Sustainable Reading Nr.7

Fashion

Interview: Veja On Its New Biodegradable Sneakers Made From Corn Waste – It is great that there are a lot of alternatives popping up in fashion and footwear, however, the headline is a bit misleading as they say quite clearly that only part of the shoe is biodegradable currently, parts of it are not.

These Female Entrepreneurs Are Making The Fashion Industry More Sustainable – Introducing 5 amazing women and what they do to support and drive sustainable fashion.

EU Backs ‘Traceability Tool’ For Apparel Brands – It’s great to hear that EU is taking the problem seriously, although I hope this tool will also be used to support consumer decision and will truly be traceable.

Pilot Shows Female Bosses In Garment Factories Boost Efficiency – Actually, they say that, female supervisors do. It is great to hear that gender equality is taken more seriously in Bangladesh and these numbers can support more female supervisors in the factories and possibly even higher positions. However, I am afraid whether this can also lead to pushing the female supervisors to be harsher on the employees with their new position where they have to prove themselves.

MUD Commits To 100% Recycled Cotton Jeans – They are said to be the most sustainable denim brand at the moment and it is great to hear that they are pushing the sustainability forward!

Levi’s Launches ‘Cottonised Hemp’ Collection – Hemp is a more sustainable fibre than cotton, however, in the article, it is not made clear how hemp is cottonised and whether the process is done with chemicals, whether it is designed in a circular way nor any other facts on it. And the collection is just made with sustainability in mind and is not completely cottonised hemp. Still, I am happy to see that the company is paying more and more attention to sustainability.

Sustainable New of the Month - January 2018 - byLiiL

 

Climate Change

Swedish Student Leader Wins EU Pledge To Spend Billions On Climate – She isn’t the only one who protested as there were protests all over the world where children skipped school to protest for the politicians to do important decisions about the environment. In the end, teachers joined them! EU has now pledged to put a big investment into our environment from 2021 to 2027. I hope it’s not too late.

Britain Is On Its Way To Be Powered By Renewables More Than Fossil Fuels For First Time In History – The government has just signed a deal to support offshore wind sectors and is planning for 70% of the electricity to come from wind.

 

Social

The Internet Is Censoring Our Ability To Make Informed Decisions – This is a very interesting read. You might not agree with everything, but there is a deeper meaning to it.

The Racism Of Technology – And Why Driverless Cars Could Be The Most Dangerous Example Yet – Very interesting yet alarming article into the racism in the technology sector and whether it is safe.

South African Judge Rules Same-Sex Discrimination In The Church Is Unlawful – More diversity!

Mali Is Providing Free Health Care To Pregnant Women and Children Under 5 – In addition, they are providing contraception free of charge. When health care is often expensive even in the western countries it is great to hear how Mali is supporting it’s vulnerable!

NASA Just Announced It’s First-Ever All-Female Spacewalk – It’s about time they are thinking about gender equality in that sector too!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Russian Literature and Work - byLiiL

Waste

Sir David Attenborough Backs Decision To Double UK Aid For Plastic Recycling – It didn’t really explain what it means by UK aid for plastic recycling, nevertheless, it is great to hear that recycling plastic is taken seriously. Recycling is not the answer to climate change or waste problem, but it should be considered as part of the solution at least at this moment.

This UK Charity Uses Recycling To Create Healthier, Greener Lives In Kenya – WasteAid is educating citizen in developing countries on how to collect and recycle their waste.

The #Trashtag Challenge Is Getting People To Clean Up Their Local Environments – I’m sure many have heard about beach cleanups from all over the world. Trashtag is not only for the beaches but for any environment and it’s a great movement, but it does make me sad that there is a need for such movement. Throwing trash is forests, parks or any other area is not nice nor environmental. Beaches get a lot of trash from the ocean and my next question would be, where does the trash that was collected under trashtag go? Does it go back to landfills?

 

Business

Are B Corp An Elite Charade For Changing The World – An interesting discussion into what can change the world and whether market leading it is the answer.

Ikea To Launch Furniture Rental Offering As Part Of Circular Economy Shift – It is great a company this big is thinking about their footprint and how they can reduce waste, as well as repair the items they make.

