New Paltz Turns Over A Green Leaf

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization battling the growing threat of environmental destruction. Its cause recently struck the hearts of many worldwide, including students of SUNY New Paltz.

Striving to “conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods,” the Rainforest Alliance has put a plan into effect, involving various practices and areas of societal life as a way of confronting the reality of deforestation.

“From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, we involve businesses and consumers worldwide to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace,” said Communications Assistant Diana Ortiz.

The key to ensuring a sustainable future for the environment, according to the Rainforest Alliance, is to link the businesses that thrive on environmentally destructive practices to the consumers who buy their goods.

The Rainforest Alliance attests that by raising awareness through the identification of goods with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and Rainforest Alliance Verified mark, businesses can flourish in the modern economy as well as help maintain sustainable practices.

Involvement in the campaign, however, does not strictly pertain to large, land-owning businesses and corporations. The Rainforest Alliance has made its voice heard across the New Paltz campus, asking for students to take part and be proactive in the cause.

There are numerous opportunities for student interested in participation of the movement. One suggested by the Rainforest Alliance is termed “Shop the Frog,” and it encourages consumers to look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal on products such as coffee, chocolate, tea and more. This seal is a symbolic statement that each product was designed in a sustainable manner.

Students are also encouraged to “bring the frog” to campus by coming together and asking the dining halls to choose Rainforest Alliance Certified products.

“If your cafés and dining halls do not provide Rainforest Alliance Certified products, tell them you want to see that change!” the Rainforest Alliance said on their website.

A second option, the Rainforest Alliance recommends is to “get social” by following @frogoncampus on Twitter and “liking” the Rainforest Alliance on Campus on Facebook. The organization believes the latest environmental news and tips for sustainable living will enable students to help spread the word.

Other opportunities for student involvement include organizing social gatherings and conferences to learn more about the importance of ecological preservation. Hosting a Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee tasting is one way of going about this.

“Coffee is more than just a morning pick-me-up,” Ortiz said. “Responsibly managed, Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms also help protect the environment, workers and communities.”

By choosing a product that features the Rainforest Alliance seal, those harvesting and manufacturing the goods are more inclined to adopt production methods that protect the environment and the well-being of workers and their communities, the Rainforest Alliance said. All of these methods come together to raise awareness and promote their cause.

“Students can make a difference,” Ortiz said. “As leaders of tomorrow, they can help pave the way for a more sustainable future by encouraging their campus community to take action in support of sustainability and asking for Rainforest Alliance Certified products to promote awareness for conservation efforts.”

More information on how to bring the environmental cause to campus can be found on the Rainforest Alliance website for necessary materials and information.