What Was I Up To in November

Last month, again, was very busy for me work vice, and it looks like December will be as well until Christmas. I still managed to have some time to write about sustainability. I shared the interesting Sustainable news from October, I wrote about the sustainable problems with plastic and Why I don’t shop on Black Friday.

What Was I Upto in November - byLiiL

As Christmas is nearing I shared some Sustainable Christmas gift tips and new soy wax candles. There is definitely more coming soon!

Finally, I shared articles about how to make your life better and my favourite Insta pics from October.

Happy Favourites of the Week - New Things For Winter - byLiiL

What did you do in November? And what are your plans for December?

With love,

Lii

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What’s All The Fuss About Plastic?

Have you noticed how plastic is everywhere? It’s on the news, in various articles, advertisements say “BPA free”, that we shouldn’t use plastic and sometimes that plastic might be a better option. Well I, at least, was confused about all this and to understand the fuss about plastic I decided to research it. There is a lot of information and there is definitely room for more research under each sub-topic, but to keep you (and myself) interested I will share just the main issues with plastic.

What's All The Fuss About Plastic? - byLiiL

Non-biodegradable

Yes, you’ve heard it before, it is filling the landfills and littering the ocean. Firstly it clogs our waste facilities and storm drains. Plastic photo-degrades; it brakes into smaller and smaller pieces perhaps resulting in the microplastics. You also might’ve heard about the recent boycott on oxo-degradable plastics: the lightweight plastic that was supposed to be the solution for plastic pollution as it degrades faster than other more durable plastics. However, the problem is that there are no results to support that it degrades harmlessly, but rather now researchers believe that it might be the leading problem of microplastic pollution. Microplastics can also be found in our synthetic sports clothes which get into the waterways when we wash them, to which there is no great solution yet.

Our second problem with plastic pollution is harming our wildlife. The bigger pieces of plastic get tangled into wildlife (you’ve all seen the horrible pictures of turtles with straws in their noses) and the smaller pieces, as well as microplastics, get eaten by the wildlife when they mistake them for food. Animals either choke on the plastic or fill themselves on it, which means they eat less nutritious food, therefore producing less and weaker offspring. At the moment it affects the food chain. When an animal eats another one that is half-full of plastic, the plastic is then stuck in the predator, which might then be eaten by another predator… and you get the drift. It disrupts the ecosystem drastically, but it is hard to tell what the repercussions are. The microplastics are already found in our tap water and in the fish we eat.

What's All The Fuss About Plastic? - byLiiL

It might contain toxic chemicals

Plastics and the chemicals they’ve been made out of are not well researched. Our governments used to believe the small amounts of the toxic chemicals that are in the out everyday plastics are harmless, but who can say how much of it really is safe when plastics are everywhere; household appliances, technology, textiles, interiors, toys. Recently we learned that phthalates are very toxic and we have almost completely gotten rid of them from the production of items, but we will never completely be rid of them because they’ve washed out into the oceans where they keep degrading and being eaten by the marine life.

Now we also know that BPA is toxic and that is why there are so many water bottles and food boxes being marketed as BPA-free. But why is BPA still allowed in any products? And how do we know that the chemicals they replace the BPA with are safe for our use?

Many toxic plastics have been found to be able to imitate hormone such as estrogen, but as most plastics aren’t researched well enough it is still hard to tell which ones are really harmful to us.

……………

There is a lot of research on the plastic bottles and food packaging and how it affects our bodies. Yes, the chemicals do leak into our food and drink slowly. The chemicals affect the hormone balance and they are linked to nearly all health problems people have today; deformations in genitals, premature puberty, decreased sperm quality, increase in cancer, infertility, type 2 diabetes, allergies, neurological problems and ADHD to mention a few.

Recycling

The one good thing about plastic is that it is very durable and therefore it is used in many different items and can last for a long time. However, the problem is that as plastic is not designed originally for recycling it can’t be upcycled into new and better use, but rather has to be downcycled. It is often mixed with different chemicals which are difficult to extract from each other. After it’s use, to make plastic usable again some more chemicals need be added again. The other chemicals are added either for the durability or to make the plastic cheaper to produce and are often unnecessary. Many plastics are still not recyclable and burning them produces toxic dioxide. If these plastics were made without toxic chemicals with ingredients which would be easily upcycled then plastics could be a great option for some products.