 

 

What interesting news did you read recently? Share them in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

 

Other articles you might be interested in:

Sustainable reading No. 6

Sustainable reading No. 4

Sustainable reading No. 2

 

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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My Sustainable Journey In February

My plan for February was to find a toothpaste that creates less waste and is still good for my health. Originally I wanted to change my toothpaste after I’ve read several posts about fluoride and how it can have a bad effect on our health. There are a few fluoride free toothpaste options but most of them are in plastic tubes, which does not help when I want to create less waste. So far I’ve quite like toothpaste from Ecodenta, especially their charcoal one, as that is fluoride free (not all natural toothpaste will be fluoride free). I did try some from Georganics, but found the glass jar not as convenient especially when I was really tired. (I might try some of their other products though in the future). At the beginning of February I ordered some fluoride-free toothpaste tablets from Society zero, which I wanted to try, but then I had to get my tooth fixed and fluoride toothpaste was the only thing that was working for me for a couple of weeks. So I’ve only been trying the toothpaste tablet for a week or so, but so far I quite like them. I think I’ll have to try them for longer to be sure and possibly try some toothy tabs from Lush and other Georganics products to find the product that I am the happiest with health wise and waste wise.

If you want to read more about fluoride and decide for yourself if you want to have toothpaste with it you can check the following articles F Toxins, Curiosly Conscious, Georganics. There most certainly are many more articles and most of them will explain two different sides of pro or con fluoride. The one thing that I found out is that fluoride in small amounts is great for your enamel but otherwise not too good for human health, and the fluoride used in toothpaste is often industrial based by-product, which circularity in mind is great, but I am not sure if we should be using that in our bodies.

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

No Logo

In February I also finished the book No Logo by Naomi Klein. The book is not an actual sustainability book, but I found that helps with understanding the world, how it works and what drives it – all things that affect how we can change it to a more sustainable one. It talks about how brands are everywhere, even where we don’t think they are, how much influence they have on people, their decision making and what they trust or don’t trust. It also uncovers the secrets these brands have and would rather not let their customers know about them. What strikes me is not how influential the brands are on customers but even on governments and their decision making.

It also discusses in extent how brands, although try to market diversity, in real life hope for and try to achieve less diversity because their products will be easier to market to a bigger group.

The book is quite old, written in 1999, and I believe many of the companies mentioned have changed their ways. Nevertheless, it shows what brands have been doing, what they might be doing, and how they try to achieve the maximum profit by investing their money in things that they think matters.

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

March

There is one thing I am constantly getting annoyed about and that is junk mail that we get in the mail. Nevertheless, of trying to sign off from any mailing lists many surrounding companies just want to bombard us with adverts about their menus, new stores or community groups. And although, I know sometimes there is good behind what they are advertising I am the one who has to dispose of all that mail. In Finland, we could just write that we do not accept junk mail and we could be free of this mail, in the UK it doesn’t quite work that way. So I am going to look into the junk mail problem in March. Wish me luck!

 

What sustainable did you do in February? And what are your plans for March?

With love,

Lii

 

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Other articles you might be interested in:

My Sustainable Journey In January

My Sustainable 2018

Sustainability in 2017

My Sustainable Journey In February - byLiiL

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products

One of the first posts I wrote on my blog was about beauty, which is funny as I decided to concentrate on sustainable fashion, but I’ve realised my focus is much wider than that. I wanted to write about beauty a little bit because I was going through a phase when I was looking for products that were cruelty-free and natural, instead of buying the chemical-infused products from the high street which were tested on animals. I have come a long way since then trying many products, some of which didn’t suit me, some of which did and I am finally in a place where I am happy with the selection I have and wanted to share it in case anybody else is looking for great natural beauty products. I must say that I am not a vegan and although some of these products might be vegan, it is not the thing that I require from the products I use. I look for natural ingredients, not tested on animals, organic if possible, sustainably sourced and produced if possible, small company, zero waste if possible. Not all of my values match in each of these products and therefore at some point, the list might change if I find something better.

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products - byLiiL

This list is only for the products that I love and use continuously and have bought several times or am planning to keep buying. It is missing shampoo, as I will be doing a separate post about the different shampoo bars that I like. As well as, the body wash, as I keep changing this from different vegan and small company versions to Lush bars. If there is something else I haven’t named yet it’s because I haven’t found one that I like or use multiple different ones.

 

Ren Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream

Vegan/Cruelty-free/Manufactured in the UK/Paraben free/Sulphate free/Silicone free/Not tested on animals

“Designed to repair skins natural barriers, calm, hydrate and soothe sensitive skin” is what Ren say about their day cream. It has blackcurrant seed oil, seabuckthorn berry oil and Camellia oil as natural bio-active ingredients.

