Zoe here from The Big Swap, I was glad to swap a few words as guest blogger in return for Ismay’s support at my zero waste event. My first encounter with Boy Wonder Brand was at a Nottingham board game café, when I interrupted a game on the neighbouring table to find out more about the cool fish and chip print sweater the young boy (Ismay’s son) was wearing. It wasn’t long after that, when I approached Ismay to say a few words about her ethical clothing range at The Big Toy Swap. An event designed to for help the average person take steps to becoming greener and recognising they have the power to make a difference.
I grew up in a ‘far left’ household as a happy child with 2 parents and brother, with all the things in place to appear a regular family. However, even as a young girl I had an inclination there was something unique about our home, but simply put it down to having creative parents, making a living through being artists. My family shared a car with two other families, often leaving no choice but to cycle everywhere. We minimised holidays and almost never did international trips, my first being a school exchange in my teens. Monthly dried food packages arrived to our house and were exchanged and shared accordingly. My parents never upgraded things for newer models simply because it was current or no longer complimented the interior of a room. Objects lasted and if they didn’t, they were fixed or repurposed. That was the 70’s and around the time of first environmental movements towards air pollution. It turns out my family was pretty green, led by conscious adults.
Like so many people today I have a boot in each camp, a desire to make changes for a better world, one less damaged by humanity and a passion to have lovely things and maintain a lifestyle I have worked hard for. More than anything, as a parent I want my behaviour and attitude to transcend the right message to my young family as the living earth faces crisis.
In 2018, UK consumers spent £370 million on toys and this is showing no signs of slowing down, which is bad news for the environment. A survey by the British Heart Foundation found that, on average, children in the UK have four toys they have never played with, in the same survey all parents admit to throwing broken or just unwanted toys away. A large number of toys are made from materials not accepted at recycling plants and it is estimated that 80% of plastic toys will end up in landfill.
The good news is that quality consumables like children’s toys and clothes are not designed for ‘single use’, however our children do grow out of things pretty fast. I have considered a number of ways in which a family can make changes and lower their environmental impact and an easy one is to pass pre-loved items on and get something in return. Most people I speak to are doing a good job at charity runs and hand-me-downs to younger siblings and friends, but we need to buy less to begin with and slow consumerism down. The fossil fuels used at manufacturing and shipment of toys and clothes is the initial villain and the biggest threat.
Swap culture is happening globally, only this week I read the glitterati have been encouraged to reuse dresses or swap for the BAFTA’s red carpet. The Big Swap events are designed for people wanting to make change, they are accessible and offer a pocket of sustainability closer to home.
Swapping not only keeps great items in circulation, giving them new life, they are a great way to save money. Swaps are the new guilt free way of shopping. With less waste and more money in your pocket it opens up more opportunity to make smarter investments in brands that are taking the eco stress out of purchasing. Choosing to buy less but from more ethical brands like the Boy Wonder brand, will ease your conscience and have a much more positive impact on the environment.
The Big Swap – reuse, rehome, relove. A little sustainability one swap at a time.
We use organic cotton in our collection which is more expensive. So what is organic cotton and why should you buy it?
No Toxic Chemicals!
Conventional cotton is grown and treated with many cancer causing chemicals including frightening ones like cyanide[i], formaldehyde and sulfuric acid[ii]. Organic crops do not pollute natural water courses, thereby helping to protect aquatic and wildlife, promoting biodiversity and precious ecosystems. Chemical free crops also mean that local communities have clean drinking water without toxic run-off poisoning them. Conventional cotton growers have high rates of cancer and death by suicide which has decimated large communities.
"A single drop of the pesticide aldicarb, absorbed through the skin can kill an adult."[iii]
Safe for Children
Clothing by its very nature is in close contact with the skin which allows for easy absorption of harmful chemicals. Young children are at a greater risk of exposure to these chemicals due to their size, behaviour and metabolism[iv] Exposure to these have been have been linked to a whole range of medical conditions from eczema and asthma to ADHD[v]
Lower Environmental Impact
Organic soil is very healthy and fertile helping to store carbon while also acting like a sponge soaking up flood water, in both ways directly helping to combat climate change. Most organic cotton is rain-fed reducing the strain on water supplies especially in countries with high drought levels. It uses 88% less water and has 62% less energy use. Organic cotton also lasts longer[vi] than the standard meaning it can be kept in use for longer.
