The Ultimate Eco Bucket List

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There’s a lot of depressing climate news floating about at the moment. The Guardian’s Keep It In The Ground campaign has uncovered that Shell’s company documents reveal a business plan that would mean a catastrophic 4°C rise in global temperature (twice the level that’s considered safe for the planet) and meanwhile China’s coal boom is choking its population and causing environmental refugees. The health of our planet is looking pretty bleak…

So, I thought I’d make a list to cheer myself up (I love making lists). This is my very-slightly-ambitious Ultimate Eco Bucket List to keep me on track to becoming a healthier, more sustainable and ethical, me. I’ll cross off the ones I manage to achieve…

 

1. Sign up with WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) – help an organic farmer in exchange for food, accommodation and learning.

2. Actually do some WWOOFing. 

wwoofing

Picture: gapyear.com

 

3. Get an allotment. Easier said than done, waiting lists in London are lengthy…

4. Grow my own herbs.

5. Grow my own fruit and vegetables.

6. Only eat the fruit and vegetables I have grown myself. This one is going to be damn near impossible. But I’m putting it down anyway because I was introduced to an inspirational lady recently, she owns an allotment a few plots down from my auntie’s, whose diet consists only of what she has grown in her allotment (so that means no grains, only potatoes for carbs) and organic, free range meat which she has sourced from local farms.

7. Eat less meat.

8. Become a vegetarian. This one will be hard, as I am living with a carnivore boyfriend.

Chicken at Notting Hill Carnival

We ate a lot of jerk chicken at Notting Hill Carnival…

 

9. Buy a beehive, keep my own bees, and jar-up their honey. This one I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. James has been suffering BIG time with hayfever as the pollen count is currently at its highest level, and I read that if you eat the honey from your local area it can help you become tolerant to some of the local pollens. I suppose it’s a bit like introducing peanut oil in small doses to children with peanut allergies. Besides hayfever, bees keep the world going round and are endangered, so they need as many new homes as they can get.

Beekeeping

Picture: John Lawrence 07850 429934

 

10. Keep chickens for eggs (and fertile compost). I’ve realised a lot of these points involve having a garden… so I better find a place with a garden.

11. Either recycle my existing clothing, or only buy from ethical and sustainable clothing brands. Ethical clothing is expensive, true. But all clothing would be that expensive if there wasn’t some sort of human or environmental injustice going on somewhere. I just hope that with the rise of environmental-awareness, some slightly more young and trendy brands will pop in the clothing industry because I’m not too keen on dressing like a mother-of-three a la People Tree and Bibico. I’m relying on my sister Alice to fill this gap in the market! She studies fashion design at Birmingham City at the moment, but she’s been thinking more about ethics and sustainability since joining Greenpeace with me. Here’s her delightful blog, Al a Mode

12. Sign up with Ecotricity. Apparently conventional electricity is responsible for 30% of Britain’s carbon emissions – it’s our biggest single source as a nation. So one of the biggest ways in which I can help personally help the planet is by switching to a greener energy provider.

13. Get solar panels. Note: will need house first.

14. Only use natural washing detergents, toiletries and cosmetics.

 

I seem to have run out of ideas for now…

What would you add to this list?

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Austerity can suck my…

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Firstly, gutted I can’t be at the People’s Assembly Anti-Austerity March today 😦 I have a 50th birthday party to attend. But I’ll be thinking of all the fabulous people who’ve made efforts to get to London from all over the country to stand up for what’s right.

For some of today’s protesters, Austerity is painfully-real. Anyone with sick or disabled loved-ones, whose right to good health care is being stripped from them by the cuts, or any teachers seeing education going down the shitter, will know too well. And their participation in the march will be out of utter desperation. But for others – much like myself – Austerity has had little effect on them personally, but it is compassion and empathy that has got their arses off the sofa and into the capital. Our world could do with a lot more of those two things.

Anyway, here are a few photos from back in first year of uni when I hopped on a bus down to London with the Labour Society to march against the rise of tuition fees…

Student March November 2010 Nottingham University

Student March November 2010 Nottingham University

Student March November 2010 Nottingham University

Student March November 2010 Nottingham University

Student March November 2010 Nottingham University

World Oceans Day 2015

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Wow, it’s been 2 weeks since I last blogged, sorry for the radio silence but you know how it is…

Surfing Putsborough Beach

Heavy lines at Putsborough on a NUSurf trip

Watergate Bay

An almost-tropical day down at Watergate Bay

 

Today is the UN’s World Oceans Day, and this year the theme is ‘Healthy oceans, healthy planet.’

Which reminds me, I went to the Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition at the Natural History Museum a couple of months ago, and haven’t mentioned anything about it yet. It was a really interesting and eye-opening exhibition – I had no idea just how much our planet’s ecosystem relies on the conservation of the coral reefs. For example, if the coral reefs were destroyed there would be no barrier to absorb the energy of powerful waves before they hit our shores and, in turn, coastline settlements would be uninhabitable. These populations would then be forced to move inland, putting further pressure on our planet’s already over-stretched resources… you can see how a domino effect would ensue.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the dredging which threatens The Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Government is allowing tens of millions of tonnes of seabed to be dredged in World Heritage waters, to make way for 4 mega ports, serviced by up to 7,000 industrial ships crossing the Reef every year. I’ve always wanted to dive The Great Barrier Reef but soon there may not be anything to see. If you think this as upsetting as I do, please sign this petition.

Another thing explained in the exhibition is Microplastics, which have been a hot topic within the environmental debate over the past couple of years. Microplastics formed from the break up of larger plastics is one thing, but we’re increasingly using primary microplastics which are purposefully created on a microscopic size. In the cosmetic industry some companies have replaced natural exfoliating ingredients with microplastics, usually in the form of “microbeads” or “micro-exfoliates.” Facewashes and toothpastes often contain these microbeads which make their way into the water systems, to the seas, and are then digested by sea creatures. This poses a threat to fish, the human beings whose diet is dependent on fish, and therefore, the entire food chain. Scientists are currently uncertain of the effects microplastics could cause… but it’s not looking good.

As a surfer, one of the most important environmental battles for me is the protection of the world’s oceans. Already we are seeing that pollution is making some surf breaks inaccessible and dangerous, such as in the case of Uluwatu in Bali.

At this rate, the reality that I may not be able to surf without fear of catching a water-bourne disease is not far on the horizon…

In fact, I read a BBC article today which made me squirm a little. Scientists are launching an investigation into antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as “superbugs”, by gathering data from surfers’ rectums. Surfers are being asked to volunteer to provide rectal swabs to help scientists to find out the effects of marine pollution on human health. Maybe I should offer my services… 😛

There are plenty of ways to help the fight for healthy oceans if you want to get involved; I am a member of Surfer’s Against Sewage and my mum is a member of the Marine Conservation Society. Both of which hold regular beach cleans, which are a fun way to make a difference and a great way to meet new, like-minded people.

Still, the ocean is there to enjoy, and it’s going to take some seriously slimy seas to stop me from getting out there in the waves. So, in celebration of our wonderful oceans, here are some of my favourite seaside photos…

BUCS student surf competition

BUCS Student Surf Competition in Newquay ’13

 

Broken surfboard

She’s a cruel mistress…

 

surfing Ilfracombe

The sun setting over Woolacombe

 

surf couple

I love to be by the seaside with this goon…

 

At the end of the day, oceans are the life-blood of the planet. They must be treated with the respect they deserve.