Category Archives: Facts and Stats

Infographic – the Growing Global Water Footprint

I’ve always thought it’s a little odd that despite 71% of the Earth’s surface being covered in water, reports of global water shortages are steadily increasing. Especially when I happen to live in a county that seems to be in a sate of perpetual rain!

But the fact is there’s a huge difference between sea water and fresh water, and the demand for the latter is causing millions to suffer across the globe. The assumption that this is simply an issue for those in underdeveloped countries is a myth. In fact, the United Nations reported earlier this year that predictions suggest within 15 years, the world water supply will fall short by at least 40%, and continue to rise. It will soon affect every single one of us.

An infographic I came across recently shows that those small things our mums always told us off for doing when we were young – like leaving the tap running for too long – aren’t helping the situation either. Luckily, it also reveals that there are quite a few things we can actively do to help reduce our “water footprint”, and make the most of this life giving liquid. Not surprisingly, reducing our meat and dairy intake – which, along with chocolate is one of the biggest drain on fresh water supply – can have significant benefits.

Custom Made, the lovely makers on the below infographic, say:

“Fresh water consumption has doubled since World War II and is expected to rise 25% by 2030. All of this water use takes a toll on the planet and can create water scarcity which effects up to 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of the year. Explore ways you can reduce your water footprint in your home.

Dual flush toilets, turning off the tap while scrubbing dishes, and using a rain barrel to collect outdoor water are all great ways to reduce your water footprint. There are many simple changes you can make in your day to day life that can positively impact your water use and lessen the effects of water scarcity.”

Continue reading Infographic – the Growing Global Water Footprint

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Why I’m not Carbon Offsetting this summer

I have a confession that I’ve been holding out on sharing, and it’s left me feeling both shame and annoyance with myself for taking the easiest, not greenest, option. Earlier this year, in my excitement and haste, I booked a much anticipated round the world trip through a series of chartered flights. As many of us do when purchasing something of substantial cost, I was looking for the cheap and quick option to navigating the world. What I did not consider, however, was its impact on the planet. Text book mistake for an aspiring greenling! Continue reading Why I’m not Carbon Offsetting this summer

10 Common Vegan Myths Busted

1. You Lose Weight

Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. I lost half a stone in my first vegan month. And then I put it back on again…

My weight loss was less about being vegan and more about making healthier choices when my world was opened up to a 100% plant based diet. The fact is, whilst the vegan diet is generally lower in fat, cholesterol, sugars, calories etc. its not an instant weight loss program. You still need to exercise and eat well.

Jammie Dodgers are vegan. Enough said…

2. You miss out on treats

I’ve lost count of the amount of times cake or chocolate has been passed around the office to tempt me. It’s true that by going vegan at first you might notice more what you’re losing, than what you’re gaining in terms of treats and choices. But you soon learn to get prepared and plan ahead. And once you do a bit of digging, you’ll be surprised how much is accidently vegan (see above!)

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3. All vegans are activists

So you’ve made the switch and feeling inspired. Does that mean that you now have to become an activist and recruit more vegans? The answer is not if you don’t want to. Veganism is a personal choice and there are many ways you can inspire people without shoving horrific images of animal cruelty or deforestation in their faces. In fact, if you want, you don’t even have to label yourself as vegan, and just make discreet choices.

4. It’s expensive

It’s true that fancy imitation products like vegan cheeses, meats and treats are a little more than your average grocery shop, but these are not essential for a vegan diet. Vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, tofu, pasta, rice, spices….well just about anything else you can eat is just the same price and you’re saving money (and lives) by avoiding meat! Plus, as demand rises, so the prices get lower.

local grocery shopping

5. You have to go to special shops

As above, your vegan staples aren’t dissimilar to what you normally buy, and even supermarkets and local stores are now getting wiser and stocking more “specialist” items. Asian markets, or even  world food sections of supermarkets, are full to the brim with vegan delights. Explore if you want, or stick to your fav shop and do some digging!

6. You’ll need to change friends

Yes, it can be hard when your friend chomps into a bacon sandwich, but you need to live and let live; and friends and family are no exception! In fact, you will find that without even trying you might just inspire some vegan friendly changes in your friends anyway!InstagramCapture_c8cc8b34-1dc9-4fa7-8ce1-00e6d7398abd_jpg

7. All Vegan products are soy

It does seem like the world is being taken over by soy these days, doesn’t it?! But there’s no need to worry, as there are plenty of alternatives. Sunflower spreads, nut milks and cheeses, and banana “nice cream” are all delicious options if you don’t want to turn into a soy bean! Plus, you really really don’t need soy for protein, there are a million other plant-based options!

dal and chapatti recipe

8. You’ll need to reply on supplements

Hmm I think I summed this up quite well here .

9. You’ll have to throw everything out

Because I hate waste, I didn’t go out and buy a brand new wardrobe as soon as I turned vegan. In fact, I still wear my old leather belts and shoes, and will continue to do so until I have 100% used them up. Switching lifestyles doesn’t have to result in further landfill!

10. You’ll feel happier, healthier and better about life

Can’t argues with this one, its complete FACT!

