Should everyone have environmental goals and resolutions?

So if you’ve been on the internet over the past day or two you’ve probably come across the news of the recent UN climate report or at least seen something hinting or referring to it. Although now it can be really depressing or just plain out heartbreaking to read through an article telling you what you already knew (things are bad, things need to change etc.), it’s a very important piece of news that everyone should clue themselves up on and take away something from it. The report essentially warns what could happen to our tired planet and state of living if global temperatures were to rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. An article summarizing the report states ‘Staying at or below 1.5°C requires slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.’ I very much recommend everyone looks into the report and at some articles which I will link below as what is unique about this report is that it tries to prove instances of what could happen if globally we were to invest into trying to change things for the better. It acknowledges what economic damages could happen when the temperatures increase but also that if we were to fight harder against climate change it would cause an economic boost. ‘A recent report found that a global shift toward sustainability would yield a staggering $26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.

It is actually about 3am when I write this and I’d like people to take away from this blog post that I write stuff like this in a midst of anxiety and as a strategy of coping but also not losing hope and also trying to progress towards tiny, tiny victories and changes which if were to increase on a bigger scale would help encourage others to be more empathetic and understand the dangers of climate change. I feel personally the sad truth is everyone is very aware of climate change and although there’s an unfortunate selection of people who believe it’s fake or a myth (and even more sadly some of these people are in power), pretty much everyone can see the effects it’s having on the world. But has it become a tedious burnout for people? I used to get so upset in high school when I’d snap at my friends for littering or overusing hairspray/aerosols and I’d just get answered with an apathetic ‘the world’s already fucked, who cares’. I care. You should care too. It’s also very popular to have no care now. To engross ourselves in nihilistic banter where we joke we ‘crave death’ or that there’s no point to trying to change. But as funny as the odd joke is, I don’t want to walk head first into demise as if that’s what I was born to do. When I get anxious about the environment it’s because I know how many people are affected. So many innocent people suffer because of something they actually have a very small control over.

One of my recent ways of thinking about the environmental problem is that I’m actually starting to realise who is at fault here. Every human has a responsibility at this point. However the massive, rich companies have bigger carbon footprints than a small neighbourhood of people. The companies who point fingers at their consumers and claim ‘hey! Seals are dying because of you! You horrible scum!’ but then through every outlet they have, whether it be chain restaurants, chain superstores, they barely even recycle a small percentage of the mass amounts of garbage they create. The ingredients they use to create their coffees, that some companies still don’t pay tax for, are flown over creating a horrible amount of carbon emission but they stamp down on you, the small consumer, and claim you are causing natural disasters by not bringing in your own reusable cup. It’s all a hectic mess of capitalistic hierarchy and although there is benefits and flaws to big chain companies taking eco-friendly approaches by banning straws or charging for disposables – we fail to see that there are so many huge corporations paying to get away with damaging our planet and then turning the blame around on people just trying to get by.

So am I saying don’t support Starbucks disposable cup charge or a plastic bag charge cause ‘hey it’s not my fault anymore!’. Hell no.  You still have responsibility. The statement that if everyone does a little bit to contribute to fighting against climate change and helping the environment things could change is definitely true. Every little helps and the more people vote with their money and express their need for change through consumerism and support or petitions, the more things will change but it will realistically be in tiny doses and in my head I’m just picturing my country. The responsibility grows when you look at more and more countries in perspective. But if you are like me and literally cry whenever you get anxiety about the state of the environment or climate change’s effects – remember to take a step back and realise you are doing the best you can. If you are sat there going ‘fuck it not my problem!’ or failing to acknowledge what’s going on, then I’d want you to reconsider your mindset.

So I thought if everyone made small environmental related goals or resolutions (like new year resolutions) would that change things gradually? On larger scales you’ll hear of companies and organisations undertaking eco-friendly initiatives and such – for example a company might suggest that in their staff kitchen they’re going to stop purchasing disposable cutlery and cups and invest in reusable kitchenware and that all staff need to clean up after themselves and this will be to minimize their plastic waste. It’s a very made up on the spot metaphor but roll with me – if every family, couple, household or single person took on a mindset like this would it be beneficial?