What's All The Fuss About Plastic? - byLiiL

Plastic is considered maybe even more dangerous problem to our planet than the climate change. It has taken over our world; it can be found in places where people can’t even go. Writing this article also made me think about all the products where plastics can be found and I couldn’t think of an item where it couldn’t be found. Can you?

Things NOT to do with plastic:

  1. Don’t through it into nature
  2. Don’t through it into general waste where it will end up in the landfill
  3. Don’t burn it, as most plastic emits dioxide

What To Do:

  1. Reduce the amount of plastic and cans you are using or at least become aware of what type of plastics you are using. Prefer glass and ceramic products. There is a great explanation on this here.
  2. Opt out for natural with everything: clothes, homeware, toys. Or at least research it well.
  3. Use Guppyfriend washing bag. It is designed to reduce the number of microfibers leaking into our waterways.

 

What do you think about plastic?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News Of The Month – October 2017

Could Kelp Be The Future Of Sustainable Fashion – A group of scientists and textile designers have been developing a substitute for oil-based textiles (polyester and acrylic e.g.) using kelp. An absolutely amazing idea if it can be used in a similar way and if it is as durable!

Easyjet Could Soon Be Flying Fuel-Free – It is about time airlines start to think about changing their fuel-engines on something more eco-efficient. Although this doesn’t fix all the problems that aviation has on our planet, it is a start!

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Chocolate Production Linked To Increased Deforestation in Poor Nations – Although, previously it was thought that the production of chocolate is not as damaging to the environment, the growing demand for chocolate with a reduced price has demanded change in the cultivation strategies, which are less sustainable for the environment.

Warming Sees Could Lead To 70 Percent Increase In Hurricane-Related Financial Loss – According to the researchers sponsored by the United Nations have issued a periodic report that believes the financial losses due to hurricanes will increase exponentially.

New Conservation Method Empowers Indigenous People – This very fascinating article discusses how we do not need to change the way indigenous people live, as “Indigenous communities have not only established a high quality of life, but have found ways to manage their natural resources sustainably through traditional hunting, fishing, and small-scale agriculture.”

What Soot-Covered, Hundred-Year-Old Birds Can Tell Us About Saving The Environment – Researchers have been investigating Horned Larks and their colouring to tell how much black carbon is still in the air.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Olive Mill Wastewater Transformed: From Pollutant To BioFertilizer, Biofuel – Making waste into something useful!!

HSBC Pledges $100 Billion To Tackle Climate Change – HSBC unveiled 5 point plan; from financing available sustainability projects, discontinuing financing of thermal-coal and planning to source all it’s electricity from renewable sources.

150 Companies, NGOs Call For Global Ban On Oxo-Degradable Plastic Packaging – Recent research has pinpointed that it is the oxo-degradable plastic that is contributing to the growing microplastic problem. Oxo-degradable plastic was previously believed to be the solution to the plastic waste problem.

Canopy Releases Viscose Producer Progress On Deforestation-Free Supply Chains – Canopy has been the go-to NGO to turn to when companies want to access information on viscose and rayon producers and their pledge to reduce deforestation.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

Digitizing Leftover Garment Data Could Unlock Billions For Fashion Industry – Brands are spilling on average 25 percent of its resources when producing fashion because of the lack of adequate data input.

Can Upcycling Really Help The Oceans? – Although upcycling helps with the current plastic waste in the oceans, it is not the best solution and there is a need for saving the oceans in other ways. Excellent article explaining what actually happens to plastics when they enter waterways or how they can be upcycled.

Marimekko To Help Commercialise Spinnova’s Wood-Based Textiles – Finnish based textile company has developed new wood-based textile which doesn’t use chemicals processing the fibre and Marimekko is pledged to help the company to commercialise the fibre whilst acting on their pledge to produce their fashion more sustainably.

