work.New York Magazine
Rebecca Traister argues that the #MeToo movement is as much about work as it is about sex — and the prevailing professional and political systems that subjugate women. The CSR questions then become: How can companies combat this type of deep-rooted systemic inequality? Do diversity and inclusion initiatives go far enough?

The Environmental Case Against BitcoinNew Republic
Bitcoin — the most popular cryptocurrency on the planet — requires a significant amount of cheap energy to mine and trade. Annual energy consumption is currently on par with the entire country of Morocco, and it’s only expected to grow. This article provides a strong overview of how Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology works, as well as insight into how its environmental footprint might be reduced.

Here Comes the Meat TaxThe Atlantic
The average U.S. citizen consumes more than 200 pounds of meat per year — more than twice the global average. This has disastrous consequences for both the environment (animal agriculture has a high greenhouse gas footprint and requires significant space and water) as well as public health (high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat contribute to heart disease, one of America’s biggest killers). Could a “meat tax” help nudge consumers to consume less? 

Recycling Chaos In U.S. As China Bans 'Foreign Waste’NPR
The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half of that goes to China. But now, China has announced that it will not accept foreign waste that contains “dirty” or “hazardous” non-recyclable materials (like, ahem, what the U.S. is sending them). Since most U.S. municipalities don’t yet have the technology or manpower for efficient sorting, this is expected to result in significantly more recyclable trash going to landfill — and hopefully, more urgency around circular economy solutions.
 
Walmart Will Let Its 1.4 Million Workers Take Their Pay Before PaydayThe New York Times
Last week, Walmart launched a new app allowing employees to access wages between pay periods — a social initiative intended to help financially-strained employees avoid costly debt traps. But instead of being celebrated, labor groups highlighted that Walmart’s low wages and unpredictable schedules are significant contributors to the financial hardships faced by employees. They argue that the best investment Walmart could make is not in a new app, but in increasing pay. 


This isn’t about your New Year’s celebration. It’s about humanity, and our ability to survive as a species.
— Researcher Sherri A. Mason in “All That Glitter? It’s Not Good, Critics Say” (The New York Times)

Tools For A More Mindful 2018

One of the most meaningful projects of the past year was getting the chance to work closely with my husband Dave and brother-in-law Mike on rebuilding the strategy for Holstee, a company fully focused on helping conscious people (like you!) along a journey to live more fully and mindfully. Building on the values shared in their iconic Holstee Manifesto, we enhanced their monthly Holstee Membership around 12 mindful themes like Intention and Gratitude and Creativity. In the chaos of this year, these themes have kept me centered, reminding me of what’s important and serving as a framework while I explore what mindful living means to me. This has been a true gift. And with the holidays approaching, it might be one to consider giving to yourself or to the people you care most about! Use coupon code RECONSIDERED for your first month free. 


Spotlight: Glitter

glitter.gif

It’s festive, it’s shiny — and as a microplastic, scientists say it is causing irreparable harm to the world’s oceans and aquatic life. Last month, a handful of scientists raised a furor by proposing a ban on glitter, following on successful bans on microbeads (those little plastic exfoliators) in the U.K. and U.S. There was a swift backlash, with some calling the ban pointless and others decrying the scientists as the “fun police”. In a year so relentlessly filled with bad news, a glitter ban feels like the last straw.

But plastic glitter is a small part of the much bigger problem of micro-pollution in the world’s oceans. BioGlitz founder Saba Gray breaks it down in a recent Racked article:

“Regular glitter is polyester, so when it goes down the drain, it breaks down into even smaller pieces of plastic. Then it goes into our waterways, and our oceans are getting this tiny, tiny coating of plastic that’s insulating it ... [it] gets digested by micro-organisms, by fish, all of it. And that becomes our food, that becomes our water.”

It's a good thing plant-based alternatives like BioGlitz and Bio-glitter are coming onto the marketplace and gaining traction — so a ban on plastic glitter doesn’t have to mean the end of sparkle and celebration and happy childhoods. ✨



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