A doctor’s response to proponents of school milk.

You might remember that back in August, Plant Based Health Professionals worked on the World Plant Milk Day Campaign and did an interview with the Times newspaper calling for a replacement of free school milk with fruit and vegetables or plant milk. Unbeknown to them, this prompted a letter to RT Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from Dr Hilary Jones (TV doctor) on behalf of The School & Nursery Milk Alliance. Who even knew about this organisation?!

‘We are a coalition of organisations from the early years, education, health and dairy sectors who are committed to promoting the benefits to children’s physical and dental health and wellbeing that arise from drinking milk in learning environments’.

So essentially a dairy funded front organisation. The UK Government are of course complicit in propping up the dairy industry using tax payers’ money even though demand for milk is steadily reducing, excess milk is being thrown away, dairy farming is contributing to environmental destruction and it’s detrimental to human health.

The following is Dr Shireen Kassam’s response to that letter.

Dear Dr Jones,
I am disappointed to learn that you continue to promote cow’s milk consumption in children and the free school milk programme. You state that milk has ‘unrivalled nutritional content’. In my view, the nutritional content of milk is only unrivalled if you are a baby cow. There is no requirement for milk consumption beyond weaning, as evidenced by the fact that 70% of the global population have lactose malabsorption, which can manifest as intolerance. Europeans have indeed adapted to digesting dairy beyond weaning but even then, up to 30% are not able to digest the main sugar lactose. For those with lactose intolerance, consuming dairy can be distressing, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea. The school milk programme excludes and discriminates against those with lactose intolerance, often children from ethnic minorities in the UK.


With this is mind, Health Canada has removed dairy from its most recent food guide. The healthiest hydration for children and adults is in fact water. You however state various health benefits of dairy consumption for children, such as boosting energy, aiding concentration and maintaining a healthy weight but there is no such conclusive evidence. In fact, a review paper from earlier this year summarising the current evidence for milk consumption in one of the world’s most highly respected medical journals concluded that milk was not required for optimal health in children or adults. The authors conclude that there is no convincing evidence that milk consumption promotes a healthy weight, improves bone health or reduces the risk of any chronic illness. In fact, they highlight that milk consumption has the potential for harm, including an increased risk of eczema, asthma, acne, prostate and endometrial cancers.

You claim that dairy consumption helps maintain a healthy weight in children, yet a randomised study found no benefit of dairy consumption for reducing body fat or weight. You also state that omitting dairy from the diet could lead to malnutrition, including Kwashiorkor — a form of protein malnutrition — especially when consuming a rice-based vegan diet. Yet, when meeting calorie requirements, scientific studies have shown that a healthy plant-based diet provides more protein than is required for any age group.

Neither I nor Plant-Based Health Professionals UK are recommending a rice-based vegan diet in place of free school milk. The study you cite raising concerns about the use of plant milks leading to malnutrition was conducted in children aged 4 to 14 months, when breast milk is considered the optimal source of calories and nutrients, and these data cannot be extrapolated to school-aged children. Studies have shown that the growth, health and nutritional status of vegetarian and vegan children are within normal range and comparable with non-vegetarian children. It is widely accepted that nutrients found in milk, including calcium, can be obtained from whole plant sources and fortified plant milks if preferred. Fortified soya milk, the most appropriate alternative to cow’s milk, has similar quantities of protein and calcium as cow’s milk, with benefits for heart health and breast cancer reduction. The absorption of calcium from many green vegetables is also greater than that from cow’s dairy. This information is supported and endorsed by major dietetic associations around the world including most recently the BDA in the UK.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that our children need access to high-quality nutrient rich food. The foods most associated with health promotion in children and adults are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Yet only 18% of children in the UK eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. We should be promoting the consumption of these foods in schools, which are inclusive of all communities and supported by strong scientific evidence. It is time we put children’s health before the vested interests of the dairy industry.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Shireen Kassam,

Founder and Director of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the mainstream media were not interested in Dr Kassam’s response to Dr Jones’ letter so she has published it online here and on social media and hopes we will all share widely.

Please do.

Thank you.

Making dairy farming a thing of the past, one farm at a time.

It’s easy to feel hopeless with the state of the world as it is.  Every year it gets hotter, animal suffering increases, and the powers that be do nothing to address it.  In fact they continue to subsidise it.

But then something comes along to really lift your spirits.

Refarm’d is a new plant-based drink subscription service, sourced lovingly from ex-dairy farmers.

They say:

WE HAVE THIS CRAZY IDEA

We want to turn all dairy farms into animal sanctuaries and we need you to convince these farmers to join the movement. 

We work with farmers to transition from milk production to focus on producing plant based drinks and convert their farmland into an animal sanctuary.

We believe that by uniting together with farmers and providing them with the tools they need to move away from the dairy trade, we’re offering a viable new opportunity for their businesses to be part of the growing plant based movement.

We will assist the ex-dairy farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land will be converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used for dairy farming.

Show your interest (no payment, no commitment) in buying fresh plant-based drinks from them and let us do the rest!

As much as the animal agriculture is terrible on multiple aspects, – [the animal suffering, the environmental destruction, the damage to human health] –  we cannot forget the farmers in these industries as well.

We believe the big majority of farmers are good people, that do care for their animals, but have just grown in an environment that normalizes animal exploitation so it has become a part of their identity, making it hard to take a step back and make changes.

The industry is in danger and most big companies have noticed it and adapt to the new market in order to survive. Small companies, family businesses however are the ones suffering the most. Lack of money, lack of time and lack of information make it hard on them to go in the right direction. The pressure, the insecurity as well as the very low buying prices (often selling for less than production costs) make for very uncomfortable living conditions.

We want to include helping the farmers in our mission to create the future of farming.

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ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Farms are actually ideal places to become an animal sanctuary. They already have the land, the animals and the people that care for them [they wouldn’t be short of volunteers – I’d love to help look after the cows!]. No need to move animals, they can stay as a herd, nor to use more resources like land to create a new sanctuary.

Farmers joining our program have to give up any form of animal exploitation totally and to fully transition to an animal sanctuary.

Animals are put under legal protection and farmers under contract.  Regular inspections and veterinary checks are performed to make sure of the animals’ well being.

The sanctuary is not working with donations.  Instead, a part of the plant-based drinks price is dedicated to sustain these animals.

