Read this section to gain an understanding of the environmental impacts of businesses and the importance of sustainability.

Land Pollution

The land we live on has been polluted by the dumping of waste and increasing reliance on agricultural chemicals. It's pockmarked by landfills stuffed with the excess of a throwaway society. It's been strip-mined and deforested, and urban sprawl on every continent has squeezed out wetlands and farmlands and destroyed wildlife habitats.

Protecting the land from further damage, then, means disposing of waste in responsible ways (or, better yet, reducing the amount of waste). At both national and global levels, we must resolve the conflicts of interest between those who benefit economically from logging and mining and those who argue that protecting the environment is an urgent matter. Probably municipalities must step in to save open spaces and wetlands.

Clothing manufacturer Patagonia has for years been in the forefront of efforts to protect the land. Each year, the company pledges either 1 percent of sales revenue or 10 percent of profits (whichever is larger) to protect and restore the natural environment. According to its "Statement of Purpose," "Patagonia exists as a business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis". Instead of traditional materials for making clothes (such as regular cotton and fleece), Patagonia relies on organically grown cotton, which is more expensive, because it doesn't requires harmful chemicals. Its fleece products are made with postconsumer recycled (PCR) fleece, which is actually made with recycled plastic bottles. So far, the company's efforts to build a more sustainable system has saved 86 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.