We can't heal ourselves without healing our home planet.
Since we opened in Louisville last year, Turtle Tree has set aside 1% of our total sales to give back to the Earth. Today, we are proud to announce our partnership with the global non-profit, 1% for the Planet®.
1% for the Planet is an environmental business alliance created by Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia) and Craig Matthews (Blue Ribbon Flies) in 2002 to encourage businesses to protect the natural environment and donate 1% of their total sales to organizations making significant, positive environmental impact.
We've chosen to partner for two big reasons: 1.) An allied approach to something as significant as the climate crisis is much more likely to succeed than a fragmented one, and 2.) Turtle Tree, in its essence, is about realizing that each of us is a part of something bigger. Joining with 1% for the Planet helps us do that.
Continue reading below the next video to discover the specific focus of Turtle Tree's 1% for the Planet contribution as well as two additional commitments we make to the planet.
Turtle Tree's 1% for the Planet Contribution
1% for the Planet (1% FTP) connects dollars to doers. It has a directory of thousands of vetted non-profit organizations in over 60 countries to which member organizations donate to create real impact. Each member organization can choose its own adventure from this curated network.
Our adventure starts with planting trees. 92 planted so far.
It's pretty clear from our business name (and the name of our space - the "Treehouse") that we care about trees.
Trees, through photosynthesis, absorb atmospheric CO2, the gas that has been rapidly warming our planet. In addition to this invaluable service, they keep temperatures cooler, clean the air of pollutants, prevent flooding, clean our drinking water, and provide habitats for biodiversity.
Every time a new patient comes to see us, we pay $1 to the non-profit 1 Tree Planted to plant a tree where it is needed most.
Much of the rest of our 1% FTP adventure will focus on Louisville and organizations that are working to fight climate change locally.
More information will appear in our first annual report which will be published in early 2023.
(NB: If you are someone who has given up flying because of the huge impact that air travel has on climate change, we invite you to become a key decision-maker about where exactly we spend our 1% FTP funds - Join us in the Turtles Don't Fly Co-op )
Earth Commitment 1: Cause No Unnecessary Harm
We will provide acupuncture and Eastern Medicine services and conduct all business operations in a manner that causes no unnecessary harm to the Earth and its inhabitants.
Let's start with the bad news.
There is some negative impact on the planet that we can't avoid as acupuncturists. Not yet anyway. For example, our needles must be sterile, single use, and disposable (which uses raw materials, releases greenhouse gasses, and creates waste) and our medicinal herbs are grown in far-off environments, where they are native and most potent (which requires us to use carbon-heavy, long-distance shipping methods).
These practices burden our hearts every day. Offsetting their environmental cost is one reason for our 1% for the Planet contribution. Patagonia calls it an "Earth Tax".
The good news is, there is a growing list of actions we can take that reduce our environmental impact and avoid unnecessary harm. And we are committed to spending extra money and effort to take them.
For a start, we use the most environmentally prudent acupuncture needle on the market. These needles are made with less metal, sealed in minimalist 100% recyclable pouches, and packaged in boxes made from sugar cane that can be composted or recycled. They are also sterilized using gamma ray technology instead of atmospherically-toxic ethylene oxide gas.
Next, we use less needles per patient than a lot of acupuncture clinics (our magic number is 6) which means we demand less raw materials and produce less waste. This is our favorite sustainability hack, because not only has it lowered our carbon footprint, but it has also lead to better outcomes and treatment experiences for our patients. Win and win!
When it comes to herbal extracts, we have partnered with a socially- and environmentally-responsible company. Certified as a cGMP operation and by CITES (which means they protect and preserve endangered animal and plant species), this company monitors water quality and soil biodiversity, follows regenerative cultivation principles (leaving the soil better than they found it), and localizes processing so less fossil fuels are used in transportation. On a human level, they improve the livelihoods of local farmers and communities by purposefully choosing farms with the most economic need and providing safe and reliable employment year round to disadvantaged rural regions.
Under our own roof, we are continually seeking to reduce our carbon footprint and our negative impact in the areas of water use, water quality, energy use, other greenhouse gas emissions, chemical use, toxicity, and waste.
Here are a few examples:
We divert compostable waste away from landfills toward composting outlets. This includes cotton balls, paper towels, moxa, and other compostable materials that are usually placed in the garbage at clinics.
As much as possible, we furnish our spaces with repurposed furniture from local vendors or have furniture made for us from local, repurposed raw materials such as fallen trees.
We source necessary products from a growing list of Earth-friendly supplies, order in bulk, and choose slow shipping methods.
As much as possible, we choose to work with companies who share our level of commitment to protecting the natural environment.
Earth Commitment 2: Be Transparent
We will provide information that describes the environmental impact of each of our services and operations based on the best science and data practicably available.
Information about the environmental impact of our services and operations will be compiled and presented annually in a report that can be easily accessed through our website at www.turtletreeacupuncture.com/activism
Our first report, which will cover the 2022 calendar year, will be released at the beginning of 2023.