Category Archives: Other Stuff

...And the second part of it. ...

Environmentalism: A Timeline

A timeline I drew to help with my revision.

A timeline I drew to help with my revision.

...And the second part of it. ...

…And the second part of it. …

Last Friday I took an exam and finished my first year of university. Most students probably want to move on as quickly as possible after the stress of revision, but this exam was on something I study in my free time: environmental issues and management.

An interesting part of the module I had to revise was the history and growth of the modern environmental movement.
Above are photos of a timeline I sketched out to help me remember some of the key moments in the movement’s development.

Environmentalism as we know it is considered by many to have started when Rachel Carson wrote the bestselling Silent Spring in 1962, a book about the effect of pesticides (particularly DDT) on wildlife and biodiversity. The book caused a huge stir, and as I understand it it was the first time the public was made aware of the domino effect caused by human action and seemingly unrelated ecological side-effects. During the late 60s and 70s there was undoubtedly a surge of environmental awareness. But interestingly, the seeds were actually sown long before Carson put pen to paper – at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Rachel Carson's seminal book.

Rachel Carson’s seminal book.

In England in the early 1800s the Industrial Revolution was beginning, and was soon to spread to Europe and America. Before this time, wild nature was viewed in popular discourse as dangerous and uncivilised. When urban sprawl and industrial expansion meant there began to be less and less open countryside, nature began to be viewed as something to not only control and conquer, but also cherish. The new paradigm of Romanticism saw artists and writers treating wild nature very differently, and assigning it an aesthetic value. This led to the mother of modern environmentalism: conservation. The first national park in the world was set up as Yellowstone National Park in the USA in 1872, and much later in 1949 national parks started being set aside in England to preserve the ”green and pleasant land” from human industry.

The first environmental NGO was set up back in 1889 as the Plumage League. It was set up by sophisticated bourgeois ladies who morally objected to the fashion of wearing the feathers and skins of exotic birds. Later the organization changed it’s name to the RSPB, which as you know is still going strong.

After WW1 fears of resource shortages led to the creation of the Forestry Commision in 1918, which attempted to sustainably manage the timber extraction from forests, a goal that we still haven’t achieved all these years later. In 1955 the UK started implementing green belts to protect the countryside from urban sprawl.

The 50’s and early 60’s saw the post war economic boom in the UK, and the birth of consumer culture, which was designed by PR specialists so that the newly enhanced rate of supply would not outstrip demand. See my article on the rise of consumerism here.

And then after this history of Industrial expansion and pollution coupled with the Romantic conservation of wild nature, we arrive in the swinging 60’s where environmentalism really kicked off. We’ve already mentioned Rachel Carson’s book. The next ‘moment’ I consider to be a milestone in the evolution of environmentalism is in 1968 when the American astronauts took the most important piece of nature photography of all time: ”Earth Rise”, the first photo of the Earth from space. It’s hard for me to get to grips with how awesome it must of been to see the whole planet for the first time. In my lifetime, imagery of the planet has been everywhere. I have an image of the Earth as the avatar for this blog, I have another on my laptop’s desktop, environmental organizations often incorporates a stylized version into their logos and Google will happily give you page upon page of stunning space photography.
I can scarcely imagine how powerful it must of been to see the whole planet in a photo for the first time. When you really think about it, it is pretty amazing. In 1968, this one photo showed all of nature and all of human civilisation – every nation – entwined together in one blue-green oasis of life amongst the dark vacuum of space. I guess it reminded everyone that this is our home, shared by all nations, all animals, and it’s not exactly like we have another planet lying spare.

Apollo 8, Earth Rise. NASA.

Fuelled by this powerful imagery, the first Earth Day was organized in 1970 in America and was attended by 20 million people. At the time, many people were protesting for world peace, and many others were fighting against the then-isolated issues of industrial pollution, toxic dumping, health scares and wildlife loss. The Earth Day harnessed the energy of the student’s peace movement and united the other projects under the banner of environmentalism.

