Your coconut water may be doing a lot more for the world than you realize.

Did you ever stop and think about the awesome, transformative power of the coconut?

Not only does it have seemingly endless uses, but each one has the ability to make our day a little bit better.

The inside of a fresh coconut. All photos via Kroger.


Its juice revitalizes us when we're depleted, its oil is great for cooking and making our skin silky smooth, and its meat makes a delicious, healthy snack.

Those are just some of the ways coconuts do right by the people who buy its byproducts. But coconut consumers aren't the only ones singing praises to the coconut — to the people who harvest them in the far-reaching corners of the world, coconuts can truly be life-saving.

And we're not just talking about any old coconuts — we're talking about Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Coconuts.

In order to understand what that means, let's journey to the 7,100 fecund isles of the Philippines.  

Just a few of the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines.

Many of these islands are volcanic, which means they're home to a specific assortment of natural minerals. Couple that with abundant salt from the ocean and warm, moist air, and you have prime territory to grow the best coconuts.

It's no surprise the organic brand Simple Truth® has decided to source coconuts from The Philippines to make a variety of products; everything from lip balm to coconut oil and water.

But their reason for choosing this particular locale goes much deeper than ideal growing conditions. The Philippines is also home to one of the major hubs of Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit that has made it a mission to support and give back to the farming communities it works with.

These small-scale farmers can often get lost in the shuffle of the world trade market. Fairtrade works to empower them, their families and their communities all while promoting environmental sustainability.

Considering all that, it's fitting that the coconut tree symbolizes the Tree of Life in the Philippines — because that's exactly what it sustains.

A coconut tree farmer picking coconuts in the Philippines.

As such, Fairtrade is sort of like the fertilizer that keep those trees healthy and plentiful.

"The meaning of Fairtrade for us is equity in trade, rich and poor, because everybody benefits," says Sherley De Guzman, a local Fairtrade member in the Philippines.

Economically speaking, Fair Trade helps level the playing field for smaller farmers by giving them a boost in the trade markets, helping them negotiate better prices for their products, and advocating for better agricultural techniques.

Then, of course, there's the social impact — Fairtrade bolsters these farming communities by improving their housing, medical care, and educational resources.

The coconut's looking pretty mighty right now, huh?

It’s nice to know that when you buy Fair Trade Certified products, you're not only helping these farmers, you're helping to keep the planet healthy, too.

Remember how many uses the coconut fruit has? Well that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"Almost every single piece of the coconut tree and the coconut are used in different things. It's truly a zero-waste plant," explains Jessica Custer, Fair Trade USA senior supply chain manager.

And when distributors like Kroger stock their shelves with Fair Trade Certified products, like Simple Truth Coconut Water, they're supporting sustainability at its most impactful level.

So the next time you're eyeing a coconut water in the store, remember: The brand you buy really does matter to the land it came from and the people who made it.

Enjoying the coconut is good for you on so many levels — why not return the favor to the people who make that possible?

It's just one more thing we can add to the long list of super powers this fruit possesses. Since the coconut came from the Tree of Life, it's only fitting that we should return the favor.

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Kroger (Earth Day)

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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