3 BILLION pairs of feet polluting the planet

Yesterday, I threw away a pair of flip flops. They were still quite new, but the soles have smoothed out with wear and were thus slippery.  They wear out very quickly, these flip flops.  No big deal, as I have another three pairs scattered around. They are very cheap, after all, especially in Thailand. A passable pair of fake Havaianas cost less than £1.50.

But let’s pause to think about this throw-away item of modern life:  a whopping 3 BILLION people wear flip flops, which inevitably end up in oceans.  Here’s a creative project transforming used flip flops into gorgeous art, thereby saving the planet from more pollutants:

 

Bamboo business cards

As we were looking for business cards for Simple Green Planet that match our environmental ethos of doing less harm to the planet, we came across these lovely  business cards made from wild bamboo (that grows very fast, without chemicals) in Thailand:

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The cost is THB39 per card, with minimum order of 100.

To watch how they are “printed” (hint: no harmful chemicals), watch this video:

To order, please visit the company’s Facebook page, and do mention us. As we are not-for-profit, we cannot afford these cards but if sufficient people order mentioning Simple Green Planet, who knows, we might get them at a cheaper rate 🙂

THE WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW PROPHECY

“One day… there would come a time, when the earth being ravaged and polluted, the forests being destroyed, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, the fish being poisoned in the streams, and the trees would no longer be, mankind as we would know it would all but cease to exist.”

This is how the Rainbow prophecy begins, as retold by a woman of the Cree Indian nation of America over a century ago.

The Rainbow prophecy, as it has come to be known, refers to the keepers of the legends, rituals, and other myths that will be needed when the time comes to restore the health on Earth. It is believed that these legendary beings will return on a day of awakening, when all people will unite and create a new world of justice, peace and freedom, and they will be named the “Warriors of the Rainbow”.

(Source ancient-origins.net)

“One day…there would come a time…” this message is frighteningly becoming a reality and that “time” is coming faster than we dare to think.

How befitting is it then that the mighty Greenpeace sailing vessel “Rainbow Warrior” is named after these mythical folk and Greenpeace exists to be a voice for our fragile Earth, to help find environmental solutions, implement change and take action.

I was fortunate to experience a tour of this iconic ship yesterday during it’s brief visit to Phuket en route to Krabi where it will protest the new coal-fired power plant that is planned to be built there.

Rainbow Warrior III, is a sailing vessel with 54m high masts and 5 sails, it can reach speeds of up to 17 knots under sail. It is staffed by a small crew of 17, who are committed to non violent creative action, paving the way towards a greener, more peaceful world, and who are not frightened to confront the systems that threaten our environment. Funded completely by independent donations, Greenpeace does not accept funding from corporations or governments as it travels the globe defending actions and raising awareness to help protect our planet Earth.

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Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 10.15.36The stories and history of Greenpeace are amazing and inspiring. They have a clear vision and purpose alongside dedicated and passionate staff. With 26 independent national / regional organisations, they work directly with communities to protect the environment. They are represented in in over 55 countries globally, and have an office in Bangkok as part of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

For further information check out –www.greenpeace.org

 

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Super Bees food wrap – the Beeginner’s set

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Start your plastic-free life with this starter kit. Learn how to use each SuperBee’s Wax Wrap for many items in your kitchen and home. Includes 3 different sized beeswax wraps in pretty patterns.

Handmade from:

  • 100% Cotton
  • Beeswax
  • Tree Resin
  • Organic Coconut Oil

Quantity & Size:

  • 1 x 20 cm x 20 cm (7.9 in x 7.9 in)
  • 1 x 26 cm x 26 cm (10.2 in x 10.2 in)
  • 1 x 33 cm x 33 cm (13 in x 13 in)

To order, please visit their website: and please do mention us!

Cash for old clothes

Whilst we worry about plastics, we seldom worry about old clothes in landfills that are choking up the planet.  Our overconsumption and fast fashion  has brought about a massive rise in textile waste dumped in landfill sites. And these days, garments often have nylon bits in them, that will take 40-50 years to decompose.

My daughter recently sold off her mountain of old clothes at her school’s car boot sale. She was selling almost-new tops, dresses and trousers off for THB20, which is less than 50p. Apart from giving a lot of joy to the new owners, she was also minimising the strain on landfills (and earning herself a little sum in the process as well).

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Recently, John Lewis announced a buy-back scheme for the old clothes it sold:

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You can read the full story here.

We strongly applaud its action and urge more retailers to follow the lead.

But as consumers, we can do our bit by taking the following steps:

  1. Buy less. Resist impulse buying.

  2. Buy ethical. Opt for items of clothing that are ethically sourced and do not rely on slave labour.

  3. Donate.

  4. Re-sell.

  5. Repurpose. Read our article about turning a holey dress into a bag here.

Brain-washing DOES work

Last night, a friend brought us dinner from a local Thai restaurant. The food was delicious, but what ruined the enjoyment for us was the fact that it was packaged in plastic bags AND then put into polystyrene foam boxes (wholly unnecessary).  The polystyrene boxes were clean – I mean, like completely clean! – because the food was in plastic bags, but what should we do with those boxes? Donate them to the other food stalls?

The friend who had brought the food laughed at us. “Just throw the boxes away,” she said, looking at us as if we were barking mad to be stressing over eight polystyrene boxes. “Nobody wants them secondhand, they’re cheap-cheap!”

A few short years ago, the pile of needless food packaging sitting in my dustbin would not have caused me such consternation, but now it does. That eight polystyrene boxes did bother me a great deal. And that is a good thing.