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So what Refarm’d need is enough people to tell them they’re interested so that they can go to the farmers and say – look, if you convert to plant-milk production, we’ve got the market ready and waiting for you.  It’s scary for farmers to take the plunge, they need to know they can make a living from plant milk.

They need us to tell them “If you make it, we will buy.”

So go on, get over to Refarm’d and tell them you’re interested (there’s a button to click if you scroll down the homepage).  Then you fill in a short questionnaire.  It asks you what country and town you live in, and how much milk you would want to buy per week, and whether you would want it delivered, or whether you’d pick it up from the farm.  Added bonus: it comes in refillable glass bottles!  NB VERY IMPORTANT:  when filling in the questionnaire you have to click NEXT and it takes you to what looks like a blank page, but it isn’t blank.  You have to scroll up to find a couple more questions including name and email address and you can leave a comment or ask a question.  Make sure you finish it otherwise they won’t be able to get back to you 😀

This is truly awesome!  Please share far and wide!

Save the cows,

the gentle, beautiful cows.

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vegan for the animals

vegan for the planet

vegan for the humans

vegan for the farmers

It’s too hot! God help the animals!

EU must help animal farmers transition to plant-crop farming to benefit from plant-based boom, experts tell MEPs

(An article from the Humane Society International/Europe, 6 March 2019)

Brussels – European Union policy makers are being urged to help farmers transition away from animal agriculture and towards plant-crop farming in order to capitalise on the growing trend in plant-based eating.  Speaking at an event this week at the European Parliament organised by Humane Society International/Europe, farmers, ecologists and academics agreed there is an urgent need for the EU to support transition farming to help farmers adapt and seize the economic opportunity of consumer diets shifting away from meat, dairy and eggs.

A major report from the Rise Foundation recently warned that Europe’s meat and dairy production must be halved by 2050 in recognition of its significant contribution to environmental degradation such as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. The EU currently raises 9 billion farm animals for food each year – with more than 360 million of these animals spending all or part of their lives in intensive cage systems – and globally the figure is an estimated 82 billion animals.

Oxford University’s Dr Marco Springmann, and Harvard University’s Dr Helen Harwatt were joined at the Brussels symposium event by ecologist and rewilding expert Alan Watson Featherstone, and Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson who is transitioning his pig farm to grow oats for a plant-milk company.  Policy makers were also treated to Europe’s first public screening of BAFTA 2019 award winning short film 73 Cows about British cattle farmers Jay and Katja Wilde who sent their herd to a sanctuary and switched to crop cultivation instead.

Alexandra Clark, HSI/Europe’s food policy consultant, said

“European consumers are more aware than ever of the animal welfare and environmental impacts of meat, dairy and egg production.  The current level of animal production is simply unsustainable, and the continued growth of plant-based alternatives is inevitable.  This presents Europe’s farmers with an exciting opportunity to meet this changing demand by transitioning away from industrial animal agriculture to plant-crop production.  With the current reform of the EU’s agricultural policy, MEPs have a clear chance to assist farmers in those transition efforts by shifting subsidies away from propping up industrial animal production, and instead supporting farmers switch to fruit, vegetables, fungi, grains and leguminous crops that are growing in demand from an increasingly plant-based public.”

The EU is currently reforming its Common Agricultural Policy, with a crucial vote planned in the Agriculture Committee in early April. Dr Helen Harwatt from Harvard University believes this is a major opportunity for EU policymakers to take leadership in animal to plant protein agricultural shifts.

Dr Harwatt said:

“Repurposing portions of agricultural land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be crucial for limiting warming to 1.5°C.  In turn, restoring this land to its natural habitat opens the door for reintroducing animal species, which would help toward tackling the wildlife crisis.  Animal to plant protein shifts are essential and policy makers must ensure that policies and support are put in place to help farmers make this transition”

Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson has shifted his farm production from solely animal-based to the cultivation of multiple crops for human consumption including oats for oat milk production.  In doing so he has doubled the number of people his output feeds annually and halved the climate impact per calorie.

Farmers Jay and Katja Wilde, who star in Alex Lockwood’s 73 Cows short film, were keen for MEPs to understand that the pressure and fear for the future that many animal farmers feel, could be alleviated if support existed to help them ‘plant for the planet’.

Speaking at the EU Parliament screening of 73 Cows, Jay Wilde said:

“We are thrilled that our film has come to the European Parliament where we hope it inspires politicians to vote for a better future for both farmers and animals. Giving our cows to a sanctuary to live out their years in a safe haven was the best decision of our lives, it became the only decision when sending them to the abattoir was no longer something I could live with.  But it’s been a very scary journey too because you’re stepping into the unknown.  This shift in farming isn’t just a personal choice, its necessary to protect the environment, so if there was financial and practical support to help farmers like me plant for the planet, it would make life so much easier.”

Spanish MEP Florent Marcellesi said

“We need to leave behind our unsustainable farming model and animal-based diets. Instead, we should turn as soon as possible to ecologic plant-based ones and build a farming model which is sustainable, healthy and respectful to animal welfare.”

Italian MEP Eleonora Evi said

“Climate change is here, it’s already happening.  For our sake but also for the sake of every other species on this planet, we need to take action to mitigate its effects by adopting an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.  This means opening up the dialogue to different stakeholders.  The agriculture sector has one of the highest levels of emissions, and therefore must become part of the solution.  The transition to sustainable production methods and re-naturalization of agricultural areas must inevitably be considered.”

Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen said

“If everyone would shift their diets towards plant-based, it would be beneficial for public health, animal welfare, biodiversity and climate.”

Facts:

  • Up to 20 percent (€ 32.6 billion) of the EU’s entire annual budget is spent on animal agriculture (including feed)
  • Around 71 percent of EU farmland is used to grow animal feed
  • According to Euromonitor, in 2017 plant-based milks represented 12 percent of the global fluid milk market, and dairy alternatives are predicted to grow to a market value of €19bn by 2022
  • Europe is currently the largest market for meat substitutes, having a 39 percent global market share and, with an eight percent annual growth rate, they are predicted to reach a global net worth of €4.2bn by 2020
  • A 2017 report by Rabobank suggests that alternative proteins could represent a third of total EU protein demand growth in the next five years
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission found that a transformation to healthy diets from sustainable food systems is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission also found that transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts, including a greater than 50 percent reduction in global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar, and a greater than 100 percent increase in consumption of healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Humane Society International’s Forward Food program is one of the largest plant-based culinary training programs globally.  Aimed at encouraging universities, caterers, and other institutions to provide more vegan options, Forward Food helps to facilitate diet shifts at scale.  HSI believes that by making animal-free food options tastier, more satisfying and widely available, more and more people will opt for meat-free meals which is good news for animals, people and the planet.

