5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 015 – 29 May ’19]

Today was an organic day.

For us, for our chickens, for the planet.

I am a firm believer in the organic way.

For me it is a pact I have made with the planet. You give me good food and I won’t give you unwanted chemicals.

This is my choice. The planet says thank you.

1. Homing in on 100% Organic

I made a journey to our nearest full-on wholefood / organic shop today – Watson & Pratts.

They have a complete range of organic produce including fruit and veg, their own freshly baked bread and just about any grocery items you can think of.

Another big bonus is that the fruit and veg is mainly sold loose – rather than all wrapped up in wasteful plastic as organic produce always is in the supermarkets.

So in planet positive terms it gets big ticks all round.

But it is expensive. Organic products are generally about 20% more expensive and this shop is not part of a supermarket chain so lack of economies of scale compounds the higher prices.

Eating organic does come with choice strings attached.

As a family we chose to allocate more money to food because we believe organic is better for us and better for the planet.

It is all about choices. We don’t have a TV, we don’t smoke, we don’t go out to eat very often, we don’t go on exotic holidays, we don’t buy fashion branded clothes etc etc. You get the picture.

Everyone has to make their own choices.

Still there are ways to help reduce the costs of going organic. Buying in bulk, looking out for offers, growing your own. This article popped up today…

2. Organic Milk in a Returnable Milk Bottle !!!

For a non-vegan this was an ultimate, supreme champion in the I-Spy Organics book.

In rural Wales doorstep milk deliveries are quite rare so you don’t see milk in old-fashioned returnable milk bottles very often.

And organic milk in a returnable bottle is a super scarce find.

Now I’ve found it – thanks to Nigel’s Dairy.

And they are not too far away from me either.

The downside, in an upside down sort of way, is that with our current near vegan diet we only use one bottle of milk a week at best.

3. Organic chickens are go

In my quest for going 100% organic I have finally managed to get some organic corn for the chickens and the goose.

Although they are happily thriving on scraps and fresh pasture at present I do give them a handful of corn most days.

Getting hold of organic corn round here is difficult. No one keeps it in stock – mainly because of the additional price (usually about 40% extra) and relatively short labelled shelf life.

The main supplier at small scale is The Organic Feed Company, a brand of Allen & Page.

They produce 20kg sacks of organic mixed corn – available online at around £15 – £20 plus delivery.

My nearest bricks and mortar stockist is about 40 miles away but she doesn’t always have it in stock now, and it is too far to drive unless I am passing that way.

With a noticeable amount of reluctance I managed to persuade my local farm suppliers to get it as a special order. I picked it up today. £14.90 for 20kg.

Certainly expensive but the sack will last the chickens around 6 months.

And it’s one more step towards my goal of 100% organic.

4. Investing Organic – Playin Choc

As I am all in organic today I was keen to find an organic related start-up investment.

Crowdcube was my starting point again. One business that caught my eye today was Playin Choc.

PLAYin CHOC is “an innovative new UK manufacturer of organic vegan chocolates and eco-friendly toys – a ‘premium, sustainable, Kinder Surprise'”.

It is very premium niche but their products are high quality and beautifully designed as well as organic and vegan. Producing children’s toys without plastic is also appealing.

This company is not the down to earth, dirt under the nails type of organic company I was primarily looking for but I have made a very small investment as in its particular market I think it may well be successful.

Remember though this is my totally non professional view and should not in any way be seen as worthy financial advice etc etc.

5. The Daily Donation – Garden Organic

As this is an ‘Organic Special’ I thought I’d chose an organic related organisation to donate to.

I’ve already donated to the Soil Association – and I will be upgrading that to a membership once I have found an annual payment option rather than monthly.

So today I have chosen Garden Organic – an organisation that promotes organic gardening.

They used to be called HDRA or the Henry Doubleday Research Association back in the day, and I used to visit them regularly at Ryton Gardens near Coventry when I lived in the Midlands. Indeed I knew several of the people who worked there.

If you want to go organic in the garden do check out Garden Organic.

I’m organic.

100% through and through.

[ header image from unsplash.com // other images from @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 014 – 28 May ’19]

Every little thing we do can be magic.

It is all about choices.

Some are easier, some are harder.

Make your choices. Make your changes.

It all starts with A Bee See.

1. I saved a bee…

When I went to give the chickens fresh water this morning I found a bee floundering frantically in the bowl.

Little bee wasn’t going to make it so I offered my glove and it hopped aboard.

A few minutes in the sun and then off it buzzed.

Bees are important, but they are having a hard time these days.

Every bee counts.

