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?