PLANT-BASED DIETS COULD PREVENT A FUTURE PANDEMIC SAY DOCTORS

[This article is from Euro News]

A group of British doctors has backed a call for the end of factory farming to prevent future pandemics like COVID-19.

Dr Gemma Newman from the non-profit Plant-Based Health Professionals is leading a plea for the public to give up eating meat as part of the ’No Meat May’ campaign.  A record number of people are taking part this year with 33,000 sign-ups compared to 10,000 in 2019.  Of those who have signed up this year, a survey carried out by the campaign found that 38 per cent did so because of concerns surrounding the meat industry and diseases like Covid-19.

Hannah Bradshaw, one of the 23,000 new participants, says these concerns were certainly a part of her decision to give a plant-based diet a go.

”There is more information about the meat industry causing diseases than ever before,” she said, “and stronger links between the impacts on our health compared to a meat-free diet.”

The campaign has seen a big increase in sign-ups this year.

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH MEAT?

Zoonotic diseases, like Covid-19, are those that can spread between animals and humans.  Worldwide they have been the cause of many historic outbreaks including H1N1 and Ebola.  There is little evidence, however, to suggest that eating less meat directly reduces the occurrence of deadly disease outbreaks.

The most important factor, according to the UN Environment Program, is instead an increased amount of close contact between humans and animals like pigs, bats or birds which allows pathogens to jump between species.  In 2016 it identified increasing encroachment of animal agriculture into natural ecosystems as a driving factor of zoonotic diseases warning that the “livestock revolution” could lead to a potential disaster.

“Some politicians and commentators blame China for Covid-19, but they do not mention that all of the recent major disease outbreaks have been caused by tampering with animals and their habitats,” says Dr Newman, “our chicken salad or pepperoni pizza could be the next big health risk.”

“Industrial-scale factory farms are like a ticking time bomb”, she adds, “and shifting our diets away from meat [and all animal products] could help move towards a safer future”.

IMPROVING OUR OVERALL HEALTH

Consultant Haematologist and Director of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, Doctor Shireen Kassam also believes there is an urgent need to reduce our meat consumption for both human and planetary health.

“More than 90 per cent of the meat we consume is produced in industrial scale factory farms, which provide the perfect conditions for the generation of novel infections with epidemic and pandemic potential.”

“Factory farming also requires the widespread use of antibiotics,” she adds, “which has contributed to a dramatic rise in the number of antibiotic-resistant infections affecting humans.”

“We have now entered an era where it is not uncommon for doctors to find themselves treating patients with bacterial infections for which there are no effective antibiotics.”

Dr Kassam explains that it is also a matter of overall public health. “We have known for decades that a healthy plant-based diet, which minimises or eliminates meat [and animal products], is associated with some of the lowest rates of chronic disease and a longer and healthier life.”

National Food Strategy – Call for Evidence

defra

Don’t forget the closing date for taking part in DEFRA’s survey about the future of food production in this country is this week!  The 25th October!  If you haven’t completed the survey already please do let them know that for the sake of the environment and human health, UK farming needs to transition from animal farming to arable farming.  Subsidies need to taken away from animal agriculture and given instead to plant-food growers and help should be available to farmers who want to transition from animals to plants.

Express your opinion and upload a document of evidence to support your argument.  I used this one but there is so much scientific evidence out there to choose from.

We have to phase out animal farming completely.  It’s the only option makes sense!

 

Greta Thunberg: action is the only thing to bring hope

Watch this.  Nothing could be more important.

Yesterday I heard a woman complaining at the checkout about how much she had to pay for plastic bags.  She complained but she didn’t act.  She didn’t make the effort to bring re-usable bags with her.  She was clueless.  I am daily flabbergasted at the cluelessness of so many people who blindly continue with their destructive habits in spite of the devastation they cause to the planet.  Do they think it’s not their problem?  Do they think the government will solve it?

This problem can only be solved by everybody.

Plastic Free Easter Eggs

Here is a scrummy Easter Egg which ticks all the right boxes:

VEGAN

ORGANIC

FAIR TRADE

And it’s not wrapped in plastic!!! 😀

Just a cardboard box with a delicious, foil-wrapped, chocolate egg inside.  Remember when they were all like that?  Not so long ago.

It just goes to show, there’s no need to contaminate the planet, milk a cow or enslave a child to enjoy a yummy Easter egg 😀

Get over to Holland & Barrett for yours! 😀

Yum 😀

 

Plastic Avoidance: Part 7

Zero Waste Club

Remember I wrote in my earlier plastic avoidance posts that it was impossible, in my experience, to get organic stuff (like sugar, lentils, dried fruit, nuts, pasta etc etc) that wasn’t wrapped in plastic?  Remember I said that we’d decided we had to prioritise plastic avoidance even if that meant having to buy non-organic?  Well, I’m absolutely delighted to tell you I was wrong!!!

Thanks to the Zero Waste Club (a new mail-order company in London) you can now buy all those wonderful staples organic and plastic-free 😀

In my first order I got sugar, salt, muesli and banana chips.  In my second order I got popping corn, pitted dates, raisins, cashews, pasta, lentils and cinnamon, but they’ve got so much more!  Nuts, pulses, dried fruit, muesli, oats, flour, cocoa, herbs and spices, seeds: check it out!  They told me they’re going to get tea soon too!!!

The Zero Waste Club was set up by a couple of lads, Pawan Saunya & Rishi Gupta, who got so upset when they watched a documentary about plastic pollution in their A’level World Development lesson that they determined to do something about it.  You can read their inspirational story here. Thanks to Pawan and Rishi, the rest of us ZERO WASTE WANNA BEs don’t have to miss out on pasta and dried fruit and nuts and salt etc etc in our efforts to boycott plastic, and we don’t have to compromise our organic principles either.

