Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Valentines Day!

A day for love and romance, but is it always about this? Do we get lost in the moment and forget what impact this is actually having on our environment? The shops are full of gifts, cards, balloons, flowers, champagne and chocolates all of which usually last about a week before they are just thrown in the bin. Now don’t get me wrong I’m a woman and I love these kinds of things but surely there is a better way?
Last year I did an article which had some sustainable gift ideas, so this year I though I would follow with a similar theme.  There are so many websites out there offering sustainable and eco friendly gifts ideas that I just had to share them with you all.
The first of my finds was at Green and Present which have a wide range of recycled, reused and reclaimed gifts. These cufflinks are made from antique coastal maps and such a unique gift idea. They are quirky enough to still be fashionable whilst at the same time have an environmental touch.
Refound Objects Cufflinks 
The second of my finds were these lovely reclaimed fabric off cuts hearts.
String of Hearts
Nigel’s Eco Store sell products which mean you can choose to live in a more sustainable way and make a positive contribution to a better and brighter future. On the look for some gifts I found the following, an Antique Style Tea Light which is made from recycled glass and from a fair-trade co-operative in India and secondly an Eco iPad Sleeve which is made from FSC-certified fabric-backed cork which is completely biodegradable and recyclable. If I had an iPad I would definitely want one of these!
Antique Style Silvered Tea Light Holder
£5.99 + VAT

Eco iPad Sleeve
£18.37 + VAT
Another website I just love is Love Eco. Their website simply says it’s a place where people can shop for products that reduce the impact we make on the world. Whilst searching the website for unusual but eco friendly presents I can across a couple of gifts which I thought were perfect for this time of year. Ok so you like to receive flowers and balloons but didn’t realise until now what impact they may be having on the environment, ok well here you go take a look at these unique ideas:
 Fair-Trade Felt Flowers 

£3.00 each

Biodegradable Red Heart Balloons
£4.50 per pack
Alternatively you could ask for gifts that don’t involve buying anything. For example, time together, a back rub, donation to charity, music or movie downloads or even offering to teach something you know how to do. How romantic is this and what’s more it won’t cost the earth!
And at the end of the day if you do want all the impulse gifts that you might not want for more than a week just remember to dispose of them correctly. All those teddy bears could be sent to local children homes and make a real difference in someone else’s lives. If you do want flowers just make sure you tell your loved one you want fair-trade ones and if you do want champagne be sure to look around for local made bubbly!
Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Recycling Woodlands

It’s the age old question of what to do with your Christmas cards now the holiday season is over. After all the money and time it has taken over the last month to make sure they arrive to you in time for Christmas makes it such a shame to just recycle them now its January. It’s not like you can reuse them, or is it?
Maybe next year you could make your own cards by collecting the fronts of the cards and bits of ribbon you may have been given over the holiday season. You could create a whole range of individually, handmade Christmas cards to give to your loved ones next year without having a huge impact on the environment and costing you a fortune. They are also a fun activity to do with your family and really shows people you have made an effort with your cards. Take a look at the Channel 4 website for a step by step guide to making your own cards.
© Channel 4
If you want to take this further you could also have a go at making your wrapping paper.

Alternatively, if you’re like me and not hugely creative then don’t worry because Marks & Spencer’s have recently launched a campaign for all their customers to go into their stores and help the Woodland Trust turn the festive waste into woodland by recycling old cards. From the 2nd to the 31st January, specially marked Christmas card recycling bins will be placed in stores. The company has also confirmed it is committed to planting 1 tree for every 1,000 cards returned into the store with the aim of saving over 10 million cards from the bins.
It gets even better than this, you can even vote to determine the location of the trees that are to be planted. This is a really innovative way to get everyone involved in this process. Sue Holden, Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, said “we are delighted that Marks and Spencer’s are continuing the highly successful Christmas card recycling scheme this year. By recycling festive cards, customers are helping the Woodland Trust to continue vital work in creating new woodland, as well as preserving the habitat of thousands of UK species”.

Hopefully this has brightened up an otherwise dull January and gives you hope that January isn’t just about all the wastage from Christmas but can be a way to protect future generations from a life without woodlands.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Eco Heroes

A year ago I started my blog not really knowing what environmental issues I would be covering throughout the year but hoping to raise awareness as to why we need to protect the environment we live in. 2011 saw a number of floods, petitions, a nuclear disaster, innovative gadgets and the world reaching 7 billion people. An eventful year, which really emphasises why we need to act now and do what we can to make a real difference to the planet, not only for ourselves, but for future generations too. 
I thought I would start the year by sharing with you some of my eco heroes throughout history and people who have inspired me to raise awareness on environmental issues.
I am sure it is no surprise that my first ‘hero’ would be Sir David Attenborough. For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed his TV programmes since I was a little girl and he is not only a hero of mine but also the reason behind my passion for the environment.
These programmes, of which my favourites are Planet Earth and The Blue Planet, have often included references to how our own existence is having an impact on the natural world. Attenborough has also recently spoken out about the rising population numbers and how this is going to have a huge impact on the potential effects of climate change and be the root cause of many environmental problems. In 2009, he then became a patron of Population Matters a UK charity advocating sustainable human populations. If you read my earlier post on the ever rising population then you will know what impact this is having on not only our natural resources but also our food supply and available space. 
I think his closing statement from the programme ‘State of the Planet’ has to be his most poignant and really reflects my own personal beliefs as to why we need to protect our planet:
“The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there's a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I've been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species”.
© SciencePhotoLibrary
Another hero of mine, Rachel Carson, was an American marine biologist and conservationist and author, she is also credited with advancing the global environmental movement back in the 1950s.
She raised controversy about the impact of industrial scale pesticides on the environment in a book titled ‘Silent Spring’ an issue today which we are fully aware of. She also predicted the increased consequences as pests developed resistance to the pesticides in the future. 
It is thanks to her that there was a nationwide ban on pesticides and her book was eventually responsible for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency which works to protect human health and the environment.   
Finally, Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and possibly one of the most influential figures in human history whose ideas of evolutionary became a movement know as Darwinism, and whose works are still celebrated today. 
His works established that all species have descended over time from a common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection. 
He published his theory in 1859 in a book titled On the Origin of Species which was an abstract of his theory of evolution and because of this he was regarded as a great scientist thinker. If you haven’t read this book already then you should really give it a try it will make you fall in love with science all over again. 
© FeedBooks
There is always a reason behind what your passionate about, the work you do or what you like to read about, for me, David Attenborough, Charles Darwin and Rachel Carson are the reason I want to raise awareness of environmental issues and protect the world we live in. Who do you look up to?