We received our Bee Saver Kit from Friends of the Earth today. This includes a ‘Bee Spotter Guide’.

I hadn’t realised how many types of bees there are in the UK. This one I think was a Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris).

If you have a bit of space in your garden plant some bee friendly flowers – you can get inspiration from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust…

2. Ecover refilling

We use Ecover washing up liquid as an environment friendly option at the kitchen sink.

One of the big attractions is that our village shop offers a refill service so we can keep reusing he same plastic bottles. That’s a big fat win for the planet.

I got another refill today. As well as helping the planet, refilling also saves about 35p on the new bottle cost.

I think it was 35p but I got distracted talking to the owner of the shop. She is retiring and has been trying to sell the shop (and post office that comes with it) for two or three years now, but without any luck.

She is worried the shop will have to close if she cannot sell.

I asked if she had considered the option of it becoming a community shop as has happened with another village shop nearby.

She hadn’t, but thought it was worth thinking about.

3. Triodos is go

Today I got an email to say that my current account with Triodos Bank has been accepted.

I am really happy about this as getting a Triodos account has been on my to-do list for quite some time.

Being with a bank that only lends to “organisations that make a positive impact on people’s lives, protect the planet, or build strong communities” is definitely a happier place to be.

The Triodos Current Account has everything a ‘normal’ current account has including a contactless Debit Mastercard made from 100% renewable resources such as plant leaves and corn.

Next up I am looking to move my business account to Triodos as well…

4. Another green investment – Pavegen

I’m really rather getting into small scale investing in green start-up businesses.

Crowdcube is my go-to at the moment for this, but Triodos Bank also offers some investment opportunities but less frequently.

I have already put a small amount into Good Club and Sun Harvester.

Today I picked up on Pavegen, a company offering “a breakthrough smart city technology that converts footsteps into electricity and data”.

It really does look like a very clever idea and is attracting some serious investment interest…

Of course this is all just my personal whim and fancy – and most definitely not financial advice etc etc.

5. The Daily Donation – Bumblebee Conservation Trust

After rescuing the little bee today, I thought it appropriate to make a bee related donation.

A quick search on Ecosia.org (check it out) brought up the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

I had not heard of them before but it appears they do much needed work looking after Britain’s bumblebees.

You can start with the little things like saving a bee.

Then just work up from there.

[ header image from unsplash.com // other images from @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 013 – 27 May ’19]

Are we in an emergency?

When do we need to do something?

Yes and ASAP.

Make your choices. Make your changes.

Act. Now.

1. Emergency, Emergency – it’s a Climate Emergency

Declaring a Climate Emergency is becoming ‘de rigeur’ amongst governments and councils across Britain now.

As well as all the national governments it looks like around 100 councils of all shapes and sizes across the country have now made declarations of some sort.

It is difficult to get exact and up to date figures but these two lists get pretty close :

My local town council made there declaration in February but isn’t on either list yet.

They have pledged to make the community carbon neutral by 2030.

That is an admiral, but tough call to make.

So far they have not made any substantive progress other than set up a 6 month consultation to gather ideas from the community of what should be done.

I think they need to pick up the pace and get motoring. 2030 is only 11 years away.

The powers of a Welsh town council are rather limited. Most significant powers are held by the county council above them but there are some obvious areas they can start with.

In an attempt to make a positive contribution I have today sent the mayor and other leading councillors six initial suggestions…

  1. Ask for a ‘Climate Action Statement’ from any organisations that the Town Council gives funds to.
  2. Ask for a ‘Climate Impact Statement’ from any events that the Town Council gives funds to – and tie the amount donated to the amount of ‘climate amelioration and healing’ the event organisers are including in their event planning.
  3. Move all, or at least a significant part, of the Town Council funds to the Triodos Bank that supports planet positive organisations.
  4. Invest in subscriptions to a range of ‘planet positive’ magazines such as Ethical Consumer, Permaculture Magazine, Resurgence etc and donate one set to the public library and one set to the local school library.
  5. Require that all refreshments (tea, coffee, milk, juice, biscuits, cake etc) at all Town Council events and meetings are organic and where possible locally sourced.
  6. Ask all councillors to volunteer to produce ‘Climate Action Statements’ for what they and their families are doing to reduce their environmental impact. Publish and publicise these on the Town Council website, and maybe also the official notice boards.

I am eagerly awaiting their response.

2. Moving the chickens to their summer home

Over the winter our three remaining hens and their accompanying guard goose have been living in the orchard behind the house.

The orchard is a bit more enclosed and sheltered but although it is a fair size they have almost stripped it bare now.