Organic cotton farming is subject to higher ethical standards than conventional cotton. They have to follow very strict guidelines which are regularly checked and scrutinized[vii]. Standard cotton growing is rife with child and forced labour in places such as Uzbekistan[viii]. As they don't grow organic cotton it is less likely such practices are used in organic growing areas. As the workers and farmers are not exposed to the nasty chemicals used in standard cotton growing they have better health and wellbeing where others suffer from acute pesticide poising often requiring hospitalisation.
Organic cotton is grown alongside food crops allowing farmers greater food security for themselves and their families and can provide extra income. Conventional cotton is grown as a mono-crop where nothing else can be grown with it and any nearby food sources are contaminated with high levels of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.
Genetically modified seeds are owned by large corporations who farmers have to buy seeds from every year[ix]. As organic cotton never uses GM seeds farmers can save the seeds for the following year without extra cost or getting into debt. They can control the quality and type of seed they want to grow giving them better yields.
How do I know if it's organic?
Certified organic cotton should have a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard) or Soil Association logos either on the garment labelling, on the retailers website or they will have a copy of the certification if you ask them.
I hope this helps you to make an informed decision about buying organic clothing.
#organiccotton #sustainablefashion #nontoxic
Water, the latest fashion Victim
Tale of a T-shirt
Wake up to Child Labour
Fashion resale has become a big thing over the last year or so and is a good sustainable option. In fact the second -hand clothing market is predicted to grow faster than new sales. I have been buying second-hand clothes and selling my old things for a while now, so thought I could pass on some tips to you.
There are so many platforms online where you can sell your clothes now. Depop is a great app you can have on your phone to buy and sell and is my favourite. eBay is an old trusted platform, Vestaire Collective is for designer goods and there is also Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, ThredUP and Poshmark, to name but a few. Choose the platform where the person who is most likely to buy your clothes from will be looking. If you're not sure, then where would you be most likely to buy from? For example Depop has a younger audience than eBay and Facebook and Vestaire Collective is for the wealthier customers. There are also some brands like John Lewis, Levi's and Patagonia that now take back their clothes giving you a discount or payment and they will resell them. This is something we have in mind for Boy Wonder in the future.
First of all make sure that the garments are clean and ironed. Nobody is going to want to buy a crumpled old thing from the bottom of your laundry basket. It's probably worth even fixing any repairs too. It is also much nicer for the buyer when they receive it when it's nice and clean and ready to wear. You will get better feedback too which is important to build trust if want to sell anything again.
The key thing if you are selling online are the photos. There is nothing more off putting than a terrible photo. Most mobile phones these days have really good cameras, so there is no need to worry about expensive kit. You will need somewhere that has good, preferably natural light, but not so bright that it throws strong shadows. You may be able to brighten them up a little on your phone afterwards if necessary and crop out anything you don't want on the image. It always look better to show garments being worn as they look very different on the hanger. Most people don't have a great imagination and if they can't imagine how good it could look on them then they won't wear it! Try also to have a plain background behind the wearer, that won't distract too much from what you are trying to show. Photograph key details too, especially any branding if it's premium or designer to show authenticity. Be honest about any imperfections and show them too, as you don't want unhappy buyers. The more photos you have to show the garment off the better.
Pricing is a tricky one and will depend on the platform you are selling on. eBay is an auction site, so maybe start at the very least you are willing to accept and you can always relist with a lower price if it doesn't sell. Depop is not an auction site, so it's worth doing a bit of research to see what prices other people are selling similar things at. Consider how much you would be willing to pay for something similar if you were a buyer. Items that are brand new, have never been worn and still have the price tags on you can obviously charge more for, but you will not get the retail price back. It's important to check as well how much a platform will charge you for selling with them as they vary from a 10-25% commission.
Describe the item well and make sure you include all the key information honestly. Most sites will require you state size, colour and brand at the very least, but an indicator of quality is also really helpful. Other useful things to mention maybe the fabric, washing information or even for strange sizes some dimensions too.