One year later, Greenpeace started work by sailing off to Alaska in the Rainbow Warrior to protest against nuclear-testing. They’ve been working on their creative PR-stunt-ish non-violent protesting against environmental devastation ever since, and are often considered as one of the loudest voices for environmental concern. In 1972, the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth a groundbreaking book by Meadows et al which began the conversation on environmental limits. The book argued that finite resources would mean there was a limit to population and economic growth, that growth cannot go on indefinitely.

Also in 1972, was the Stockholm Conference, aka the UN Conference on the Human Environment. This was the first time the United Nations met to discuss environmental issues, and was largely off the back of all the action in the years gearing up to it. The conference discussed – among other things – the interrelated nature of the environment, and how many environmental issues are on the global scale so international cooperation is required to deal with them.

Unfortunately after that economic problems dominated the political sphere for several years, as the oil crisis caused a recession that pushed environmental concerns off the priority list. In 1987 the Brundtland Commission focused on the new idea of sustainable development, and the oft quoted definition of “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” was decided upon. This was quite a turning point for environmentalism, as sustainable development is quite different ideologically to both the Romantic protection of wild pristine nature and the youthful rebellion against industrial misconduct. Firstly, it’s very anthropocentric. It’s about managing the environment in such as way that it will be able to continue supporting us. It’s not about some ethical or spiritual concept of other species having a ”right to life”, it’s wholly practical. Secondly, it assumes that humans can and should exist harmoniously within nature – rather than being separate from it. Conservation is about setting aside places for nature, where it cannot be ruined by humans. Sustainable Development is more about integration and cooperation.

In 1990, which seems incredibly recent after this potted history, the IPCC publish their first report warning of the climate change problem. At this point they stated that the climate was changing, and that it could be because of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, enhancing the natural greenhouse effect to create a warming. Two years later in 1992 the UN had another meeting, this time called the UN Conference on Environment and Development, or the Rio Summit. It was fuelled by not only the IPCC’s warning but also the global Earth Day in 1990 which 200 million people from 141 countries had participated in.

The Rio Summit discussed many environmental and developmental issues, and it’s most lasting achievement was setting up the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty (UNFCCC) which has the aim to ”stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. This led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which is now in its second phase which commits developed nations (although not America!) to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 18% below 1990 levels. This is a start, but it’s slightly flawed in that the two largest emitters – China and America – are not included in the reduction. Nonetheless, it’s going to be reviewed in 2015 when hopefully a stricter reduction plan will be implemented.

In 2000, Millenium Goal number 7 is ‘ensure environmental sustainability’ – a vague but promising goal that the UN doesn’t appear to have taken very seriously. In 2008 the UK passed the Climate Change Act, which calls for an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. A big cut, but with a deadline very far in the future so that accomplishing the goal can pretty much be left to the next generation of politicians.
In the present, environmentalism and sustainability are everywhere in popular discourse, even if actual action is still a bit more niche. Everyone knows the buzzwords, and ‘green’ or ‘eco’ gets used as a prefix for just about anything, but I’m still unsure how common a decent understanding of environmental issues is. I want to do a survey on public opinion on these issues, as I have no idea what ‘most people’ think – I only know what my peers, friends and colleagues think.

Learning about the history of environmentalism has been quite eye-opening for me, and I hope you found this little timeline interesting too!

One Planet Living, not my image.

One Planet Living

If everyone in the world consumed the same amount of resources and produced as much waste as the average person in Western Europe, we’d need three planets. If we all lived like the North Americans, we’d need five. On the global scale, we’re using just over one and a half Earths worth of resources and pollution assimilation capacity. This is only (temporarily) possible because we’re burning coal, oil and gas which are literally millions of years of solar energy compacted into convenient fossil fuels. It’s all very well saying ”we’d need three planets…” but that’s an abstract comparison, because obviously we can’t get more than one. Apart from the use of ancient fossilized sunlight, the other reason it’s possible for people in Europe and America to have such large ecological footprints is because about two billion out of the total seven billion people live in extreme poverty.