You can order by weight through their website and they will package up your goodies in tough, recycled paper bags (see picture at top) which you can in turn re-use, recycle and/or compost.  I’m keeping mine for filling with fruit and veg peelings in the kitchen and then the whole lot can go in the compost bin.  They despatch every Wednesday for a flat rate of £3.99 per order.  I cannot recommend this site highly enough.  It’s just so exciting when your goodies arrive!

Pop over to Pawan and Rishi’s and place your order now! 😀

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twothreefour, five and six

Plastic Avoidance: Part 6

Toiletries

Toothbrushes

According to the Australian Environmental Toothbrush website, over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of by Australians annually, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill each year. The plastic they’re made of won’t break down in our lifetime.  Nor within the lifetime of our children. Imagine that on a global scale.  This is what inspired a Brisbane dentist to invent the wonderful Environmental toothbrush.

Thankfully they are easy to get hold of in this country too and you may well find them in your local health food store.  If not you can get them from Living Naturally (the soapnut people) and of course they sell them on Amazon 🙂 I recommend ordering a few from Living Naturally when you get your soapnuts 😉

These toothbrushes are lovely and they come wrapped in nothing but a little cardboard box.  Being made of bamboo they are safely compostable if you remove the bristles – they haven’t been able to find natural bristles yet so they’re made of a BPA-free polymer, as they explain here, but still this toothbrush is far superior to one made entirely of plastic.

We use our toothbrushes for cleaning the bathroom when our teeth have finished with them.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste is very difficult to find without plastic, so let us know if you find any.  We’ve just discovered Remineralizing Tooth Salve, haven’t tried it yet but it looks very promising.  It’s made by Ophir Naturals and we came across it at Living Naturally.  These little tabs come in a glass jar (unfortunately it does have a plastic lid) and according to the manufacturer, they enable the teeth to re-propogate enamel through the process of remineralization (you can read the scientific details here).  They’re vegan, sustainable and fair trade;  and their customer testimonials are very impressive.  It’s quite expensive but if it does as it claims it’ll be worth every penny for what you’ll save on dental work.  I’m really looking forward to trying these – I’ll let you know how we get on 🙂

post script:  10.42pm – we’ve now tried them and, well, the soapy taste is gonna take some getting used to – Miranda ate a cake afterwards to get rid of the taste 😉 – but I’m so encouraged by the testimonials on their website that I have high-hopes for their effect on my teeth and I will continue using them 😀 

pps: Just wanted to add that I’m now really enjoying Ophir Remineralizing tooth salve – it’s so soft on my teeth and I got used to the taste very quickly.  Good stuff! 😀

Update:

We are now lucky enough to have found a zero waste pop up shop in Ashford called Bare Bazaar and from them we can buy lots of unpackaged staples including Denttabs!

dent tabs

They come packaged in nothing but a plain brown envelope so you can decant them into a jar when you get home to keep them dry.  They taste great and do a lovely job on your teeth.  Maybe there’s somewhere near you that sells them, or if not, you could contact Bare Bazaar for advice as to where to get hold of them.  They’re made in Germany apparently.  😀

Plastic-free VEGAN floss

floss.jpg

Georganics Charcoal Dental Floss is a natural floss made with bamboo charcoal fibre, candelilla wax and peppermint essential oil. This 30 metres floss clew is packed in a zero-waste and plastic-free glass container with a metal dispensing lid to allow you to easily cut the floss. When you’ve used up all the dental floss you buy refills to put in your little glass dispenser.  We found this in Infinity Foods health food shop in Brighton so check out your local health food store and if you can’t find it there you can order it online 😀

Deodorant

We use natural volcanic alum stone instead of packaged deodorant and we get on very well with it.  After washing and drying your skin, you just wet the stone, rub it under your arms and leave your skin to air dry.  Rinse the stone, dry it and put it somewhere safe for next time.  One stone will last for months.  This really works!

Admittedly I don’t often do activities that make me sweat but when I occasionally do get hot and sweaty and have been a bit worried that I’m starting to smell, I notice a few minutes later that the smell has completely gone.  It’s like the alum, which inhibits the growth of the microbes which cause the smell, takes a couple of minutes to neutralise them.  So even if you get sweaty and start to notice an unwelcome odour, you’ll find that it disappears after a few minutes 😀  When this has happened to me I check my skin again at the end of the day and find it smells lovely and clean, not a suggestion of anything unpleasant.  The only thing to be aware of is that your clothes may start to smell if they are in close contact with your armpits, so it’s best to wear things that are loose under your arms so that they don’t become contaminated if you do sweat.  The stone will only keep your skin smelling sweet, not the fabric that sticks to it 😉

You can get the potassium alum stone from Natural Spa Supplies – and you’ll find a lot of other gorgeous stuff in their shop too.   “Alum stone can also be used as a fantastic natural aftershave, ideal for sensitive skin, which reduces the appearance of shaving burn, and can help stem bleeding from nicks.  Alum styptic have long been used by traditional barbers.  In addition, Alum stone can also be used to relieve insect bites.”  They send it to you wrapped in paper and an eco-friendly paper padded envelope 😀

For those who feel they need a little more protection, Miranda uses this in the summer when she’s cycling.  She gets really sweaty and says this works brilliantly.  It’s a lovely cream which goes a long way because you only need a very thin layer on your skin.  Packaged in a glass jar with a metal lid, it is provided by the lovely people at Living Naturally.  It comes in Rose & Lavender, Citrus & Ylang, or fragrance-free.

The curse

There’s no longer any need to use disposable products for your monthly curse – go to Earthwise Girls to get everything you need in terms of washable, reusable, organic, natural, eco-friendly alternatives 😀

Hand Creams and Moisturisers

This cream is gorgeous.  It’s organic, it’s vegan and it’s the best moisturising cream I’ve found.  It’s perfect for making dry skin (hands and body) silky smooth (I used it on my tattoo and it was perfect for the job), and it says on the tin you can also use it on your face.  It smells heavenly and comes in a tin with a foil seal over the top.  No plastic at all.  You can get it from Holland & Barrett 😀

Alternatively, you can get a selection of soapnut moisturisers in glass jars from Living Naturally 🙂

Soap

For those who don’t want to wash their hair and bodies with soapnut water, Living Naturally provides lovely soap and shampoo bars.  You can buy all sorts of varieties, singly or 5 at a time.  If you buy one singly, it comes it a little drawstring linen bag; if you buy 5 for a little discount, they come wrapped together in a single sheet of paper.

