100 Happy Days #6

Photos of the little things that made me happy last week…

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Enjoying a sandwich on the way home.

I tried out a new hairstyle, the fishtail plait. Not sure I got it quite right but it was fun to try.

I tried out a new hairstyle, the fishtail plait. Not sure I got it quite right but it was fun to try.

Enjoyed a sausage sandwich for breakfast at work - I forgot to take a photo until it was nearly gone!

I had a sausage sandwich for breakfast at work – I forgot to take a photo until it was nearly gone!

Relaxing in the TV room on my lunch break...it was lovely and cool and peaceful as everyone else was outside!

Relaxing in the TV room on my lunch break…it was lovely and cool and peaceful as everyone else was outside.

This is my Lush conditioner - it smells so lovely!

This is my Lush conditioner – it smells so lovely!

I've had a large pile of stuff to get rid of in my room for months...finally decided to bag it up ready to go to a charity shop!

I’ve had a large pile of stuff to get rid of in my room for months…finally decided to bag it up ready to go to a charity shop.

What have you been enjoying taking the time to do?

100 Happy Days #5

Continuing the 100 Happy Days challenge, here are my photos from last week…

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The book I am reading this week.

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Lovely to snuggle up in my pjs and dressing gown after a long day, tube delays and getting caught in the rain.

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This is a cat who I see sometimes when I’m walking back from work…he likes to walk with me along part of the road :)

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I follow a blog called Reduce Footprints, which sets a green challenge every week. I interpreted the challenge ‘Ban single use items’ to stop using brand-new post-it notes at work. Instead, I took in some old receipts that I can write on the back of (nothing with any bank details printed on, just in case). Since I didn’t have a choice about getting these receipts, at least I can use them for something else too!

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One of my cats – she enjoys kneading the blanket before she settles down to sleep.

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I went to the Science Museum on Saturday for the first time in a while – forgot to take any photos except this one of the logo on the map, but I had a good time.

 

What have you been enjoying this week?

Climate Change: A World Finally Warming Up To The Idea

Joanna:

Whether you know a lot about climate change or not, I highly recommend you read this post. It’s called Climate Change: A World Finally Warming Up to the Idea. It’s a really great and informative discussion of climate change and the greenhouse effect. My blog is all about sustainability and going green, so I think a reminder about exactly why I’m doing it is really important once in a while. A long read, but worth it! Let me know what you think!

Originally posted on Why? Because Science.:

Climate change and severe weatherBeneath the fads, the fashion, the loud headlines, media threats and intimidating claims lies a totally rational story; the bare science of a shifting environment that, once explained, is simply irrefutable. You can be skeptical about going on a blind date or about eating Indian food before said blind date, but you can’t be skeptical about the fact that humankind has and is having a definite and permanent effect on the climate of our planet. That’s naivety at its worst.

In this blog post and the next, we’ll be taking a journey through the fancy terms thrown around by the media and redefine them to yield a totally new and more scientifically accurate understanding. We’ll come to appreciate what’s normal (historically speaking) and what definitely isn’t in terms of climate variability. We’ll also take a closer look at Earth’s atmosphere in order to get a better perspective on how our…

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100 Happy Days #4

Here are my 100 Happy Days photos from this week, still trying to focus on the small things that I enjoy.

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One photo of a cat…

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Yoga practice (my yoga mat is from a great company called Eco Yoga, by the way).

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Just finished reading this book – a little complicated, but very interesting.

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I made curly kale crisps to try as a healthy snack.

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…another photo of the cat…

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Beautiful blue sky on a hot sunny day.

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…this photo was supposed to be of a cat I made friends with on the way home from work…it obviously moved too fast so you can only see its feet!

What have you made time for this week?

Persuading People to Go Green

Today’s post was inspired by the post ‘You Can’t Scare People Into Going Green’ from Erin at Inspired Earth Connection:

I used to think that people would adopt a greener lifestyle if they truly knew the staggering and heart-breaking damage caused to our beautiful planet and the well being of the human race by many of our modern habits.  Perhaps, they would even persuade politicians and corporations to follow suite.  I used to feel that people were just unaware of the effects of their day to day habits (after all, we aren’t taught these things in school or via popular media) and if they were aware, they would change.

While I do think awareness is part of the key (it certainly changed me), I sure as heck know that the energy of fear, anger, begging, pleading and the doom and gloom scenarios of the climate change (and other environmental disaster) is not the answer to inspire most people into effective action.

A few days ago, I came across an article that shone to me like a beacon of light. It was like a missing ingredient in a grander dish where all the other flavors can finally begin to pull together into a successful, positive creation.   In this article, the author articulates the need to educate and inspire people, while giving them manageable, life-enhancing and personally rewarding actions that create positive change.  Please enjoy Creating A Culture Of Hope–Not Fear–Around Sustainability.

In closing, here’s a little food for thought.  Sometimes, when we are confronted with the potential of creating deep and meaningful change,  our own fears, frustrations and self perceived limitations can surface.  I truly believe that these larger issues that face us, like climate change, are an opportunity for us to both personally and collectively heal our perceived helplessness, complacency and self-imposed limitations to creating the peaceful and sustainable world we truly want.