I want to live a lifestyle that could theoretically be lived by everyone, I want to use only one seven-billionth of the Earth’s productive land. I want to use no more than my fair share. In other words, I want a one planet lifestyle.

Unfortunately, I’m quite far away from that goal.

According to this sustainability calculator, if everyone lived like me we’d need about 2.5 planets.

One Planet Living, not my image.

One Planet Living, not my image. The calculator uses these 10 principles of sustainability to calculate your footprint.

Yes, that’s less than the average for the UK, where I live. But considering how thoughtful I think I’ve been, it’s higher than I expected/hoped. I’m vegan, I buy organic local vegetables, recycled toilet paper and clothes from charity shops. I only travel by public transport and always recycle. I use an ethical bank, donate monthly to three NGOs and only use natural cleaning products. All this is great, but my lifestyle is still shockingly unsustainable. There’s several areas that I think let me down, some of which are partly outside my control:

I throw away waste food
Because: my council doesn’t  recycle food waste and I don’t have a garden. 
What I have done: I’ve sent my MP two letters asking her to implement food waste collection, to no avail.  
What I could do: plan meals to reduce waste, look into indoor composting? 

My flat has no energy saving adaptations
Because: I’m only renting and my landlord isn’t interested in investing.
What I have done: Only put the heating on if it’s snowing!
What I could do: Approach my landlord about long-term money savings from energy efficiency.

I take baths not showers
Because: My flat only has a bath.
What I have done: Hassled my landlord frequently about a shower installation, taken fewer baths.
What I could do: Offer to pay half the cost for a shower to be installed.

I do buy some new consumer goods, e.g. clothes, books etc
Because: second hand shops don’t always have what I want.
What I have done: kept shopping to a minimum, often brought second hand, chosen independent shops.
What I could do: Stay focused on what I went in for when shopping!

Using the sustainability calculator has reminded me that just caring about sustainability isn’t enough, I need to continue to adapt my lifestyle. I think I’ve lately been a bit naive by thinking I’m already living a very eco-friendly lifestyle, when in actual fact there is still a fair bit of room for improvement. The FAQ on the website said it’s very unusual for Western citizens to be able to get to the one planet level because so many things are dependant on the infrastructure of the society you live in, as well as individual behaviour. Taking this into account, I think I should be able to get mine down to two planets at least.

It’s shocking really, that for a well-meaning and environmentally minded citizen, using twice their fair share of the Earth’s resources would be an achievement. To me this really shows how unsustainable the global socio-economic system is.
I’m going to tackle the key areas I’ve outlined above, and I can only hope to do my bit as a postgraduate environmentalist once I’ve finished studying.

If you like, why not  use the calculator I used and post your score in the comments section?

Solar-Powered Supertrees

Look at these beautiful gardens and structures.


These pictures are of a huge redevelopment project in Singapore that consists of huge gardens, solar powered massive ‘supertrees’ and contained biomes. The multi-million project is meant to be an eco-tourism hotspot, educational center, biodiversity haven and relaxation suite.

Check out this article to get the full scoop.
Is this the future?

The Consumption Engineer

con·sum·er·ism

Noun:

Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts.

- Definition from Wikipedia

Consumerism wouldn’t be a problem if we had an infinitely large planet with an infinite amount of natural resources. The catch is that this is pure fantasy and in reality our planet is a fixed size. It has a bountiful larder of resources, so large that in the past it seemed more like a Narnian wardrobe than a larder… But now there are so many people, consuming at such a rate that we are starting to hit the limits of our finite Earth.