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Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twothreefour, five and seven 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 5

Other things for cleanliness

It’s not difficult to buy recycled toilet roll and kitchen roll, but getting it without plastic wrapping is impossible.  Or so I thought until I opened a wonderful Christmas gift from Miranda – toilet rolls: 100% recycled paper wrapped in nothing but 100% recycled paper!  (She discovered them thanks to a post by The World According To Plumes

“Toilet roll so soft it’ll make your bottom smile” is the slogan of who gives a crap, a wonderful organisation which donates half of its profits to help build toilets for people who don’t have them  (that’s about 40% of the world’s population).

They might seem, at first glance, rather more expensive than what you can get at the supermarket but there is actually very little in it.  You see the rolls are double length (we have noticed a roll lasts twice as long in our bathroom than the ones from Waitrose) and the people at who gives a crap have already done the maths for you: a box of 48 double length rolls costs £36 which is 18.8p per 100 sheets.  Compare that to Waitrose who say their recycled toilet tissue costs 16.9p per 100 sheets.

See?  Not much in it.  And just think what you get for your money: a clear environmental conscience and a warm glow derived from the knowledge that you’re helping people build much-needed toilets.

Each roll is beautifully wrapped in decorative recycled paper which you can save and re-use as wrapping paper.  It really is gorgeous 😀

So what are you waiting for?  Get over to who gives a crap and satisfy all your toilet roll and kitchen roll needs.  Initiate a regular order (every 8 or 12 weeks) to get £5 off, and shipping is free in the UK if you spend over £20.

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Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twothreefour six and seven 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 4

Personal and domestic hygiene

Soapnuts are fantastic!

You can find out all about soapnuts here 🙂 We love ’em and have used them for years.  We started using them as a laundry detergent, as directed by the vendors at Living Naturally (soapnuts.co.uk) but soon found they could serve all our soap needs.  We now use them to wash the dishes, to wash ourselves, and to wash our hair.

Living Naturally Soapnuts (dried fruit shells which contain natural saponin) are a natural, non-polluting, compostable, alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps. No fillers, foaming agents, bleach, phthlates, phosphates or parabens.

For the laundry:

Put about 6 soapnut shells (or 12 half shells) into the little linen bag provided when you order your soapnuts from Living Naturally, and bung it into the machine with your wash.  That’s it.  Oh, if you’re doing a cold wash, or a quick wash, it’s probably a good idea to put the little bag of shells into a glass of warm water and let them soak for twenty minutes first.  Then put the bag and the soaking water into the machine and start the cycle.  When the cycle is finished take the bag of shells out and use them again for your next load.  You can usually use the same shells two or three times, unless you do a boil wash.  I’ve found that if I do a boil wash it uses them up.  Anyway, you can tell when they’re used up when they go soft and beige, and when that happens, just bung them in your compost bin.  Oh, by the way, if you don’t have a little linen bag, you can put the shells in a sock and tie a knot in the open end.

For the washing up:

Put 4 soapnut shells in a clean jar and cover them with water.  Leave to soak for at least an hour, but preferably several hours.  Then tip the whole jar (water and shells) into your washing up bowl and add fast flowing hot water.  Look what happens:

Do the washing up 🙂 Don’t worry if the bubbles disappear while you’re doing it because you know the soap is in the water.  Artificial detergents add foaming agents to make it seem soapier – don’t let them fool you.  You only need as much as the soapnuts provide.  We’ve even found they’re great with greasy things.  You shouldn’t put anything oily or greasy directly into your water for obvious reasons, but if you wipe off as much as you can with kitchen roll, then vigorously rub a single soapnut all over the greasy surface, it will cut through the remaining grease and will be lovely and clean when you rinse it with clean water.  You can put that particular soapnut into the compost, but the others in your bowl can be put back into the soaking jar and covered with water to be used again tomorrow.  You should be able to use them two or three times before they need composting and replacing.

For washing hands, bodies and hair:

For this you need a plastic bottle but you don’t have to buy one – just walk down any street and before long you’ll find a discarded plastic bottle (we found these on the beach).  Bring them home, wash them and stab a few holes in the lid (you can use a sewing needle for this but it’s difficult and potentially painful.  The most effective tool we found was a stitch ripper).

Now, you might be thinking that the lid on the bottle in the photo looks rather dirty and unpleasant.  It isn’t, it’s just a bit brown from the soapnut liquid.  You can see from the bottle on the left that the shells will turn the water brown.  It’s not dirty, just soapy.

Okay, once you’ve got your clean bottle with holes in the lid, put a few shells in it.  For these bottles (600ml) we put 4 to 6 whole shells in.  Fill it with water and leave it to stand for at least 24 hours.

When they have soaked for at least a day they should be ready to use.  Put your hand over the lid and turn the bottle upside down to mix the clear water with the brown and there you have it.  Tip some of the soapnut liquid into your hand, rub your hands together, rinse and repeat.  You’ll probably notice it’s a bit lathery when you rub your hands together the second time.  Rinse and dry.  Put some more shells to soak in another bottle so that you’ve got some ready when you’ve used up the first one.  If you find your skin starts to become dry after washing with soapnut liquid, just put less shells in your bottle.  Adjust to the right concentration for you.

We also use our soapnut liquid for showering and washing our hair.  I used to wash my hair every day but now I only do it twice a week.  Be aware it might take your hair a couple of weeks to get shampoo out of its system (those products make your hair very needy) and you might have to put up with it being a bit greasier than you’re used to at first, but after a couple of weeks of using soapnut water you’ll find your hair looks and feels as soft and clean as it ever did with shampoo and you might find, like me, that you don’t need to wash it so often.  Oh, I should mention that your hair won’t lather up when you use soapnut water, but that doesn’t matter.  Just massage it in like you would shampoo, leave it in for a couple of minutes while you continue with your shower, rinse and repeat.  After the second rinse you’ll notice that your hair squeaks when you rub it, – it’s squeaky clean.

WARNING:  WHEN WASHING YOUR HAIR WITH SOAPNUT WATER, TILT YOUR HEAD BACK AND KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED.  IF YOU GET IT IN YOUR EYES IT WILL STING!!!