So today we moved them to their main summer compound in the field. This is over a quarter of an acre and fully fenced in so provides plenty of space for the hens to scratch and the goose to graze.

Although it doesn’t have the fruit trees for aerial protection from the buzzards, the nettles are now high enough to give the hens pretty good cover.

They live almost entirely from grazing, scratching and some kitchen scraps now and only rarely need any external input of corn or layers pellets.

The three hens still manage to provide us more than enough eggs – particularly with our near vegan diet.

3. Pottering in the Polytunnel

I managed to get a bit more time out in the garden today.

Always my favourite place. But today it was raining so I was confined to the polytunnel.

I potted out some tomato plants. Usually I grow them in pots but now I’ve got the tunnel I thought I would see how they go straight in the ground.

While I was clearing out the conservatory I discovered a couple of bags of seed potatoes that had been left chitting under the table. I had totally forgotten about them.

It is a bit late in the day to be planting potatoes but there is a bit of space left in the polytunnel so I am putting them to allow them to catch up.

I think I need more lists to remind me what’s what, and what’s where…

4. Films for Action

Films for Action in the number 4 slot again today!

Today I joined up and downloaded my first film – “Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future”.

This is a 2018 film from New Zealand exploring solutions to the problems the world is facing.

I thought this would be a good inspirational place to start.

Films for Action includes a Top 100 Documentaries list.

This caught my attention – maybe I could watch all 100 films, in ascending order, and provide a little commentary or review on each?

That should certainly get me up to speed on all that is going wobbly in the world.

5. The Daily Donation – The Green Party

In view of their impressive showing in the European Elections I am giving today’s £10 donation to the Green Party.

I have had connections with the Green Party since way back in 1978 when it was still known as the Ecology Party.

There is little Green Party activity around this part of Wales so I haven’t had any direct contact for some time.

I am going to watch more carefully now to see how they progress.

Today was a public holiday.

More time to catch up with what is going on in the world.

And to sit back and wonder… can we still do it?

[ images from @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 012 – 26 May ’19]

Out and about today.

A vegan fair, an epic fail from Waitrose, and a new (for me) eco-crypto project.

And some great new films to watch too.

1. Abergavenny Vegan Fair

Today we went to the Vegan Fair in Abergavenny.

I’m not a vegan, but I am vegetarian with three chickens who still lay eggs.

I certainly support the ideas of veganism – particularly from the environmental and planetary point of view.

So I was interested to see what was on offer at the fair.

The event was in the old Market Hall where a portion of the famous food festival is held in September.

There were a number of speakers and more than 50 stalls with a large range of ethical clothing brands, cruelty free cosmetics and skincare, eco-friendly household products and an impressive line up of vegan food from chocolate to pizza and everything in between.

Abergavenny Vegan Fair

The fair was from 10am – 3pm. We arrived around 1.30pm. Alas by then several of the main hot food stalls had already run out so we had a much reduced choice for our lunch. We opted for some very tasty vegan pizza.

The stalls were interesting but nothing we hadn’t seen before.

This was the first vegan fair in Abergavenny, and it was reported that up to 2,000 people attended.

It will be interesting to see how it develops in future years.

2. Epic Fail at Waitrose

You may recall a couple of weeks ago I visited a Waitrose cafe and was served peach tea in a disposable plastic cup instead of a glass. This was despite the company’s policy to reduce plastic usage – and a sign in the cafe to that effect.

I complained to Waitrose’s Customer Services. They saw the point, took up the idea to swap to glasses, and promised this change would be pushed out to all their 130+ store cafes as soon as possible – starting with the one I visited in Abergavenny.

Today I was back at the same cafe. I ordered a peach tea just to see…

And what did I get?

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!

I got the tea served in the same plastic cup – but this time with a plastic lid as well.

What the heck Waitrose?!

Wake up and smell the peach tea will you?

Guess who I will be calling again after the bank holiday?

3. EverGreenCoin

I have just discovered a new eco cryptocurrency – EverGreenCoin (EGC).

EverGreen describes itself as a “An Environmental Organization & Currency”.

EverGreenCoin is much more than a new currency, a new ‘cryptocurrency’ as it’s called. Cryptocurrency is a sort of digital money that can be used as a store of value or in exchange for goods and services. The EverGreenCoin currency itself is only the mechanism leveraged to nourish our more important focus, taking responsible care of our environment and the world we live in by helping to raise funds for environmental green projects.

EGC supports environmental projects and relief charities with money crowdfunded through the currency.