I have sometimes also included images for how to style the garment or links to fashion bloggers reviews. Buyers love to see if something is a bloggers favourite so include it in the headline too.
When it comes to adding on postage and packaging be honest and only cover your costs. High postage is off putting and most people would rather wait longer than pay more. You can weigh your item on home scales along with the mailing bag and then check out the royal mail's website to find out how much you are likely to pay. If you are sending multiple or heavy items it might be worth comparing costs with a courier company instead. Try to be quick in dispatching the goods after someone has paid and let them know it has been sent. It's always safer to send something with a signature on delivery and with enough insurance to cover it as there are rogue buyers out there who will say they haven't received it. Send the tracking number to the buyer too and an estimated date of delivery.
Answer any questions that prospective buyers may have quickly and clearly otherwise they will go elsewhere. If there are any problems with the sale or afterwards deal with them as soon as possible and in a polite manner. Problems can happen to anyone and if its at your end being honest and upfront with an apology will go a long way. Remember to rate your buyer afterwards and give feedback and ask them to do the same. That way you can build your reputation as a seller and hopefully have customers returning to you.
This is stating the obvious, but don't try to sell winter coats in the summer and vice versa. But, also consider scheduling the item to start when people are most likely to be on the internet browsing for stuff. I often start eBay items on a Sunday afternoon as people often are free then. With auctions you also have to consider ending them at a time when people will be able to bid. No one wants to get up in the middle of the night to bid on some old jumper! Another thing to consider with timing is what time of the month you are trying to sell in. Near the end of the month a lot of people won't have much disposable income to spare, but after payday they are more likely to part with their cash.
Realising the potential of your unwanted clothes can be quite lucrative but also they are then going to live a second life with someone else which is better for the planet. Hopefully these tips will help you od just that.
#resalefashion #secondhandfashion #consignmentfashion
The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. There is a chill wind blowing and the leaves are falling. It is nearly All Hallow's Eve, a time of witches and ghouls and...tonnes of plastic rubbish. This ancient celebration, which America has supercharged, grows in popularity and environmental impact every year. But Halloween can still be enjoyed without the guilt and the waste.
30m people dress up for Halloween[i] and 7m Halloween costumes are thrown away in the UK each year. Most are made from polyester or other oil-based plastic such as PVC which releases harmful chemicals as it breaks down. Two thousand tonnes of plastic waste is created from clothing and costumes alone, not considering all the plastic accessories, wigs, masks and hats. This is equivalent by weight of waste plastic to 83 million Coca Cola bottles. Not only that, but most are made very cheaply and in all likelyhood unethically.
You could make your own costumes with what you have already, borrow, swap or reuse old ones or get them second hand from charity shops. Local sewing shops will have Halloween fabrics if you have a sewing machine and Pinterest has lots of ideas for costume designs. Or if you are going to a special Halloween party then consider hiring a costume instead.
Cheap plastic Halloween decorations sadly cant be recycled as they are too poor quality. So why not use natural items such as pine cones, colourful autumnal leaves and acorns to decorate with? Or buy or make your decorations out of paper. Candles or tealights in jam jars are also a lovely to set the spooky mood. Otherwise if you don't have time to make or find paper or natural decorations then you may need to spend a bit more to invest in some good quality, non-plastic items that you can re-use year after year. LED or solar powered lights will cost you less in electricity as well as lowering your carbon footprint. There are lots of ideas on my seasonal zero waste Pinterest board here.
The vast amount of sweets and chocolate that are bought and consumed over Halloween are not only bad for our health but for the planet too. Most come in plastic bags and wrapped individually in plastic too. Foil wrapped chocolate or ones in cardboard like raisins at least can be recycled. Sugar is also a very environmentally damaging crop along with palm oil which is in many chocolate treats, so another good reason to limit naughty treats . A visit to a sweet shop or a pick 'n' mix counter will cut out some of this excess packaging. You could also give something useful instead of sugary treats like fun rubbers or spooky pencils. Or have fun making your own treats such as chocolates, biscuits, toffee apples or popcorn that can be given out in paper or cloth bags. You can get fun silicon moulds to make your own chocolates and use them for other seasonal events like valentines and Easter too,
In the UK alone,only 5% of the 10 million pumpkins that are carved out for Halloween are actually eaten. 18,000 tons of pumpkins are left to rot in the UK. All the water and energy that went into growing and transporting those pumpkins is wasted. [i]
Buying locally grown pumpkins means you are supporting local farmers but also reducing those food miles. Make sure you use the flesh that you scoop out of the pumpkin to make some delicious soup or pie and try roasting the seeds with a little salt for a tasty snack. Here are some recipes to try. Put your old pumpkin in your compost bin or food waste collection rather than your waste bin so it can give something back to the earth and not release harmful gases in a landfill site. The same goes with apples for apple bobbing too.