For me, this is the only moisturiser that is hydrating enough without being greasy for the day. It has slightly thick creamy consistency which feels lovely on the skin and it works great as the base for make-up as well.

– The packaging isn’t the best, as it is a plastic pump bottle where it can be difficult to get the exact amount of product that you want, and you can never get every single drip out of there. I wish it was also certified organic. It is a bit pricy but it lasts me a long time!

 

Madara Regenerating Night Cream

Not tested on animals/Natural/Certified organic/Vegan

“Antioxidant rich moisturiser with skin regenerating extracts of Northern Hop, Barley germs and Tomato.” This moisturiser has a lovely creamy consistency and it really feels regenerating when I use it during the night. On its own, it is not enough to hydrate my skin during the coldest winter months, but at other times it is very hydrating. The price is fairly high but it is for a 50ml bottle in which you get a lot of product.

– The same as for the previous, it is a plastic pump bottle and once actually I had to do a complaint as there was no product coming from the bottle no matter how much I was pumping it. It could also more clear on its use of parabens, silicons and sulphates.

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products - byLiiL

 

BioSelect Illuminating Anti Fatigue Eye Contour Cream

Certified organic/Not tested on animals/Silicone free/Paraben free

This eye cream is creamy and thick, so it hydrates well, but it doesn’t get greasy. It lights up my under eyes, although not quite as well as an illuminator, but that is not what I look from it. My under eyes get easily dry, but I haven’t had any problems since I started using this one. The jar, in which it comes, is handy and really big. For the price, you pay you get a lot of product!

– The jar has a plastic top, which is not ideal.

 

Evolve Miracle Facial Oil

Natural/Vegan/Cruelty-free/Eco-friendly/No toxic chemicals/Handcrafted

This is a lovely quite light oil with the scent of rosehip. It’s so light that I could use it as a moisturiser and it is hydrating and balancing enough. I love taking it with me when I go on holidays as it is so hydrating! This is made in small batches and hand made in the UK  which makes it all that much more special. The price is very reasonable as well!

– The only issue really is that it’s not certified organic, but it’s such a small brand it might be financially not feasible for them yet.

 

Burt’s and Bees

Not tested on animals/Cruelty-free/Natural/Paraben free/Phthalate free/Petrolatum-free

I am quite happy to use any of them, but at the moment my favourites are Ultra Conditioning or Coconut and Pear, both are very moisturising and smell nice. Their lip balms are very moisturising, especially these two! It is quite low-priced.

– I would prefer if it would not be under an unethical company. Also, the packaging is plastic and although it is natural ingredients it is not certified organic.

 

Evolve Hyaluronic Serum 200

Natural/Vegan/Cruelty-free/Eco-friendly/No toxic chemicals/Handcrafted

Very gentle and hydrating serum. It doesn’t have much of a scent, but I quite like that. It is handcrafted in the UK in small batches and won lots of awards, which I am not surprised about.

– My skin seems to need quite a lot of this product and I run out of it quite quickly, which can get quite pricey.

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products

 

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt

Natural/Vegan/Cruelty-free/Eco-friendly/No toxic chemicals/Handcrafted

Similarly to previous Evolve products, it is handcrafted in the UK in small batches. This is the best cleanser I have found and I absolutely love it! It is thick and luxurious. It soothes, calms and hydrates, and leaves your skin feeling moisturised but clean. They recommend mixing a little of bit of it with water that you can then use as a milky cleanser, but I like to massage it into my skin, let it work for a minute or two and then wipe it away with a hot and moist muslin cloth. It gets away my make-up quite well too. For a cleanser, it might feel that the price is high, but this actually lasts me for ages as you only need a little bit of the product.

– It is a bit pricey and is not certified organic. Also, the lid of the jar is plastic.

 

Evolve Radiant Glow Organic Face Mask

Natural/Vegan/Cruelty-free/Eco-friendly/No toxic chemicals/Handcrafted

This is a combination of mask and scrub with a delicious chocolatey scent, almost good enough to eat. You can lather it on and let it stay for a few minutes to let it sink in, or just use it as a scrub. Mixing it with water makes it milky but it still has lovely little beads to scrub (no microplastics here). This is absolutely lovely to use and although I didn’t originally really like the scent of chocolate in it (it is quite strong and just makes you want to eat chocolate), I don’t might the scent now. It is also hand made in small batches in the UK.