At first consumerism may of been liberating and wonderful, I don’t know as I wasn’t alive, but now it is dangerous. This paradigm is stagnating sustainability efforts and speeding us along in a terrible direction. And there is evidence to suggest it isn’t even making us happier. The New Economics Foundation (nef) theorize that after our basic needs are met, it is non-material benefits that improve our life satisfaction.

In 2013 consumerism seems natural – a state of things that organically grew out of modernity. It seems to be intrinsically linked to capitalism, democracy and the contemporary.

Last week I watched Century of the Self and found to my surprise that this is not the case. Apparently consumerism, far from growing naturally out of capitalism, was almost single-handedly designed by one man. That man was named Edward Bernays.

The one and only                Mr. Bernays..

Bernays invented the industry of Public Relations in America in the 1920s. He had been working on propaganda during the Cold War, but decided that similar techniques could be used in peace time to improve the economy. Before this time, capitalism was well established but goods were still sold and advertised on the basis of need and function. Things that were solely for decoration were sold for their aesthetic attraction. But from this time on advertising would forget about function and focus on creating an emotional and ideological link between the item and the consumer. For example, a sofa wouldn’t be ‘comfortable and well-made’ anymore, it’d be ‘the key to a perfect family life’. Bernays used the theories of his famous uncle, Sigmund Freud along with other ideas on crowd psychology to ‘manipulate the masses’. The basic idea was that every person contains dangerous sexual and aggressive unconscious desires under a thin layer of conscious rationality. The crowd mentality was believed to be especially dangerous, as in a crowd people could somehow snap, let their dangerous desires free and get all crazy. Bernays decided that people were essentially more emotional than logical, so advertising would be more successful if it tapped into the unconscious desires of people rather than their intellect. He theorized that ‘the masses’ could be kept happy and docile with a steady flow of consumer goods that promised to make them popular, beautiful and successful. In this way there would never be a problem with over-production, the companies he worked for would get rich and the government could easily control its hordes of dangerous irrational subjects consumers.

It’s worth pointing out at this point that in contemporary psychology, Freud’s theories are very outdated. His ideas are interesting but deeply flawed, and he didn’t have much empirical evidence to back up his claims. And yet so much of our modern society is based on his work. Not just the economic model of consumerism, but also the assumption that people are irrational and need to be kept under control.  This is the justification for a democratic model that isn’t actually that democratic.

In the academic field of media studies, it’s now very unfashionable to talk of  ‘the masses’. It is thought that this is a patronizing and simplifying term. Instead it is understood that there is no ‘mass’, but rather just a lot of individuals.

It’s very easy to point fingers of blame at this point and demonize old Edward. On the one hand, there’s no way he could of known what social and environmental problems would be caused by his work further down the line. On the other hand, there was an interview with him as a very old man in Century of the Self and he didn’t seem at all remorseful of his actions – he seemed proud. Perhaps he didn’t realize the full implications, who knows. Freud isn’t to blame either really, as he didn’t for the most part even know what his nephew was doing.

Rather than playing the blame game, I can see a positive side to this story. If something as huge and over-arching as consumerism can be engineered by one man, what else can be achieved? This really blows the ‘one person can’t make a difference’ theory out of the water. Also I see the fact that our insatiable desire for more and more useless crap is not natural but intentionally engineered to be great news.
As Annie Leonard says, this system didn’t just happen, it was designed.

And we can design something too.

The Guerrilla Recycler

Image

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my boss insisting on using paper cups in the student cafe, rather than china cups. I had a problem with this because Starbucks coffee is probably our biggest seller and all the cups are thrown out after just one fleeting use – resulting in heaps of trash that I have to lug out to the dustbins after every shift.

My boss wasn’t too receptive to my suggestion of real cups (“Too much washing up, Tegan!”) but I recently discovered that there are actually recycling bins at the back of the cafe for plastic bottles and cans, which are barely used. I didn’t know about them at first because my boss and all the other staff don’t use them, but I’m not surprised they’re there as the university as a whole has a fairly thorough recycling program. Anyway now while I’m clearing tables I get excited when I see discarded juice bottles and cola cans and swoop down on them before the other waitresses can throw them in the bin.

