Every decision impacts the Earth, especially when it comes to personal products.
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Garnier Beauty Responsibly

Did you know that every time you buy something, you can make a big difference to the planet?

It's true. Just ask Brad Kahn.

He is the director of communications at the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit that works tirelessly to promote responsible management of the world's forests, so he knows quite a bit about protecting the Earth. And part of it, he says, is making good choices in the store.


Any time you make a purchase, he says, "you're actually making a decision about the environment."

"I think people don't really realize how pervasive forest products are. Virtually every business on Earth uses forest products in one way or another," he continues.

[rebelmouse-image 19397922 dam="1" original_size="2500x1667" caption="Image via Anton Darius/Unsplash." expand=1]Image via Anton Darius/Unsplash.

The good news is, it isn't hard to make smart choices for the environment.

It just starts by choosing products from companies that are working to do good.

L'Oréal, for instance, has a global program dedicated to integrating sustainability into all areas of their business.

For example, all of L'Oréal's U.S. facilities incorporate 100% renewable electricity — and they will be carbon neutral by 2019.  

Solar panels in use for Garnier manufacturing. Image via L'Oréal USA.

And that's not all.

Danielle Azoulay, head of corporate social responsibility and sustainability for L'Oréal USA, says that the company's size is part of what makes their environmental efforts so important.

"At L'Oréal, we take a holistic approach to sustainability. From carbon emissions reductions to water stewardship in our factories, we're working to improve our environmental footprint across the company, every day," she writes.

"We've been focusing on light-weighting and integrating recycled materials into our packaging," she continues, "and [we] continue to encourage our consumers to recycle products once they're done using them."

"As the largest beauty company in the U.S. and the world, when we apply these changes across our brand portfolio, we have the opportunity to make an enormous positive impact on our communities, translating to big wins for the planet," she explains.

Image by Steven Rowe, used with permission.

It also helps that organizations like the FSC help shoppers easily identify these sustainably packaged products from brands — like Garnier — that are committed to reducing their harmful impact on the planet. All you have to do is glance at a product's packaging, and if you see an FSC logo — which usually shows up on the back — you'll know it's certified as forest-friendly.

When it comes to the beauty industry in particular, doing the right thing is important.

Industry organizations and media point to data briefings from market researcher Euromonitor that indicate the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year.

That's why, for their boxes of hair color and skin-care products, Garnier, a brand in L'Oréal's portfolio, uses all FSC-certified paper. It's one of many strategies — along with similar thought given to plastics, glass, and energy use — that the brand uses to reach their sustainability goals.

Image by Steven Rowe, used with permission.

That means, for example, that someone looking for a bright new look could buy shampoo that comes in recycled plastic and hair color in sustainably-sourced cardboard.

You're also keeping those bottles out of landfills. In 2014, Americans discarded about 33.6 million tons of plastic — a number that we can all impact by making smart choices, backing the brands that are committed to doing better. For example, all of Garnier's shampoo and conditioner bottles are made of recyclable PET plastic.

Photo via L'Oréal USA.

Looking out for packaging with sustainable materials is a simple shift that doesn't force you to compromise your beauty and personal care needs.

You still get to stick with the routine that's best for your hair and skin — and feel even better by making smarter choices for the planet, too.

To put it in perspective, Kahn says:

"There is no chance of life on Earth without healthy forest ecosystems. I don't think that's an exaggeration because forests provide much of the air we breathe, something like two-thirds of the water that we drink, the carbon storage to have a stable atmosphere. … We really rely on forests every day."

Image via iStock.

So when you've seen the FSC logo on your packaging, and you know your shampoo bottle is made from recycled plastics, feel free to sing your heart out with that shampoo bottle in the shower — as one of our planet's heroes, you've earned that joy.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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New law in Spain classifies animals as ‘sentient beings’

At some point, every pet owner has wondered what their animals were thinking. If you’ve ever stared into a dog or cat’s eyes, you’ve certainly seen a spectrum of emotions and thoughts reflected back to you: love, anger, trust, curiosity, playfulness and so on. Skeptics say attached animal owners are simply projecting human traits onto creatures that still exist purely on a primal level, free of the consciousness that supposedly makes human beings unique.

But a new law in Spain challenges that assumption with real weight behind it, labeling all animals, including wild ones, as sentient beings.

According to El Pais: “From now on, animals will be treated as “sentient beings,” and as such will have a different legal standing than an inanimate object. They will no longer be able to be seized, abandoned, mistreated or separated from one of their owners in the case of a divorce or separation, without having their wellbeing and protection taken into account.”

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