Don’t worry, we’ve got it in our eyes more than once and the stinging subsides after a couple of hours and vision goes completely back to normal, but still, for your own comfort, it’s best avoided 😀

So there you have it – not only plastic-free, but completely compostable when finished with.  It doesn’t get any greener than that.

We’ve bought soapnuts from a couple of places but Living Naturally are the best because they don’t use any plastic in their packaging.  Well, if you do get plastic outer packaging in the post from them it’s only because they’ve re-used plastic that they’ve been sent, and they do give you the option to request no plastic when you order 🙂

Check them out, they’re brilliant 😀

Multi-surface cleaner

Vinegar makes a great multi-surface cleaner – for bathrooms, toilets, sinks, windows and paintwork, we’ve used it for years.  Plus, if you’ve got any black mould trying to tattoo your walls and ceilings this winter, zap it with vinegar and scrub it off.   Vinegar is mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species.

It’s easy to get organic vinegar in a glass bottle with metal lid, and if you’ve got an old plastic spray bottle from a previously-bought multi-surface cleaner, then you can just wash it out, fill it with vinegar and you’re all set.  Cider vinegar is just as good, but we switched to white wine vinegar because cider vinegar can leave a yellowish discolouration on white paintwork 🙂

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Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts two, threefive six and seven 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 3

Real Food

Once you’ve accepted that you can’t always get organic, it’s not difficult to avoid plastic.  If you can’t find enough loose produce at your usual supermarket, find out if there’s a good old fashioned market in your town.  We’ve found one which is just a big fruit and veg stall in the town centre, once or twice a week.  The guys who run it are really friendly, they sell quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, provide small (compostable) paper bags to fill, and it’s very good value for money – much better even than the supermarkets.  Just take your own shopping bags and get them to weigh as much as you need.  We bought a big 12.5 kg sack of Desiree potatoes from them for just £5!

We also have a health food shop not too far away which sells a small selection of loose organic produce which is great although we can’t get there every week.

Or you might be able to find a local organic produce grower who operates a veg box scheme whereby you order a weekly veg box from them and they deliver it to your door.  They will be happy to leave the box in a designated safe place if you’re going to be out and you’ll get a great selection of whatever is in season. The soil Association will help you find a scheme near you 🙂

As for other necessary staples – you can probably get most of them in glass jars or tins.  We used to buy lentils, sultanas, pasta, tofu, cereal etc etc in plastic packets because we thought we couldn’t avoid it, but now we’re getting our lentils in tins and we’ll manage without cereal, pasta and dried fruit.  We buy organic oats in paper bags and I’ll mix them with fresh fruit for my breakfast instead of sultanas.

*Since writing this I have discovered the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful mail order company in London from whom you can order organic dried fruit, nuts, grains, pasta, sugar, pulses, seeds, cocoa, popcorn, herbs and spices and more! You order it by weight and they mail it to you wrapped in paper bags.  See Plastic Avoidance: Part 7.

Things like vinegar, ketchup and oil are easy to get in glass bottles, although sadly I don’t think there’s any way of avoiding the plastic pouring spout they put in the oil bottles.  But I always think, even if everything is not as perfect as you’d like it to be, the world would be a better place if everyone at least did this.  Same goes for things like cocoa powder and gravy granules – they come in cardboard tubs with metal bottoms and a plastic lid.  Sometimes mostly plastic-free is the best you can do.

Lots of other staples that have always been wrapped in paper, still are.  You can get bread in paper bags from a bakery, or you can make your own.  I haven’t been able to buy salt without plastic wrapping but if you buy things with salt already added – like the stock cubes above (paper-wrapped in a cardboard box) – then you can manage without it.Something else to be aware of is that tea bags (which are supposed to be compostable) are actually made of 20% plastic.  See here for a great post with more details about that and sign this petition aimed at getting Unilever to remove all plastic from their tea bags.  Be aware though, it’s not just Unilever that does it, this is common practice.  The only way to be sure you’re not getting plastic is to buy loose tea leaves 🙂 And if you check this out you’ll see that there are a lot more uses for tea leaves than just a relaxing drink.

Need a meal in a hurry?  Well, you can’t buy hash browns or oven chips anymore, but look what you can buy!  There are all sorts of delicious and convenient ready-prepared vegan goodies in cardboard containers in the freezer section of your supermarket.

So whadaya need plastic for?

Not much!

ps I’ve just found out you can even buy plastic-free crisps 😀

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twofourfive,  six and seven

PS:

Now you can get frozen ORGANIC veg that’s just packaged in a cardboard box – no plastic bag inside! 😀

veg group reduced

Look for it at your local health food shop and if they don’t have it, ask them to stock it 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part Two

Sweet Treats

Doing without plastic doesn’t have to mean doing without.

Let’s get our priorities straight and start with chocolate 😀

The chocolates pictured above tick all the right boxes:

1.  They’re vegan

2.   They’re fair trade (included on the ethical chocolate list)

3.  They’re organic

and

4.  They’re wrapped the old-fashioned way: in foil and paper 😀

  • Since I wrote this, Vivani have replaced the aluminium foil in their chocolate wrappers with a new clear film called natureflex foil.  It is a completely sustainable film made on the basis of wood fibre which is fully compostable (in good composting conditions approximately within 40 days).

In fact, as far as we can tell, there is only one downside to these particular chocolates – they don’t last long! 😉

Vivani is new to us and we’re so glad we found them.  Their chocolate is absolutely gorgeous – I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate over the years and I think I can confidently say that this is the best ever!  My favourite is the White Nougat Crisp, no, the Mandel Orange Rice Choc, no no, it’s the Crispy Corn Flakes Rice Choc …. no, I can’t choose between them, their entire vegan range is completely amazing (be aware that sadly not all their products are vegan, but a lot of them are).  Check out their whole range here 🙂

The Ombars are gorgeous too – especially for those who like their chocolate rich and dark and nutritious, coz it’s raw 🙂 Everything is wonderfully vegan and look what they say about their packaging:

“Like you, we believe in recycling.  So we wrap our bars in recyclable aluminium foil and paper, and ship them in fully-recyclable cardboard. Did you know our button bags are fully compostable? Just throw them in your compost bin with vegetable peelings – within a few weeks the bag will have completely broken down and returned to nature.” (see their FAQs)