I stopped eating vegetarian a couple of months back due to personal reasons and at least twice a week I claim that I want to go veggie again because I know deep down that eating vegetarian has bigger benefits in the bigger picture than how tasty a bacon sarnie would be. In a conversation about the report I mentioned me and my partner actually decided we’re going to slowly try to go vegetarian again. I see that as my goal for the next month. I also have been telling myself over the past month or two to cut down on buying new clothes and makeup, that if I really want to treat myself to something I should look into supporting independent businesses or secondhand clothing or I’ve also made it a goal that when my shower gels I have left over run out I want to invest in a packaging free soap (probably from LUSH, I have my heart set on the Sleepy Naked Shower Gel) because that means one or two less plastic bottles in the bin!

So what would your goals be? If you were a parent maybe you’d set your monthly goal to have one day a week that all household meals were meat-free (Meat-Free Monday for instance) or if you were a student you could make it a goal that you’d take your thermos to class instead of buying a coffee on campus so no disposable cup would be used? There’s a lot of ideas to think of and it can help the idea of starting off small and working your way through adding eco-friendly and sustainable routines to your life, all in all working towards the fight to help our planet!

What would you make as your environmental resolution for October?

Thanks for reading,

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Articles:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2018/10/9/17951924/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report-takeaways?__twitter_impression=true

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/8/17948832/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/10/how-to-understand-the-uns-dire-new-climate-report/572356/

https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

 

Reusable coffee mugs and where to get them!

This year a lot of big companies have been attempting to make small changes that prove their ‘care for the environment’ and so that they are being ‘more green’ and the most popular one recently is companies either only giving out plastic straws is asked, charging for plastic straws or outright banning them. However, a lot of the companies who have banned plastic straws have had negative reactions due to the implications this poses for disabled customers. The prime story is how people reacted to Starbucks banning plastic straws in their drinks and replacing them with a new plastic lid. A lot of ‘reusable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ straws don’t work well for disabled people or could pose a safety risk, plus in my opinion and a lot of other people – surely replacing plastic straws with plastic lids creates just as much waste?

A better idea (if we keep our standards low) that Starbucks UK will be rolling out soon is the 5p paper cup charge. Starbucks paper/takeaway cups cause a waste of 4 billion cups every year because the company simply cannot or does not recycle them. The 5p charge works like this – Starbucks will charge 5p on top of your drink price for a disposable cup but if you have your hot drink to stay in (where it’ll be poured into a washable mug) you’ll have no extra charge (+0) BUT if you are having your drink to go and request it in your own reusable mug, they will give you a 25p discount. It’s a good incentive, right?

However, the criticisms here mainly is that Starbucks, as hard as they try, they have caused a big amount of waste and damage to the environment, much like Costa, McDonald’s and any other big corporation food/drink chain. The UK’s biggest coffee chains are Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero and they never recycle any of their disposable cups and the problem is people probably don’t realise this – which is clear especially on the amount of empty coffee chain cups people leave carelessly on pavements and in outdoor spaces (Manchester is guilty of this – people even hide them behind store displays out of pure laziness, it is honestly disgusting).

Other criticisms I’ve seen on this idea is that a lot of these coffee shops still create waste even when people bring their own mugs in –  the barista will use a disposable cup to measure out the drink before transferring it which I’ve seen happen before and honestly, it is something people should call out Starbucks, Costa etc out on more.

And another criticism is that the 5p charge is too small to have any impact, however, is this not the same thing that people would say when 5p bag charges came out? It all depends on the person but it has been proven these environmental charges are creating a small difference. (England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced)

Like I said it all depends on the person, but if you are reading this and care even a little bit about the planet that we live on, that the people we love live on and our future family will live on, then maybe you should think about investing in a reusable mug! Luckily I’ve put a quick little list of cute and great online places to get your new reusable mug and start reducing your disposable waste intake!

