Written by Steve Nicholson, Director of Sustainability, Solaris Paper

Wealth. It’s something we’re all meant to strive for and something that’s constantly placed at the forefront of our minds, through music, movies and the many ‘get rich quick’ schemes that seemingly always make their way onto our news feeds. Regardless of if we want to live materialistic lifestyles or not, we are told to aspire to becoming wealthy as it creates the opportunity for financial freedom, and ultimately a more enriched lifestyle.  It may not seem it at first glance, but wealth encompasses so much more than monetary gains. Wealth applies to all aspects of life through physical, mental and environmental wealth, just to name a few.  

As we all know that there are many benefits obtained through the environment and our natural surroundings, this would not be the first thing we say if someone was to ask about wealth. For example, we know there are many benefits that come from the trees and further, forests, within our environments, ranging from clean air to easing mental and health conditions including depression and asthma.

As trees put oxygen back into the atmosphere, in turn allowing us to breath cleaner air, it is important that we assess the impacts our actions have on the environment, to see a wealthier future for many generations to come.

With deforestation currently the second leading cause of climate change[1], it is vital that as consumers, we make changes to our purchasing habits to support organisations who are certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Using products that are PEFC certified will help you to play your part in ensuring that forests are protected by minimising the rapidly increasing reduction of natural landscapes that we currently take for granted. This environmental wealth is just as, if not more, important as protecting our bodies or saving money. To put it bluntly, deforestation is equivalent to the sugars and processed foods that we put into our bodies and to reverse the damage, we need to contribute to sustainable forestry plans and recycle wherever possible.

We are extremely fortunate to share natural habitats that spread across regions and continents. Making a conscious effort to preserve habitats and live more sustainable lives now will allow future generations to continue to live wealthy lifestyles. We are all wealthy in our very own way, if you are celebrating with your family and friends, and living a healthy lifestyle, just remember that you are wealthier than you think this festive season.

[1] https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/reforestation/deforestation-climate-change/

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