Recycling Mysteries: Brick – What is brick made off, why should it be recycled and how to recycle it.

What Happens To Airplanes No Longer Fit To Fly? – This article is excellent to understand what happens to airplanes after their useful life.

Sustainable New Of The Month - October 2017 - byLiiL

 

If you have read any other interesting articles on sustainability share them in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

 

What Was I Up To In October

October has been so busy I’ve barely had the time to read about anything relating to sustainability, but I catch-up with it as often as I can. Instead, last month I have been working with several different clients, which has been at the same time exciting and tiring. Running from one place to the next and not having a routine can be challenging and it’s taken a toll on my brain, but I am getting used to it and being able to focus on other stuff now as well!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Confidence - byLiiL

I didn’t write much on the blog last month, but I did manage to cover few sustainability topics. I discussed how we can support sustainability and what its causes can be, as well as introduced the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy book which I enjoyed immensely. In addition, I shared at the beginning of the month some sustainable news that I found interesting.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

I shared with you how I got more confident with my work, which I still feel and will probably want to talk about it more in the future as well! I’ve been finally getting used to autumn and actually enjoying it. Surprisingly my autumn slump was much shorter this year than last and I see every day something that I enjoy about autumn. I’ve enjoyed some delicious meals from Pumpkin and I told you about my trip to Berlin, which I loved!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Enjoying the Moment - byLiiL

 

How was your October? I would love to hear, share in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Inspiration of the Month – Cradle to Cradle

This post is coming to you quite late, not because I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, I actually have been inspired by this book for a while now, but I found it quite hard to summarise everything that I found interesting in the book!

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Cradle to Cradle is a design philosophy as well as a book which I am basing my inspiration on. The book was written by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. It is a small book, only 186 pages, but it offers an immense amount of inspiration especially for design practitioners as well as consumers who want to be more sustainable and mindful of their lifestyle. It helps you understand what are the problems in the current design methods, what is being done about them and offers ideas what could be the better way to design.

In this book, I found that the main principle that McDonough and Braungart were saying is that almost all our products have been designed wrong as they end up being a waste and littering our planet and that we should learn from nature. In product design the common thing to think about is what is the product the consumers want or need, how can it be produced as economically as possible, so that the company can win the big profits from the product sales. It is completely ignoring the afterlife of the product or its ingredients where valuable ingredients often end up to the landfills or being downcycled, as the ingredients were not designed to be retrieved at the end of the products useful life. For example, we think that recycling is an amazing way of being sustainable. We might not realise that actually it is just being a bit less bad and trying to find an alternative to the landfills. Big amount of the waste is incinerated which can cause toxic dioxides. The rest are recycled, but as our products haven’t been designed so that the ingredients with which the products were made with could be retrieved, but they rather are mixed with chemicals or other ingredients that reduce the value and usability of the ingredient.

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Instead companies could be taking example out of nature of how to make their products profitable, good for the environment and the human beings, that could improve human life, be economical not only with making the product but potentially for the human who uses it, for the government or for the same company once again when they receive their ingredients and can build more products out of it again. The products could be designed with the whole lifecycle in mind rather than just the most useful one.

 

“We need to see the world as what we can learn from it, not as what we can take from it”

 

Many times while reading the book I felt that the whole humankind is doomed as it has designed everything wrong and how companies are still using toxic ingredients in various products that can be harmful to humans, how companies are eroding soil and destroying ecosystems only to find new materials for their products and get their profits. But the solutions the book offers are clever and doable if only enough people would go the extra mile. It offers various long-haul plans that would end up being economical to the company, the economy and the people as well if companies thought about their products as more than profit.

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Another important point raised in the book was how everything is designed for everybody without understanding that everybody and every place has different needs. I read several lovely and maybe slightly disgusting stories about how people in rural areas used to get rid of their waste or use various things to their advantage whilst keeping their ecosystems thriving until the modern technology and infrastructure was introduced and their ecosystems paid for it. Whilst upgrading and improving areas we should think about ways how it can be done to support humans as well as the ecosystem in which it is done. So there wasn’t bare pieces of land where nothing grows anymore because of pesticides or a wrong way of doing agriculture for that area. Companies should be more respectful of the knowledge local people have of their ecosystems!