  1.  Cute and inexpensive – Sass & Belle Travel Mug £8.50

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If you want a cheap but cute mug – you can find a lot of cute travel mugs on ASOS or online! This one from Sass & Belle is compact with a switch on top to close the lid and prevent spillage! Perfect for taking your favourite tea on the go!

2. Fun and BPA Free – ecoffee cup’s 12oz Darwin Mug £10.95

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Ecoffee cup is a brand dedicated to stopping the trend of single-use cups. All of their products are BPA and phthalate free and made with bamboo fibre! They make plenty of different cute patterns and drink sizes all at very reasonable prices!

3. A range of sizes and styles – KeepCup’s Sea Shepard Brew £14.00 

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KeepCup is another glorious brand dedicated to encouraging reusable products and claims their products are unbreakable and up to barista’s standards. The reason I share their Sea Shepard range is that if you purchase one of their reusable Sea Shepard mugs during July, 100% of the profits will go to Sea Shepards, a non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. However, KeepCup has tons of different aesthetics, sizes and materials on their site if you wanted something else! There’s even adorable Star Wars KeepCups like this R2-D2 one!

4. Pricey but big in size – John Lewis Scion Hedgehog Travel Mug £15.00

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This John Lewis travel mug may be on the pricier side but it makes up for it in the 480ml it can hold and it comes with a very cute design! However, this mug may not be completely leak proof or have a sealable lid so it’s best to keep it upright at all times! Great to take with you to work or college!

KeepCup and ecoffee cup are some of the great, eco-friendly brands that are popping up recently you can also look at Stojo cups for inspiration! But if those aren’t your choice, John Lewis, Debenhams and ASOS do other cute travel mugs and flasks!

Sorry if this blog post is a bit all over the place! But I hope it does inspire you to invest in a reusable cup and cut down on your disposable mug usage!

Thanks for reading,

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How cruelty-free is my skincare routine?

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So if you know me, you’ll know I like trying my best to be eco-friendly and cruelty free – a lot of my old blog posts discuss ways and products that are better for nature and better for animals and a year or so on, I thought I’d look at my recent skincare routine and see what items are cruelty-free, eco-friendly and if they are good or not!

I’d reckon my skin type is combination/oily and extremely acne-prone. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least one pimple on my face and even if I didn’t I have unfortunate scarring from years of skin picking and breakouts. I’ve also tried to get into a habit of doing a full-blown, some may say high maintenance, skin-care routine each night after watching YouTube videos where people discuss practising the ‘Korean 10-step skincare routine‘, which involves a lot of products but apparently is the secret to getting your face in good condition. However I don’t have the money or motivation to get every part of this 10 step yet, so my routine at the moment is inspired by the routine but not quite!

  1. Cleansing

For cleansing, I am currently using the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I was extremely lucky to receive a Liz Earle gift set for Christmas from my mum with a full bottle of the highly rated cleanser. The formula is enriched with cocoa butter which helps make my skin super smooth and the chamomile and eucalyptus in it is such a lovely smell and using it right before bed is extremely soothing and comforting. In terms of cruelty-free rating, Liz Earle has recently been given the BUAV seal of approval so it has the ‘cruelty-free’ rabbit attached to it, meaning it has not been tested on animals!

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2. Cleansing Part 2

According to the 10 step routine on SokoGlam, they say it’s important to do a double cleanse to ensure you get rid of all the residue of makeup or built up dirt that the first cleanse might not have got. They recommend a water-based cleanser for this so currently, I am using Botanics by Boot’s All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution. I’ve quite enjoyed using this as it leaves my skin feeling quite refreshed and isn’t drying and there isn’t much of a fragrance either so it’s not overwhelming. In terms of cruelty-free, the entire Botanics range is advertised as being mostly organic and natural, however maybe I’m not looking far enough, but there aren’t any definite claims online from the company that they are cruelty-free but a lot of websites saying they are classed as cruelty-free skincare and they are vegetarian friendly but not vegan friendly since some Botanics products contain beeswax!