– The lid is plastic and it is not certified organic.

 

Sukin Oil Clarifying Facial Tonic

Natural/Not tested on animals/Vegan/Paraben free/Sulphate free/Silicon free

Gentle tonic that isn’t drying, but also gets rid of make-up and is refreshing. I usually use it after cleansing my skin and in the mornings before applying moisturiser to hydrate. I love that it also has only a few ingredients and no nasties.

– The only minus I have is the packaging which is plastic.

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products - byLiiL

Madara City CC Cream

Certified organic/Natural/Not tested on animals/Cruelty-free/Paraben free/Sulphate free

“This anti-pollution CC cream corrects all skin tone imperfections, including dullness, redness, sallowness and dark spots. Scientifically proven to shield your skin from urban pollutants to protect skin microbiome, prevent clogged pores and inflammation. With broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen and deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid.” That pretty much sums it up. For me, it works excellently leaving nice even and glowy but not shiny finish. My face feels moisturised throughout the day and not cloggy at all. It has a nice and creamy consistency that works well with a foundation brush but could work with a sponge as well.

– It is really pricey and although the product lasts for quite a long time I also usually need quite a lot of it per application. It is also in plastic packaging which is not ideal.

 

Living Nature Natural Concealer

Not-tested on Animals/Vegetarian/Paraben free/Natural product/Certified Organic

Concealer with a creamy consistency that conceals well without looking cakey and is not drying. It is the only concealer that doesn’t dry my under eyes that I’ve tried. And the shade is great for under eyes.

– The last one I bought got a bit watery, probably because it got too warm, but I rather enjoyed the creamy consistency. Also, it is very pricey but little goes a long way!

 

Lumene Extreme Precision Eyebrow Pencil

Natural/Cruelty-free/Not tested on animals/Sustainable ingredient sourcing/Paraben free/Phthalates free

This is an eyebrow pencil with the right shade for me. It is difficult to find good eyebrow pencils for some reason and I’ve been long hunting for one until I found this one from Lumene when I was in Finland the last time. I like the spread of the colour and that I have a brush on the other end.

– It is not certified organic. I know that all Lumene products are natural, but I had to look for the information instead of it being on the page so it would be easily recognisable. Also, it has plastic caps.

My Favourite Natural Beauty Products - byLiiL

 

I do love to try new products alongside using these and sometimes I manage to find a better product than the one I am already using. So this list might look a bit different even in a years time.

What are your favourite natural beauty products? Let me know in the comments box below as I would love to hear them!

With love,

Lii

Other articles you might be interested in:

The Green Eco Box – Subscription Box That Does Good

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week

Evolve Organic Beauty

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable

This post is a long time coming. With many different companies talking about a greener packaging they have I have gotten confused about what actually is environmentally friendly packaging. Then after visiting the plastic recycling centre in Scotland and hearing all about plastic recycling and whether biodegradable plastic fits into plastic recycling, I found out some new information. Once when looking at a seemingly green website I checked their packaging which they claimed to be great for the environment as it is photodegradable. Was it greenwashing or was it just ignorance, I don’t know, so I decided to find out properly what these packaging words mean that are floating around. I certainly don’t know everything, but I did research into multiple sources to find the most reliable information. I hope it will help some of you understand these words as well. And I am talking about the packaging connecting to food more than anything else, but it does correlate to other industries as well.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Photodegradable

Photodegradable means that it will decompose with sunlight, meaning it will break into smaller pieces when subjected to light. The big problem with photodegradable packaging is that it sounds like it would be a good option for the environment, however, nearly everything in the world will decompose, the question is how quickly will it decompose and whether it will leave any harmful substances when it does. Some products may take thousands of years to decompose and in many cases when they decompose they release harmful chemicals into the environment and the waterways. The fact that something is photodegradable doesn’t tell much about the product, other than it requires sunlight to do so.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Biodegradable

Biodegradable means that the decomposing happens when the items are subject to living organisms such as fungi or bacteria. In general, biodegradable is a term associated with green packaging, and it’s been considered as a great alternative because what comes from nature goes back. However, biodegradable doesn’t always mean it comes from nature.

