Tag Archives: cool

Vegfest @ Brighton

On this cloudy Sunday me and a friend of mine went along to Vegfest – an annual veggie bonanza of deliciousness that takes place in Brighton, Bristol and London.  It was absolutely packed, like to the extent that it was hard to navigate around the place. There were 125 stalls and lots of talks and cookery demos – it was so inspiring to see so many people making vegan and natural products! And more importantly, its great that it was so popular. We enjoyed scouring all the food stalls for yummy free tasters – my boyfriend joked that they’d clock me and radio round saying ”watch out for the girl in the stripy top, she’ll eat your whole stall!” Hahaha. We had a wonderful lunch of veggie burgers and falafel wraps and then ‘put the world to rights’ over coffee. All in all it was a great day out, and if you’re around Bristol or London and want to check out the creme de la creme of plant-based goodies, I’d totally recommend it. The dates for the next two Vegfests in 2013 are:

  • Bristol – 24th – 26th May, £2 adults and £1 kids.
  • London – 5th – 6th October, £10 adults and £2 kids. Advance tickets buy-one-get-one-free.

The Brighton event was free admission for everyone, so I’m kind of surprised at the price of the others, but I still think its worth it if you’re interested. A high point for me was getting hold of some vegan fudge. I’ve always loved the smell of fudge and really wanted to eat it, but I’ve never seen any that isn’t made of butter. Today was my lucky day! I must say it was a bit too sweet for me but I guess I just don’t have a very sweet tooth. Also I tried some really yummy veggie sausages that I’ve never had before.

Next task for the day: impressing an avid carnivore and trained chef with a vegan Sunday roast.
Nuts, sweet potatoes and optimism at the ready.

Wish me luck!

Donating Delights

I’ve just run back from the bank, beaming like a Cheshire Cat after donating £101 to Save the Arctic.

Okay that’s not quite true, I didn’t run. I hate running. But the donation part is totally true! I know what you’re thinking:

“Wow you’re generous! Also isn’t that a bit of a weird amount to give?” 

Well let me lay this out for you. It wasn’t my own personal money. It was left over funds from this animal rights and conservation kids club I used to run when I was a kid, called Tiger’s Eye. It was such a specific amount because that’s exactly the amount of cash that was sitting in an old Engevita tub with ”Tiger’s Eye” written on the side, in the room in my mum’s house that used to be mine. It’s been there for years. Literally years. I’m so happy I’ve finally done something positive with it!

 

Tiger’s Eye was awesome. I started it when I was just 8 years old, and dragged my mum, my friends and their parents into it. We used to circulate leaflets and petitions, hold information stalls at Glastonbury Festival, run a website, and collect donations which we’d then re-donate to charities and groups which worked towards animal welfare and broader environmental protection. I stopped the group, or rather it kind of fizzled out, when I was working on my GCSEs and the other member’s were similarly busy. That’s when I was about 15 I guess.

 

I decided to donate it to Save the Arctic because I think that’s the most pressing environmental campaign right now. If you want to know more either hit up their website, or read my post called Hi Again and Save the Arctic. Basically though, there’s loads of oil under the North Pole and the melting ice from climactic change is making it more accessible. Shell and other companies want to drill there to get the oil, which would cause extensive damage to the pristine habitat, as well as the contribution to climate change the new fuel would cause. The problem is no one actually owns the Arctic, so the nearby states such as Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia are  all after ownership. Greenpeace reckon as oil becomes even more scarce and valuable, a war could break out over this rich resource base. In order to prevent violence and huge environmental damage, they’re campaigning to make the Arctic a global nature reserve. It’s a tough call as they’re going up against powerful corporations, but if anyone can do it they can, because they did exactly this for the South Pole in 1959.

So, go forth little pounds and do me proud!

The Cleantech Future

I just watched this really interesting 50 minute documentary about clean technology and what it means for our future. Have a look:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9noGsz_HVcI#!]

I found the founder of Cleantech Group slightly over optimistic, but nevertheless the examples of current new technologies fascinating. Particularly impressive was the Solar Bag, which purifies water with nano technology and sunlight. Top Documentary Film described the documentary like this:

What if we could live in a clean world? A world in which energy would be 100% renewable, water no longer polluted, transportation truly green and production methods clean and regenerative?

It’s great to see examples of a future we can be excited about, and I hope they’re optimism is realized soon!

The Green Can Project

Image from thegreencan.org

Image from thegreencan.org

Hello again, I just want to quickly post this really cool message I received on Earth Baby’s Facebook page.

