Interview with Lucy

I always try to use eco – friendly products. The Wise House, which is a online shop, sells these things. The owner, Lucy Taylor, lives where I used to live, so I decided to interview her. She very kindly agreed…

Bea: Why did you start The Wise House?

 

Lucy : After I had my two children, Will and Rose, I wanted to change my job to something that would work a bit better around being a mum. One of my best friends had started selling organic children’s bedding via the internet (Quick Brown Fox of Dulwich). I was very interested in her business; it seemed like such an exciting and novel thing to do! Internet shopping was still a relatively new thing, and I felt inspired to start an online shop of my own.

 

It seemed natural to me to stock my shop with homeware products, as I have always enjoyed choosing unique things for our home. I started simply; with some placemats and storage tins from France. From that point, I built up a range of products with their own story; and it felt natural to progress over the years to lovely, useful things that help people live a less wasteful life.

 

Bea: What is your favourite thing that you sell?

Lucy : My favourite product is the bowl covers. They are used on a daily basis in our house, and they look so pretty too. I also love the Wise sweatshirts and (greedily) have one in each colour. I like the fact that they are exclusive to us, and that £5 goes towards Surfers Against Sewage, a marine conservation and beach clean-up charity.

 

Bea: Is it difficult not to use plastic?

Lucy : In this day and age…yes! There are some changes that are very simple; like switching to reusable water bottles, taking your own bags and containers and refusing straws. Avoiding single-use plastic is achievable if you go with the motto ‘be prepared’.

It is harder when it comes to food shopping. Most foods in the supermarkets are packaged in plastic. The only way to avoid it is to look for independent shops, grocers, deli counters and markets and/ or use fruit and veg box delivery. Hopefully supermarkets will introduce a plastic free aisle, and it’s great to see Morrisons leading the way with encouraging customers to bring their own containers, selling loose fruit and veg, and providing paper bags.

There are certain foods like crisps, biscuits and the like which seem almost impossible to buy without plastic. We could stop eating them, which would be healthier, but very difficult to do! It’s a case of picking your battles.

It can get a bit overwhelming to try to go completely plastic-free. I think the best thing to do is be plastic-clever, and do what you can with the resources you have.

 

 

Bea : How long has The Wise House been running?

 

Lucy : I am now in my sixth year with the business. I’m pleased to report that 2018 is shaping up to be the busiest year yet.

 

Bea : What advice would you give to people who want to give up plastic?

 

Lucy : Look at single use plastics first, and make the simple swaps – reusable coffee cups, water bottle, produce bags etc.

 

After that I would separate your life and home into categories and work through each one. For example, packed lunch and picnics. Look into reusable sandwich wraps, snack bags and cotton wipes, alongside reusable food containers and cutlery. Try to make as much food as possible yourself, to avoid plastic packaging (much healthier and cheaper too!).

 

I have written a series of Eco Living Blog Posts with the aim to take people the different steps they can take to make changes.

 

Instagram is also a fantastic source of inspiration for those trying to limit their plastic usage.

 

Bea : What could children do?

 

Lucy : Sometimes adults get stuck in their ways and need some straight talking to – and children are just the ones to do it! Educate your parents, family and friends about the impact that plastic is having on the environment. They might not know as much as you do about it, as they are often busy with work and other things in life.

 

Ask your parents to make some simple swaps. Why not buy them a stylish reusable coffee cup for their next birthday, or ask for a snazzy water bottle for yourself? You can tell them that as well as saving the planet, they will save money and time too.

 

You could also get together with friends and families and arrange events like litterpicks in your local area. Nothing sparks up a conversation on plastic like seeing how much of it is blowing around your local streets and parks.

 

Children can achieve amazing things and really inspire people to change their ways, just as you are doing with your blog. The children over at Kids Against Plastic give regular ted talks, have petitioned the government and are involved in educating schools, businesses, cafes, festivals on plastic pollution. It just goes to show what a difference the young generation can make.

 

 

Bea : Do you think that starting The Wise House has made even a little bit of an impact on plastic usage?

 

Lucy : I really do hope so! People are often intrigued by products like the beeswax wraps, and where they may not have thought about the issue of using clingfilm in the past, a product like this prompts a conversation about it. When people realise that there is an alternative that is kinder to the planet, then they are usually open to making the swap.