Reusable cutlery, plates, napkins, tablecloths, straws and other table settings not only look nicer but reduce waste and environmental impact. Again investing in some good quality crockery that you can reuse each year makes sense if you can afford it but otherwise be inventive and creative with what you already have. You can find some layout ideas on my fright night Pinterest board here.
Hope you all have a Spooktacular and waste -free Halloween!
#zerowastehalloween #greenhalloween #plasticfreehalloween
After spending a week in London with XR (Extinction Rebellion) I wanted to try and share some of the experience with you. It is very difficult to express it to people who were not there but I will do my best!
It was a really intense experience and a roller-coaster of emotions with long days, late nights, little sleep and lots of adrenalin. While holding sites there was discomfort from long periods of sitting down in tight spaces, little access to toilets and food as well as the cold & rain of autumn. I chose to take time off work and be away from my son and put my liberty at risk, but I would take all the down sides and do it all again in heartbeat to highlight the severity of the climate crisis and push for action. There are environmental activists around the world who die trying to protect our plant and our future, so these all seem insignificant in comparison. witnessing other rebels and friends making huge statements of sacrifice by gluing and locking themselves onto buildings and structures is very humbling. However, I do recognise my privilege as a white, middle class woman to be able to be part of the rebellion, but I do feel that I should use this and whatever platform I can for the cause.
On our sites we created our own XR villages complete with sustenance, art, meditation, wellbeing, first aid and stewards tents. We even had toilet tents with buckets, as the police confiscated our portaloos! Our site was next to St. James' Park where the campers had a lovely setting next to the lake and the pelicans. For me this embodied the natural world we are fighting for whilst being directly opposite the opulent buildings of Horseguards Rd which embody the establishment we are fighting against. We heard speeches from many notables including Gail Bradbrook, Mark Rylance, Bruce Parry and Rupert Read. We had live music from KT Tunstall and many others. Entertainment came from the Red Rebel Brigade, Rebel Roos, the Skeleton Parade and the dancing birds and of course people’s assemblies to make all the group decisions for the site. We truly created the society we want to see with inclusion, community and resilience.
It is difficult to describe the incredible energy of the experience in standing beside like-minded, passionate people who are using civil resistance to drive change. You begin to realise what power we all have when we come together and disobey the powers that be. That immense power of communal spirit and love was summed up for me while we protested outside the BBC by singing 'Amazing Grace'. It was so moving it had the police officers struggling to hold back tears. You also start to realise how much social conditioning we have in society to ‘put up, and shut up’, not just from the authorities but also from peers for fear of disapproval. I was quite anxious about what some friends and family would think about what we are doing in XR, but have been pleasantly surprised with all the support I have had. It is really empowering after years of feeling like we are getting nowhere with letters, petitions and marches to see people rising up and taking action.
The main thing I take away from the whole experience is the amazing sense of love. We went to London as thousands of rebels and came back as friends. Everywhere I went hugs and words of support were given, food and supplies shared and hopes bolstered. Whilst we are sitting blocking the road, the wellbeing team would pass us food, blankets, cushions and handwarmers, while legal observers would check we knew our rights. Supporters would cheer and the samba band would drum in defiance of the police. We had pizzas delivered to us from anonymous supporters, our home rebels raised money to buy extra supplies and visitors dropped off folding chairs and head lamps. We sang together, laughed together and cried together and it was the most incredible experience of my life.
#rebelforlife #actnow #tellthetruth
Why I am Rebelling
5 ways to save the planet pt2
Responding to Criticisms of the Rebellion
Ok, so let's first talk about what fast fashion is. Fast fashion is when clothing is produced quickly and cheaply, often being able to have new designs in store just weeks after being designed. The business model is based on high volume and turnover of stock.