People can earn EverGreenCoin through Proof of Environment (PoE) actions such as tree planting, clearing litter and other environmentally positive acts.

This will be an interesting project to explore. Maybe some of the things I do for my daily challenge will qualify as Proof of Environment.

4. Films for Action

Have you seen Films for Action?

Films For Action is a community-powered learning library for people who want to change the world.

It is a fantastic catalogue of world-challenging and world-changing independent films covering a whole range of topics including globalisation, politics, consumerism, immigration, the food industry as well as environmental issues such as climate change.

You really should take a look.

I dip in and out of the site every so often. Now I have decided to go a bit more full on and watch one new film every day. If I can manage it I will post a short review of each film here on steem.

Grab your popcorn and learn a lot…

5. The Daily Donation – Viva!

Well, we went to the Vegan Fair today, so let’s talk vegan…

There are two main vegan organisations in the UK – the Vegan Society and Viva!.

The Vegan Society is the older of the two. Viva! seems to be more animal rights focused.

The Vegan Society takes me off to Just Giving when I press the Donate button which makes the whole process much more complicated.

Viva! donations connect straight to PayPal. Much easier.

My £10 donation today therefore goes to Viva! Sorry Vegan Society.

It’s all about the talking. All about the networking.

When we join together – the sum is bigger.

[ images from @pennsif // logo from EverGreenCoin ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 011 – 25 May ’19]

Another big day for planet work.

School children striking, Zoe’s electrifying, and suppliers are changing.

And I have a new project – but it’s a secret for the timebeing 🙂

1. Watch this video

I certainly have been aware of the growing movement of school children and students striking for climate change but I must admit I haven’t really looked at it in any depth.

The strikes had quite unfairly been lodged in my “well-meaning, great idea but not going to achieve anything” file.

Then today I came across this video from Vice about Greta Thunberg and the school strike movement.

It changed my mind – dramatically.

I had not realised how large and widespread the protests have already become. And I certainly had not appreciated the depth of feeling, passion and purpose behind the movement.

I have great admiration for all those involved in the strikes and I do hope the politicians take notice and act.

The young people have every right to strike as it is their future that has been messed up.

I urge you to watch the video and if you have any way to help the movement in your country, please do.

2. Today we met Zoe

We took advantage of a trip to Swansea today to visit two more electric car dealers.

First up I popped into the BMW dealer, Sytner, to check out the BMW i3.

Although the sales assistant was sure there was an i3 on site to look at, no one could actually locate it.

This MIA, along with the rather surprisingly low quoted range of only around 140 miles and the premium BMW price tag has knocked the i3 several places down our shortlist.

Next up we headed to the Renault dealer in the north of Swansea to look at their electric Zoe.

A few years ago we had the use of Renault’s electric fun car the Twizy for three weeks, so we have some attachment to the Renault electric family.

The dealer had a couple of Zoe’s in stock for us to look at.

Unfortunately we were not able to go for a test drive at the time, but the Zoe definitely has considerable appeal for us.

It is just the right size for us as a five door hatchback, it has a decent range around the 170 mile mark and it is several thousand pounds cheaper than the other cars on our electric shortlist.

Hopefully we can get back for a test drive some time this week as the Zoe is definitely leading the pack at the moment.

3. Ecotricity v Good Energy – any opinions?

Switching to a greener electricty supplier has been one of those things on my list that I have just not got round to doing. Now is the time to act.

There are two main ‘green energy’ suppliers in the UK which source their electricity solely from renewable generators – Ecotricity and Good Energy.

Both currently offer to donate £30 to the Centre for Alternative Technology if you switch to them and quote the appropriate code.

I can’t see a lot between them in terms of eco-credentials and what they are offering.

Their prices are not shown on the site so I will have to contact them to get a quote.

Ecotricity offer a ‘Fully Charged Bundle’ package that includes half price charging at their network of 300 electic car charging stations around the country.

As we are about to buy an electric car I think this will swing it towards Ecotricity for us.

Has anyone got any experience, good or bad, of using either Ecotricity or Good Energy?

4. My New Project

WARNING… this is one of those annoying statements people make about their ‘next big thing’ but then refuse to give any more details.

I’m joining the club. And I am excited about it.

These past few weeks I have been working on the specification document for a new eco/crypto project. That was finalised a few days ago and I also got the development team signed up.

Today the name was finally chosen and the domains all put in place.

In a pre-crypto form this project is something I have wanted to build for years. Now with the added spice of crypto and tokenisation the concept has come together perfectly.

The build will be starting in the next week or so and then I will be devoting a large amount of my time to the project. The aim is to get to a beta launch stage for a special event in November.

