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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards reminds us about our everyday choices and suggests sustainable ways to start the new year!

Humans have unarguably an enormous impact on our planet. With a growing population needing ever more resources, it’s really important to think about how your life has an impact on the environment around you, and take responsibility.

Some of the greatest effects are the most obvious – like air travel, for example, which is why being a sustainable traveller is really important. However, there are plenty of things to think about a little closer to home as well – consumption of petrol in the USA has more than quadrupled since the 1950s. Sustainability is important in all areas of our lives but really does begin in the home. Small changes to your everyday life will add up over the years to help make a positive impact for generations to come, so consider what you can do differently.


Consumable resources

Reducing your water and electricity consumption is a great place to start. Both are necessary to everyday life, but making sure that you are using it efficiently and without unnecessary waste is really important. Get your plumbing checked out for any leaks, and reduce the amount of water your toilet uses to flush – and even try an eco-friendly shower-head. Swap your light bulbs for low-energy LED models, and remember to turn them off when leaving a room – as well as other electrical items like your TV or laptop. You can also help the bigger picture by switching energy suppliers to one committed to using green renewable power.  


What’s on the table?

Sustainability isn’t simply about using less: it’s also being smarter about what we do use. Take a look at your pantry and fridge: where does your food come from? How far has it travelled to reach your plate, and how sustainable are the growing and manufacturing processes. You don’t necessarily have to turn vegan, but choosing ethical and sustainable local sources for your meat and dairy products is one way to reduce your impact. Buy only what you need to reduce wastage, and set up a compost bin in your garden to avoid sending any organic scraps to landfill.


Shopping and material goods

Whether you’re picking up your weekly shopping or making a big, one-off purchase, take a moment to think about the wider impacts of your choice. Home cleaning products, for example, can contain some really nasty chemicals, which create problems further down the water system – and make sure that as much packaging for food and other products you buy is recyclable or reusable. This is also a good idea to consider when you’re choosing big-ticket items like furniture or electrical equipment: what is its lifespan and how will you get rid of it? Make sure it can be recycled or re-used, and consider paying a bit extra for a quality product that will last longer.


Some of these changes will require altering habits and comforts we just take for granted – but with a commitment to sustainability driving you, it won’t be long before this becomes the norm and you can be more confident about your impact on the planet.


Know Your Nuts

Categories: Green Tips, Uncategorized
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Photo credit: Mariya Chorna

A recent fad of the past 5 years or so has been the switch of health-minded people from drinking dairy milk, to alternatives such as soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. Despite its health benefits, mass production of a nut such as the almond has been highly criticised due to its enormous need for water (about one gallon of water per almond!); it may be time to reconsider whether drinking almond milk is more sustainable for the planet! On the other hand, over production of dairy milk can be equally harmful.

We know that the sustainable choice can be a difficult one to make given all the various perspectives, but perhaps what is most important is to always be mindful of the challenges faced behind your eating habits, and how daily choices and travelling decisions can help alleviate some of the world’s biggest challenges. Who is behind this production? What costs and pressures is the planet sustaining to continue this production?

Agricultural production, including nut production sustains the livelihood of communities around the world. When we tour and travel, it can very beneficial and sustainable to participate in and learn about projects involving the nut production, to help raise awareness of the importance of these producers. Here is a recent article we posted on other types of agricultural tourism. We must work together to find a balance between our consumption and their production, while giving recognition and appreciation to the farmers that provide us with such delicious nibbles!


This shopping guide provides information on the environmental and social record of companies behind the brand names of common supermarket products. The information is based on assessment gathered from more than 25 sources including the work of organisations such as Greenpeace, Choose Cruelty Free, Corporate Monitor, Friends of the Earth and Responsible Shopper.



The Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping 2010

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