Be a responsible consumer and buy sustainable rainforest products. It CAN make a difference if the rainforest is to be saved from destruction. What really is sustainability? It is when the functions and processes of an ecosystem can be maintained (or sustained) while meeting the needs of the present and without compromising the needs of future generations. Most present economic models ignores environmental degradation when assessing profits. For an economy like ours in the U.S. whose growth and health is defined by the intensive exploitation of natural resources, we MUST integrate principles of sustainability if we are to survive.

As we promote products like those listed below, be aware that there is a limited amount which can be consumed. The concept of sustainability transcends the traditional rules of "supply and demand" as each ecosystem determines the ceiling of its productivity. Overconsumption is a driving force behind deforestation. The primary question for us must be, not which herbal supplement, ice cream, or candy should I buy, but, do I need to buy this?

There are many factors that must be taken into consideration. The first step is to support the land and resource rights and economies of indigenous peoples. These knowledgeable people have inhabited rainforests for millenia without destroying them. We need them to teach us how to use the forests without damaging them. There are medicines, foods and other unknown treasures that can be harvested without jeopardizing the future. Preserving indigenous cultures is key to saving the rainforest. Those from developed countries have much to learn from indigenous peoples in terms of our relationship with the Earth. By respecting and allowing them to lead the way towards a true, stable utilization of this bountiful resource, if they choose to utilize it in any commercial way at all, we have the potential of achieving true sustainability.

Being a responsible consumer is hard work. How can you tell if a product has been sustainably harvested? It is difficult. Ask questions. Find out where your purchases really come from. Where are your dollars really going? Who is benefitting from the profit? Is any of the profit returned to the indigenous people supplying rainforest products or raw materials? How much? Who receives the funds there? As a consumer, you are directly affecting the economy and ecology of the globe. You do have power - it's called purchasing power! Use it!

Thank you for your support!