I am not quite sure yet how public it will be before then but keep reading here and as I expect I will be dropping a few clues.

5. The Daily Donation – UK Student Climate Network

After watching the video in #1 there was no contest for today’s donation.

The UK Student Climate Network is in the vanguard of the school climate striking movement in Britain.

Any support I can give I will.

£10 has been sent by PayPal to UKSCN.

The next strike is on 24 May.

Every day I learn something new.

It is exciting. It is rejuvenating. For me. And hopefully for the planet too.

[ image from @pennsif // video from Vice.com ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 010 – 24 May ’19]

The end of another working week and 10 days into my challenge.

This is really making me buzz. Buzzing for the planet.

So much going on today – May flies, students striking, strawberries growing, organics studying, solar investing and the CAT inspiring…

1. My first strawberries from the polytunnel

It was only little, but I liked it.

We have not grown strawberries in the polytunnel before but we thought we would try them this year.

The heat of the polytunnel does appear to be keeping the slugs at bay, but they do need extra watering to plump them up.

We only got the polytunnel last year so we are still learning how best to utilise it.

This year so far we have cabbages, spinach, sweetcorn, peas, peppers and this evening I potted out some tomatoes there.

Still a bit of space left – not sure what I will add in there yet.

2. The Organic Student

Our eldest daughter is studying at Bristol University.

Bristol is a super green city. It has its own currency, lots of environmental and eco related activities and at least four organic cafes and restaurants.

Better Food were the first eateries in England to gain the ‘Organic Served Here’ Awards from the Soil Association. There are three Better Food outlets in Bristol.

There are also numerous organic selling shops across the city.

To help with my daughter’s student finances, and to encourage her to eat more healthily and more sustainably I have offered her a deal. I will pay up to £25 per week for any organic produce she buys.

Also I will provide a monthly allowance of up to £50 per month for eating out at any of the organic restaurants or cafes in the city.

With students, school children and young people now being at the forefront of the climate movement, at least my daughter will be eating as planet friendly as possible.

3. Hello Big Barn

Big Barn is an online marketplace for independent artisan food producers across the UK.

It provides both for buying from your nearest local producers, and for buying from individual producers across the country.

I have known about the site for several years but never tried it. Today I decided to give it a go.

Most of the local producers near me are meat producers, so I opted for buying from two producers in the marketplace – Camphill Village Trust in Whitby and Huntly Herbs in Aberdeenshire.

Between them I got a good range of organic jams, marmalades and chutneys. For organic products the prices were quite reasonable. However the big kicker is that because you are buying from two separate vendors you incur two separate delivery charges.

I am looking forward to trying the products when they arrive – particularly the organic Banana Ketchup from Camphill.

One product on the site that caught my eye was the Penguin Pie from Brockleby’s Pies – luckily there are no penguins in it…

4. Investing in the Sun

I am newcomer to startup investing.

I made my first small investment in Good Club the other day via Crowdcube.

Today I have made a similar investment in Sun Harvester who have designed and developed energy storage systems that store clean renewable energy to power homes and businesses.

Investing in innovative young companies like Good Club and Sun Harvester that are doing good for the planet is way more satisfying that playing around with crypto-currency trading.

And maybe one of these small companies might hit it big and I get a good return on my investment.

5. The Daily Donation – Centre for Alternative Technology

CAT in Machynlleth in north Wales has already been on the donation list, but it is an organisation that is very close to my heart as my eco adventures in life were inspired by my teenage visits there in the 1970s.

Therefore today’s donation of £10 went to CAT’s Inspire Action on Climate Change appeal.

I was particularly inspired today to see so many young people out on the YouthStrike4Climate demonstrations today.

Will the politicians keep on ignoring them…?

This is simply energising.

Thinking every day of new ways to help the planet.

[ images, in order, from unsplash.com, @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 009 – 23 May ’19]

It’s been a green, green day today.

The insects have been bitten, the electric cars are charging and the fashion is sustaining.

Here are five more for the planet…

1. I voted Green

In Britain today we had the European Elections.

The elections in the UK were little more than a pseudo second referendum on Brexit.

As well as opposing Brexit the Green Party do have a full set of planet considerate policies that I support. Some many streets ahead of the other party.

I voted for the Green Party.

2. Experimenting with Insects

You may recall a few days back, in response to a comment by @mattockfs, I placed an online order with Crunchy Critters for a selection of edible insects.

They have now arrived and today we tried them.

We opened the tasting session with the soft option of ‘Belgian Milk Chocolate Covered Crickets’. Not the most endearing chocolate confectionery I have ever had but perfectly passable.