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3. Exfoliator

I’ve only recently purchased (literally bought it this morning) my facial scrub, but I can definitely confirm I bought it due to it being cruelty-free, microbead free, vegan-friendly and paraben free! The Sukin Revitalising Facial Scrub is from the Australian brand Sukin Organics which aim to be Australia’s number one natural skincare brand. All products are made with ingredients that are naturally derived, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free which is amazing and I am very grateful I came across this scrub in Boots. I’ve only used it once but it was very soothing, not at all harsh or rough on the skin and smelt lovely!

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4. Toner

Another Liz Earle product makes its way in here! (Can you tell I’m a fan?) For toning, I have been using the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which also has a gorgeous scent to it, which makes me excited to use it because I feel it leaves my skin feeling fresh, awake and smelling lovely! It contains calendula, chamomile, aloe vera and Vitamin E all to hydrate and refresh your skin. Like I mentioned before, Liz Earle has been given the Cruelty-Free bunny sticker so it’s a great CF addition to my routine! Another little thing I love about it is the lid which has a little opening can be screwed open and close so you don’t find yourself wasting large drops of the liquid when applying it to a cotton pad! Compared to a bottle top that you have to try to be careful with when tipping.

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5. Essence/Serums

Now this is where the routine got confusing to me, a mere lazy girl who spent most of her adolescence with a skincare routine of just splashing hot water on her face before school and using pound shop makeup wipes each night to remove makeup and maybe using a face scrub in the shower if she could be bothered. The SokoGlam website describes an essence as ‘toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair’. However I haven’t really got any of these, and the one product I have that says ‘serum’ on it, I’ve been using as a moisturiser! Maybe this is where I’m going wrong! So instead of them, I have been using an oil on my face maybe once or twice a week to try to aid my skin and get rid of my acne scars! The one I have been using is the Yes To: Miracle Oil Evening Primrose Oil. My first few tries with this oil I thought I had made a bad choice since I’d find myself getting it all over my pillow and my hair sticking to my face, but then I chose to spend more time massaging my face with it and doing it a bit earlier each night to let it set in and I can definitely feel in the morning that it has made my skin softer!

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In terms of cruelty-free, the Yes To brand is known for being a brand that is ‘free of nasties and filled with goodies’, with a lot of their skincare products having fruits and essential oils in them to benefit the skin. Their website claims most of their products are vegan (some have beeswax/honey), contain no phthalates and they do not animal test and that they are part of the Leaping Bunny Program which is awesome!

6. Skipping Treatments, Sheet Masks and Eye cream and straight to Moisturiser and SPF!

So like I mentioned before, my skincare routine isn’t completely 10 steps so unfortunately, I have to skip doing treatments, sheet masks and eye cream as I don’t really own any! So my next step is straight to moisturising and during the day SPF cream! For moisturiser, I have been using the Superdrug Calm Skin Hydrating 2-in-1 Serum and Moisturiser.  I bought this mostly because I love any products with chamomile in as they normally smell very soothing and do good for my skin, however I feel like I’m yet to see any major effects of using this product – it claims to improve skin clarity after 4 weeks of use however my skin hasn’t changed much and it doesn’t really reduce any stress or redness. It is lightweight like it says though and smells very nice! Like most Superdrug own products it is also definitely cruelty-free and vegan-friendly!

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For SPF, although I can’t claim to be good at remembering to put on SPF every day, I have been using the Superdrug Solait Anti-Aging Fluid in SPF 50 since I picked it up last summer. I really enjoy this SPF cream as it doesn’t have that overpowering suncream smell and doesn’t leave white streaks if applied minimally. Again this is a Superdrug own product so it is cruelty-free and vegan friendly!

So as you can see, I’m really proud of myself and happy to know most of my skincare is cruelty-free! In the past I have also dabbled with using Soap and Glory’s Vitamin C Facial Wash that although is cruelty-free, actually contains microbeads so I threw it out, I have also used Superdrug’s Vitamin E toner which was cruelty-free and very refreshing to use in the summer but I have also used the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit scrub which isn’t cruelty-free at all, so don’t worry if one or two of your products right now isn’t cruelty-free because when you have emptied them there is plenty of cruelty-free brands out there to switch too!

What products are you using at the moment? Any cruelty-free recommendations you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading!

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