 

“What would have happened, we sometimes wonder, if the industrial revolution had taken place in societies that emphasize the community over the individual, and where people believed not in cradle-to-grave life cycle but in reincarnation?”

 

We often forget what effect our actions can do, but on this planet, every action can affect multiple things from other people to other organisms, to the ecosystems, so we should strive to make better choices and be less selfish about them. I got really inspired by this book and still while reading it started to be more mindful about the products that I am using or buying and what I should be looking at instead. Sometimes there is no best option and we just have to work with the “least bad” whilst letting our actions speak for themselves. I do hope there will be more designers who are adopting this design philosophy. I can see how the world could be a much more beautiful and healthy place.

 

“Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Negligence is described as doing the same thing over and over again even though you know it is dangerous or wrong.”

 

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Here you can see just how much I was inspired by the book. All the folded pages are something that I want to keep coming back to!

Have you read Cradle to cradle?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Russia and Literature

10 European Cities With The Best Eco-Hotels – This article explores cities where it is relatively easy for you to find eco-hotels.

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

Lunch at Halloumi – Last week we had lunch with my fiance at the Halloumi restaurant that offers meze foods. The food was delicious and they offered a lot of options for vegetarian and gluten-free foods, for anybody who requires that. It was also lovely to see my fiance for lunch, we rarely get to have lunch together, because I usually am running around in different places for my work.

Inspired by Work – I’ve been feeling very inspired with my work recently. I feel more confident which makes me try new things and when they work out I get even more excited. Although getting close to Christmas means more and more work, I enjoy every minute, but am happy for the weekends as well!

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

Nicholas and Alexandra – I’ve been reading a book about the last Romanov family. A book which I was expecting to be boring, as it is mainly a history, is turning out to be very interesting and enjoyable to read. Robert K. Massie has written it in a way you feel compassionate to the people, you have an idea of the situation and how things were led on. It takes me a long time to read this book, but I am enjoying it!

Brothers Karamazov – I love going to the theatre, but rarely get to go. Once I saw the adverts for Brothers Karamazov, which is based on the book by Dostoevsky I decided that I will see it and I managed to get company as well. The play was at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow and to my surprise, Sean Biggerstaff was acting one of the brother’s roles. If you are not aware of who he is, he is the actor who played Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies. At the time when the first movie came out me and my friends were absolutely in love with him! It was funny seeing him on a stage, but at the same time, I was impressed with his acting skills! The rest of the actors were great as well, and although the whole story goes at quite a slow pace, the play was great!

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

Sustainable Futures Report Is Back On – Well, apparently the podcast had been running for at least a month before I noticed it again (for some reason my iTunes didn’t refresh it) and now I am listening to it again while I’m working. I still enjoy it and find it a great resource for understanding the sustainable issues and wins around the globe!

Enjoying the Autumnal Colours – As you can see by the imagery on this post I’ve been enjoying the warm colours of the autumn. It was the first time I felt like I noticed autumn in its beauty rather than just felt miserable about the darkness and wetness of the autumnal Scotland. The autumnal colours are definitely some of my favourites!!

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

How was your week? Let me know in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Sustainability Causes And How To Support Sustainability

I got recently asked to share and write about what causes I care about and why, and I thought it was an interesting idea which I don’t know why I haven’t written about before. I hope it is obvious from my blog that I care deeply about sustainability, how to make my lifestyle more ethically sustainable and how to inspire others along the road.

Sustainability in itself incorporates a broad spectrum of different causes; there is no one cause that could handle all that is happening around the globe from climate change, to ocean pollution, animal abuse and inhumane working conditions. I do think all of this is part of the sustainable framework. Causes that fall under sustainability are so numerous it can be difficult to pinpoint which is a good place to start. According to “Before the Flood” documentary the biggest polluters on our planet that are driving the climate change are burning fossil fuels, deforestation and agriculture, on the other end numerous reports are sharing that ocean pollution is killing the marine ecosystems.