Next up the snack tree were the Cheese & Onion Crickets. I was expecting something akin to Cheese & Onion crisps. But these were just plain unpleasant – and bordering on inedible.

We thought it might be poor quality cheese and onion flavouring, but when we later tasted the plain crickets we realised it was the crickets.

Our final selections were the plain dried Crickets, Locusts, Buffalo Worms and Mealworms.

The crickets really were not good at all and will be heading to the chickens tomorrow.

The other three were not massively tasty, but weren’t unpleasant at all and were perfectly edible.

I am certainly not going to be in any rush to order these again. But if I could rear these sorts of insects myself I would definitely look to include them in our diet – maybe in soups or stir-frys as an additional low impact protein source.

3. Update on Electric Cars and Charging Points

As well as the very good response from Tesco about installing electric car charging points, I have also had positive, although non time committal replies from Marks & Spencer and from Morrisons.

Morrisons said…

Thanks for getting in touch in regards to our plans for electrical charging ports.

At the moment we are still working on the plans for getting these charging points in place, and it is likely the stores you have mentioned [Aberystwyth & Carmarthen] will have the facilities next year.

Marks & Spencer said…

All of our stores eventually will have the charging facilities available but at the moment, we are making sure our larger newer developments are equipped with them. It’s something we are definitely putting in to place, but no date of the change and I hope you can appreciate things like this do take time to change.

I have also had a reply from my local Town Council. They have just committed funds to install two charging points in the main central car park in town.

So the charging points are coming. In the next couple of years I think the availability of charging points will no longer be an issue even in rural Wales. But we will keep pushing.

On the electric car front I am going to see, and hopefully test drive, the Renault Zoe at the weekend.

This will be electric car viewing number 2. We hope to look at five before we make a decision.

4. Backing a Sustainable Fashion event for Wales

Yesterday I mentioned that I had found out via Twitter about a Sustainable Fashion event being planned in Wales.

The organiser Helen O’Sullivan of Sustainable Fashion Wales has taken her inspiration from the global campaign Fashion Revolution.

Helen has set up a Kickstarter to raise funds to put on the event.

I have made a small pledge as it looks a good event to get sustainability issues to a younger audience interested in fashion.

5. The Daily Donation – The Green Party

I have been a supporter of the Green Party on and off for all my adult life.

It kicked off when I went to a talk by Jonathon Porritt when I was 18 back in the ’70’s.

I was just becoming aware of politics and environmental activism. Jonathon’s “show me the dead bodies” references in his speech really got me ignited. The rest, as they say, is my history.

Today, the Green Party took part in the European Elections. Elections that were not supposed to take place in Britain because of Brexit.

But Brexit hasn’t happened and the Elections have.

The Green Party opposes Brexit.

I voted for the Green Party.

They do politics but their politics are the closest to being planet positive of any party.

My £10 donation today goes to support those planet-positive politics.

Five more in the bag.

Anyone want to join with doing five dailies?

[ images, in order, from unsplash.com, @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 008 – 22 May ’19]

The train keeps rolling, jump aboard if you want to help the planet.

Organic food, plastic cotton buds, Ethical Consumers and Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.

And for good measure it was World Biodiversity Day.

1. A 100% Organic Food Shop

Our family’s goal is to go 100% organic.

We are always on the hunt for new organic products and new places to buy them from.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are always an issue. We can grow an increasing amount, but for a while yet we will still need to buy some.

Luckily we have a Co-operative supermarket not too many miles away that has a decent amount of organic fresh produce.

It isn’t always available but today I got lucky and all the items I required were in stock.

I achieved a 100% organic food shop – fruit, veg, bread, cheese…

There is though the issue in the Co-op, as in all the supermarkets at present, of the excessive plastic packaging on organic products. I have started on that – but that is a different story.

2. Get those plastics right out of my ear

Although the UK Government these days seems to be totally and solely embroiled in the never ending mess of Brexit, it did manage to pop its head up today a do a bit of good for the environment.

In response to public concern and in a bid to limit ocean pollution, the UK government will be introducing new controls on single use plastic items next year. This will cover plastic straws, plastic drinks stirrers and plastic cotton buds…

We don’t use straws or drinks stirrers so they are not an issue for us, but my daughters particularly do use cotton buds. So far they been plastic.

The news today prompted me to make an instant change.

We were needing some more cotton buds, and a quick search online found some bamboo and organic cotton ones.