 

Writing blog posts on plastic and other eco topics, sharing interesting articles and promoting other ethical companies has hopefully given people even more food for thought. Features are often shared multiple times, so there is definitely a grower interest from people who want to educate themselves, and then make changes in their lives.

 

Hats off to everyone talking about plastic pollution; change is happening!

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My Top Tips

About three weeks ago, my mum bought some ecological products that she said would avoid plastic and waste. I wasn’t sure at first, but she showed them to me and I was delighted. She got:

. some cotton bowl covers to use to keep your meal warm and to preserve food without having to use clingfilm

Here it is: https://www.thewisehouse.co.uk/ourshop/prod_6187569-Large-Cotton-Bowl-Cover-Green-Thankful.html

They are made by Green Thankful.

. Bee’s wrap (instead of clingfilm) https://www.thewisehouse.co.uk/ourshop/prod_3738909-Bees-Wrap-Assorted-3Pack-Honeycomb.html

IMG_0685

They are made in Canada.

And my mum also got some None Sponges. (You use them to wash up, then instead of throwing them away, you wash them)

https://www.thewisehouse.co.uk/ourshop/prod_6378788-None-Sponge-Set-of-2-Dandelion.html

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It’s good to try to use these things to 1) cut down on plastic, 2) use things that you can keep and re-use many times instead of throwing things away.

My mum got them all from The Wise House.

https://www.thewisehouse.co.uk

This is an online shop, run by someone called Lucy in Hampton. She chose it because we used to live there. She researches things that are better for the environment and sells them.

I love these ideas, very cool but actually really simple!

You could maybe ask your parents if you could get some!

 

 

Help our helpless hedgehogs

We all like hedgehogs, right? Those cute, snuffly little spiky creatures? I love them, they’re my third favorite animal after polar bears and foxes. Well, I have some sad news: 

I am very disapointed  to announce that the number of UK hedgehogs has fallen by 73%, according to a survey, leaving only 522,000 in the wild. This was probably caused by the fact that many hedgehogs get run over by big lorries and cars when they try to cross the road. They also eat the slug pellets in your garden. Sometimes, they even get killed by chemicals! 

Twenty per cent of British mammals are at risk of extinction within ten years, according to a report by the Mammal Society, the University of Sussex and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster. 

Red squirrels, grey long-eared bats and water voles are among 12 species classed as “threatened” — the first time British mammals have been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species – which is a very good example of how humans are treating nature. 

Unfortunately, this has been happening a lot quite recently – turtles, pandas, elephants and polar bears are just a few of the ever growing list of endangered species.

I hope this sad story boosts you to do even more for the planet.

 

World’s last male rhino dies

I am very sorry to annonce that the last male white rhino died about a month ago, aged 45, leaving only two females: his daughter Najin, and Najin’s daughter Fatu.

“His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal,” the conservancy, where Sudan lived under armed guard to prevent poaching, explained.

This white rhino was called Sudan, and was transferred to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in 2009 from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

His park rangers described him as a loveable character. Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne told Euronews that:

“It got to a point over the past two weeks where he was becoming almost completely recumbent. He was in obvious pain as a result of various infections and he was incredibly uncomfortable and had stopped eating so the best thing for us to do was to take the decision to relieve him of his suffering and to euthanise him,”

Now that I have told you the sad news, there comes the question: What next? Well, this is what happened when he was alive.

In 2017, conservationists put Sudan on dating app Tinder as “The Most Eligible Bachelor in the World”, in hopes of raising enough money for a fertility treatment after attempts at getting him to mate naturally failed.

We all hope that Sudan, who was infertile for around five years before his death, can still help to repopulate the species using some of his genetic material taken the day he died.

IVF is a really complicated process and has never been used on rhinos before but it is the last chance for northern whites.

 

Vigne told Euronews this is “a simple signal to what we as humans are doing to the planet and the impact we’re having on thousands of species.”

I hope this tragic news will boost you to fight even more for our planet, and please spread the word!

 

 

Christmas sale

Me and my sister wanted to raise money for charity. I wanted proceeds for WWF, to help them protect my favorite animal, the polar bear. My sister wanted her proceeds to go to Emmaus, a charity that helps people who have nowhere to live. We made soaps, pencils, bath salts and biscuits, but we didn’t buy anything. It was all homemade.