When I read this post, it made me think about how I feel knowing that the majority of people in the world have little or no concern for the environment, including many people that I know. As Erin’s title suggests, you cannot scare people into going green. Sometimes I am so absorbed in the thought that I want to make my own life as green as possible that I forget that the people around me are oblivious to everything I am working towards. They might be avid consumers, not think about where their waste ends up or not make decisions based on ethical or environmental concerns.

I used to not think about the environment much beyond recycling and turning off lights. Now I’ve started this blog and done a lot of exploration, I’ve realised that these two things, whilst easy to do and a great first step on the way, are only the tip of the iceberg. But what do you do when no one around you seems to care, even if you talk about it?

I’m as guilty as any number of people for trying to ‘up-sell’ going green and also being critical of other people who aren’t at the same stage as me. When you are so passionate about doing something (and so frustrated that not everyone has realised what needs to be done to reduce climate change), it can be incredibly hard not to try and persuade people to do what you’re doing.

But, as Erin says, you can’t scare people into going green. As I am realising, everyone is at their own stage and trying to persuade someone to do what they’re not comfortable doing will just make them more determined to stick with the way they are. Some people need educating about climate change, some people need help making the first step, others are doing their best to make a difference and others still are right at the other end of the scale, aiming for zero waste and sustainable lifestyles.

By starting up this blog I hoped to show my readers that going green isn’t overwhelming if you take it one simple step at a time. I think that by quietly doing what you can, rather than shouting about it, you will be able to show other people – without necessarily trying to actively persuade them – that a green lifestyle is one that’s both possible and enjoyable.

I have been told that when I talk about going green it is clear that I am passionate about it and I think this is something that does help people to become more engaged in the cause. If you love what you’re doing then it will seem more attractive to others!

Going green is always a work in progress and you might not feel like you’re doing very much, but by not scaring or persuading people into it, you could still be helping to shift someone’s opinion by being an example of the change you want to see in people. I think education and research are both vitally important in the drive towards sustainability but at the same time it is important not to go too far and alienate people.

How do you feel about this? Do you feel frustrated that not everyone understands the need for sustainability? Or perhaps you’re at the other end and are overwhelmed by reports on climate change and calls to do something about it?

P.S. I’m a guest blogger this week! If you want to check my first ever guest and non-environmental blog post, pop over to my friend Ellana’s blog!

100 Happy Days #3

Well, as you may have noticed from a lack of 100 Happy Days posts on my blog, unfortunately I stopped taking the time to think about the simple things that make me happy each day, let alone take photos of them!

But I have reminded myself how important it is to focus on the simple, often free, things in my life that make me happy, especially when things can get overwhelming. So here are some of my photos from this week!

I know the minimalist bloggers that I follow are great at focusing on simplicity and this really can help cut out things in your life that aren’t good for you or the environment .

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I wore this dress on Monday and it made me feel so summery and cheery! I was in two minds about keeping it before but I enjoyed wearing it and got compliments on it too, so it stays!

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I was waiting on a platform for a tube home, and it was really nice to just stand in the warm sun.

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I’m knitting a sock – I haven’t made much progress and it’s a little untidy (I’ve never knitted from the toe up before) but I feel like I’m gradually cracking it!

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A 100 Happy Days post wouldn’t be complete without a photo of a cat!

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I’m currently reading a book called The Gift (also known as The Naming) by Alison Croggon. It’s one of my favourites and I’m enjoying reading it again.

How do you incorporate this attitude towards simplicity in your own life?

Candles

When I wrote about Earth Hour, I mentioned turning out the lights and using candles for an hour. I have to confess that I took it as given that burning candles must be better. But how good is it to be using candles? All I could have really tell you before writing this post is that a candle is made up of a wax and a wick. I didn’t know where the wax came from, what the wick was made of, and what sort of emissions burning a candle can give off, if any.

So I did some research online, and looked at some candles for sale, and it appears that most candles are made from paraffin wax. They can also be made from more natural materials such as beeswax, soy, other plant waxes and tallow.

Throughout history, all over the world, candles were traditionally made from tallow (animal fat) and wicks made from natural materials such as rushes. But since the 1850s candles have been generally made from paraffin wax, which is derived from petroleum, coal or shale. During my research I found conflicting views as to whether burning candles emit many emissions and whether they are harmful. After doing some reading*, I think my view is that because when I burn candles I don’t tend to burn many at once or for very long, their impact shouldn’t be very high. I think it depends how much you use them and what they are made from.

But whether or not they contribute much to your emissions, I still think it’s disturbing that this is what candles are made from. To be honest, I’ve never actually bought myself a candle but I have been given many as gifts. But I would still like to know: what about alternatives?

100% beeswax or soy candles (check whether the soy is GM if that’s something that bothers you) seem to be best, or those made from natural vegetable wax. They are natural (check what the wick is made from too) and are unlikely to cause allergies or emit hazardous chemicals the way paraffin candles do. A good rule of thumb is to check what the candle and wick are made from and whether any synthetic fragrances are contained in them. I found this article, ‘Are Soy and Natural Candles Really Natural?’, really useful for how you work out if a candle really is all natural or not.

I can’t believe I’d never thought to investigate this before. It just shows how far I still have to go on my journey to go green! What do you think? Do you burn candles often? Or maybe you make your own? Do you think paraffin candles can have an impact on your health?

*If you want to read more about this, you could start with articles such as Candles Are Ten Times Worse for the Environment Than Bulbs or Particle Emissions From Candles Are No Health Hazard, both of which I came across during my own research.