Land Roots is an exciting venture aimed at creating a common ownership of land in a kind of ‘eco-timeshare’ whereby everyone who is part of the collective has rights and responsibilities towards the stewardship of the land. A community of people keen to live in environmentally-sound and sustainable ways would live on the land, producing as much as they could of their own and learning traditional ways of building and husbandry. Money would be earnt by offering workshops in these skills and in running Gatherings for music, art, crafts, healing and seasonal enjoyment.
Toxic run-off from ‘distressing’ and stonewashing denim jeans is poisoning the environment in Tehuacan, reports The Guardian today. Tehuacan in Central Mexico still hosts more than 700 clothes manufacturers, including some big name international and US labels as well as dozens of smaller, making copies of the larger brands’ fashions. A local subsistence farmer tries to irrigate his land with water from the local canal but the water has been contaminated by the jeans factories: “As well as being blue, it burns the seedlings and sterilises the earth,” he says.
Where does your carpenter get his wood from? I went to see a carpenter yesterday and coincidentally received an e-mail from an employee of timber firm Jewson, who pointed out that his company only sources ‘chain of custody timber’, which means that the timber trail is checked and audited, so people buying it know where it’s come from and its impact on the environment.
According to Jewson’s environmental policy, the company will not source any timber species that is prohibited under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES). That should be expected – although what is good to hear is that where they have to procure timber from areas of greater conservation risk, they promise to only work with suppliers who can demonstrate an improving program of sustainability and identifying wood from non- certified high conservation value forests and its elimination from the supply chain.
So it’s probably a good idea to ask where the wood comes from.
Many of us would happily ditch our travelcard and start cycling to work tomorrow if only we had a bike! But now, thanks to a little-known but very handy new scheme, it's never been easier (or cheaper) to get going on two wheels.
Cyclescheme is a new project that works with a network of independent bike shops to supply the nation with quality tax free bikes and equipment for work. The hardest part is convincing your employer that cycling to work is a good idea, but once you're over that hurdle, the scheme could halve the cost of a bike for you.
So how can you get your hands on a bike through Cyclescheme? As long as you're a UK taxpayer and making PAYE contributions, you're eligible. The full details on how to do this are here, but it's really very simple: the cost of the (tax free) bike comes out of your salary, and works out up to 50% cheaper than just walking into a shop and buying one. And you're not limited in the type of bike you choose either - if your boss is happy for you to roll in on a miniature BMX, it's entirely up to you!
What products should a green never buy? It can be confusing to keep track, so if you're baffled by the array of 'eco' products appearing on the shelves at the moment, it's a good idea to have some ground rules in the back of your mind so you can make informed decisions.
Lighter footstep have come up with a handy list of the fundamental principles that underlie ethical shopping: The Dirty Dozen. So keep this in your mind and you can't go far wrong. Some are obvious: don't by over-packaged goods, and make sure it's always the energy saving, CFL-type lightbulbs that go into your trolley. But others may not have crossed your mind - there are certain types of plastic (all of which are labeled if you know where to check) that we should really be cutting down on.
For simple and easy ethical shopping pop onto Gooshing. It gives a simple ethical star rating for searching over 250 000 products and prices. It’s run by The Ethical Company Organisation whose research so far covers around 60% of the individual products for sale on the site. Gooshing consults leading information authorities in each field to ascertain a company’s record, with ratings and research conducted at a corporate level rather than at product level – so you get an excellently broad idea of the companies you are buying from. The Ethical Company Organisation also runs The Good Shopping Guide, already the world’s leading and best-selling reference book on ethical shopping, and the Ethical Company Accreditation Scheme, a company certification scheme that sets the benchmark for corporate social responsibility.
i’m, is the latest charity initiative from Microsoft. Every time you start a conversation using Windows Live Messenger™, Microsoft’s instant messaging service, the company shares a portion of the program's advertising revenue with some of the world's most effective charities for social causes. Microsoft have set no cap on the amount they’ll donate to each organisation. The scheme has raised just over $35 000 since March. Whilst this doesn’t sound so much from such a global orgisation, we might assume that people don’t know about it. So all we have to do is change our names and let Microsoft give generously.