Hello, my name is Dennis Gallagher and I would like to tell you about what i am trying to accomplish in Tampa Florida.
I have a new program to try and fix the irrational problem of recycling not being mandatory.
Since Apartment/ Condos and businesses have a hard time justifying the optional expense of a recycling program, we bring it to them free, and we donate all of the proceeds to charity.
The only thing we could find to finance this endeavor is advertising on the outside of the recycling containers, so we try to help local small businesses get their message out to the local residents.
We designed a container to specifically to facilitate this program, it is made of recycled plastic and uses a reusable liner so no waste is created in its use.
We started our program in march and we have recycled over 200,000 aluminum cans and numerous tons of plastic.
We are hoping that we can expand our program to any and all areas that recycling isn’t currently mandatory.
Getting the word out is of the utmost importance to us, we really are trying to do the right thing for society by providing free recycling, helping small businesses and giving to charity.
https://www.facebook.com/TheGreenCan
www.thegreencan.org
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

I was so happy to hear about this amazing proactive project, and I promised Dennis I would post on my blog about The Green Can – as you can see they really need some extra publicity. I’ve had a look at the website and it’s brilliant, you should check it out too. I had no idea Florida had such poor recycling rates, but it’s refreshing to see something is being done about it. I particularly like the fact the project brings in local businesses and charity work as well as recycling- all in all very impressive work!

Check out www.thegreencan.org for the full scoop, like them on Facebook and see what you can do!

PS. If you have a project, event, group, product, idea or whatever that you’d like me to blog about – don’t hesitate to let me know in a comment!

Flexing My Citizen Muscles

Annie Leonard of ‘The Story of Stuff’ and related videos, likes to tell people to act as a citizen rather than a simple consumer. Today I’ve done just that! Despite a sore throat/headache, I somehow got round to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for months. I wrote to my local (Green!) MP asking her if we’ll be getting curbside composting any time soon. I used this site to get her email details and it was so easy. I even got to indulge my rather unusual liking for telling some one to get a bloody move on in a so-civil-it’s-verging-on-pompous way. So any way, here’s what I said:

Dear Caroline Lucas,

First of all I would like to express how happy I am to be living in a Green constituency and how much I admire you as a political figure. I have watched some of your speeches on Youtube and I consider your policies to be greatly inspiring. The fact that Brighton is a Green city was one of the deciding factors that made me choose to come to university here. I started a degree on Environment and Media Studies this term. 

Considering how forward thinking the city generally is, with it’s fantastic bus service and recycling bins throughout the city centre, I was some what surprised to find that I do not have a food waste collection service for my home. My former home of Glastonbury in Somerset had weekly collections for food waste and it was a very successful scheme. 

I was just wondering if any such scheme is in the pipeline for Brighton? Or perhaps it is already being implemented in other parts of the city that I am unaware of? I appreciate your job must be very challenging and you have many issues to attend to – but I do feel quite strongly about this as I am aware that in the UK, 31.7% of household waste is food waste. (Resource Futures, 2009). I’m sure you are more than aware of the critical links surrounding landfill waste, methane gas and climate change… As an environmentally conscious citizen I feel awful throwing waste-food into the dustbin, but as I live in a flat with no garden there are limited opportunities to do much else with it. 

As I mentioned already, I understand you must be incredibly busy, but I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to respond and let me know if there is any progress being made on curbside food waste recycling in Brighton. 

Thank you very much for your time. 

Yours sincerely,

Tegan Sonvico Christov

What do you think? I mean, hopefully she’ll answer and if she does I’ll let you know what she says. I can’t believe how little effort that involved… Somehow I was expecting some huge sacrifice of time and energy. I’d recommend using that site if you have any niggling issues you want to raise!

Inspiration for a change

I’m so so busy with my university assignments but I had to just quickly sidetrack from that to post these two links here. I’m so happy to see these countries getting down to business and cutting their carbon emissions at such a pace! I’m so used to ‘government’ being all slow and slippery about this issue – this has reminded my that the stance my own ridiculous government takes is not the same as all the countries! Thank god!

Denmark wants to Copenhagen to be first carbon neutral city by 2025

(On the site you can even download their action plan for switching to 100% renewable energy)

52 Low-ling islands states cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by 45%

Read both of them! It’ll make you happy!

Roseau, a small town in the Caribbean island of Dominica. Not my image!

Earth Charter Workshops

I wonder whether you read my post about the Earth Charter? If you have, then thanks, and if you haven’t, well it’s basically a set of principles suggested for a peaceful, just and ultimately sustainable global society. It was published in 2000 after a very lengthy and diverse collaboration that was sparked by Rio 1992. It’s an awesome document and I highly recommend reading it. Here’s a direct link. It’s not very long and isn’t written in scary legalese or anything like that.

