Eco Awareness

Could You Wear the Same Outfit for a Month?

It sounds like a difficult task, doesn’t it? Questions might pop into your head like “How would I keep it clean?” or “What will people think of me?” However, Marina Testino put her reservations aside and did exactly that. Her intention was to dispel the belief that we need to continually wear new clothes to keep up with fashion, and she simply wore the same red suit for one month. Whilst finding it liberating not having to choose something different to wear each day, she made an important statement about consumerism. There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. You can find Marina on Instagram @ #onedresstoimpress.

The fashion industry is considered to be the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry. All too often, we can be guilty of going shopping when we need to lift our mood or we want to impress others. Whilst wearing the same outfit for a month might not be appealing, there are many ways in which we can reduce our footprint when it comes to fashion. Here are some ideas.

Buy second-hand clothes

Guilt-Free Flying on the Horizon

We are all hopeful that the lockdown restrictions will be a thing of the past soon and we will be able to return to our normal way of living. This includes going on holiday and flying to our favourite destinations. However, many of us have heard about climate change and how the aviation industry plays a major part in contributing to damaging CO2 emissions. This puts us in a bit of a dilemma, as whilst we would love to jet off to sunnier climates, we also don’t want to harm the planet.

This may be something we will not have to face for much longer though. A new jet fuel has been developed from food waste through biorefining. The developers of the paraffin-like fuel believe that it will significantly reduce greenhouse gases, as it stops kerosene emissions and means that not as much food waste will go to landfill, where it produces methane.

The UK government’s aim is to reach net zero emissions by the year 2050. In fact, the UK was the first country to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming and has one of the most ambitious targets in the world. It intends to do this through schemes that offset greenhouse gases like planting trees and capturing and storing carbon.

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a period of great indulgence, from the food that we consume to the products we buy as presents for our loved ones. During this special time of the year, we have an opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet by choosing eco-friendly options. 

Trees

It is estimated that 7 to 8 million Christmas trees are dumped in the UK every year. If you chose to buy a real tree, get one which has roots so you can replant it in your garden after Christmas. When buying a tree without roots, make sure that you chop it up and burn it on a bonfire or take it to the local recycling centre where it can be added to the other green waste after you have finished with it. Christmas tree rental is also becoming popular in the UK, where you can have a tree delivered to you. It is then picked up after the celebrations have ended and lovingly cared for until it is hired again the following year.

Wrapping

We Need 1.6 Planets to Sustain Us

Every year, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) calculates Earth Overshoot Day. This is the day when our consumption exceeds the regeneration of nature on our planet. Last year this happened in July – however, due to the coronavirus, it was recorded on 22 August this year. As human activity has been limited, the earth has had a little bit of a chance to recover.

Interestingly, Earth Overshoot Day happens on different days for other countries. Some of the biggest consumers of the world’s resources are Qatar, whose Earth Overshoot Day is in February, and United Arab Emirates and America, where it is recorded in March. Countries such as Cuba, Iraq and Indonesia seem to consume the least, with the day being set in December.

Earth Overshoot Day was first recorded in 1970, and there has been a significant downward trend since then:

1980 – 4 November

1990 – 11 October

2000 – 23 September

2010 – 7 August

2019 – 29 July

Since the 1970s, not only have our lifestyles changed but the earth’s population has almost doubled. This has led to the consumption of more of its resources. The GFN has stated that humanity needs 1.6 planets to sustain itself at our current rate.

Plastic Pollution in the Thames

It has recently been reported that the River Thames has a higher level of microplastics than any other river in Europe. Larger items such as wet wipes are even accumulating on the shore and creating wet wipe reefs! Scientists are baffled as to why the problem is particularly bad in London and they are calling for stricter regulations on the labelling and disposal of products that contain plastic.

Microplastics can come in the form of glitter and microbeads in cosmetics. These enter the water when we wash them off in the sink or shower after use. However, the majority of microplastics come from the breakdown of larger items, such as food packaging and single-use water bottles.