Related stories: Click4theCause – Microsoft donate to refugee children | XBox 360 eco-game challenge
Whilst the appalling weather across the UK has been bad for our summer, the mixture of sunshine and showers has been great for the trees, according to Trees for Cities. The charity, which funds tree planting across the UK and park restoration, says that the trees they have planted across London, Bristol, Reading, Manchester and Leeds over the last year are having a great summer.
Now the charity has teamed up with the new Play Monday lottery to raise more money. There is a chance to win £10 million, and if you choose Trees for Cities as your favourite charity the lottery will donate 20p for every £1 ticket sold. Trees for Cities will use the money to fund community greening projects.
Click here for Play Monday
With a limited supply of freshwater on board ships and submarines, seamen have over the years developed the "navy shower" to have an effective wash while saving water. As we all become more conscious of water saving in everyday life, should we all try a navy shower? Here's how to have one...
Related stories: More water saving tips
Advocates for Animals is one of Britain’s leading animal protection organisations. They campaign against animal cruelty in all its ugly forms. Which brings me, unfortunately, on to the topic of battery hens. We all know how cruel the treatment of chickens is on factory farms, yet supermarkets still support the practise of keeping chickens in tiny cages with barely room to move. One of Tesco’s egg suppliers has been exposed by Advocates for Animals for keeping up to eight chickens in wire cages that are legally only permitted to hold a maximum of five. It is bad enough that chickens are kept in cages for their entire life, unable to stand up properly or to stretch their wings or legs, but to cram even more into these tiny cages is criminal.
Advocates for Animals has launched its ‘Go Cage-Free’ campaign to try to persuade Tesco to stop selling eggs from caged hens. The campaign will focus on educating the public about the plight of caged hens and visiting Tesco stores in 16 towns to spread their message.
Outgoing Environment minister Ben Bradshaw has resurrected the old cloth versus disposable debate yet again by using the flawed 2005 Environment Agency report as an excuse to cut funding to real nappy initiatives.
As it was widely pointed out at the time, the comparison was hardly scientific as so many frankly ludicrous assumptions about real nappy usage had been built into the report. As most real nappies users would agree, and < href=“http://environment.guardian.co.uk/waste/story/0,,2117860,00.html”>Joanna Moorhead in the Guardian has wearily pointed out yet again, people don’t usually have more than about 25 real nappies, they don’t boil wash or tumble dry them, let alone iron them, and they use them for two or more children.
Are you into personal change? Are you looking to be greener? Eco-friendlier? Making yourself a better person? Well, if I don’t sound hippy and American enough for you, then you might want to check out a great eco podcast website recently launched. Living Green from PersonalLifeMedia is all about giving you the lifestyle tips and info you need to make yourself a more environmentally friendly person. Hosted by conservation expert Meredith Medland (I mean you have to be an ecologist with a name like that), you’ll get latest hot interviews, cool green-living tips and warm debate on the latest issues.
As Gordon Brown settles into his new office British citizens can have their say on a variety of ethical issues at the Downing Street website. Here you can find petitions promoting animal welfare, energy conservation and a host of other green issues.
You can even support some less familiar campaigns. For example, Hugh Bernard wants fruit trees and other edible plants in city centres. Follow the jump to read more about how you can have you say.
Do your shopping on the net and do some good. Give or Take.com creates income streams for charities simply by people doing their usual shopping on the internet. The online shopping centre brings together over 500 leading online stores, including familiar high street names such as John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, WHSmith, Waterstones and Currys, and 50 charity partners, including Shelter, Samaritans and RNID.
Now this is bright thinking. ClickNow is an innovative search engine that allows people to donate to charity without it costing them or their charities a penny. So how does this work? ClickNow is an ordinary search engine, but it donates 50 per cent of the money made through advertising back to its partner charities. Working with Ask.com, search results are provided from the major search engines, but whenever someone searches the internet using the ClickNow facility, the company receives money from the search engines and then makes the donation automatically.