There are several terms that all can be confused with each other, but don’t actually mean the same thing; biodegradable plastic, bioplastic and biodegradable materials such as paper. Biodegradable plastic is essentially plastic that is designed to decompose quickly by adding additives to them, and bioplastic is plastic made out of natural materials such as corn starch. Both of these are essentially plastics as they are made out of polymers, but each of these materials behaves differently when decomposing, it takes them varied times to decompose and they require different environments for decomposing often high temperatures and possibly even UV lights. Biodegradable does not mean we can throw the items with an easy conscience into the bin, as the landfill is not an optimum environment for them to decompose and instead the decomposing could release methane gas. Nor can we throw them in the compost without knowing what they are actually made out of or whether they are suitable for home or industrial composting (more on that in composting section).

 

Biodegradable Plastic

The big problem with biodegradable is that it is often misconceived as a natural material that is better for the environment, but this is a generalisation. Lately biodegradable plastic has been in the news for all the soda bottles which were contributing to the oceans microplastic problem because the plastic degraded quickly but only into small pieces instead of disappearing completely. If packaging is market as biodegradable it really requires further information on in what conditions is it biodegradable and whether it leaves harmful residues when it is biodegraded. In a sense, biodegradable is a buzz word as it doesn’t inform consumers of what they need to do with the packaging. It could require industrial composting and often it cannot be recycled with other plastics as it rather contaminates them. Biodegradable products are not regulated.

 

Bioplastic

Bioplastics, on the other hand, are derived from renewable sources such as corn starch, sugarcane, bacteria etc. Bioplastic can be made into PLA which is compostable in the right environment or PET which is not compostable, so whether bioplastic is compostable is dependant on what kind of plastic is created with it. This also brings the question of how to dispose of it, as PLA could potentially be put into a compost bin but it would contaminate the plastic recycling making it unrecyclable and PET would contaminate the compost but could possibly be recycled with conventional PET plastic.

As bioplastic sounds like an excellent alternative there are some serious environmental consequences. To make bioplastic a lot of crops is grown which requires intensive agriculture, which is not modified in the same way as food agriculture is and it can lead to soil erosion and fertilizer runoff. On top of the machinery that is used in agriculture, possible deforestation and space it takes from food agriculture. Bioplastic made out of bacteria although was the first known bioplastic invented in 1926, is still rarely used.

Biodegradable vs Photodegradable vs Compostable - byLiiL

Compostable

Compostable means naturally derived products that can be put amongst decaying natural substances to decompose by microorganisms eventually turning into nutrient-rich substance. There are two types of compostable products; they can either be composted in a home compost or they need to a special environment that only industrial composting can create.

Composting is a fairly efficient way to process natural waste with great benefits. Compost is a great natural fertiliser that reduces soil erosion, controls ground moisture and weeds and restores soil fertility.

Problems with compost result when the compost is contaminated with synthetic substances or with materials that have toxic dyes for example, or if the home compost is contaminated with other compostable material that requires industrial composting. Food ingredients are quite simple to understand that they are compostable, but the packaging is not quite so simple. There are more rules regarding marking on the packaging about compostability because the packaging needs to be tested according to the compost standards whether it is compostable. That is why, in the UK, most home composts are said to only accept food compost, as any kind of packaging could make people confused about what can be composted and it could easily be contaminated. One issue I have with the UK compost is that they do not even seem to take tissues, but they do take teabags which have plastic in them. So if you are reading this, stop putting tea bags into your compost unless you are 100% sure it doesn’t have plastic in it.

When it comes to food packaging compostable is one of the most sensible options, as food contaminated the plastic and the paper, which makes them unrecyclable. When the packaging is compostable and it has food scraps in it, it all just goes into the same bin. Compostable packaging is regulated and therefore if you see their standards on the packaging you know what you are buying into and how to dispose of the packaging. However, if compostable items are sent to the landfill they produce biogas and methane which are not great for the environment.

These are some of the labels that you can find on packaging which is compostable, but there might be others which should be clearly marked on the packaging.

At the moment I am excited about Vegware which is a Scottish company supplying certified compostable packaging worldwide, Alterwaste for coming up with compostable new solutions to food waste and Percol for having their coffee packet in compostable coffee bags. What companies are you excited about?

With love,

Lii

Packaging photos are from Oleg Magni from Pexels.

Other articles you might be interested in:

Doing Small Changes Won’t Save the Planet – But It’s a Start

Is Recycling Sustainable

World Recycling Week

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6

Fashion

MPs Say Fast Fashion Brands Inaction On Ethics Is Shocking – Again, many NGOs activists have been saying this for years and for the MPs to now contribute to the discussion feels slow, nevertheless, they are discussing it. The article points out what the government’s committee on the topic found out from some of the major UK high street brands about their sustainable and ethical initiatives, and it ranks these high street brands on the basis of their answers. The problem is that although they are ranked into three groups there isn’t much information on what they are really doing about sustainability and ethics and whether this is supported by evidence. To that, there were many companies that were missing from the list such as Zara, H&M, Victorias Secret and many others.

