Superheroes are more popular than ever! Marvel and DC have been extraordinarily successful in capturing the imagination of millions of people all over the world, as their heroes conquer baddies from across the universe. But in reality, some of the biggest threats to our existence on this planet are not aliens, or mega-rich sociopaths, but things that are much less glamourous, such as plastic waste and chemicals leaching into rivers and lakes.
While we gather round the TV watching these superheroes at work, the issues much closer to home go unnoticed, ignored in favour of economic growth and materialistic gains. The truth is that we don’t need any superpowers to protect the planet, just the determination to leave the planet in a better state than when we found it!
The great thing is that every single person has the power to make changes and decisions that can determine the future of Earth. That is an empowering thought – the average bystander in a superhero movie certainly never has the ability to change the narrative, but in reality we can all play our part in preventing the deterioration of our home planet! Here, we explore 3 ways that everyday people can help to save the world!
1) Buy sustainably produced food – chemical-free, energy-efficient, pesticide-free
One of the best ways of making your opinions about the environment known is by driving up demand for sustainably produced food, and avoiding buying food grown with pesticides that destroy biodiversity, chemicals that harm the environment, or with poor animal welfare standards that lead to unsafe food and increased infection rates, requiring excess antibiotic usage that leads to antibiotic resistance.
Increasingly, supermarkets are listening to customer feedback and giving us more options and information about the food we buy, which is great! The more consumers know about where food comes from and how it has been produced, the more empowered we are to make decisions about what we want to consciously support.
One of the things I personally have been trying to be conscious of is where fruit and vegetables come from – I try to buy food that is in season in the UK, and avoid buying produce that has travelled from halfway across the world where possible. The greenhouse gas emissions that result from transport of food massively increases the food’s carbon footprint, so it’s really good to bear this in mind when faced with the decision of buying locally grown produce or produce from hundreds of miles away!
Vitabeam supports the sustainable production of food by reducing the usage of pesticides through its pathogen-killing, energy-efficient technology, using safe, non-UV light to keep produce clean and healthy.
2) Embrace technology to enhance sustainability – reducing food waste before it reaches the supermarket shelves
We are very lucky to be living in an age when technology that can do incredible things is at our fingertips. Many companies have developed technology that has made the process of getting food to our plates faster, smoother, and more efficient.
Vitabeam is one of these companies; Vitabeam’s technology, when adopted throughout the food chain all over the world, has the potential to revolutionise the supply chain, minimising waste by keeping it clean and fresh for longer. For example, all over the world perfectly good food goes to waste before it can reach supermarket shelves, never mind our plates. Demand from supermarkets for food varies constantly depending on what customers buy, meaning that suppliers sometimes produce more food than they can sell to shops. The least expensive solution is often to burn the excess food – a solution that is devastating for the planet, and horrifying considering how many people face hunger and starvation daily. Vitabeam can change that, keeping food fresh, clean, and safe for long enough that it can be stored until the demand from shops returns, reducing the amount that goes to waste!
3) Reduce household waste – reduce, reuse, recycle, but products with less packaging, or with recyclable packaging
Often we compare similar items in the supermarket for nutritional value, price, or even whether we’re familiar with the brand. How often do you think about the packaging the food comes in, and what you’re going to do with it once you’ve used the contents?
Increasingly, food brands are pouring money into finding more sustainable packaging options – a great move in the right direction! But more brands will only follow if it makes sense economically. Essentially, if more consumers choose the product with more sustainable packaging over another product, brands will see that it is beneficial to them to follow suit. We really do have this much power!
Plastic is a material widely used due to its waterproof and durable properties that mean it is good for protecting produce, however a lot of plastic packaging is not recyclable, and ends up in landfill, where it takes decades to break down, often into microplastics that find their way into waterways, and eventually into our own food chain via fish and other seafood. Vitabeam aims to reduce the need for plastic packaging by using light to keep produce clean and safe from farm to fork.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there (in a socially distanced manner) and make decisions that help to save the world!