The main problem with the fast fashion industry is the sheer volume of clothing it produces - 1 billion garments annually! Sophisticated marketing and the high turnover of stock drives consumers on to the next trend in order to buy ever more. Considering that fast fashion is predicted toincrease 60% by the year 2030 this is not sustainable when we all need to be buying less (of everything) to save our planet. The truth is we don't actually need any more clothes at all, we have more than enough to go round already, but fast fashion taps in to the desire for the new 'must have' and the affordable 'don't miss it' offer.
Aside from a few small conscious ranges, most fast fashion garments are made with synthetic fabrics which are responsible for 0.6 – 1.7 million tons of microfibres end up in the ocean every year. We all know from The Blue Planet II what the impact of plastics is on our sea life, but the fibres also end up in our drinking water and in our food as they do not biodegrade like natural fibres. The fast fashion industry is also responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater. The dwindling resources on our planet cannot sustain such turnover of 'stuff' driven by company policies based on growth and expansion; new stores, emerging markets, ever more lines. The industry emits1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year which is about 5% of global emissions - more than air travel and international shippingemissions combined. Much of this will come from the thousands of fashion miles that are incurred when the products travel across the world to get to our stores.
Most fast fashion (97%) is produced in far off countries which have extremely low wages. Low price fashion often means unethical practices and little transparency. The prices we pay in a fast fashion store do not reflect the true cost of what someone should have been paid, nor the resources used and the environmental damage done. Large fast fashion brands have incredible power, which puts pressure on developing countries to provide goods at rock bottom prices and cut corners on health and safety in order to keep the orders coming in. The speed of production can also lead to long working hours and extreme pressure to hit impossible deadlines. The Rana Plaza tragedy is a prime example of this.
Some fast fashion brands have sustainability schemes such as H&M's 'Closed loop' and ''recycling' schemes. However, with current technologies, it would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in 48 hours. It is also unclear about how much of these unwanted garments actually get recycled or reused. This seems to be a marketing idea rather than a solution, as it still takes energy and resources to recycle. What happens to what cannot be recycled? The worry here is that so much low grade fast fashion is going out to African countries that their local textiles industries are collapsing. Clothing recycling as with household recycling makes us believe that it's ok to keep consuming at the rate we are without considering it's impact.
The Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry had one main conclusion and that is we need to value our clothes. And high street and fast fashion does not necessarily mean low quality if you choose good pieces that are classic and look after them. However, the majority of fast fashion is not designed for longevity which is one of the principles of circular fashion.
So, I don't believe that fast fashion can be sustainable because of all these issues. Can the big fast fashion brands change their way of working and become more sustainable? Maybe, but I doubt they would want to jeopardise their bottom line. So don't be fooled by clever initiatives and green-washing or that at least they are trying. There are so many other ethical and sustainable brands that deserve our attention that are doing so much more.
#fastfashion #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion
6 Fashion Brands to avoid
Top 5 Ethical Kids Brands
5 Most Ethical High Street Fashion Brands
It's been nearly 6 months since I wrote my first post on how to save the planet. Since then I have learnt a whole lot more on climate issues, become a climate activist myself and frighteningly the climate emergency has sped up a great deal. So I felt strongly that I had to go back and rewrite my suggestions in light of all this.
As I write the Arctic is experiencing the worst wildfires and fast melting ever seen and across the globe historical temperature records have been broken. I have become aware of all the dangerous feedback effects that are not even taken into consideration in the IPCC reports and global emissions are still rising despite all the Paris Accord pledges. So, If like me you are worried about all these things and want to do something about it, here is my list of suggestions in order of importance:
30 years of inaction by leaders and rising emissions despite agreements, petitions, marches and polite letters to MPs go to show these methods are totally ineffective."Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will". Non violent direct action and civil disobedience has proven to be the most effective way to bring about change according to research and it only needs 3.4% of the population to be successful. No matter what you think of Extinction Rebellion, they have been more successful in the last 6 months in increasing public discourse on the climate crisis than most green groups have been in their entire existence. However, massive changes need to start happening to save our planet and they need to happen now, so more direct action is necessary.