 

 

 

Are new builds the smart choice for energy efficiency?

Now, I am by no means in a position to be buying a home any time soon – I mean, I’m just about to give up all my worldly belongings and go gypsy for a while across the world! But I know many of my more sensible peers are increasingly looking to settle down and jump onto the property ladder. Most of them are going for the cheaper option, of something older which needs a little bit of work; then putting the hours and money in to make it their own. But when it comes to investing in your first house, is this approach really the most affordable, and green way to go?

My dream, if I’m honest, is to build my own Tiny House, Grand Design style. But If I had to purchase an existing home, I would always go for the old Victorian house full of character, over a shiny new build, with little history or soul. However – for the sustainably conscious – recent innovations are showing that new homes might actually be the smarter choice; not only for the pocket but also for the green credentials of your home.

In recent years there have been major changes in the way new build homes are designed, to make them more efficient for both the environment and the customer; resulting in hundreds of pounds being saved each year on energy bills. Continue reading Are new builds the smart choice for energy efficiency?

A Vegans Guide to Avoiding Calcium, Iron & B12 Supplements

It’s often assumed that vegans generally survive off a varied cocktail of supplements and super foods in order to be truly healthy. True, any form of veggie eating needs a level of awareness to ensure you get everything you need for a balanced diet; but generally this is no different for meat, egg or dairy eaters too! In fact, it’s a myth that by eating animal products you are someone how immune to deficiencies; especially when your meat or dairy consumption actually decreases the amount of veggies you eat as a result.

In fact, some studies have found that whilst vegans may be prone to B12, Calcium and Iodine deficiencies; an average no vegetarian diet is not only deficient in calcium and iodine, but vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium as well! So vitamin deficiencies aren’t always just a veggies problem.

That said, when choosing to cut down – or out – animal products for a healthier lifestyle, there are still a few key things worth keeping an eye on; and they really don’t need to involve supplements. In fact, as a lazy (and very forgetful) vegan, I am terrible at remembering to take supplements at all, and am proof that you can live a healthy vegan lifestyle without popping the pills!

Disclaimer: advice which follows is based on my own personal experience of veganism over the last year; in which regular tests have confirmed I have no vitamin deficiencies. I am NOT a nutritionist by any means but I do love to eat!

Continue reading A Vegans Guide to Avoiding Calcium, Iron & B12 Supplements

Understanding: Fracking

I’ve been seeing an increase of stories in the news recently about ordinary people rising up, and standing up against plans for fracking in their local area. Using assertive, yet relatively peaceful, campaigning method; I’ve seen everyone from passionate, student activists to concerned, middle-aged housewives taking to the streets with placards, or writing forceful letters of objection to their MPs. This subject is a hot bed for debate in the UK right now, and everyone’s in on it.

But I must admit, until not long ago, I had largely been oblivious to what fracking actually was; simply relaxing into the view that it was something that was bad for the environment but too technical for me to understand. I’m guessing I’m not the only one to shy away from the more industrial side of sustainability, so I thought a “Fracking in a nutshell” post might be helpful! (plus I’m a massive Battlestar Gallactica fan so have been dying to over use the word Frack for years!)

Continue reading Understanding: Fracking

A Question of Ethics: Dairy Farming

Milk: the “nutritious” white stuff that played a huge part of my childhood memories; from drinking vats of banana Nesquik, to turning it multi-coloured in my Lucky Charms cereal. We were advised to drink it daily, and were outraged when Margaret Thatcher “took it away from us” in the 80s.

According to This is Dairy Farming, British dairy farmers produce around 11 billion litres of milk annually; of which 5 billion litres is sold for drinking, and 6 billion litres is used for dairy products such as cheese and butter. We really do love the stuff!

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It’s been in my life for nearly 30 years and a key part of our nation’s diet; so – as a vegan – what’s my beef (pardon the pun) with milk now? Well, it wasn’t until I actually knew where milk came from, and how it’s made, that my taste for dairy soured altogether. I used to love creamy yogurts, and sprinkled cheese on almost everything. Now, not only do I avoid the stuff, I disagree with the ethics of the whole industry entirely.

I personally found my discoveries of the dairy industry rather emotional – so much so that I became vegan as soon as I found out. But in order to really explore the ethics, I want to let the facts speak for themselves; and allow others to share their thoughts and experiences of dairy farming. So here goes… Continue reading A Question of Ethics: Dairy Farming

Understanding: LED lighting

Techy, I am not. And whilst I have fully intended to investigate making my home greener through clever purchasing of more efficient electricals – I just haven’t gotten around to it!

But with the evenings getting darker and cooler, I seem to  be spending more time indoors with the lights on; so I thought I’d better get to grips with greener options for lighting to help reduce my energy consumption. Often one to pass the butt, I’ve enlisted the help of itdoesthejob.com; experts in the field of energy, money and time saving products for the home. These guys know their stuff (so I don’t have to…) and have shared their insider know how for understanding LED Lighting; which they suggest is the most energy efficient lighting a lazy green home can have. Continue reading Understanding: LED lighting