Polartec Commits To 100% Recycled Materials – The header is actually a bit wrong as it explains how Polartec commits to 100% recycled and biodegradable materials. It is still amazing to read about!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Social

Is Sunscreen The New Margarine? – An excellent article that makes you think. Is the dermatological industry just trying to get their money’s worth and are you getting enough vitamin D?

This Teen Wrote A Bill To End Period Poverty In School – How amazing is that! When the adults are not working on things that they should be working on, there is hope that in the future these young people will grow and make the world a better place!

This Pakistani Province Just Made Polio Vaccines Mandatory For All Schoolchildren – This is a big step to eradicate the disease from the country and I hope it will go well. Although I am interested to see whether the government will support this financially.

The Future Of Gender Equality Lies In The Hands Of Female Coders: UN Chief – It is great that they are recognising that by having more women knowledgeable in the skills needed for the future and I hope there will be more support to the girls as well!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Plastic

A Better Way To Make Plastic Out Of Sulfur – Alternative source from which to make plastic.

Cork Vs. Cap: Which Wine Stopper Is Better? – Going through different corks and caps and what are their benefits, as well as which ones are good ecologically.

This Water Bottle Dissolves If It Ever Enters the Ocean – They talk about a biodegradable water bottle that is made out of “biopolymer called PHA that’s comes from a fermenting bacteria”. It is supposed to decompose when it touch with naturally occurring bacteria. That is how biodegradability works, however, in the article there was no proof how quickly this happens or whether it leaves any harmful chemicals behind. I will be in a post soon explaining the differences and characteristic of biodegradability and other such words relating to packaging so stay tuned.

Researchers Just Found A Brilliant Way To Convert Plastic Waste Into Fuel – The heat it up so high it is supposed to turn back into oil. If it actually works then brilliant, but it does make me wonder how it took them this long to come up with such an idea.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Other News

French and German Farmers Forced To Destroy Crops After GMOs Found In Bayer/Monsanto Seeds – The headline itself raises few thoughts. Mostly, GREAT they are actually doing something about the GMO seeds, the second, I feel sorry for the farmers. In the article Bayer/Monsanto say they will be reimbursing the farmers for the lost revenue, however, it is still not clear how the illegal seeds got into the crop. I really hope countries would start supporting more organic farming and especially non-Bayer-Monsanto seeds.

How Danone, Kashi and O’Lakes Are Backing Sustainable Farming – Article talks about what are the issues for farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how the big companies are looking for more sustainable production. It brings out one problem, which is the price for the farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how it can be a big barrier, where although the payout is going to be better in the long term, in short term can be too costly for the farmers to do. Seeing this, shouldn’t the big companies and governments support them through this transition?

The Soon-To-Be Worlds Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Will Start Powering Britain This Week – How great! I hope the whole country will soon be completely powered by clean energy!

Sea Turtle Populations Soared by 980% After Legal Protections – It is great to hear that the protections are working and animals are rebounding. Although the number is from a median, and might not tell the whole truth to a person who doesn’t know enough about the topic.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

All pictures are from Pexels.

What news did you find were interesting lately? Share the links in the comment section below.

With love,

Lii

 

Check out the other sustainable reading posts: Nr. 5, Nr. 4, Nr.3.

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine’s Day edition)

In the eyes of a Buddhist, maitri is authentic and pure love. It means to feel compassion, kindness, goodwill, and love toward all human beings, equally, without any exceptions—including our partners.” wrote Elayane Youssef on Ethical Elephant.

Last year I wrote about a day of love where Valentine’s Day is not only for lovers but for everybody you love from your partner to your friends, family and yourself. This year I want to follow the Buddhist believe to share the love even further to the people who you don’t know and who might need your thoughts, love and caring. But before I dive into how you can share your love with strangers I thought to discuss why it isn’t usually done and why we should do it.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gift-Giving

Very often we are believed and pushed to show our love for our loved ones, whether it is Valentine’s day, Christmas or Birthday, we should be gifting our loved ones. I love giving presents to my loved ones but I do have the feeling that gift-giving days are increasing each year and people who we must give presents to are increasing in numbers. Speaking with others about gift giving I’ve noticed that people put a lot of pressure on themselves for giving ever more expensive presents and Christmas presents are expected to cost a minimum of £100 for each person you are giving a gift. Making a quick calculation that would mean I should be spending approximately £2000 on gifts every Christmas, which would easily take me on 3 holidays.