For those readers who already know and love the work of the Earth Charter Initiative or have now read it and want to know more, then here’s some exciting news: A series of six workshops based on the Charter are scheduled for the second part of this year! They’re dated between the 10th October and the 12th December and are taking place in Clerkenwell, London, UK. The six workshops each cover a separate topic in the over-arching agenda of creating a more fair and happy  global society that lives within the capacity of our home planet – with the Earth  Charter as a set of guiding principles. The topics are as follows:

1. The work and spirit of the Earth Charter

2. Personal journeys- our unique contribution.

3. The natural built environment.

4. GAIA THEORY: ”One Planet” business, science and culture.

5. Interrelatedness, inclusion and diversity.

6. Moving to commitment, action and partnership.

Each session has a presentation by somebody with expertise and experience in the topic being covered, and there are also group discussions and exercises. Apparently the last session also has a ‘celebratory’ element to it, with the sharing of food and other fun. It all sounds very interesting and I would love to attend. Unfortunately, at  £75 or £60 earlybird style, the ticket price is not affordable for me at the moment. Especially as I’d also have to get to London. But I’m aware that it is not actually very expensive and if it was nearer to me and I wasn’t pouring 90% of my income into costs relating to my impending move, then I would probably get tickets.  The Earth Charter Initiative is amazing and I whole heartedly support everything they stand for. I’m happy and inspired that they’re holding these workshops and I hope they have a great turnout. So if you live in London and can afford it, why not go along? As well as the knowledge gained from the actual talks, it would be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and do some networking.

Click here to buy tickets and view the dates and venue address. If you do go, be sure to tell me all about it!

Vertical Veg

I’m loving this picture from Occupy Wall Street’s facebook page – it shows there really is no space too small for some green-fingered biological miracles. When I move to Brighton (so unbelievably excited) the flat I’m renting doesn’t have a garden but it does have a large outside-ey windowsill and I’m planning to grow kitchen herbs and salad and stuff.

So go get some seeds and get your hands dirty- where ever you live!

Green Dreams and Rio+20

The International Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20 and the 2012 Earth Summit, is taking place in Brazil this week. There’s already been preparatory meetings and the actual conference is from the 20th to the 22nd of June. I’ve been wondering how it’s all going but even though I’ve been scouring both the official UN website and the unofficial Earth Summit website, I’m struggling to get a clear idea of how they’re progressing. Hopefully once it’s actually started there’ll be proper accessible news updates I can read.

However while I was looking around I found that as part of the preparations for the Conference, this partner website called My Green Dream has been set up. It’s encouraging people around the world to share their ‘green dream’ in a short video and together get a more lucid understanding of what future we collectively want. It’s an admirable project and I love the fact that people are getting this idea of taking stock and asking ‘so where do we want to go from here?’… Next we just need to resources and motivation to actually get there…

Take a look at the website, it’s inspiring and has a beautiful background picture. If you’ve got a minute, you could even get involved and post your own Dream.

Image from green-dream.co.uk

Polly Higgins – The Earth’s Lawyer

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwPGIzqZ4OE]

I first read about Polly and her work in a Permaculture Magazine article about a year ago. Recently I watched this talk and I’m glad to see she’s still going strong. Her views make so much sense. Basically, she argues that to the list of international Crimes Against Peace like genocide and war crimes should be added one more – ecocide. This is the term she’s given to the extensive destruction of an ecosystem, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment of it by all inhabitants can no longer continue. (Inhabitants meaning human and non-human).

To me this sounds obvious at first glance – I mean yeah, massive wilful destruction of natural environments should be a crime. But it’s only when you actually really think about it and how it very much isn’t treated as a crime at the moment, that you realise the enormity of Polly’s undertaking. She’s campaigning for the Earth to have rights. That’s huge! She’s saying that not just people and not even just animals, but actual ecosystems have the right to existence. Wow, imagine if those rights were actually written into our laws. That’s what she’s working on. It’s a big task, but she’s been getting lots of media coverage and she’s hugely determined. Also she’s a trained lawyer herself and she’s already organised a mock trail which you can find out more about on her website. In the above talk she speaks of how she was thinking about the environmental destruction going on in the world and how she mused to herself ”the Earth needs a good lawyer…” and from there got to thinking about protecting the Earth in a court of law, and what legal tools she would use in it’s defence. She realised the tools were not there. The Earth does not have legal rights and damaging it is not a punishable crime. She says that ever since then she has been working to change this.

Her website is www.thisisecocide.com and has lots of  information about her latest actions and what you can do to help. If the campaign really captures your interest, she’s even written two books, Eradicating Ecocide and Earth is our Business. If ecocide becomes a crime, then actual individuals will be able to be taken to court. For example, if a company causes destruction of a whole ecosystem, the CEO of that company will sit in the court room as a possible criminal. The far reaching effects of this are so big, just think about it.

You may think Polly’s aiming a bit far with all this, and it’s true that there are plenty of people in high places that will oppose it as it’ll effect a lot of corporate affairs and of course the all important ‘status quo’. But what’s the point of aiming low? Much better to aim high and make a big fuss, bursting through the cage of acceptability and allowing others to storm through the gap behind you, making it wider and wider until freedom is all around. Or something like that. My point is, I think Polly is an inspirational woman who’s got it going on and I’m right behind her.