If I hunted round a bit more I am sure I could find some a bit cheaper but for now the ones I have ordered are from a small family company called Alyn…

Here at Alyn, we aim to create renewable sustainable products that help protect the environment and preserve our planet for future generations. Our small family company offers high quality nature-friendly alternatives to conventional items. Alyn products are biodegradable, made from renewable raw materials and free of harmful plastics and synthetics. Even our packaging is 100% compostable!

3. The Ethical Consumer magazine is in the house

I mentioned a few days ago that I had subscribed to Ethical Consumer.

Today the magazine arrived in the post.

Although I already had online access to the digital copy, it is nice sometimes to sit down and browse through a real magazine.

And this magazine is well worth a browse, a full-on read and a total absorption.

There is so much fascinating, and important, stuff in there. The latest edition has in-depth studies of supermarkets, cat & dog food, cooking oil and paint. As well as a truck load of other interesting news.

If you have any desire to spend your money ethically and more sustainably you really should subscribe to this magazine.

It is £29.95 per year in the UK. Money very well spent.

If anyone in the UK would like a subscription to the magazine but really can’t afford it I will buy them a subscription. All you have to do is make a ‘5 things I have done today to help the planet’ post like this one every day for a month, and tweet about it with the hashtag ‘five4theplanet’.

Of course they will have to be real things you are doing! I will make this offer for up to 3 people until the end of June.

4. Twitter – seems like a great tool for eco-campaigning

I have to date been a rather low key Twitter user.

Now I am moving up a gear.

I have started following accounts from various environmental, conservation and organic organisations.

It really is a great way to find out what is going on and to make contact with people.

And it is fast moving.

I am really getting into it.

Through Twitter just today I have found out about a campaign against a damaging oil exploration project in Cardigan Bay, about a new sustainable fashion event in Swansea, about the Seed Festival in Stroud and about the B Corporation business program.

5. The Daily Donation – World Biodiversity Day – WWF

Today was the United Nations sanctioned International Day for Biological Diversity.

Thank you to @mr-greens for alerting me to this.

Many organisations work to maintain and improve the biodiversity of the planet. But one of the most stand-out and long established is WWF.

Instantly recognisable by their iconic panda logo WWF work tirelessly to protect nature in the UK and all around the world.

Today I have sent my daily donation of £10 to WWF. According to their site that is enough to buy 40 seedlings for forests in Tanzania.

Wow, more than a week gone and I have kept up the daily challenge.

Each day I learn more and want to do more.

So much to do.

Never sure I am doing enough. But at least I’ve made a start.

[ images, in order, from unsplash.com, @pennsif, Ethical Consumer ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 007 – 21 May ’19]

Another day, another way.

In fact five more ways to help the planet.

A bit of good investing, a bit of volunteering, a bit of webinaring, a bit of healthy shopping and a bit of badger adoption.

Anything take your fancy…?

1. Investing in the Good Club

The Good Club are doing good things.

I mentioned before that I have recently started buying organic and planet friendly products from https://goodclub.co.uk/.

They haven’t got a massive range yet and their website is a bit cumbersome to use but their prices are very keen offering savings of around 25% against local wholefood and healthfood stores.

But Good Club is looking to take it five steps beyond the usual online eco-retailer and tackle the issue of food packaging waste head on.

They are currently crowdfunding to build an innovative closed loop, zero waste home delivery system.

Their investment target is £400,000 and they have so far raised over £350K with 8 days to go.

UK supermarkets currently create 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year.

I have today made a small investment to show support and to track how the project progresse.

2. Volunteering for FoE Cymru

Although I have largely adopted the pose of ‘armchair activist’ at the moment, I still would like to get out there in the thick of local group campaigning.

So today I contacted Friends of the Earth Cymru to find out what activities they have in my area.

There is also a Transition group not far away so I am going to check out what they are doing to see if I can help at all.

I am rather out of touch with local group campaigning so I am very interested to see where this takes me.

3. AECB Webinar – Climate Change Starts at Home

The Association for Environment Conscious Building is an organisation that “works with its members to inspire, develop and share sustainable building practice”.

I have been a member in the past and even found a ‘green architect’ through their database some years back.

By chance I spotted that they were running a free webinar over lunchtime.

The webinar presented by building physicist and passivhaus consultant, Dr Sarah Price was titled “Climate Change Starts at Home”.

It focused on the major need to reduce energy usage in the housing stock of Britain to help combat climate change.

One term I hadn’t come across before is the idea of ‘Whole House Retrofit Plans’ and Retrofit Co-ordinators.

By chance the UK Government has just a few days ago announced a Whole House Retrofit (WHR) competition.