We got all these treats from our local Health Food Shop, and we’ve seen Ombars in Waitrose, but if you can’t find them near you, you can buy Ombars online here and Vivani lists their worldwide stockists here 🙂 And of course you can probably find them on Amazon 😉

Fingers crossed whoever mails them to you doesn’t use plastic 😮

But, if you’re having trouble getting hold of those, why not pick up a big bar of vegan, organic, fair trade cooking chocolate from the supermarket?  Good ole Green & Black’s Dark Cooking chocolate is also only wrapped in foil and paper and it’s absolutely delicious in home baked chocolate chip cookies 😀

Speaking of baking, if you want more than just chocolate in your plastic-free sweet treat artillery you can make cakes and biscuits yourself.  Vegan recipes use oil instead of margarine, which can be bought organic in glass bottles; flour comes in paper bags and sugar … well, I have in recent years felt compelled to buy sugar in plastic bags because I wanted organic fair trade.  However, in prioritising plastic avoidance, I have discovered that I can buy paper-wrapped sugar that is pretty ethical 🙂  I had mistakenly believed that all white sugar had been whitened with bone-char.  However, it seems that’s just cane sugar, not sugar beet.  Sugar from sugar beet is vegan!

(NB: Since writing this I have discovered I can buy organic fair trade sugar without plastic wrapping from the Zero Waste Club 🙂 )

Silver Spoon proudly state their commitment to eco-friendliness on their packets:

“Sustainability is nothing new to us – we’ve been working on it for 30 years.  Our sugar beet is homegrown and our bags are recyclable, made with paper from certified forests.  We send nothing to landfill and our excess production energy helps to power British homes.”

 They work directly with 1200 British farmers in East Anglia who grow the beets which are then transported just a short distance to the factory in Bury St Edmunds (also in East Anglia 😀 )

Not bad eh?

So far so plastic-free good.

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts three, four, five , six and seven

Plastic Avoidance: Part One

We have for many years tried to keep our plastic consumption to a minimum but have found it very difficult when also trying to incorporate other ethics into our shopping habits.  For example – it’s pretty easy to buy loose, unpackaged fruit and vegetables if you take your own bags to the market with you, but if you want organic produce, it’s usually wrapped in plastic.

We always recycled it of course but we know that a plastic food container, because of its low melting point, cannot be recycled into another plastic food container.  It can really only be downcycled into things like plastic lumber which cannot be recycled again.  Glass, paper and tin cans on the other hand, can be recycled ad infinitum.  Bottles will become bottles again and again; drinks cans and baked beans tins will become cans and tins again and again; paper can be recycled again and again, and eventually composted.

 

So, even though we were recycling, we felt very bad about the plastic in our bins.  Add to that the worry that maybe the plastic being collected by the council recycling lorry wasn’t even being recycled and … well, let me explain:

I had an email a couple of weeks ago from Avaaz campaigning group saying that studies had shown that most (about 80%) of the plastic in the ocean gyres was coming from rivers in Asia and Africa.  Finding it very hard to believe that people in Asia and Africa consume more plastic than people in Europe and America, I was reminded of an email conversation I’d had with someone at Waitrose supermarket.  They told me that there was no facility to recycle their plastic bags in this country so they sent them to Asia for recycling.

Well – if Waitrose does it, you can bet a lot of other companies do it too, maybe even councils?  And if the UK sends plastic to Asia for recycling, you can bet other countries do too.  If the same is happening in Africa that would explain why 80% of the plastic in the oceans arrives there from those continents.  The plastic that I diligently put out for recycling might be ending up in the ocean!

It’s all speculation but it makes a lot of sense and the only way I can be sure that I’m not part of the problem is to take control of it myself.

We now realise that the good done for the Earth in growing organic, is compromised if they wrap the organic produce in plastic.  Plastic not only litters and pollutes when it’s disposed of, the very production of it is toxic since it is (usually) made from oil.

So we’re not going to pay in to that any more.

We have to prioritise plastic avoidance and hopefully these ethical companies will respond with ethical packaging.  In the meantime, we’ll show you our plastic avoidance tactics.

Starting tomorrow 😀

See all our Plastic Avoidance Tactics here

Everything was tidy except Mr Beardsley’s desk

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 15 continues from yesterday:

The chairs were turned upside down on the desks; the bins were empty and the paint pots were washed up and stacked on the draining board.  Everything except Mr Beardsley’s desk was swept and dusted and tidy.

Mr Beardsley’s desk was always a mess – he said it was the only way he knew where to find anything.  Luke decided to see if there was anything worth finding.  There were post-it notes, pencils, pens, two coffee mugs, a pencil sharpener, a stopwatch, a calculator – a calculator?!

“One rule for them, another rule for us!” thought Luke.

There were two piles of exercise books – blue maths ones and yellow history ones.  Luke sought out his own for a sneak preview of his grades.

“He hasn’t even marked ’em yet!” he grumbled, exasperated, “what’s the point of makin’ us hand ’em in on Friday if you’re not gonna mark ’em ’til next week?!”

There was nothing else of interest on top of the desk so Luke tried the drawer.  It was unlocked.

“Aha!”  He lifted out a large hardback diary, “let’s see what you’re gonna make us do next week.”

He dropped the dog-eared book onto the desk and opened it to the first week of December.

Monday was left blank so Luke, cleverly imitating Mr Beardsley’s handwriting, wrote:

On the Tuesday page was a barely legible scribble which seemed promising:

The Wednesday page foretold a spelling test and a fire drill.

The Thursday page confirmed what Luke already knew: there would be a full dress rehearsal of the Christmas concert in front of the rest of the school and the senior citizens from the village. He smiled, knowing that meant no lessons.

The Friday page contained a still more glorious statement:

  • “Yo ho there! Ebenezer!”

Luke flinched at Kenny’s very loud portrayal of Fezziwig and knocked over one of the mugs which was still a quarter full of cold coffee. Thankfully, his reflexes were second to none and in slamming the diary shut he ensured the rest of the desk stayed more or less dry. He carefully placed the book back where he’d found it and rejoined his fellow Thespians.

***

“Will you check on Curly ‘n’ Squirt for me after school?” Luke asked Joe on Monday afternoon as the credits rolled at the end of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

“Yeah, why? Another rehearsal?”

