Although many might say that an individual's purchasing decisions have a minimal impact, it is everyone's responsibility to understand the environmental effects of their consumption, and an aggregate shift can have an impact.
It was pleasantly surprising to see the response first-hand from students -- not only did they tolerate all the environmental information and calls-to-action, but they immediately participated and were excited to talk about their efforts and ideas to make their campuses more sustainable.
It starts with a banana that turns into a college scholarship for a young woman in Rwanda. Or a pineapple that becomes a computer lab. It's women who have started their own businesses in the poorest areas of Central America, and pineapple farmers who are learning to read.
Coffee production worldwide accounts for over 30 million acres of land use -roughly the size of England - giving the coffee industry a lot of space to either harm or benefit the environment. And for too long, coffee producers unknowingly chose the path of harm.
If we really want to make a difference while we travel, we need to make better, more informed choices. Real sustainable travel is about more than reusing towels, turning off lights and hotel recycling programs. These days, it has to be.
While it's not hard to conclude that logging and high rates of deforestation are detrimental to the forests, a realization that may come as a surprise is the impact urbanization has had on the rainforest.