Despite this rather over-zealous approach, I have a slight suspicion these recycling bins aren’t actually emptied. Ever since I started using them I’ve seen all the bottles and cans I’ve put in there piling up, without others being added or the lot being taken away…

I guess if I fill them up before anything happens I can always ask the caretaker. They’re probably just not aware they’re being used. I have told my co-workers about them and urged them to use them but I can’t say I’ve seen any evidence of this so far.

The best bit is the label on top that reads “We ARE recycling! so should you!”. Mmm, of course you are, Mr Paper Cup and Apathy Man. I assume the sign was sellotaped there before he took over management.

There is also a large mixed recycling bin out the back near the smoking area, and I now run out there with armfuls of cardboard and glass bottles, although I’m sure my boss would scold me for ”wasting time” when we’re busy.  Sigh. Anyway, even if it’s a small victory it does make me smile every time I get to do some of this guerrilla recycling!

Hello.

Hello again, any lovely people who might be reading! I’m so sorry I haven’t fed my blog for almost a month, but believe me it hasn’t been down to a lack of inspiration or morale. Basically, in my ”about” page it says that I started this blog a year ago to pactise my writing in a gap year before studying my Environment & Media Studies degree at the University of Brighton. Well, ladies and gentlemen, a year has passed and I am now at that stage. Since I last posted, I moved hundreds of miles across my country to a flat in the city and started university. Yesterday was my first day of induction week and I’m typing this in the University library right now. It’s been the most life changing 3 weeks in my life, certainly since my little brother was born and possibly ever. As you might expect, I’ve been very busy – what with setting up a new home, talking to estate agents, trying to make friends and attending induction events, plus general ‘welcome-to-the-real-world’ activities like shopping for sink drainers… It’s funny, I moved in with my boyfriend, and now instead of asking each other if we want to ‘chip in for cider’ it’s become ‘hey do you want to chip in for toilet cleaner and apples?’. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry. So anyway, that’s why I haven’t had time to make any thought provoking posts. But I plan for that to change. My original aim for this blog was for it to be a year long project, untill I started university… And it’s true that my degree must take priority over almost all other aspects of my life now, but I enjoy writing Earth Baby so much that I hope I can carry it on. After all my studies will give me lots of exciting information to enthuse about! I just hope any regular readers can appreciate I won’t have as much time for blogging than I would like from now on. But hey, it’s quality not quantity, right?!

I have to go and listen to a talk from my vice-chancellor now, but when I next get a chance I’ll post a list of the environmental highs and lows of my new home. Have a great day!

My new home – the City by the Sea
From Google images.

A Toolkit for Sustaining a Positive Attitude

If you’re one of those people that agonize over the world’s many problems, and find that your awareness of current issues is threatening to turn into a black cloud of apathy and despair (rather than a fuel for positive action) then you are who I wrote this post for. Many people I know care a great deal about the environment, about animals, about people who’re not getting a fair share of the booty plundered from the Earth since the Industrial Revolution. They care, and they know about the huge challenges, and they get bitter and disillusioned. They are not the people that will change the world. The people that will change the world are action focused, and most importantly, they get the balance right. Balance is always important. Whether you’re standing in the middle of a see-saw, playing diplomat to squabbling siblings or regulating your oh-my-god-how-awful-let’s-fix-it to oh-my-god-how-amazing-let’s-join-in information intake. Never underestimate the importance of balance. Nature is all about balance, and aren’t we supposed to be learning from nature? That sounds about right. Anyway, I myself have many times slipped into a temporary state of despair with the enormity of the challenges we face. Climate change, deforestation, resource depletion and peak oil, extinction of animals, crippling poverty, food shortages, the ridiculousness of the more more more economic system, waste and pollution, habitat destruction… It just seems like too much too handle. Well, actually, all that I can think about and just about still keep a level mind – it’s other people’s apathy and ignorance that gets to me, personally. Luckily though, I manage to keep these sad bursts under control and try to stay on the optimistic side of whatever we call reality, most of the time at least. My reason: otherwise I wouldn’t bother spending my life trying to make the world more like my daydreams. People that are depressed with the state of the world stop bothering to do good stuff… And that’s very sad. So I thought I’d put together some of the techniques I use to keep up my morale – and call it a ‘toolkit’ because I think that sounds cool.