I raised 40€ for WWF and Rozzy made the same for Emmaus. Thank you to everyone who sang carols at our house and bought things.

I wanted to suggest to you that you could do that too! Try not to buy any ingredients from the shops. Use bits and pieces from around your house. It would be a great help to charities like WWF and Emmaus if you raised money for them!

Happy creating!IMG_0875

The snow leopard

 

 

Uncia_uncia

Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for these cats. Scientists estimate that there may only be between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild today. Which seems a lot but, actually when you think about it, it is not much.

Snow leopard fact file:

  • Solo traveller: the snow leopard is usually solitary
  • Crepuscular: dawn and dusk are the cat’s most active times
  • Living large: some snow leopards have home ranges of up to 1,000 square kilometers!
  • Single mums: for about 18 months, females raise their cubs – all alone! They must be brave!
  • Cold and dry: the snow leopard primarily lives in arid, barren mountain areas
  • Gentle: snow leopards are not known to be aggressive toward humans. Of course, if you provoke them they will probably attack you. You can’t sweet-talk them!
  • Carnivorous: the cat’s main prey are ibex, argali and blue sheep. (despite their name, blue sheep are neither blue nor sheep. These slate grey to pale brown caprines are actually more closely related to goats than to sheep.)

A_kid_blue_sheep_(Pseudois_nayaur).jpg

Too bad these cats don’t compete in long-jump competitions. Using their superstrong legs, they can leap up to 50 feet! They’re also into power walking—some travel distances of over 25 miles in one day in search of food! Must be really hungry! I wouldn’t do it!

Snow leopards are masters of camouflage. Their spotted coats turn white in winter to match the snow. In summer the fur changes to a yellowish grey so the cats can blend in almost completely with the surrounding mountains and blooming plants! Wow!

I have adopted a snow leopard at WWF! I have grown to love these cats and I hope you like them too!

 

Wildlife special

Hello everyone! I have decided that for a few months -ish , I shall post about endangered wild animals, that I believe would make interesting reading. I hope you will learn lots and be inspired by the wonderful creatures that are in decline.

Please choose your favorite animal that I have posted about, and reply back to me in the comments bar.

 

Anyone can do anything

I saw an article on the BBC website about an inspiring girl who lives in Pakistan called Zymal.  She realized that Pakistan has a huge waste problem and people need to recycle more. For now, there is rubbish everywhere in piles, on the road, outside houses, just everywhere. Mountains of colourful plastic bags. Have you ever had a bin open in your house, and it stinks really badly? Double that, or triple that or even quadruple that and you have the smells in the streets of Pakistan. Think about how lucky we are to not have that happening to us, whether we’re in England, France, Ireland, Germany, and Italy…

But we’re never that far away because lots of countries have had problems like this. For example, in England in the 1970s, we had a similar problem which was that all the rubbish collectors went on strike. As you can imagine, it must have been horrible. Can you imagine walking out of your house, and finding rubbish piled up everywhere?

Zymal decided to put a stop to it by making Zeebags, decorated newspapers with pretty decorations. She sells them to family, friends and most of the profits are given to various local charities. In the space of just three years she has gone from selling a few bags to selling hundreds – worth $4-5,000 One charity Zymal’s money goes to is called SOS Children’s Villages, which helps orphaned and destitute children across Pakistan. She hopes this will make people inspired to help protect the planet. Because if we all stand together, we can achieve amazing things. Everyone can do their bit, just a little thing helps.

Winners at St Albert’s Primary

Mrs Brightman’s class at St Albert’s Primary, Pollokshields, Glasgow rose to my recycled wrapping challenge. Their ideas were all very good, so it was difficult to decide the winner. In the end I picked four winners…

  1. Sakeena who used some old cord to make a beautiful bow on her box.

Sakeena cord bow

2. Rishab who made a box with its own clasp.

Rishab cardboard new box catch

3. Tanzeel who made a Star Wars present from old magazines.

Tanzeel star wars

4. Saleeha who used an old plastic bottle.

Saleeha recycled bottle

Well done everyone! Now over to you! Can anyone think of any other ways?