Palm oil and purpose-led design in the age of Coronavirus

Treana Peake in Amedichi, South Sudan. Source: Obakki (Used with permission)

Conscious consumerism is the practice of making purchasing decisions driven with the intent of generating a positive social, or environmental impact. While everyone agrees this behavior is worthwhile, it often becomes more of a slogan than a reality. Few put in the effort to build brands defined by conscious consumerism, particularly since it means going against the grain of standard business practices.

Treana Peake is a Vancouver-based designer and philanthropist. She founded the purpose-led lifestyle brand Obakki in 2005, which sells sustainable artisan-crafted housewares from around the world. Shortly afterward, she founded the philanthropic Obakki Foundation, which has given her…


Doing business while staying authentic to your mission

Photo Credit: GOT BAG (Used with permission)

Environmentally-friendly consumer goods is a rapidly growing trend. Some estimates project that the global market could be as large as 150 billion USD by the end of 2021. New businesses seem to be popping up every day, offering novel products with green materials. While this quickly evolving landscape is exciting, it is difficult to tell what the experience is like inside these companies. What is it like to steer the ship of a sustainable start-up?

At the close of 2020, I had a chance to talk with Matthias Paisdzior, Head of GOT BAG North America. GOT BAG is a German…


Environmentally friendly gift ideas for anyone on your Christmas list

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

Christmas is coming up fast, so it is time to start our holiday shopping! If you are like me, gifting can feel a bit strange. It’s fun to spoil our family and friends, but you feel guilty about the environmental costs, the waste, and the plastic. Luckily, there are more and more businesses selling products that are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly!

But where to start?

With so many options, it can be frustrating to find the right gift. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of great sites that offer wonderful eco-friendly gifts for reasonable prices. …


Not only are the polls wrong, the pollsters don’t know how to fix them

Photo from Clay Banks

The 2020 election had two clear losers: Donald Trump and polling.

Analysts had predicted a possible Biden landslide, but immediately after voting ended it became clear that the election was tight. Pundits and journalists scrambled to explain what was taking place, while some Democrats panicked at the possibility of a 2016 repeat. It felt awful. Over the coming days, Biden was able to pull ahead in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan thanks to absentee ballots. Democrats are happy to win, but there is an obvious question: what happened? Why were the polls so off?

Polling got slammed after the 2016 election…


Election 2020 has once again proven that I am right

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

Vote counting may not be finished, but we know one thing for sure: I was right all along. It is still too soon to make broad statements or predictions, but it is clearly time for everyone to accept what I was saying before the election. That is the real take-away.

In fact, if we go back to the primary, it was obvious that my views were correct. I said that the electorate largely agreed with me, and that is clearly born out in the results from Tuesday. There was some contradictory evidence I admit, but it was obvious that you…


Learning to create high-quality evergreen explanatory content from “Charting a Coronavirus Infection” by Dr. Katherine Wu and Jonathan Corum

Source: New York Times and Dr. Katherine Wu’s Twitter

This article is part of the WordStack newsletter.

2020 has been terrible, but one of the few silver-linings has been a steady output of high-quality science journalism. Whether it is mask-wearing, vaccine development, public health policy, outbreaks in meatpacking plants, or therapeutics, science journalists have been reporting every angle of Covid-19. Covering such a sprawling and quickly evolving topic is incredibly challenging, but an impressive contingent of writers have risen to the task.

Of the science journalism we have seen during the pandemic, perhaps the most important has been the explainers. “Explanatory journalism” may sound like a truism, but this…


Down ballot races that are the frontier of climate legislation

Sources: Monica Tranel site, DeAndrea Salvador’s site, and Yassamin Ansari’s site.

With the U.S. election just one week away, climate activists across the world are thinking about the presidential election. Donald Trump has been a historically awful president for a multitude of reasons, but his most lasting legacy will be his inaction on climate change. While there are reasons to be lukewarm about Biden, there is no question his planned legislation for the environment is far far better than Trump’s.

But the presidential race is only part of the story.

For ambitious climate legislation to be enacted, we need officials at all levels of government who are fighting for the environment…


Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bold authenticity is the future of politics

Source: Steam and Wikimedia Commons

On the evening of October 20, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streamed the game Among Us for about 3 hours on her Twitch channel to an audience of just under half a million people. She was joined by a variety of high-profile Twitch streamers and YouTubers, including Myth, Pokimane, Hasanabi, HBomberguy, and Corpse, as well as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and her daughter Isra.

It was a delight. I watched the entire stream. There were some hilarious moments, surprising twists, and just the right amount of politics.

AOC’s stream simply a masterclass in reaching out to young voters. Though this was her…


How to tell the difference between sustainable products and marketing gimmicks

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Being an ecologically conscious consumer is tough. It feels like there is an endless list of brands we need to avoid, or questions we need to ask. Luckily, there are more environmentally friendly products than ever before. The market for sustainable goods is expected to be about $150 billion by the end of 2021, up from $107 billion in 2014. While there is still a long way to go, it is extremely exciting to see so many businesses working to develop sustainable and low-emissions products.

Unfortunately, not all eco-friendly products are the same. Many companies will advertise products in a…


“I’m not a scientist” is not an excuse for a Supreme Court Justice.

Sources Agustín Lautaro on Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

When the topic of climate change comes up, you often hear conservatives use a bizarre defence: “I’m not an expert” or “I’m not a scientist.” This rhetorical move may seem innocent, but it is revealing of a specific form of climate denialism.

Yesterday, this came up in the confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, who is a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Sen. Kennedy: Do you have some opinions on climate change that you’ve thought about?

Barrett: I’m certainly not a scientist.

Sen. Kennedy: I’m not saying you are.

Barrett: I have read things about…

Jesse Harris

Scientist / Writer / Environmentalist ~ I would love to work with you. Learn more about me: https://jesse-harris.ca/

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