The webinar is available to view if you would like to watch it…

AECB Webinar : Climate Change Starts at Home with Sarah Price

4. Iechyd Da Health Food Shop Llandovery

Today I happened to be in Llandovery.

When I am there I always visit the Iechyd Da Health Food Shop.

It is a very old school whole/health food school run by a guy called Jake and crammed full of all sorts of interesting healthy, wholesome, vegan, vegetarian and organic products.

I inevitably find some things I haven’t tried before. Today it was Organic Sunflower Mince from Just Whole Foods and Granovita’s Quinoa Pate with Kale & Herbs.

This is a fascinating little shop. If you are ever in Llandovery check it out and support this great independent shop.

5. The Daily Donation – Badger Adoption – Wildlife Trusts Wales

I think badgers are great.

We have some on our land and I sometimes catch sight of them if I am coming home late at night.

Alas though in farming areas they are persecuted because of the link with TB.

To help protect them The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales is offering a fundraising scheme to ‘adopt’ a badger for £25.

This helps the Trust with their work promoting a Tuberculosis vaccine as a viable alternative to culling.

Today I adopted a badger!

I am really getting into the flow of this challenge.

It is so much fun.

A few people are already joining in including @steevc, @revisesociology and @shanibeer.

If you can’t manage five, one new thing to help the planet each day would be great..

[ all images from pixabay.com ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 006 – 20 May ’19]

Today got off to a buzzing start.

I started early and got a lot done.

But then I read this report on the BBC and I realised there is so much more to do.

Maybe I need to up my five a day to ten a day…

1. Moving to an ethical bank – Triodos

I currently have my business bank account with NatWest (RBS) and my personal account with Co-operative Bank.

NatWest has never made any great claims about its ethical or environmental credentials.

The Co-op has – but has rather fallen from grace in recent years.

It’s time for me to get my act together and move to a bank that is better fitting with my planetary aspirations.

I took a peak at the Ecology Building Society which I have used before but it is not a full bank and has a somewhat limited range of services.

Instead I chose Triodos Bank which has a very strong ethical and enviromental basis to all they do.

I have applied for a Personal Acccount in the first instance, but a business account may follow shortly.

2. Hey Tesco, can I get a plug-in?

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was contacting the supermarkets we use asking if they have plans to install electric car charging points at their stores.

We are getting an electric car this summer and I am really keen to see the network of charging points expand – particularly in Wales.

Today I got my first response from a supermarket. A very helpful customer services person called Jenny from Tesco actually called me this afternoon to tell me their charging point plans.

They have done a deal with Pod Point to install electric car charging points at their stores.

Tesco have recently put their first charging station in Wales at their Llansamlet store in Swansea.

They have plans now to install charging points at 600 stores over the next 3 years. This represents about a quarter of all their stores.

Three electric cheers to Tesco. Bring them on.

3. There’s no poo on my head

A couple of years ago I read an article on Treehugger about the ‘No Poo’ movement.

Seemed a bit weird at the time – I had used shampoo to wash my hair twice a week for the past 56 years.

But I decided to give it a go.

Twice a week now I just rinse my hair in the shower – nothing added, just eau naturelle.

For the first couple of weeks I wasn’t sure. How could I still be clean?

But then I just forgot about it and let the natural oils in my hair do their job.

Now it is doesn’t even cross my mind to use shampoo.

I’ve saved shampoo, I’ve saved plastic, I’ve saved money.

Nothing mind-blowing … maybe 6 bottles of shampoo a year.

But imagine if just 10% of the population of the UK joined the No Poo movement that could be 200 million plastic bottles of shampoo saved each year.

4. Search, Search and plant a tree

If you use the web and are even a little bit eco inclined you really ought to be using Ecosia (ecosia.org).

Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees.

It uses the profits from promoted sites in its searches to fund tree planting projects around the world.

So far they have funded over 55 million trees.

I think it was @steevc who first alerted me to Ecosia.

I have been using it on and off for a while but today I installed it as my default search engine in Brave.

5. The Daily Donation – World Bee Day – Friends of the Earth

It’s been World Bee Day today.

Bees have been having a hard time in recent years – I figured they could do with a little help.

Friends of the Earth UK have been running a bee campaign – The Bee Cause – for a while now.

As part of their campaign FoE are offering a Bee Saver Kit.

So for today’s donation I gave £15 and a Bee Saver Kit is now buzzing its way to me.

I am getting a real buzz out of this challenge.

I am wondering where I can take this project.

I am already promoting it on Twitter.

All suggestions welcome for more ways to grow this…

[ all images from pixabay.com ]

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