Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

There's a lot going on behind that little green frog you might have seen.

Let's meet Adrien, a cocoa farmer who is a member of a Rainforest Alliance Certified cooperative in Ivory Coast, Africa.

He's a true pioneer of sustainability who farms in a way that protects the land for generations to come.

And he's pretty delightful.


Did you know paying attention to a little frog logo could help farmers like Adrien?

On some things you might buy at the market, there is this little frog logo.

Just what is behind that?

It means the product uses ingredients sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means the farm uses methods that are good for the forest, soil, streams, and rivers — as well as for farmers, their families, and their communities. I spoke with the Rainforest Alliance to get more details.

"Rainforest Alliance certification ensures that farmers have access to housing, medical care, personal safety equipment and clean, potable water. It also promotes decent wages, educational opportunities for their children, and technical assistance to keep farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable farming practices."
— Tensie Whelan, Rainforest Alliance

It helps farmers like Adrien (above and the video below) grow sustainably and successfully. GIF via Rainforest Alliance.

The non-governmental organization started in the 1980s, and now 13.6% of all the world's cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified as well as just over 5% of the world's coffee and several other products grown in critically important ecosystems, such as tea and bananas.

I looked, and chocolate and coffee that are Rainforest Alliance Certified are a bit more expensive. Why spend a few extra dimes on that chocolate versus the commercial brands?

Again, Tensie has the answer:

"When consumers choose to spend their money on certified products, it directly benefits the farmers who produced the crops. They enjoy better working conditions and a higher standard of life. Money is also reinvested in communities and schools, planting positive seeds of sustainability training and education for generations to come."

(Also, I checked, and much — if not all — is organic. That's worth a bit extra for me.)

In addition to that, though, some major companies use certified cocoa in their products, including some of the premium chocolates offered by Dove and Hershey's in the United States and Côte d'Or, Marabou, and Suchard internationally.

One last thing, though. You're wondering (at least, I hope you are!) which chocolate or coffee and such you can buy when you want to get Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Some links for you: chocolate and coffee. You're welcome!

Heroes
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular