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ERIN KAY WILLIAMS

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Sustainable Backpack Guide

Ever since I started on the sustainable fashion journey, finding brands has been one of the hardest parts. Many are small, meaning their...

Sunday, 19 January 2020

A Weekend in Newport, Pembrokeshire; A Guide


It's been a while since I wrote any type of guide. It maybe more accurate to say it has been a whole since I wrote anything though with my lack of blog posts this year.

With so many incredible hotels and restaurants embracing sustainability though, I thought I'd pick up my guides around the UK. Afterall, I've done Cornwall, Applecross in Scotland, Llandudno is North Wales, Keswick in the Lake District and so here we have a guide to Newport village in Pembrokeshire, Wales. A beautiful place by the sea, moments from the hills and somewhere I will most certainly be visiting again.

Where to Stay in Newport?

For such a small town, Netport is filled with quaint little B&Bs and Inns. We stayed at Llys Meddyg Hotel and Restaurant which was incredible. With bulk toiletries in the bathrooms to reduce waste and beds which you never want to get out of, it was splendid. Finally, beautiful little lounges are available for use and are perfect for a board game or private conversation after you've visited the basement bar.

If you're wanting other options try  The Castle Inn which has a great menu of locally sourced food or Cnapan Guest House, a beautiful B&B

Where to Eat and Drink in Newport?

Our experience at  Llys Meddyg was second to none. Beautiful food sourced locally and an incredible bar where the herbs are foraged from the garden.

If you fancy pub grub, The Golden Lion or The Castle Inn both have delicious menus. Or if pizza is more your thing, The Canteen offers eat in or take away.

Finally, Tides Kitchen & Wine Bar a small restaurant right in the centre of town which runs selected menus which change daily depending on what they can get in. Perfect for a romantic get away.

What to do?

Why not rent a board and head out surfing at one of the beaches or instead go to the Witches Cauldron where you can even swim through the caves at low tide. Some would call Barafundle Bay the most beautiful beach in the country so it is also definitely worth a visit. Alternatively you could visit one of the RSPB sanctuaries at Ramsey Island and Skomer Islands.

With so many walks in the local area you have many options to choose from, whether that's a Circular walk around Dinas Island from Cym yr Eglws, or the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy and head along the coastal path through Porthgain. Alternatively, why not walk to the top of Carn Ingli over looking Newport Bay. Finally, you could opt to walk around St Davids Head, a firm favourite and renown for its beauty.


If you happen to be their over New Years as well, then be sure to join in the Mayors Swim, a very cold but exhilarating dip in the ocean with the rest of the community.

There is so many things to do in one of the countries most beautiful areas and it's clear to see why the Pembrokeshire coast is a firm favourite for outdoor fans and ocean lovers alike. I for one, will definitely be heading back soon, who knows I may even head to a foraging course at the Llys Meddyg that they offer!

I hope this inspires you to head Pembrokeshire way, I can guarantee you wont regret it!

Love
Erin
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Sunday, 5 January 2020

My Personal Journey; A Zoologist's Road to Sustainability


It all began whilst watching big cat diaries when I was seven or eight. I had always been a fan of animals in a big way, but in that moment, watching Simon King chase through the plains to follow a cheetah, I knew that nature in all its beauty and darkness was what I wanted to spend my life working in.

From rabbits, fish,cats, dogs and snakes, animals filled my after school time just like nature filled my holidays. Trips to Ireland, Snowdonia, Cornwall. Whether I realised it or not a the time, my favourite memories were created whilst surrounded by incredible beautiful scenery.

I attacked veterinary experience with vigor (most of the time), from lambing to assisting in theatre. When grades didn't reach requirements soon I was enrolled in Zoology at Leeds with no turning back. Three years in and my placement year saw me experience more than some do in a lifetime. I lived in Louis Trichardt, South Africa following and studying Samango and Vervet monkeys dawn till disk and witnessing the wildlife conflict and illegal farming first hand. From there I worked as an assistant keeper in the Rhino team at Chester Zoo where I saw the power large charities can have but also the weaknesses of workplace politics and the true saying of you are only as strong as your team became something of great importance to me.

Finally, I headed to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent, a private big cat charity working to build populations and work with global projects for endangered species programmes in the hope that some may be able to be part of wild rehabilitation projects in the future. At the end of that glorious year though I was left with a dilemma. Although I wanted to work with wildlife and nature, I didn't want to be a zoo keeper and however much respect I have for researchers I knew it wasn't for me. I was left with the feeling that you need big businesses to buy in to truly change the world.


That is what led me to my masters in Sustainability and Consultancy. A way to learn about business and the built environment. It was a steep learning curve into a corporate world I never expected to enter.

Two years on, I'm 26. I live in a city I never thought I would head to, London. I've left vast open forests and spaces, for sky scrapers and crowded streets. Bizarrely enough I work for one of the largest real estate consultancies in the world as a sustainability analyst working with clients to create sustainability strategies, tackle their emissions, improve practices, create conversation and push for better business.

I cant say that its been easy because it most definitely hasn't been. I may not be on the front line saving a cheetahs as what eight year old me may have hoped. I am however in what I would call the sustainability capital of the world, working for a company really trying to drive positive change in an industry which accounts for 40% of global emissions and real progress can be made.

What I've come to realise on my windy journey into sustainability is that there is no use saving a species that the world in 40 years time will be uninhabitable for. As our oceans rise and cause coral to vanish, and vast swaths of forests burn across the world, trying to just save them alone will not work. We need to change how we live in the world first. And that is down to each and every one of us, both in work and at home, in every decision we make to ensure that our natural world can survive.


I am still a Zoologist first and a sustainability professional second. Being immersed in the natural world brings me the greatest joy, turning my stress to calm and taking my worries with it but for now I know where I can have the biggest impact to create change. We need people in companies who care about where materials are coming from and questioning why people put cost savings above the planet, researchers inventing new ways to use our waste, experts offering advice which stretches clients to go further than they may feel comfortable, individuals who really want change pushing forward new policy and all of us collectively raising our voices and awareness for the issues that matter. Without us, change will not happen quick enough.

We all want a future that is bright, where we can raise families without the concern of air pollution, habitat destruction, species collapse, food shortages, empty oceans and uninhabitable places we once called home. This may sound extreme but it the reality of the challenge we are facing. We can all be part of the solution, doing something however big or small is better than doing nothing and so I encourage you to join me in being part of the solution.

Till the next step in my journey, your sustainable zoologist,
Erin

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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

My Top Sustainability Stories of 2019

2019 has been exceptionally busy on the sustainability front. It's felt like the world has finally started to wake up to the crisis. Although governments and large companies are still not yet willing to make the huge changes that will be required of them, they are at least considering how they can become more sustainable in the future. Baby steps, but certainly steps in the right direction.

Although COP 25 was hailed a huge disaster with many countries just not willing to commit to the reductions required, the disappointment and public outcry for change will mean that soon enough, countries will have to step up and take responsibility, if not for the planet, then for their people.

So here we have some of my favourite positive stories from over the past year. There has been ALOT and so I may have added in a fair few below. As w enter into a new decade, I just hope that we will see an even bigger increase, in not just demand but mobilisation. After all, with so many companies setting 2030 targets, the time for change really is now!

January

Veganuary sees 250,000 people take part
At the beginning of the year, Veganuary saw the largest number of participants take part in the challenge. Over the month we say many of the restaurant chains embrace new recipes and food options with some continuing them on after the month ended.

Hi Fly Airline completes its first plastic-free flight
Portuguese airline Hi Fly this week became the latest high-profile brand in the transport sector to implement a ban on single-use plastic items, following similar moves from the likes of Heathrow Airport, Thomas Cook and Virgin Australia.

February

Nottingham Council unveils 2028 target to become UK’s first carbon neutral city
Nottingham City Council has committed to becoming the first ‘net-zero carbon’ city in the UK after setting the ambitious target of 2028 to go carbon neutral. The council has already met its energy target goals two years early of 26% and are on track to meet its 20% of energy to be generated from low carbon sources by 2020.

The biggest offshore wind farm in the UK starts supplying energy in February
A windfarm off the Yorkshire coast was set to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid last week. The windfarm, once complete will dwarf the current largest and with 174 turbines it will be on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations. Go green energy!

Amazon has set a goal for Net Zero on shipping 
Amazon has a long-term goal to power their global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy. With improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy, they now believe they can see a path to net zero carbon delivery of shipments to customers, this has led them to set the goal of reaching 50% of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. They're calling it project "Shipment Zero” and is a huge positive step to a net zero future.

March

Etsy to offset global shipping emissions
Etsy have made the commitment to offset all of their carbon emissions from shipping its products which make up 98% of Etsy's total emissions. A Huge

April

Samsung to stop using plastic packaging
The company made the commitment however they will still be using recycled and other bio-plastic alternatives. The end goal for the company is to be using 500,000 tons of recycled plastics by 2030 along with collecting 7.5 million tons of discarded products as well. This initiative will reduce the amount of raw plastic the company is purchasing and help the planet in the process

A Thai supermarket was praised for their use of wasted banana leafs being used as packaging in their stores. Although not a perfect plastic solution, it does pose the question of what natural waste materials can we use to transport and group items together. After all, nature makes many products which we waste in processes.

Reforestation is the answer to climate change 
It's simple really. Something many of us have been banging on about for years but trees really could be the saviors of us all with findings confirming that the cheapest way to avert the climate crisis is to restore and replant degraded forests so that they can return to being the lungs the earth so desperately need.

May

Probably one of the best stories of the year, following weeks of peaceful protests the UK government declared a climate change emergency. Although this declaration is not legally binding in any form, it was a start to a wave of positive action across the globe as other countries recognise the need to change our ways before its too late.

Oxford city council creates a citizen assembly for Climate change
Oxford city council were way ahead of the government as they are getting ready to create the first citizens assembly in the UK regarding climate change. The first meeting will be held in September. Fingers crossed we will start to see this trickle through the rest of the country as soon as possible as well!

New York City introduce a new green Bill
New York passed a bill that which will mean all new residential and commercial building across the city will have to have either solar panels, mini turbines and plants (or all three if they fancy), following in the footsteps of San Francisco, Toronto, Portland and Denver. It's hoped that the move will reduce emissions to the equivalent of removing 1 million cars off the road by 2030!

We Found Out Who The Top 100 People Killing The Planet Are
The title of this may not sound super positive but someone has compiled a list of the names and locations of the CEOs for the top 100 CO2 polluting companies in the world. It finally puts a name to the company and publicly calls for them to realise that it is their responsibility to do better. I for one am excited to see more people calling out individuals for the companies that they are responsible for in the future.

The Guardian Newspaper changed it's language around the Climate Emergency
A small but very significant act saw The Guardian change how they were addressing the climate emergency. The change saw a wave of support and positivity as the newpaper made it clear that they are calling out those who are deniers and demonstrating the urgency of the problem through their pieces. I for one made the change in how I write on my little internet site and I would encourage you all to use it in your day to day lives as well!

June

Finland pledges to become carbon neutral by 2035
Finlands new government have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2035 as part of a policy programme. The pledge will see large increases in in spending around welfare and infrastructure with increase of 1.23 bn per year of public spending.

Theresa Maylegally commited Britain to halting global warming contribution by 2050
Following on from the declaration of a Climate Emergency by the British Government, Theresa May's last act before leaving office saw her legally commit the UK to reaching Net Zero by 2050. Now all we need is the action plan to get there!

Michael Bloomburg launched campaign to close all US coal mines by 2030
Michael Bloomberg has pledged $500m towards a new campaign to close every coal-fired power station in the US by 2030. It's a bold commitment but any bold move to help tackle the climate emergency is surely a great thing!

July

Worlds biggest youth-led conservation scheme began in Wales
The youth movement has been monumental this year with many young people finding their voice to protest and to act. This youth led conservation scheme in Wales shows the power of determination in a world where many adults are still unwilling to take young people seriously with volunteers working with tenant farmers, landowners and local people to enhance habitats in order to protect the local flora and fauna.

Hotel Giant IHG removes small toiletry bottles from their hotels just in time for the summer holidays
IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza announced a ban on miniature plastic toiletries in its rooms and suites. With nearly 843,000 rooms the ban is expected to prevent 200 million mini plastic bottles from becoming waste each year.

August

Greta Thunberg heads to New York for Climate Conference by Boat
Greta Thunberg has been at the centre of the climate debate. Her no flying rule so far meant she travelled only via train across Europe. August however take her no flying rule to a new level with the 16-year-old Swede hopped on a solar powered yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, UK to New York City, US to attend the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit

September

Over 6million people, from trade unionists to schoolchildren, have taken part in global climate strikes in thousands of towns and cities.around the world. The numbers are staggering and encouraged many to believe the climate crisis was finally becoming mainstream, especially for the #FridayforFuture

Pop up stores are becoming a way for companies to engage with customers and  encourage eco-activitism. So far Body Shop, Patagonia and Timberland have all opened pop up stores with talks and activities to meet other like minded people. Here's to more brands trying to make a positive difference for people and the planet.

Gucci go arbon neutral in their own operations and across our entire supply chain, accounting for all the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions we generate. Although this has mainly been tackled by offsetting, it is a great start and part of their clear strategy which they outlined how they will become carbon neutral through a mixture of reduction, elimination and offsetting for what it calls “unavoidable emissions”.

October

Wind became Cheaper than Gas
For the first time ever wind power became cheaper than gas with wind turbines in Scotland generating almost twice the entire country’s domestic power requirements in the first six months of 2019. With this progress, the UK is officially on track to meet its goal to generate a third of its power from wind by 2030. Go WIND!

November

Ikea has pledged 100 million to support direct suppliers as they switch over to renewable energy use along with investing around 100 million euros in projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere through reforestation and forest protection. The investments will be part of IKEAs work to make the business climate positive.

Condé Nast has become the first media company to sign the UN fashion for Global Climate Action initiative, joining brands like Nike and Stella McCartney in a promise to bring the fashion industry in line with the goals of the Paris agreement.

December

The news about the climate emergency has certainly spread and that is mainly down to a 16 year old girl who's determined to get the world talking. May the actions finally start to speak louder than words in all countries!

Black Friday campaigns seem to bring out the best and worst of brands and for Patagonia its certainly the best. As part of its Patagonia Action Works platform, Patagonia encouraged members of the public across the world to donate to grassroots organisations working to preserve and restore nature, assuring viewers that Patagonia would match donations up to $10m. The fantastic news is this was reached two weeks early!
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Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Big Sustainable Gift Guide 2019


Sometimes I seem to set myself tasks that are far bigger than I expect and this year was certainly no exception. Since starting the Big Sustainable Gift Guide it has been incredible to watch so many amazing brands come to light and this year there are more than ever taking to the stage, often competing directly with their none sustainable peers. As we move to a more sustainable future, it is my hope that these uniquely placed brands will soon be the norm, and having an ethical supply chain with fair wages and minimal impact on the environment will be the only standard we accept.


I hope this guide proves a useful tool, introducing you to some brands you may never heard of and help and sparking some inspiration for those friends and family members who seem trickier to buy for every year.

So without further a do, lets go!


The Fashion Lover

Veja Mesh Trainers | £130
The most sustainable trainer brand out their, and also the most stylish, if I do say so myself.

Organic Basics Tee and Set | £80
A simple concept, producing organic products, with exceptionally high standards of fabric and workers rights who all care about the environment

Levi Made & Crafted | £130
Levi have topped numerous lists with their sustainability ambitions in recent years. From reducing the water required to make each pair to their targets to reduce Co2 emissions. Their new collections also boast new concepts around technology and crafting.

Finisterre Funnel Neck Jumper | £125
Based on vintage Fair Isle sweaters, the Crozier Jumper is knitted with super soft wool with a touch of alpaca, it's the perfect winter jumper from a company with the highest level of sustainability ambitions - after all they're a registered BCorp.

Seville Hoops | £85
A company that championing of transparent, responsible, (both socially and environmentally) and revealing supply chains, their collections are designed in the UK and made in a well-established jewellery producer in Lima, Peru.

Molten Rings | £40
Handmade in England using only 100% recycled 925 sterling silver, positioned carefully with recycled silver scrap. Each ring is individual and a perfect gift for those who love something a little different. Due to the nature of the process and the variation of the scrap used, no two molten rings are the same, making each ring a true one of a kind.

Lanx Black Boots | £150
A small batch producer hand made in Lancaster, whats better than supporting small companies with sustainable methods

JW PEI Bag | £62
Croc-Embossed Vegan Leather handbag which look food with everything!

The Feminist

100 Nasty Women of History Book | £18.99
These are the badass women of history who were deemed too shocking, too provocative, too groundbreaking and, yes, too nasty for their times. It's definitely time that their stories are heard.

Why We March Book | £11.99
'On January 21, 2017, over 5 million people in 673 cities around the globe gathered in solidarity for the Women's March, carrying signs that shone with unwavering hope and determination and demanded the protection of women's rights' - this books shares those with you providing inspiration and acts as a reminder that we still have a long way to go.

Invisible Women by Caroline Perez | £16.99
Probably one of the most eye opening books you will ever read and the most important as well! It's time for the world to notice women, for everyone's safety and future.

Love Not War T-shirt | £25
T-shirts raising money for WarChild, helping give children a chance and providing them with protection against war.

Fawcett Society Membership | £88
The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. From fascinating talks to campaigning for women's rights, a membership will help continue the charities great work.

Side boob wall art | £12.50
Made locally and a statement piece for sure

If You’re Not a Feminist Print | £12.50
It's a simple message, but an important one none the less.

Femme Form Necklace | £120
Made from recycled silver, these necklaces are cast from a hand carved wax taking inspiration from the artists friends nude drawings. Beautifully simple, a reminder that there is beauty in all female form.

The Outdoor Explorer

All Birds Wool Trainers | £95
A brand that is finally been taken seriously, All birds trainers are known for not just being exceptionally comfortable, but also coming with very high environmental credentials.

Patagonia T Shirt | £30
from a brand that constantly strives for good and protection for the environment

Lucy and Yak Fleece | £45
made from recycled plastic, the jumper looks both comfy and practical. From an owner of one, I wish it was acceptable to wear it everywhere!

Patagonia Women's Lightweight Synchilla® Snap-T® Fleece Pullover | £110
Need a layer which will keep you warm and cares for the planet? Patagonia's pull over will do just that. O and did I mention that all their products are fairtrade now to. WINNING

Wool Beanie | £40
Part of Finisterre's British Wool Collection, this luxury version of our classic Fisherman Beanie is knitted from a soft and fine lambswool yarn from Bluefaced Leicester sheep. 100% British supply chain, from sheep to shelf. What is not to like?

Critically Endangered Socks | from £12
Selling exceptionally fast, these socks help raise money for endangered species and their protection. Fancy an alternative? Jollies socks also donate a pair of socks for everyone bought to a shelter

Everlane Rain Boot | £60
An American brand which takes workers rights very seriously, you can even check out the factory where your products are made. Transparency at the highest level.

The Gardener

Indoor Herb Garden | £17
For those who want to bring some of the outside in

Save the Bees Kit | £12
Wildflowers, a garden planner and guides to bee spotting

Beebombs | £7.99
Beebomb seedballs are handmake in Dorset using local clay and 18 native wildflower species' seeds.

Crops in Tight Spots Book | £18.99
Having bought this book this year, I have been filled with inspiration for how to use the outside space we have available (or none). With creative solutions and easy to understand, its a fantastic starting book for anyone who wants to tempted to get green fingers.

Patch Plan Fern | £12.50
Ferns are fantastic in the home, from the air quality to looking beautiful. What's not to love about adding another plant to your collection

Bark Plant Pot | £3.50
Silver Birch bark pots lined with polythene provide a lovely natural alternative to terracotta and look fantastic as well!

Old Gardening Tools | £13
Old tools made new again, perfect for a budding gardening.

Grow your own Pesto | £42
A Potted Stone Pine,jar of pesto and basil seeds, this kit gives you everything you need to grow and make your own pesto!

The Host

Soap Co Gift Set | £30
The Soap Co. is a social enterprise providing training and work for people who are visually impaired or have disabilities. In making its eco range, it provides sustainable flower gardens for bees.

Eat Happy, Melissa Hemsley Cookbook | £10
Sustainable and realistic about how long the average person is able to spend in the kitchen. Every dish can be made in under 30 minutes using no more than two pans, and the overwhelming majority can be frozen.

Cocobana Coconut Bowl Set | £30
I've been banging on about these bowls for a while now, but using a coconut to make a bowl is not only super sustainable but looks fantastic to.

Botanical Gin Kit | £23.99
Who doesn't love gin? This kit provides all the possible options for added ingredients in a fancy G&T and all made in the UK.

Artisan Olive Wood Chopping Board | £18.99
Artisan made in the UK using sustainable wood. What could be better.

Rubies In the Rubble Condiments | from £3.50
Reducing food waste whilst creating exceptionally tasty condiments, Rubies in the Rubble is not just our average sauce.

The Cozy Night In Fan

Lambs Wool Hot Water Bottle | £32
100 percent lambswool yarn, sourced from the UK, to bring you the highest quality fabric for her handmade knitted products.

Knitted Slippers | £56
Made in the UK, made out of sustainable, non toxic fabrics.

Neal’s Yard Aromatherapy Essential Oil Collection | £30
Known for their environmentally friendly ingredients and organic products, these essential oils and cruelty free, vegan and part of the ethical shopping scheme

Yawn PJ set | £89
With the print created at the companies studio in London, Yawn believe in slow, quality fashion. They hand pick all their factories and limit airmiles by producing garments in the same place that the cotton is grown! With the long term aim to become a B-Corp, this companies progress is only going to increase.

Recycled Wool Throw | £46
Unwanted clothing is collected through recycling programmes around the world, and shipped back to India. The collected clothing is then cleaned, broken down into fibres, spun into yarn and then woven into fabric that make up these throws Great for those who want to help reduce clothing waste.

Two Thirds Jumper | £60
Designed in Barcelona, crafted in Portugal and made out of organic cotton, Two Thirds produce super comfortable garments, perfect for those comfy days and evenings.

The Beauty Lover

Charity Pot | from £9.95
A great cream and the money goes to charity.

Lush Slap Stick Foundation | £17
The first make up brand to really demonstrate how to go plastic free, lush is way ahead of any competitors when it comes to plastic free products, this foundation is just the start.

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads | 12.99
Have a friend who uses cotton pads? Well instead why not get them these? After a few uses they can be chucked in the wash, ready for use all over again.

Seaweed Exfoliation Block | £18
Large Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block to swap with your normal shower scrub. Why not give it a try?

OneNine5 Wash Bag | £49
Premium wash bag with 100% recycled plastic lining this washbag also comes with usable & detachable airport clear liquid bag to reduce single use plastics when you travel as well.

Floral Street Perfume | £58
The first perfume brand to offer totally recyclable and biodegradable box. Each FLORAL STREET fragrance comes tucked inside a ground-breaking pulp carton with an embossed lid, made from recyclable paper packaging and held together with a re-usable brightly-coloured band.

Illamasqua Highlighter | £34
Cruelty free and vegan, Illamasqua has always been a makeup brand with fantastic morals and one I continue to support!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duo Powder | £20
Another brand that's kept cruelty free at the top of their priorities, Anastasia Beverly Hills is renowned for their brow pigments, this one is my personal favourite!

The Sustainability Enthusiast

The Sustainable Home | £12.99
This book takes you through room by room and provides hints and tips to how to live more sustainable. Whether its by making your own toothpaste, converting to renewable energy sources, reducing your consumption of plastic, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, the book teaches you numerous ways to make a difference.

The is a Good Guide – for a Sustainable Lifestyle | £22
Probably one of the most beautiful coffee table books for sustainability fans. The Good Guide covers every element of sustainable living, helping you through any query towards a more sustainable life.

Feral by George Monbiot | £9.99
Ever wondered about the natural environment in the UK and whether trees should be on mountains? George tackles these issues in a beautiful way, highlighting that we must restore our natural world not just for the planet but for ourselves as well.

Pela Phone Case | £30
Pela, creating fantastic phone cases which are not only biodegradable but also often help further charities as well!

Dear Green Coffee | from £3.80
Roasted in Glasgow. Ethical. Sustainable. Traceable. Speciality. They have it all.

Hexagonal Bee House | £67.80
For those who want to help preserve local wildlife, this bee house can help accommodate up to 250 mason bees!

The Nesty One

Handmade Woven Baskets | from £26
Bringing together traditional basket weavers from across Africa, these baskets are ethically produced and help ensure fair wages to those who make them as well!

Natural History Prints | £79
Made have partnered with The Natural History Museum to release these fantastic old school prints from the museums archived.

Recycled chunky knit blanket | £105
This eco-friendly chunky knit blanket is crocheted by hand in England using high quality recycled t-shirt yarn, bringing new life to textile waste.

A set of 4 handmade coasters knitted in small batches from recycled organic cotton cord with storage pot included. Perfect for those house proud pals!

Glass Set | £29.95
This set is based on traditional glass tea sets found in north Africa and the East. The makers Nkuku work with artisans throughout the world, combining timeless design with natural materials.

Made from glass and brass, each piece is individually hand welded by skilled artisans in India.

The Activity Lover 

Neal’s Yard Remedies Course Voucher | £75
For those looking to learn more around aromatherapy and herbal remedies Neal's Yard offer some fantastic courses.

Riverford Field Kitchen Dining | £29pp
One of the best organic farms in the UK, Riverford now offer fantastic dinning experiences, or alternatively a food making course.

Make your own facemask kit | £24
A great gift for those who love a night in.

Museum Membership | V&A starts at £54 for under 26s
A gift that means you can go when ever you fancy! Winning

Organic Soap Making Kit | £25.49
Made in the UK and suitable for vegans this kit is also organic certified and contains only sustainable palm oil. 

Gin Making Experience | £110 for one, £160 for two people.
Ever wondered what it is like to make your own gin from scratch? Well that's exactly what you can do at Salcombe's gin school. I went a few years ago and still bang on about it now, you can read my post here.

What better gift than the opportunity to visit the 500 sites across the UK

Pasta Making Class | from £55
Fresh pasta making courses led by Italian pasta chefs, the workshops are hosted in London's coziest neighborhood restaurants, pubs and wine cellars. Perfect activity for those who love food!


The Little One

Wooden Baby Walker and Bricks | £36
Wooden gifts that will last a life time

Manhattan Toy Safari Zebra Wooden Activity Toy | £29.99
I couldnt not include this, its fantastic and no plastic in sight!

Patagonia Baby Fury Jumper | £45
The fluffiest and most sustainable jumper a baby will likely own. It will certainly be an item that can be passed down through families for a long time to come!

Green People Organic Babies Silent Night Gift Set | £16.50
Certified organic lavender baby wash and shampoo, and soothing baby salve. With 50p from each sale donated to charity it’s a gift that keeps giving

Baby Robe | £28
White company baby robe, made from hydrocotton, which is a non-twisted yarn of pure natural cotton perfect for sensitive skin.

Nature Baby Short Sleeve Kimono bodysuit | £19
Certified organic cotton and GOTS certified, this baby grow is perfect for little ones.

Love Muslin Baby Shawl Gift | £35
Two organic muslin baby shawl + swaddling wraps presented in a stunning gift tub with our Love all over print, perfect to keep and store little treasures!

Crayon Rocks | £30.95
Pure natural soy wax crayons and coloured using mineral pigments these are a perfect for small children!

Wowza, there we have it! Hopefully there is at least one thing you can give to someone else on the list

Love, Your Christmas Elf

Erin
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Saturday, 2 November 2019

A Guide to Carbon Offsetting


The climate emergency has been at the centre of the news over recent months, and rightly so. With travel having a heavy environmental footprint and tourism accounting for 8% of global emissions, seeing and travelling the world and the impact that has on the world can no longer be ignored.

We can choose to try and avoid air travel, instead opting for buses and trains, and this should always be our first place to look, but with so many people under both budget and time constraints this isn't always possible. With travel being one of the greatest and enriching experiences we have, finding ways for us all to travel more consciously is important, but this also means we need to change how we see travel as well, appreciating the journey to a destination can also become part of the adventure instead of a means to an ends.

When flying really is the only option however, we do have one other tool up our sleeves, the last resort card if you will. That is carbon offsetting. Although it doesn't equal not taking the flight at all, carbon offsetting provides at least some positive outcome from the negative effects flights have on the world around us.

What is carbon offsetting?

Offsetting is the process of compensating the carbon emissions that have arisen from your activities such as flying, normally calculated through a fee.
Money donated to carbon offsetting schemes will go to projects around the globe designed to make the equivalent reduction in carbon emissions, whether that through changing tech so emissions are not produced such as through providing clean cooking fuels in developing countries or sequencing the emissions back into the earth in reforestation / rain forest protection projects instead.

How do you offset your carbon?

Understanding where to start when it comes to offsetting can be tricky. With so many websites all quoting different amounts of carbon and valuing the amount of carbon you have produced very differently it can be difficult to see the wood from the trees. 
The good news is that you can take some really easy steps to offset your carbon in no time.

1. Calculate your carbon emissions 

Although some offsetting schemes will help you calculate your emissions, not all do. Therefore it can be best to calculate your emissions yourself to get a better gauge for how much you've produced. Climate Care's website provides one of the most popular here

2. Select your offsetting scheme

The options are vast and do vary but below are a few possibility that I would be happy to use from my research.

One of the best options available, Climate Care is a B corp which means its a company with the highest social and environmental standards and strives to be a force for good. With programmes on efficient stoves in Ghana, clean energy in India, Rainforest Protection  in Sierra Leone. So far they've cut 35 million tons of Co2 and improved 37 million lives which is an impressive track record.

Established by WWF and other International NGOs to ensure projects are actually reduce carbon emissions, Gold Standard is a summary place of carbon offsetting projects which are to the highest standard. To use their website first you must calculate your carbon footprint independently, the once you know how many tonnes of CO2 you're responsible for and then you can pick a project from the wide selection they have to offer. Each project has a limited number of donations available to ensure that people are really making a difference. Schemes include wind power in India, Biogas in Kenya and Forest projects and protection in Panama.

Carbon Footprint

One of the most popular carbon offsetters, a founding member of the Quality Assurance Standard and certified carbon neutral, Carbon Footprint provides a great option. Additionally they financially support some of the UK projects by reinvesting profits. With a Carbon Acadamy for peer learning and talks, the company are committee to helping companies as well as individuals reduce their footprint and is working hard to make a difference.
Projects vary greatly from fuel efficiency in Sudan, clean water programme in Central America, tree planting in the UK, deforestation reduction in Brazil and wild farm projects in India and China.

Clevel

Clevel is another B Corporation with the single purpose of working with people to achieve carbon level impact. Additionally they are a corporate member of 1% for the planet which means they donate 1% of their turnover to the 1% charities, so your money is going further in helping people and the world around us. Projects include tropical forest protection with indigenous people, reforestation in Nicaragua with farmers and Mangrove conservation in Kenya.

Hopefully this guide proves useful and means you can easily offset your emissions if you do have to take a flight. One final tip, economy has far lower emissions than business or first class so save the cash for the holiday instead of the flight.

Love
Erin
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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Top 10 Tips this Recycle Week


It's been a while where I wrote a list with a few tips to help encourage sustainable behaviour, but with  Recycling Week around the corner it got me thinking about new ways in which we can all help create a more circular world for the future.

Recycling is something that the majority of us have done all our lives but now more than ever our we need to ensure that we waste less and recycle more. In the UK our current rate is 45.2% and although this has increased slightly from the 2016 of 42.8%, we are still unlikely to meet the 2020 target of 50% without serious effort from all residents across the country!

The power of recycling is probably more than you know, 1 recycled aerosol can save enough energy to power a shower for 8 minutes, a recycled banana skin can generate enough energy to charge your phone twice, and simply recycling a drinks can could save enough energy to charge your phone a huge 65 times. The power really is in our hands.

So what can we do this recycling week?


1. Get involved with your food waste. Lots of councils now offer discounted small food waste bins like Lambeth here which are super handy and you can then place outside to be emptied each week. For councils that do not yet offer a food waste collection service though, they will offer reduce priced composters which means you can create your own garden compost whilst saving waste. With food waste producing around 11% of the worlds CO2, by altering how you dispose of your waste you're not only recycling but also reducing emissions as well.

2. Go Naked. Lots of supermarket are looking to reduce plastic waste, from taking your own bags to collect loose fruit in, to only buying veg that is not coming in plastic, there are so many options to help reduce your waste in the first place. If you're committed to no plastic buying you could also sign up for a Riverford or Abel and Cole delivery box, bringing food straight to your door, no plastic involved.

3. Take your Tupperware out. So many of us nip out for lunch, but why not take your tupperware along with you. Ask the server to fill up your box instead of theirs and it may also generate the conversation around why reusing out containers is so important. The Long Live the LunchBox campaign also has a list of restaurants

4. Grab a bar not a bottle. Why not try something new and test of a shampoo, conditioner or body soap bar. Not only do they last longer than a normal bottle but they have no packaging meaning your waste is reduced with minimal effort. I would recommend going to lush to see what they have, the amount is fantastic!

5. Drop off your clothes. So many stores now have recycling drop of points for your old clothes, from H&M to John Lewis, and then of course your local charity shop, with there still being around 300,000 tonnes or £12.5 billion worth of clothes going to landfill each year we still have a huge opportunity to recycle our clothes more.

6. Refill. Refill stations are popping up around the country and there is good reason. All you have to do is take in your jars, weigh them before the products, add the products in and you will only pay for the amount you buy. By bulk buying the stores have massively been able to reduce the plastic consumption for all those involved whilst also helping to have jars and bags reused time after time!

7. Recycle your weird items. Ever wondered how to recycle toothpaste, your contact lenses, bread bags, crisp packets, confectionery wrappers, beauty products or pet food? The likelihood is you have but were not sure where to start and so it ended up in the black bin. Terracycle however have the answer. With local drop off points all over the county for these items and many more its a fantastic way to be sure your waste is actually recycled. So why not start a little bag under the sink for beauty /  toothpaste /contacts lenses, a bag where you feed your animals for pet food containers and another one in the kitchen for bread and crisps. Less waste, more recycling done easily.

8. Do the basics. I feel like we've now reached the time where we don't need to talk about coffee cups and water bottles but these steps are still so important. So this week why not try to ensure that everytime you grab a drink, its in a reusable cup/bottle, eliminating waste from the get go!

Hopefully some of these provide a little inspiration and alternatives to encourage you to recycle more, and create less waste. We really can all do our part, just like this years campaign says, recycling, it's in our hands!

E
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Friday, 17 May 2019

Are These The Best Vegan Chocolate Bars?

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Monday, 13 May 2019

Positive News for a Positive Planet; No 7


The environment seems to be finally getting the glory and attention it deserves in recent weeks and I for one am delighted. The weeks top news covers a fair variety but the plastic conversation is still coming out top. If the past week has had me think about anything, its just how supermarkets still haven't ensured that all of their packaging is easily recyclable?! Baffling right! Anyhow that is a discussion for another time. For now, onto this weeks positive news!

Top 100 people killing the planet

The title of this may not sound super positive but someone has compiled a list of the names and locations of the CEOs for the top 100 CO2 polluting companies in the world. It finally puts a name to the company and publicly calls for them to realise that it is their responsibility to do better. I for one am excited to see more people calling out individuals for the companies that they are responsible for in the future.

Scotland introduce a 20p bottle deposit scheme

Its great to see some parts of the UK finally swinging into action now that a climate emergence has been announced with Scotland outlining plans for a bottle deposit scheme for some plastic, glass and cans. It's a small step but encouraging others to start recycling more can only be seen as a positive.

The top apps to help you live sustainably

Vogue have recently been covering the world of sustainability far more that it previously had, whether that be fashion or beauty. This post provides everyone with apps to help live more sustainably in all areas of your life and I am loving the fact that these apps are getting the credit they deserve. The only one missing from their list though is too good to go, an app helping to reduce food waste from stores in places all over the world!

The most ethical supermarkets revealed

Ethical consumer released their report on the most ethical supermarkets in the UK and its safe to say the big brands are far off the mark. Only M&S were found in the top 10, with the remaining places made up of smaller companies like Able and Cole, Riverford and Planet Organic. It just goes to show that shopping small and with brand with sustainability at the heart is a really positive thing.

Together Band launch with Bottletop and UBS

One of the most sustainable high end accessories brand has partnered with UBS, an investment bank to promote the sustainable development goals. The 17 bracelets representing the 17 SDGs are available online and in store.  The bands, made from up-cycled ocean plastic ad re-cycled steel  from seized illegal firearms come with 2 in each box with the idea of sharing at the heart of the campaign. With band production supporting the livelihoods of female artisans in Nepal its a great campaign to get behind. I just need to decide which SDG I want when all of them matter!

German ad agency called out for being racist

One which may not be classed as positive but should be classed as important is this add. Check out the petition page of how Asian women have been viewed in the add. It should make us all question, on decisions around gender and race that there is representation of those groups in the room.

On the go recycling schemes launched by hubub

Hubbub, still leading the charge in finding ways to engage the general public in issues that matter are set to launch a new recycling scheme for on the go cups (your coffee cups, MacDonalds, plastic lined things). The campaign, following a successful year in Leeds will be rolled out into Scotland and Wales. To see what else they're up to go check out Leeds by example here

Cambridge launch a co-house development

Have you ever thought about living on  co-house development where running of the area, communal spaces and shared responsibilities are at the heart of the community? No? Well this article tells you all about a way of living that most of us have never considered.

And Finally here's some positive figures that are worth celebrating

This maybe cheating by putting more positive news in my positive news but hey, think of it as a double dose. Some of these facts are fantastic, like the fact that '11 of the 28 EU states have already met the 2020 target to source 20% or more of their energy from renewable sources'!

Love
Erin
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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Sustainable Trainer Guide

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