All Creatures Great and Small: What You Can Do to Protect Earth’s Species
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘environmentalism’? A movement to protect our planet’s natural resources, perhaps. You may think about the need to clean up the plastic that is polluting the oceans and to preserve the world’s few remaining wild places. Maybe the race against climate change comes to mind when you consider the extreme weather, wildfires, and cataclysmic flooding that are becoming commonplace.
What you may not think about immediately is that all these environmental issues are related to habitats. And that the animals and plants that live in these places are already suffering intensely due to the destruction of their ecosystems. All creatures great and small need our protection, and not just the pretty birds and cute monkeys in faraway places. The decimation of any little tiny organism affects everything up the food chain. That’s why habitat protection is about much more than keeping natural places beautiful for humans to enjoy. It’s why environmentalism isn’t just about recycling and clean-up. It’s also about preventing the further pollution of the Earth’s air, land, and seas and the protection of all species.
Who are Environmentalists?
So what does an environmentalist look like? Is it someone picking trash off the beach or standing between the heritage trees and the bulldozer? It is those things but it’s also a lot more. It’s people working at non-profits and in the halls of government trying to influence political solutions. It’s also the good (but sadly few and far between) businesses that are choosing to prioritise the ecological manufacture and distribution of their products even when it’s the more difficult and less profitable route. But activists and responsible corporations can only do so much. The support of citizens and consumers for better regulation and more ethical business models is crucial. And who are the citizens and consumers? That’s you and me, friend. Each individual person living in the industrialised world is a part of the solution. Every person needs to begin to identify as an environmentalist.
Are you going to buy a plastic water bottle today and then throw it in the trash, for instance? Think about every bit of money that may soon leave your wallet: a cup of coffee on the way to work, a lunch eaten at your desk, a new spring outfit winging its way to your doorstep. Each of those consumer choices presents an opportunity to avoid waste and to only do business with companies that do the same.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
As yogis, we’re primed to embrace the role of environmentalists. We’ve come to realise that our actions create ripples that have far-reaching effects. The practice of yoga emphasises the interconnectivity of all living things, as exemplified in the popular mantra lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, which means ‘may all beings everywhere be happy and free’. While this is a lovely sentiment to send out into the world, it’s also a call to action. All beings everywhere are not going to make it unless we humans are actively involved in ensuring their survival. Each individual has the opportunity to make choices every day that impact the present and future happiness of many species beyond homo sapiens. Yoga businesses have a special obligation to meet the ethical standards prescribed by our practice.
Early in Liforme’s history, we realised environmentalism was one of the cornerstones of our company; one of our main purposes for being in business. That commitment has guided everything we do, from materials to manufacture to distribution to packaging to our charity initiatives. This has meant that we’ve had to innovate at every step of the process and cut our own path rather than follow the easier, more established ways. It’s not been easy but we wouldn’t have it any other way because it means that we can stand behind our mats without trying to hide anything.
We’ve used materials that are renewable (rubber) and biodegradable (our proprietary polyurethane). We developed a way to heat bond our mats’ layers to avoid harmful chemical adhesives. We never use unnecessary, harmful plastic in any of our packaging. We partner with environmental charities like Friends of the Earth to support their global initiatives. We want to make sure that when you stand on our mat, you know what we stand for.
No pressure, but now it all comes down to you. Yogis must lead the way, starting with cleaning our own houses. Every time you open your wallet, you have the opportunity to choose to be an environmentalist. Do it for all creatures great and small.