Unfortunately, people also flush things that contain plastic down the toilet without thinking. Wet wipes, cotton buds, dental floss, sanitary products and the masks we have to wear due to the COVID-19 crisis contain plastic and are causing a lot of damage to the environment. These are considered to be unflushables by environmental organisations. We should only dispose of toilet paper in the lavatory and everything else must be binned.

How to Save Energy at Home

Have you ever thought about how you can save energy at home? Not only will it save you some money, but it will also help the environment. We can go through our everyday lives not thinking properly about the amount of energy we waste however, with the ongoing lockdown, we have a good opportunity to take time to reflect on our habits. It’s amazing how a few small changes can benefit us and the planet!

We have compiled a list of ways in which you can cut down on your energy use at home – and reduce your bills in the process.

How Can We Protect the Planet and Ourselves?

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day took place last month. Earth Day was created in 1970 to help protect the planet, and, at the time, millions of people took to the streets to raise awareness of environmental issues. Earth Day is now the largest civic event in the world. Experts and scientists come together to discuss important issues and make positive changes. Many environmental laws have been passed as a result of this incredible collaboration.

We have been told for some time that the leading cause of climate change is human activity. The main sources of the greenhouse gases responsible for altering our climate are animal agriculture, deforestation and burning fossil fuels. From the lifestyles we lead to the products we buy and the food we eat, we are damaging our beautiful home and putting ourselves at risk.

World Rhino Day

22 September 2012 marked the third Annual World Rhino Day. Many of you may have heard about it, but some of you may not have. One thing for sure is that we have all heard about the plight of the rhino at some point. Having grown up in South Africa during the ’80s and ’90s, I hold rhino conservation very close to my heart. At least once a week the news would break that a poacher ring had been dismantled by force.

During the late ’80s, rhino poaching worldwide had reached an all-time high. The overall population dropped from 70,000 animals surviving in the wild in 1970 to just 29,000 in 1992. The black rhino population in particular has dropped by 96 per cent since 1900. This alarming trend in poaching was not caused by a need for meat or hides or anything of any real use. The decline of this majestic beast is caused by one thing – the superstitious belief of certain cultures, that ingesting medicine made from their horns will relieve fevers and convulsions. This, of course, is a complete falsehood, as rhino horns are nothing more than keratin, which is essentially the same stuff your hair and nails are made from. If it did actually cure these maladies, sufferers could find a far cheaper source at the local barber. The horns are also prized in Yemen as dagger handles and are a sign of prosperity.

The Demise of Europe’s Farmland Birds

Farmland BirdsMany of us as children and as adults have sat in fields and listened blissfully to the cacophony of birdsong emanating from the hedgerows and woods. Every now and then while trampling through the undergrowth, you would scare up a partridge from its hiding place or discover a nest filled with strangely coloured eggs.

Unfortunately, many of our children and indeed many adults may never get to experience the wonder of our feathered friends. Recent studies show that these and many other once-common birds are no longer as wide spread as they once were. The Guardian reports that populations have decreased as much as 90% in the case of the Grey Partridge, and the Linnet population is now down by 57% in the UK.

This decline is mostly due to intensive farming and urbanisation. One may ask how the decline of farmland birds can be caused by farming, but when you look at the modern farm ecosystem as a whole, it becomes more clear. Among other things, the overuse of pesticides and herbicides has caused a decline in the birds’ food sources by destroying the very foundation of their food chain. In addition, urbanisation and our ever-growing need to house the population has caused similar problems in their ecosystem.

The UK’s White Paper on the Natural Environment

natural choiceOn 7 June 2011, the UK government published ‘The Natural Choice’ – a white paper that outlines how the natural environment is going to be protected, restored and improved over the next 50 years.

This is the first white paper that has been published in 20 years, and it is directly linked to the findings made in the National Ecosystem Assessment that strongly proved how the natural environment must be looked after. It also acts on information found in a report on England’s wildlife sites called ‘Making Space for Nature’ by Professor John Lawton.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“The natural environment matters to us all – not just because it makes us feel good when we stumble across a bluebell wood or spot a pair of goldfinches, but because we are now all able to see the terrible price we would pay if we lost what we have or neglected to care for it. Nature belongs to us all, and we’ve all got a vested interest in protecting it.