Focus on the good stuff:

Inspiration leads to action, not to mention a happier life. It’s incredibly important to learn about problems and issues – otherwise they have no hope of being solved. You should definitively keep up to date and inform yourself and others about things that may be bad but need the attention so they can eventually be sorted out, or at least improved. But it’s also important not to go overboard with all the nasty stuff. This can lead to a ”it’s all going to sh*t – there’s no point me even trying” attitude which is understandable but unhealthy, devoid of fun and critically: can bring other people down to your level or just piss them off. You don’t want to go there. Instead you should make sure you keep yourself up to date with all the great stuff that’s going on. Subscribe to Positive News, Inspired Times or a similar publication. Reading about people all over the world who are digging up their gravel and planting carrots, campaigning for peace, building eco-communities, planting edible forests, teaching permaculture in Ethiopia, installing solar panels and implementing local currencies will refill your Hope Meter. Talking to the real live people who are doing these things, or even better, getting involved with them yourself, will do this faster. I’ve heard that the news and media portray mostly bad news because that’s what sells. I’m not sure. Wouldn’t you rather hear good news? Good things are happening everywhere – get out there and see. I’d recommend a 60% good info to 40% bad info split to maximize your awareness while knowing what positive projects to throw yourself into.

Consider other revolutions:

Humanity has a history of overcoming huge challenges, of inventing it’s way out of a tight corner, and of changing it’s core values when the old ones become viewed as obsolete by a snowballed majority. Sure we can change! That’s what we do. Consider racial equality, feminism, gay rights. These battles may not be won in all places, but they are pretty much there in many. The conviction with which people have and do campaign for these causes gives me a massive source of inspiration. It’s disgusting to read about how white and black people once had to use separate buses, or how women were once considered the ”property” of their fathers or husbands, or how homosexuality used to be illegal. But looking around at how things are so different today (at least in my home country, I know not all places are this lucky) makes it visible that bad ideas can be replaced with better ones. Paradigms can shift. Time moves on and perhaps revolutions are a modern part of evolution – refining our world views as we go. So who’s to say the Sustainability Revolution can’t be the next success? And if that’s the case, then don’t you want to tell your grandchildren you were part of it?  I hope I’ll be alive to hear a small child say: ”What? People used to cut down forests to make paper, write on it once and then throw it in massive holes of stinking rubbish six times the size of the allotment plot down the road?! But that’s craaaaazy!

Break it down:

I’m pretty sure you need to realize that everything in this world is interconnected before you can get anywhere near understanding an issue. If you’ve done that and now understand too many issues too much, you might need to break it down again before you can take your head out of your hands and do something about it. Take a deep breath, and start to home in on your locale. By focusing in on the place nearest and dearest to you, you can bite off a manageable sized chunk of the world’s challenges. In the global situation you are one of roughly 7 billion, but in a community setting you’re suddenly much more powerful. The Transition Towns Network are experts in the community action approach and they’re well worth rubbing shoulders with. Start a community garden. Write to the paper. Go for local council. Hold clothes swap parties. Join a food co-op or veg box scheme. You get the idea.

