Posts

Veganism - the neglected environmental argument.

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There is a very persuading article by Stephen Fenwick-Paul over at the ActiVeg website that points out how you can dramatically reduce your environmental footprint by converting to a Vegan diet. Based on calculations done using the Earth Day calculator he makes the following observations: The adoption of a vegan diet is far more beneficial for the environment than choosing to follow a local, unprocessed meat-based diet. Moving to a vegan diet is similar to saving 25 hours of air travel a year. Adopting a vegan diet is far more important than abandoning your car The basic rule of thumb used for this is that it takes 2kg of feed to produce every kilogram of chicken, 4kg of feed to produce a kilo of pork and at least 7kg of feed to produce a kilo of beef.

Raw food diet

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I've been reading up on raw food diets the last few days after reading Steve Pavlina's blog about his 31 day raw food trial . Some of the case studies of people that have changed their lives by eating raw foods are quite inspiring with people reducing their weight by up to 50% in some cases. The weight loss thing doesn't really motivate me - I'm an average weight for my height - but the health benefits do. I don't really have any health problems per se but I'm always interested in exploring different ways in which I can improve my health and general well-being. That being said though, the main motivator is one of, yes you've guessed it, sustainability. There is no cooking involved, no packaging and a lot of the food can be sourced locally - even in your own back garden. What could be better for you than nature's natural way of living - after all, our nearest animal relatives, the chmips, get most of their nutrition from fruit. Apparently when we coo

Wasting food

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A report out this week revealed that the average UK family with children throws out £610 of good food a year. This wastefulness obviously doesn't just cost us in monetary terms, we have used natural resources to grow, process, package, transport and refrigerate the food and we also need to dispose of the waste after we've thrown it away. According to the report, we're throwing away a third of all food that we buy! Can you believe that? Thats like throwing one in every three carrier bags from the supermarket directly into the bin. Wow. That's crazy! Especially in a time when food prices are rising. One of the reasons behind this is that we cook far more food than we actually need on a meal time - our eyes are bigger than our bellies. Just cutting down on the portions we make means we throw less away. If we do make too much, lets try and do something with the left overs like making sandwiches or soups. A lot of stuff we throw away is because its passed its sell by date.

More people, even less to go around

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I was thinking about population growth the other day. (My wife has told me to stop thinking too much but I think she has ulterior motives - thats another story...) The world's population is currently growing by 211,090 people every day and in 2010 there will be 6.8 billion people on this earth. That figure is set to grow to 9.4 million people in 2050. With our already scarce natural resources, how will the earth be able to sustain all of these people and what will the effects of overpopulation be? Well firstly, its not 100% sure that this growth prediction is correct. If you look at the graph above Europe has seen a population decline (due to low fertility rates) and other continents may experience this too due to any number of things like natural disasters or disease. But secondly, if the predictions are correct then there are a lot of problems that we could face. A lack of fresh water for drinking and sewage will lead to disease. A growing population needs more natural energy r

Recycled products guide

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For recycling to work there needs to be a market for the products made out of the recycled materials. That means as consumers we should ensure that we buy goods made out of these materials and create a demand for the recycled products. Buying recycled helps keep reusable material in the economy, reduces waste and saves our resources. There is an amazing range of quality recycled materials available proving it is a myth that recycled goods are of an inferior quality. Those nice chaps across at WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) have put together a recycled products guide for UK consumers. The aim of the Guide is to provide a national, comprehensive database of products made from recycled materials and, at the time of writing, there are over 450 companies listed.

Recycling cartons

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Cartons are everywhere - each year 55,000 tonnes of them are produced to hold food and drinks such as milk, juice and sauces - this is around 2.3kg of cartons per household per year. Cartons are not made from paper alone but are made up of about 75% paper, 20% plastic (polyethylene) and 5% aluminium foil (for long-life products). As they are an mixture of different materials, they cannot be recycled along with ordinary paper. At the time of writing, most councils in the UK don't have carton recycling facilities although in Germany they do, where 70% of cartons are recycled. Tetrapak (the world's biggest producer of cartons) have set up a website which gives information on where to recycle their cartons in the UK. They are also looking to work in conjunction with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment to set up schemes for local councils. When you've dropped your cartons off at the recycling bins, they are taken en-mass to a recycling plant in Sweden. Her

Stop receiving junk mail

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In 2002, the UK Minister of State responsible for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated that direct mail promotions accounted for between 500,000 and 600,000 tonnes of wasted paper. Recycling targets were put in place by the government and the Direct Marketing Association (UK) with a goal of 55% by 2009. According to latest estimates, the industry will fall well short off this target. If you're in the UK, to stop getting junk mail through your letterbox, get in touch with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) . This is a free service set up around 20 years ago and funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from or added to lists used by the industry. It is actively supported by the Royal Mail and all directly involved trade associations and fully supported by The Information Commissioners Office . If you're getting junk mail that is addressed to 'the Occupier' and no name is