I am sure you are all well aware of how "a vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth". With an ever growing global population, agricultural land is becoming scarcer and climate changes are already seriously affecting food production. Our oceans are being devastated by pollution and overfishing and animal agriculture contributes massively to methane emissions. But aside from all that, a vegan diet is the most healthy diet there is and sentient creatures don't have to suffer and die for it. So even reducing meat and dairy can have a high impact and the wide variety of vegan options available now make it an easy choice.
"If aviation was a country, it would be the 7th worst polluter globally". Frequent flying and long haul flights cause significant carbon emissions (aside from the pollution). A return flight from London to New York will result in the loss of 6.6m2 of arctic ice, which is the earth's natural climate regulator. The rise of budget airlines and cheap flights have been enabled by the fact that airline fuel carries no duty and flights do not have VAT added on like with other forms of transport. This added to the lack of investment into public transport has now created the biazarre situation where it is often cheaper to fly somewhere than get the train. This needs to change and fast and reducing your own air travel will go way some way towards this.
Many pension schemes and savings accounts are invested in fossil fuel companies or other unethical and polluting projects. Withdrawing your hard earned cash or putting pressure on the financial institutions to divest from such areas makes a big statement and hits big companies where it hurts. As "100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions" of which fossil fuels companies are the highest emitters, they are the ones that need to change the most. Because as long as they are still making billions in profit as well as receiving £10.5 billion subsidies in the UK they won't change a thing.
There have been various legal cases against governments and fossil fuels companies in regard to climate change and some are still on going, but without an international law covering loss, damage and destruction to ecosystems, justice is rarely done. The late UK barrister, Polly Higgins, dedicated her life to getting ecocide made law and her team are still working hard to achieve it. If the legal case can be passed then CEOS and government ministers could be held criminally responsible for the damage they have caused. You can contribute to their legal team and support activistshere and become an earth protector too.
Taking real action in the face of climate catastrophe can really help with eco-anxiety, beacuse as Greta Thunberg says "once we start to act hope is everywhere" so I hope you will join me in doing whatever you can.
5 ways to save the planet
Responding to Crticism of the Rebellion
How to stay Climate Positive
#climateactivism #divestment #ecocide #flightfree
With constant stories in the press at the moment about the environmental crisis and the word extinction now being used in everyday conversation it must be a very frightening time to be a child. I remember the threat of nuclear missiles hanging over my childhood in the 1980s, but it always seemed very abstract to me then. However, as my son lost his dad when he was four, loss, grief and fear are a reality to him when they weren't to me. So as I become more of an activist I wonder how best to talk to him about such existential threats without frightening him.
Bringing children up with a love and respect for nature will mean they will grow up understanding the need to protect it. Being outdoors creates a connection with nature and gives you the opportunity to explain certain aspects of what is happening to the environment. For instance, if you spot insects you can talk about them and explain that they used to be many more when you were their age and that the birds need them to eat and so on. Grandparents could be a good source of information on this as they will have seen many changes they can talk about. Talking about our impact through daily routines such as when you are out shopping asking your kids to choose produce that's from the UK and explain why that's important. I talk more about this in my How to raise Eco Kids blog here.
I do believe it's very important to be honest with children and the problems we face now are so vast that we should not hide it from them. For small children though the complexities of climate breakdown would be beyond their understanding, so any information must be age appropriate. You know best as a parent how much your child can take in or how much they already know and what they feel about it. Maybe start small by explaining how trees absorb CO2 and give us oxygen? Make it relatable to their interests, whether they love birds or big cats. Explaining the impacts of climate change on the animals they love or things that are happening around them will mean more to them and hold their interest. Learning the difference between the weather and climate is critical for children. It is important though to have a good understanding yourself of what you are talking about, so it's worth reading up about things first. If your child asks a question you can't answer, then be honest and maybe you can suggest you look it up together. If you are worried you can't give them enough or the correct information then find out what their school can advise or do. Environmental, wildlife charities and even natural history museums may be able to provide answers or evidence of some of the issues in an interesting way that would appeal to kids.