Network, make friends and connect it up:

It might be that you’re finding it all too much because you feel like no one else cares. It’s easy to think that, but luckily you’re wrong. If your family, friend group, neighbors and colleagues aren’t on the same wave length as you then it can get extremely isolated. Because really, how much can one person do? Like I said, luckily it really isn’t just one person. If you feel isolated you need to network, make some new friends (not necessarily in replacement) and make connections. We’re social animals, after all. The best way to do this is probably to go to events run for and by green-minded people. A film screening of the latest environmental documentary. A permaculture day course. A talk by a relevant speaker. Whatever. many of these kinds of things include a ‘let’s-get-in-a-circle-and-talk-to-each-other’ element despised by the shy but helpful if you actually want to talk to people you don’t know. Real live social interactions are always going to be better, but don’t underestimate the power of the internet either. Whenever I get a new follower or comment on this blog I feel a little glow of happyness that someone somewhere gets and likes what I’m saying. There are countless online forums where you can do anything from lapping up composting tips to ranting about your neighbour littering to organizing eco-villages. One good thing about how industrialized and globalized our world is is how easy it is to share information with people you would never meet in person. I regularly sign online petitions that are posted to me on facebook, and I’ve heard people run whole campaigns over Twitter. Also, volunteering is a great way to meet like minded people while doing something you care about. Surround yourself with inspiring people and it becomes easy to inspire others. You are not alone – you are an integral part of a growing revolution.

Dream:

Allow yourself to dream. Don’t worry about what could happen if we don’t get off our current unsustainable course headed for disaster. Thinking about how bad it could be won’t help prevent it from happening. It’ll just depress you. Why not picture how you want to world to be? You need something to work towards, don’t you? Keep your eyes on the prize and all that. Imagine what daily life would be like in a future where we got it right. Draw pictures. Sing about it. Make a mood board. Talk about it with your friends. Write a series of diary entries as yourself 40 years into a more positive future. Really think about what you want for the world. Make sure your vision is clear and great enough to make you smile. Then hold it in your mind’s eye as often as possible. Preferably, whilst taking actions that move you a little closer to that future.

Do things that make you feel good:

As an enthusiastic follower of the environmental movement, I want my fellow warriors to be at their best. We need to look after ourselves before we can look after anyone else, or even the planet. And a major part of looking after ourselves is keeping our spirits up. My five other points do help to do this as well, but I wanted to more specifically point out that you should do things that make you feel good. Unless you like pouring toxic waste into the ocean or killing deer, in which case I strongly recommend you find some better hobbies. Personally I find cooking myself some tasty food, going for a walk in nature or listening to some Bob Marley help me out if I’m feeling a bit low. Don’t worry, about a thing. Cause every little thing, is gunna be alright… I just can’t help but be comforted when I listen to this.

I hope you found this tool kit helpful, and here’s some Bob Marley for your enjoyment!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaGUr6wzyT8]

Compost Bins Galore

In my post: Erratic Recycling Isn’t Impressive, I complained about how a lady I work for doesn’t have a food waste collection at her home. Today when I arrived at work I was happy to see a neat little brown box sitting outside her door… At last! I thought: the council have come to their senses and provided proper waste disposal services throughout my town. Way to go, Mendip! Smiling, I brought it into her kitchen and enquired about it’s arrival. She told me it wasn’t actually from the council at all… Basically one of her other helpers (who lives in the part of the town that does have this service) had ordered a second food waste bin for herself and given one to my boss. She apparently said she would take it once a week and put it outside the shop that she works in, where they do collect food waste on a weekly basis.

I was struck by two things- firstly, the continued ridiculousness of my local council providing varying levels of waste collection throughout one small town, and secondly, a respect for this lady that was prepared to go out of her way, doing the council’s job for them, to make sure somebody else’s (not even her own) waste was composted and not just send to landfill.

My motto is that we need to make the green way the easy way. However, isn’t it inspiring when you see people taking the green way even when it’s not easy but in fact quite a hassle? Well it cheers me up, anyway. This little story may of even made me proactive enough to write a letter to my council, explaining the whole thing and asking for the situation to be amended.

We will have universal composting facilities yet!