Then there are, graduations, weddings and christenings, which again are wonderful celebrations, but when planning a wedding you are being told that the guests won’t enjoy the party unless you gift them with amazing souvenirs of your wedding, I start to wonder whether the wedding is for me or for the guests who get a free meal, present and a party in exchange for showing up, congratulating you and possibly bringing you a gift. Then we have leaving parties for the quick turnover staff, all the housewarming parties, great you got a new job celebrations, back from holidays gifts/souvenirs, some people gift each other on New Years (this might be a remnant from Russia where they give gifts on New Years instead of Christmas which is a deeply religious holiday), so will we be gifting the ever-expanding network of people in our lives on Halloween as well?

Is gift giving becoming the synonym of love and care, in the western countries, when we do not actually have time for the loved ones as much as we feel we should? It is shown in the movies we watch and many of us experience it. When I was a kid my dad went often on work trips and I got accustomed to getting a small gift whenever he came back, actually so accustomed that I remember asking him once when he would be going for another work trip as I was really looking forward to a gift. Those days he was away from home well over half the year. Now that I live away from my family and friends I always bring presents home, as though they would reimburse the time we’ve lost.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gifting around the World

In other cultures, gifts are not given for birthday and there are many cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas, but rather other holidays. However, most cultures still give gifts, mostly as tokens of gratitude for being invited to a celebration or for a business deal, but sometimes for love and for care as well. The one thing I found out about the different gift-giving habits is many gifts are either money or food, and in many cultures, different items can be perceived as rude such as umbrellas or clocks in China.

Essentially gift giving is an important part of human interaction that can be especially very important in many cultures and social situations. A gift can tell another person that one really cares, although to others it can feel like an unnecessary burden as reciprocal gifts are expected almost all around the world. And some people just don’t mind gifts but rather like support or company of the gift giver more than the present, which you can read more about in the 5 love languages.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gifting Strangers

I wondered why the consumerist market is not pressuring us to give gifts to strangers and those we don’t know until I realised that they do but these gifts are masked under the word “charity” or “donations”. Occasionally these charities change the wording to “give a gift of water” or any other gift, which actually sounds like a much nicer way to put it. Why don’t we, instead of just donating money, rather give a gift? Gift giving, as we’ve learned so far, is meaningful interaction. We think about what we want to give others, what would suit them and what would make them happy. Why shouldn’t we make it meaningful when we put money into a donation for a charity or when we are doing a charitable thing? There are many people out there who do not receive gifts, who are lonely, who are poor and who, rather than receiving anonymous money, might like the human interaction with a heartwarming gift. Of course with many charities, you are not able to see how your donation or a gift is actually impacting the other person, but there are some that let you know or see this happening. Alternatively, you can be generous and gift stranger that is located closer to you.

Although giving gifts and showing love and care to those you love is something that each of us cherishes, there are people who might need it more. There are already multiple guides on what to gift to your loved ones which you can google or check some of my older gift guides, but what I recommend is giving them time and possibly give a gift to a stranger. There are some great examples of gifts you can give to those who need them.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Give Gifts To Those Who Need Them
  • Why not send a loving public letter to the big companies requesting them to send Valentine’s present to the labour making the items they sell and get rich on. The present could be a bonus for working so well or items that they really need in their lives but can’t afford.
  • Why not gift the gift of water to those in need.
  • Why not gift necessary beauty or sanitary products to your local shelters.
  • Why not gift a cup of hot drink to the homeless person on the street to warm them up on these cold days.
  • Why not gift a bag of groceries to the poor neighbour, or even better give two gifts in one by inviting them for a dinner to your house to socialise with them. (make sure that you are safe though)
  • Why not gift your company to the lonely elderly.
  • Why not gift blood at the blood bank, or even better your bone marrow.
  • Why not gift a bee with flower seeds that will bloom in the summer to give them more food.
  • Why not sponsor a child in a third world country and give them a gift of a better life?

Pictures are from Pexels.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving - byLiiL

Why shouldn’t we be thinking and loving everybody on this planet on Valentine’s Day?

With love,

Lii

 

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