It is really important to make sure your kids know that they are safe but also that it's ok to feel afraid, sad or angry about things that are happening to our planet. They need to know that clever scientists have been working on these problems for many years and have told us what the solutions are and that they are many people all over the world trying fix things. Frame your conversations hopefully, even if you don't feel it, as you are their protector and they need to know we can all do something about it. There are many success stories you can share about how we can change things like rewilding projects, the growth of renewable energy and reforestation.
As Greta Thunberg said "with action comes hope". Help children to realise they are not powerless and to find their voice. Whether that is writing a letter to their school or MP .Talking to them about the school climate strikers, the sunrise movement in the US and all the other brave kids standing up for the planet will show them that they can help too. Measuring their own carbon footprint is a good way to get them started on thinking about what they can change and how things can affect the planet. Make them aware too that they haven't caused the problem and shouldn't be expected to fix it, but that we can all help and that governments and other big guys are the ones that need to do the most. Also, children learn by example so be the change you want to see in the world and they will want to be earth protectors too.
There are a few books and websites here that may help:
And my Pinterest boards on kids eco books and films are here
I know I will change the way I discuss the crisis with my son after writing this so I hope this will be useful to you and your kids too. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and any of my blog posts, so do drop me a line x
#ecokids #climatecrisis #earthprotectors
Kids fight for climate
How to stay climate positive
5 ways to save the planet
Seasonal celebrations throughout the year are by their nature very wasteful in their celebration of feasting and excess. How can we as mindful consumers still enjoy these celebrations without contributing to landfill, carbon emissions, habitat loss other ethical problems?
Unless you are religious, eggs and more specifically chocolate eggs are what Easter is about for most people. However, most Easter eggs are packaged in plastic and so the average child receiving eggs from their family members will accumulate quite a pile of plastic waste as a result. There are many alternatives to these including making your own with chocolate moulds, making your own papier mache eggs or using cardboard, tin or wooden refillable eggs. You could even re-use something you already have like used Kinder Egg eggs or get something second-hand instead of buying anything new as this is significantly lower impact. If you are buying pre-made branded eggs then consider what it is you want to be eco/ethical about. There are some better options around that are either dairy-free, organic, fairtrade or palm oil free, but most are not all of the above. Please remember to recycle all packaging properly including the foil if this is your choice. Here and here are guides to some of the most ethical.
If you are using refillable eggs or putting together an Easter basket or egg hunt you will need extra treats too. If you are trying to steer away from the sugar overload that is Easter, then consider small wooden toys like the ones in my eco gift guide. Second hand shops would also be a good way to pick up small toys cheaply. Otherwise taking your own reusable containers to a sweet shop or a pick and mix area at your local supermarket will avoid all the extra packaging of mini eggs and the like.
Avoid buying plastic baskets, but if you already have one use it rather than replacing with something else as this is just waste in itself. Great plastic alternatives are traditional wicker baskets which you can often get from florists or online. They can be lined with straw, real grass or foliage, shredded paper from your recycling bin or scrap cotton fabric and ribbon. Once children have grown out of using these they can be reused for all sorts of things including gift hampers. Wire, felt or paper baskets or tin buckets are also a good cheap option and can be decorated by the kids to personalise them or do versions for the adults with gardening or pampering things. You could even use an up-turned Easter bonnet if you have one, so getting double the use!
Use nature as inspiration for creating your own decorations out of twigs, ribbons, hand dyed eggs and spring flowers. You can find ideas here and here on my Pinterest boards. Get your children involved with crafting chicks and bunnies out of scrap wool and fabric. Scouring your local second hand shops after Easter you will often pick up some bargains ready for the following year. Beautiful vignettes can be created out of all of these and other things you have around your home such as vases of flowers, lanterns and Easter goodies. Florist wreath frames can be decorated with fresh foliage and flowers and then used again with winter foliage at Christmas.
Wishing you all a happy and ethical Easter x
#ecoeaster #ethicaleaster #zerowaste
My Zero Waste Update
How to have an Green & Ethical Christmas
Last Friday, I was very proud to march in London alongside the Boy Wonder (and my mum) in the Global Youth Climate Strike. It had a profound effect on me. Being surrounded by 20,000 passionate young people, many finding their voices and realising their own agency for the first time was awe inspiring. The kids really ‘get it’ in a way a lot of the adults just can’t, but it’s time for us all to wake up. The energy and power of the event must gain momentum. The experience has galvanised me to want to do more to help save the planet. Because ,this not just about the planet's survival, but ours too. Large scale communal protest and peaceful demonstration is one really important way to get involved, but what else can we all do?
