Green Living

Unnecessary plastic packaging finds its way to our oceans - Photo by Dustan Woodhouse@SunsplashUnnecessary plastic packaging finds its way to our oceans - Photo by Dustan Woodhouse@SunsplashImagine the world’s oceans inhabited by more plastic than fish - this is our reality by 2050 if we don’t make the changes our planet so desperately needs. When considering buying gifts to mark those annual special occasions, many of the more traditional options contain plastics, or at the very least are stifled by plastic packaging. Over half of the presents we receive end up discarded on landfill sites every year. Opt out of this materialistic mess and get creative for an alternative gift that proves you care - and not just about your loved one.

Potions And Lotions To Protect Our Oceans

Most of us have practiced that ‘grateful for the lovely gift’ face to perfection. No one wants to unwrap a gift and appear to be disappointed, but no one wants to unwrap the usual generic plastic bottles of strange smelling fluorescent gunk either. Consider a more natural alternative that won’t clog your loved one's bathroom - or our oceans - with unnecessary plastic packaging.

A quirky alternative to the regular shampoo bottle is slowly gaining momentum in the market in the form of solid shampoo bars. Functioning in the same way as a soap bar and using natural materials like coconut oil, solid shampoo bars have fewer chemicals than liquid shampoos and usually come in eco friendly packaging. If you are particularly creative you could try making your own solid shampoo for that special, more personalized touch.

Commemorate Our Matriarchs With Chemical Free Candles

The matriarchs of our family deserve an extra special treat those days of year that are carved out just for them. Consider choosing a long lasting gift that will infuse her evenings with delightful fragrances that endure far longer than the traditional flowers or chocolates. Eco friendly soy candles beat traditional paraffin candles hands down for a longer lasting, cleaner, biodegradable alternative. The dangers of paraffin are well known for giving off harmful fumes that have been linked to asthma and cancer. Why would anyone knowingly present their loved ones with gifts that pollute the air inside their homes? With toxic pollution rising outdoors, we need to keep our homes as chemical and carcinogen free as possible.

A Tantalizing Taste Of The Future

The future of sustainability lies in veganism. If you haven’t already, try some of the amazing DIY vegan jar gifts and home bakes. Use biodegradable materials like cardboard food cartons, or reuse old jars to contain your home-made goodies. Your friends and loved ones will be delighted with a batch of raw chocolate and almond truffles or coconut chocolate fudge, or a jar jam packed with chocolate pumpkin cake, a gingerbread cake or even a no-bake vegan cheesecake! Dress them up, make them pretty, and you have the perfect healthy, eco friendly treat for the deserving recipient.

With around 7.6 billion of us now inhabiting the planet, it has never been more vital for each and every one of us to aim for a greener way of living. Role model your passion for an eco friendly lifestyle by ensuring that every gift you give enables you to show your love and appreciation for the planet, as well as for your loved ones.

Saving The Bees

The global population of bees has been in decline since 1997, but concern really began in 2005, when the population dropped severely. The honey bee in particular is an extremely important pollinator, responsible for the pollination of much our food supply, and its protection, therefore, is of vital importance. Work must be done on a global level to protect all bee species, but we as individuals can also play a valuable role in protecting the environment and helping the bees to survive.

The products are harvested at 8 am on the 360-square-metre roof and at 9 am they are in the store. The roof also generates its energy sustainably with solar panels and by recuperating heat from the store building. The farm in this Brussels store will serve as a test to expand the program to more Delhaize units.

New York, 09 July 2018 – UN Environment and Yale University in collaboration with UN Habitat today unveiled a new eco-housing module, to spark public discussion and new ideas on how sustainable design can provide decent, affordable housing while limiting the overuse of natural resources and climate change. The 22-square-meter “tiny house” is fully powered by renewable energy and designed to test the potential for minimizing the use of natural resources such as water.

In a recent Nature Sustainability paper, a team of scientists concluded that the Earth can sustain, at most, only 7 billion people at subsistence levels of consumption (and this June saw us at 7.6 billion). Achieving ‘high life satisfaction’ for everyone, however, would transgress the Earth’s biophysical boundaries, leading to ecological collapse.

Despite its seeming scientific precision, the claim is old, not new – the latest iteration of the longstanding assertion that our population and consumption might soon exceed the Earth’s fixed ‘carrying capacity’. The concept, tellingly, owes its origin to 19th-century shipping, referring to the payload capacities of steamships. It jumped from the inanimate to the terrestrial at the end of the 19th century, describing the maximum number of livestock or wild game that grassland and rangeland ecosystems could sustain.

How can we dispose of our rubbish, i.e. what cannot be composted, repurposed/upcycled or recycled without using a plastic bag, this modern menace?

In Greece, as in many other parts of the world, people used to re-use plastic grocery bags handed-out free for throwing their garbage, but a new law has applied a tax on plastic shopping bags, so as they are charged people are avoiding them (about 80% reduction in 2 months!). But this also means that consumers now have to buy other plastic bags, from the same grocery store, for their rubbish. Its win-win for the grocery store but not for the environment or our pockets.

In non-vegan households that do not have dogs, these famous omnivores, there are food leftovers that cannot be composted. Perhaps your neighbours are complaining of real or fictitious foul smells or insects emanating from your compost bin. Perhaps your municipality does not have special bins for greasy, meat and dairy-based food leftovers. (Ours has fortunately installed three different points within walking distance, but very few people are using them - old habits die hard). In more environmentally-aware places with city-wide composting, like San Francisco, throwing your food waste in the designated compost bin is mandatory; hopefully this will become the norm globally in this century or the next(see, we are realists).