Because they are so bad that New York City is joining a growing group of cities in banning them: single-use expandable polystyrene products (including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers and trays and packing peanuts) are not allowed to be possessed, sold, or offered in New York City. They are almost impossible to recycle and causes havoc when leaked into environments and contaminate drinking water….imagine eating a ball of styrofoam. That’s what some animals are doing, blocking up their intestines.

Look, this bird is eating discarded foam!

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Photograph from Midtown Miami Magazine. Please click on the read a very good article.

So when people tell me to stop proselytising about environmental issues, I tell them this: brainwashing does work. I absolutely loathe these awful packaging now instead of shrugging them off, ignoring the problem.

I hope more governments will join NYC and other cities in banning single-use EPS or levy high taxes on them to make them unattractive.

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“Bioblitz” – a lovely project for the whole family and community

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Photo: rape bushes(wikipedia)

I never forgot the time my first visitor from Asia, on his first trip to the UK, gawped in wonder at the profusion of yellow flowers that grew along the motorway. He thought they were so beautiful, until I pointed out to him that these plants were actually poisonous weeds: in my teens, I had to clear these rape bushes from the fields before the horses ate them.

 

There’s no doubt, there’s much richness, beauty and diversity in the flora and fauna of lay-bys and hedgerows. I’m not a professional photographer, but whenever I publish and share photographs of aspects of my hometown (Hampshire, UK), people would comment, “Oh, where was that taken?” and almost always expressed surprise when I told them, “Just the hedgerows,” or “Just by the railway line.”

 

Whilst living in Asia, I had a helper from Indonesia who showed me the abundance that was found in the Asian version of lay-bys and hedgerows.  Rosmawati would go for long evening walks in our neighbourhood and would often come back with a stash of plants, flowers, herbs or even unusual insects to show us. I never ceased to be amazed at the treasures she could find in the concrete city that we lived in.

But sad to say, wildlife is fast disappearing all over the world. The naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham is launching a #WeWantWildlife ~ Citizen Science Campaign.

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For ten days, in his Bioblitz, Chris and his team of experts will be visiting 50 wildlife sites in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales to highlight the extent to which the nation’s wildlife is under threat. The aim is to record the wildlife species living naturally in nature, rather than in nature reserves.

Please visit his website, and join if you can!

On Monday, 23rd July 2018, the team will be at Yateley Common Country Park, and so will I!  Please follow us here for photos and updates…..and perhaps start a Bioblitz where you live, too? It’s a fabulous project to involve the whole family and community!

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Photo: “Just the hedgerows” (Hampshire, UK)

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Photo: “By the railway line” (Hampshire, UK)

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Yateley Common: Yateley Common.

Environmental stewardship

Here’s the facts:

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(Image: Vizu Organics)

Unless we pass on environmental stewardship to the next generation, our efforts die with us.  And never too young…..

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Here’s a sweet photo of three-year-old William Mosley collecting rubbish on the beach, so disgusted was he by “very silly humans” dropping litter in the streets and everywhere. You can read his story here.

At this age, children are enthusiastic and absorb new ideas like sponges. Live green in your family today and it becomes a way of life for these adults of tomorrow.

But teenagers are every bit as fun to recruit for the green drive: they are vociferous, outspoken and looking for crusades.  Here are four fun things you could do with teenagers:

  1. Visit eco-restaurants for bonding time. Read our Green Spaces review for ideas.
  2. Experiment with making green skincare products.
  3. Repurpose old clothes together. We made a cloth shopping bag from a holey old dress!
  4. Beach clean-ups and BBQ on the beach. We all love a good party.  Please follow us here and on Facebook to be kept informed of our forthcoming party (in Sept/Oct). 

Domestic food waste

It seems that almost all the focus is on plastic because the numbers are glaring: it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, millions of tons end up in the oceans, all the plastic that has ever been made is still here on earth.

But domestic food waste is another issue that should be on our radar….wait a minute, don’t fruit peelings and vegetable stubs decompose? They’re organic matter, right?

Yes, they do decompose in landfills, but not in a good way as they release methane, which is a greenhouse warming gas (whether you subscribe to the theory of greenhouse warming or not, the fact is that rotting food is clogging up the landfills).

Today, my domestic waste weighs a whopping 5.8 kilograms, and that’s average for this family of three (because we eat lots of fresh stuff, I make every dish up from scratch and I rarely ever buy ready-made-meals). That’s heck a lot of rubbish for the already over-flowing dump!

But I don’t have a garden at the moment, and just throwing food scraps (even if it is just green) will attract rodents.  So making a food composter might be my next project….it looks simple enough (from this excellent youtube video).

Please follow us here (by clicking on the “Follow” icon on the page) or in Facebook. We will keep you up to date in the coming months on the home-made composter as well as other interesting things! Thank you!

Note: Here’s an idea for reducing food scraps – I use them to make delicious and nutritious broth. Please click on this link to read more. We will be adding Leftover Recipes here soon!

 

VISIT: KATHU WET MARKET AND LUNCH AT AN ECO RESTAURANT (Friday 15th June, 10.30am-2pm)

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Kathu Wet Market is reputed to be amongst the best in Phuket and you can pick up lots of fresh bargains here, including the more exotic stuff.

Taifuun, the Thai owner of the eco-friendly Quick Burger Bar will join us for our market walkabout (and explain things to us) before lunch at his restaurant nearby, where homemade burgers cost only 79THB.

There is no cost for this trip – you just have to pay for your own lunch. We will meet at the CIS office at 10.30am and car pool over. Don’t forget to bring your bags!!!

Join us this Friday. Unfortunately, the maximum number is 10, so please let us know ASAP if you plan on coming. Do come, it will be fun!