Make individual changes in your own life, such as reducing meat and dairy in your diet (or going vegan if you can), switching to a green energy provider, tree planting, divesting your bank accounts & pension funds, getting an electric car and consuming & flying less. All these actions are small in comparison to the total system change we need, but they do inspire and influence others to do the same and create a demand for a greener society. However, making people feel guilty about not so green decisions will not get them on your side, they will just get defensive. So inspire and inform people instead by telling them the reasons why these things matter to you or the story that lead you to change.
Climate change is not something that is in the distant future, it happening right now and a lot faster than we thought. We all need to educate ourselves much better on what will happen if we don't act soon. Then we need to spread this message to everyone we know and challenge denialists and delayers. Reach out to them by telling them how it will affect them directly and what matters to them most, be that their children or their income. There are many great books, articles and interviews with experts which are not overly scientific or full of jargon. I attach links to these below. Collective denial and complacency, even from some within the green movement, have held us back for too long, now is the time to learn about the stark reality we are facing.
The news media has so much influence on all of our opinion forming and indeed on our politics. They should follow a moral duty to inform everyone on the apocalyptic nature of runaway climate change. Sadly, most print media don't do this, due to being beholden to advertisers or owned by powerful people invested in the status quo. However, there are many independent media companies who have fewer constraints that we would be better off patronising. Public service broadcasters, like the BBC, who do not have advertisers are a good target for public pressure in getting the climate reality message out there. They are answerable to us as license fee payers and their complaints system can be used to tell them we won’t tolerate them broadcasting climate deniers as they have often been known to do. Petitions, letters and visit to MPs are also a way to do this although I’m not entirely convinced if they work. However, petitioning your MP, government, town and district councils to declare a climate emergency would start some important ground level action that could be beneficial. Social media can also be an effective way get your network on board too.
Never before has your vote mattered so much, the world’s fate literally depends on it. Democracy is a flawed system, but we need to elect people into power who can change things from the top - and fast. Candidates need to show evidence of real commitment and strong policies for change rather than the usual greenwashing. If our parliamentary representatives do not act in our best interest, they can be legally challenged as failing in their duty. The UK government is currently fighting a court battle with activists who are against the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow airport. The emissions target that the UK signed at the Paris Climate Accord simply cannot be met with this airport expansion. There are possible challenges that could also be made similar to the ones in the US, Ireland, the Netherlands and France on climate change itself. Legal action against the companies that have caused over 2 thirds of climate change has already begun with Exxon Mobil, (who have known about climate change since the 1970’s.) BP & Shell, amongst others. $1 billion has been spent since 2015 by the 5 largest fossil fuel giants in lobbying and climate denial misinformation. Boycotting these eco-vandals is a vote with your wallet and a stand against impending ecocide.
Get involved with environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth, 350.org or Greenpeace by volunteering or donating. If you feel you can go further, then a direct action group such as Extinction Rebellion, who use peaceful civil disobedience such as blocking highways, will have the most direct impact. Collective group pressure is much more powerful and demands greater press attention and public exposure than any small individual act can ever do. Come along and join the next climate march with us and feel that power for yourself, and you will know that you did all you could to help save the planet for future generations.
If you have any thoughts on this or any suggestions for further reading and viewing please let me know. We love to hear your thoughts x
#savetheplanet #youthclimatestrike #extinctionrebellion
Kids Fight for the Climate
How to Stay Climate Positive
How to Raise Eco Kids
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THIS:
YouTube interview with Dr David Suzuki
YouTube - Scientists Warning - Deep Adaptation
YouTube - David Attenborough
YouTube - Greta & Svante Thunberg
YouTube - Radio Interview with Naomi Klein
YouTube - Michael Mann Climate Expert
Drawdown by Paul Hawken
The Madhouse Effect by Michael Mann
Storms of My Grandchildren: The truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hensen
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate by Naomi Klein
How Did We Get Into This Mess by George Monbiot
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace- Wells
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