Raising awareness

Raising awareness about climate change and wildlife dilemma is a great way to make sure that everyone is well-informed about our planet. It can lead to people doing amazing things, or it could mean that eco-friendly companies (example: The Wise House) getting more business. You might have heard of the “Green School Strike” which involves secondary and primary students striking off school to make everyone realize that they want to grow up in a eco-friendly world. Now I’m not suggesting that any of you take that choice and not go to school, but the strike hopefully caught the eye of many politicians who could be the ones who could take action to save our planet.

This is what raising awareness is about (well, maybe not the anti-school thing), and it all comes down to everyone doing their bit for the planet. It doesn’t need to be big or important, but everything helps.

So I am going to ask you to tell your friends about climate change (they might already know), eco-friendly solutions to take (view my post: Quick top 10 tips ) and (if you can) about my blog!

Thank you in advance, I’m sure you’ll do brilliantly!

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Eww! That’s a bit disgusting!

This is just a short post to quickly tell you about:

Plastic water bottles

So, you probably know about how when you throw away your plastic water bottle, it gets into the environment (yep, no recycling yet) and the oceans. There it will be eaten either by terrestrial or marine animals. But did you know, humans end up eating plastic too?

When you buy a plastic bottle, you drink from it, but lots of people say that you must re-use and re-fill. They are right. When possible, re-using is one of the best solutions to fighting climate change. Well I’m here to warn you:

Don’t refill and drink from plastic bottles!*

Why? Well, think about it. In your plastic bottle, there is loads and loads of micro plastics. It would be a miracle if they just stayed there on the plastic. They don’t however. They detach themselves and end up in your water. The longer you keep refilling and drinking from them, well… You will be consuming more and more plastic. After a year, you will be drinking more plastic than water. Ewww!

Is it harmful to your health? Well, no-one is really sure. Studies show that the micro-plastics could intefere with hormones or get into your other organs. It is unclear whether that would be a problem, but if I were you, I would just not re-use plastic bottles.

 So if you can’t really re-use them and they don’t get recycled, what do you do?

Simple. You don’t buy plastic bottles! You use the tap. Yes, in some countries the water is not clean, but in most Europian countries, the water is perfectly sane. 

But what about taking water for school trips and things like that?

You buy yourself a metal bottle, and you can easily fill that up from the tap!

You can get micro-plastics from food, but please don’t starve yourself! You can’t really do anything about it, but you will get a smaller dose of plastic from avoiding re-using plastic bottles!

*well once or twice is ok, but as a general rule I will say that you should never! 

 

Refusing Plastic

I was travelling to England in the car, and we stopped off at a service-station restaurant. As you may have noticed if you ever had the pleasure of going to one, there is very often a “children’s menu”, which basically consists of:

-a small portion of food (often unhealthy stuff like chips)

-a plastic box

-in the plastic box, a plastic toy (plastic rubbish)

-an activity book

-a plastic water bottle

I decided that I didn’t want the chips and I took green beans and rice instead (adult’s menu). There was a bit of a frown as I was still considered a child, but they let me pass.

However, my sister wanted an adult’s portion of chips and nuggets, but apparantly, the nuggets were not served outside of the children’s menu. They told my mum that either she took the plastic box and the water bottle with the “toy”, or she didn’t have nuggets at all. They didn’t insist much, after we made it clear that that was not what my sister wanted, but I still felt annoyed. These service station companies were very good at selling you stuff you didn’t want, which often included plastic toys. This made me realize that a lot of plastic was given to you without your agreement. Example: at restaurants when you order a drink they often pop a straw into it.

We should refuse these things.

As I explained before in other blog posts, plastic is very harmful to our ecosystem.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” when waiters give you straws or service-station staff try to make you take the “children’s menu” with the “goody-bag”!

Just think, when you refuse it:

“One less bit of plastic in the ocean, one sea – creature saved!”

This could also mean that these companies start to understand that we do not want plastic in our lives.

One small step at a time to save our planet.

My favorite animal

I love animals, I love pets, I just love wildlife! I have a dog, who is a bichon frisé, and I wanted to write about his breed. If you have a favorite animal, domestic or wild, please put it into the comments!

 

Bichon Frisé  (pronounced BEE-shawn FREE-say)

The bichon frisé is a small sized dog, though size varies. It mainly has pure white, cream, apricot or gray coloured coat. They are fluffy and loveable, love cuddles and are lap-dogs.

Height and weight:

Height: 3 – 30 cm Females 23 – 28 cm

Weight: 3 – 5 kg

Questions and answers (that most people ask me):

Do they loose hair? No

Do they bark frequently? No

Will they cuddle up to you when you watch TV? Yes

Can they be left at home all day? Not really. Bichon frisés love to be with their “masters”. They will be miserable and lonely at home.

Are they ok with long walks? Yes, but you will need lots of water as they have VERY thick coats.

Do you have to groom them much? Yes. Regular brushing, once a month’s worth of baths.

Plastic, plastic and… more plastic. What you can do as a child.

This blog post aims to give you top tips about using no more plastic. These tips are based on the book No. More. Plastic. I’ve read it and enjoyed it and if you are a climate change hater, you should definitely read it! I have taken ideas from this book, but have rewritten them and simplified them in some cases.

  1. When you go to buy new school things for the new year, consider the packaging. Packaging is plastic, so try to buy the pens, gluesticks, rubbers and pencil sharpeners with the least packaging.
  2. When you need water, simply use the tap! It’s clean as well!
  3. If your parents drink tea tell them to try and use tea bags with no plastic.
  4. Ask your parents to look at your packaging on your food items from your supermarket. If it says ‘cannot currantly be recycled’ tell them to not buy it again
  5. Ask your parents if you can go to your local park. If they say yes, go to that park and pick up litter for 2 minutes. See how much you picked up!
  6. Instead of using wrapping paper for your friend’s birthday presents, use a little cloth bag, that they can use again!
  7. Ask your school to ban ballon realeases. Try and find another way to celebrate!
  8. Use fountain pens instead of ballpoint pens
  9. If you need a water bottle for a school trip or anything, buy a metal one. Do not buy bottled water or a plastic water bottle.
  10. When you make your birthday/Christmas list, consider your presents. Are they made of plastic? Try not to put plastic items on your list.

Thank you for reading!! Now go out there and use less plastic!!!

How to make your own nature garden

  1. Have your own wilderness place in your garden
  2. Grow wildflowers. If you are interested in attracting butterflies to your garden, buddlea and nettles are favorites. Bees prefer native flowers
  3. Stack up logs and sticks to encourage beetles
  4. Hang a bird feeder filled with unsalted peanuts from a branch or get one which attaches to a window with a suction pad for a close-up view. You can get squirrel-proof bird feeders to ensure the squirrels don’t steal all the food, but hang an ordinary feeder alongside so that they don’t go hungry either. Fat balls and seed mixes are ideal for attracting a range of bird species. Offerings of bacon rind and grated cheese will also make you popular with your avian neighbours
  5. You can buy special feed for hedgehogs from garden suppliers, while badgers will eat unsalted nuts and seeds, fruit and root vegetables. Make sure you leave out water as well. You can provide a safe place for hedgehogs to hibernate by buying a hedgehog house. (Note: don’t leave out bread or milk because they will cause digestive problems for animals.)
  6. Create a pond, and use plants like water lillies to devolop your underwater habitat.

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!

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

IMG_0686

 

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!