Before The Flood Documentary And Review - byLiiL

DOCUMENTARIES TO UNDERSTAND SUSTAINABILITY

To help understand what needs help there are several documentaries that also spread awareness and if you haven’t seen them then I definitely recommend them!

  • Before the Flood – Climate change, how it is affecting our planet and what can be done to prevent further temperature rise.
  • Racing Extinction – Animal extinction, what is affecting it and a little bit about how it can be reversed.
  • Chasing Coral – Although this concentrates mainly on coral reefs it addresses how climate change is affecting our oceans and what will happen if it continues at the current rate.
  • Plastic Ocean – (I haven’t seen this yet, but it is on my watchlist) About the plastic pollution and how it affects our oceans.
  • The True Cost – How fashion industry has an effect on climate change, environmental erosion and inhumane labour conditions.

Sustainability Causes And How To Support Sustainability - byLiiL

CHARITIES AND CAUSES TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY

Here are some of the causes that I am inclined to support, spread a word around and follow.

  • Marine Conservation Society – A UK based marine conservation society that concentrates working towards healthy, pollution free and sustainable seas.
  • Conservation International – Is a US-based international conservation programme: “Our long-term goal is to safeguard the world’s essential ocean and coastal biodiversity and most productive ecosystems in order to maximize the long-term ecological, social and economic benefits for people and nature.”
  • Oceana – In an international advocacy organisation that is focused on ocean conservation. Their vision is to win over policy victories with countries that are leaders in marine life governing.
  • RSPB – Bird and other wildlife conservation, mostly based in the UK.
  • Soil Association – Soil Association is a charity and an organic certification based in the UK. It works towards providing sustainability by providing a good framework for organic farming in food, textiles and beauty items, and providing those small businesses with support towards making their organic business work.
  • Labour Behind the Label – An organisation concentrated on changing the way garment industry workers are treated across the globe, especially in areas that make most of our clothing. They campaign for change, spread the message to customers who in return can push further, lobby with legislation makers and put pressure the companies that still allow this. Making employees working spaces safer can transfer the number of toxic chemicals used in making garments.
  • Rainforest Action Network – Is a US-based but internationally working organisation working on preserving forests around the globe, protecting the climate and uphold human rights.
  • Trees For Cities – Is a UK-based charity working on planting trees in the UK and internationally into urban areas to clean the air, revitalising areas and improving people’s lives.

There are many other charities and projects that could use help and these were just a few that I felt I wanted to mention.

Sustainability Causes And How To Support Sustainability - byLiiL

In addition, I really want to mention two businesses that I am very impressed about. Ecosia is a search engine, which in reality is an extension to google, but it generates ads money to the company which they use to plant trees around the world! And Done Good is a browser extension, which can be used while googling or browsing websites. If there is an ethical alternative to the items you are looking at it will provide a pop-up alert on the side of the browser to let you know about it. In addition, it alerts you if the company supports the current US president or sells any of his products. Both of these extensions are free to download and use, but the Done Good is currently only available in the US and Canada.

Sustainability Causes And How To Support Sustainability - byLiiL

HOW YOU CAN HELP

I think when it comes to sustainability and protecting our planet we should start with our own actions; stop using single-use plastic, stop littering, using more renewable energy, recycling. That is already a great start and many people don’t need to do more. But if you are passionate and want to commit to making our planet better not only for us but for the next generations to come there are additional things that you can do:

  • Spread the word about the issues and how to overcome them.
  • Support causes that you find important in fighting the climate change and other global or local problems.
  • Donate money to a charity or organisation that is working on these issues.
  • Donate your time by organising fundraising events, documentary viewings, information sessions or even just gather within your local area to discuss how you can make a difference there. Eventbrite is offering a discount to non-profit and fundraising groups who organise their ticketing and registration through their website. It is a great resource to have!

 

Just writing this post got me excited to help out with ocean conservation and thinking about whether I should organise an event as well to spread the word or even have a documentary screening in my local area!

What causes do you support? Share them in the comment box below, I would love to hear about them!

With love,

Lii

 

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post. All the opinions are my own.