“Yeah. I’ll be glad when it’s over an’ done with.”

“Not long now.”

“Thank goodness!” said Luke with relief, “I think it was a mean trick them tellin’ us we can be in the play without tellin’ us we wunt be doin’ the practices in lesson time.”

“It was,” Joe agreed, having had to give up a lot of his own free time to paint the scenery.

Mr Beardsley switched on the lights and clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention.

“Wakey wakey everybody, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. It’s nearly half past three, so let me just remind you to bring your Christmas shopping money tomorrow. Full school uniform is compulsory – we don’t want to lose anybody.”

The bell rang loud and long, precipitating a riot of excited voices and chair legs scraping the floor.

“Exit quietly please,” he requested, “see you tomorrow.”

“I haven’t got any money,” said Joe to Luke confidentially.

“Me neither,” Luke replied, “but that doesn’t matter. It’ll still be good to get out of school for a few hours.”

Luke and Joe went their separate ways.

“See ya.”

“See ya.”

***

Luke made himself comfortable in the middle of the row of chairs at the back of the hall. He put his bag on the chair to his left, his coat on the chair to his right and his feet on the chair in front of him. He took out his reading book and his notebook, popped his gobstopper back in his mouth and, keeping one ear open for the approach of his cue, read.

  • “Your reclamation, then. Take heed! Rise and walk with me!”

After reading page 71 he wrote:

After reading page 78 he wrote:

After re-reading page 69 he wrote:

  • “Remove me! I cannot bear it!”

  • “I told you these were the shadows of the things that have been. That they are what they are do not blame me!”

After reading page 80 he wrote:

  • “… but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

Luke swiftly returned his books and his gobstopper to his bag and hurried to stage left. It was time for the Third Spirit.

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See you Monday for the next instalment 😉

But if you don’t want to wait, you can read the whole of chapter 15 now 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, vegan children’s story, vegan books for children, comedy, funny, humour, humor, environment, marine environment, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Quick! Sign This! Save the World from Plastic Bottles!

Every day 16 MILLION plastic bottles go un-recycled in the UK.

It’s a plague of plastic that’s choking our rivers and suffocating the ocean — it’s even in our drinking water! But finally there’s hope.

The Environment Secretary is considering a revolutionary plan to give people a financial incentive to recycle. It’s a complete no-brainer, but industry lobbyists and even supermarkets are fighting back, hard — and there’s just four days left in the consultation.

To drown them out we need a tidal wave of public support to flood the consultation — click to add your name and then share this with everyone, we have four days to make it massive:

Secretary Gove: End the Plastic Plague Now!

The plan is super simple: a small deposit is paid with every plastic bottle, which you get back when you recycle the bottle. In places like Germany and Denmark this same plan has taken recycling rates to over 90%.

More recycling means new plastic production would plummet. We’d use less oil, our beaches, birds, and brooks could breath again, AND our councils would actually save money from lower garbage collection and landfill costs. Complete no-brainer.

There’s no time to waste — every minute another 10,000 bottles go un-recycled. With just four days left, let’s make sure the Minister can’t back down now. Add your name and then tell everyone:

Secretary Gove: End the Plastic Plague Now!

In the wild, a single plastic bottle can take 450 years to break down. Winning this would be a victory felt for centuries. Our great, great, great, great grandchildren will walk on their beaches, birds circling overhead as the waves roll in, smiling back at us. Let’s make this happen now, for us, for them, and for our world.

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/plastic_pollution_uk_loc/?cmzEIlb

The End?

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

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Oh dear, it’s not looking good for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.  If you’d like to try to help the bewitched break the spell you could do as Maud suggests and share this story far and wide.  The children of non-vegan parents who are caught up in the spell could be helped to snap out of it if they found this book in their library – it’s worth a try, isn’t it?

The colour version, with Beatrice Wilberforce’s illustrations, is only £3.90

Wicked Witch

and Maud’s original Wicked Wicked Witch and the Ruinous Manipulation, being entirely black and white, is only £2.80.

cover-reduced-for-website

And, by the way, it’s surprisingly fun how easy it is to make a book look like a real bona fide library book with simple, easily edited, or not, photocopies stuck on the first page.

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and maybe even one of those removable plastic book jackets they often have, which come in different sizes and are often on discarded library books 🙂

It’s just harmless fun 😉

Have a good weekend 😀

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Gruesome Hocus Pocus

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

Story concludes tomorrow but, if you don’t want to wait,

find it now on the Fairy Tales page 🙂

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Time to revitalize

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow, but if you want to read the whole fairy tale now, just pop over to the Fairy Tales page 😀

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Manipulation

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow

but if you don’t want to wait you can find the whole story on the fairy tales page 🙂

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Plant trees, Save the beavers and Prevent flooding! PETITION

beaver

THE PETITION STATES:

Britain has been struck by a succession of Atlantic storms accompanied by very heavy rain. In early December Storm Desmond saw 5,000 people flooded out of their homes in Carlisle in spite of £38 million of flood defences recently installed by the Environment Agency. More recently, Storm Frank has caused similar havoc in the Southwest, Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Scottish borders and Northern Ireland.

We demand that a major national tree planting effort is implemented, to build our national resilience to future flood events, and that the shooting of beavers is halted immediately!

The key to reducing the risk of more floods is to realise that conventional ‘flood defence’ can never provide security against the ever more extreme weather events that global warming will bring. The storm waters must be held back into the moors, bogs, fields and headwaters, so that they are given the chance to replenish soils and aquifers, and are released only slowly into the main streams and rivers.

We need more trees: it’s no secret that just having trees in the landscape helps rainwater to infiltrate into soils.

Sign the petition for tree planting to prevent floods!

Next, beavers: trees are food for beavers, and beavers use them to build their dams. And that’s absolutely key to restoring landscapes and making them water retentive. We should select water–loving tree species that are palatable to beavers — like poplars, willows, sallows and alders — and establish them along watercourses, ditches, streams, ponds and eroded upland gullies.

Sign the petition for beaver–friendly tree planting, to encourage the return of beavers across the UK!

Unfortunately, beavers are actually being shot in Scotland. Scotland needs its beavers as much as England does – and for exactly the same reasons.

Sign the petition to stop beavers being killed in Scotland!

By:  Oliver Tickell

Editor of The Ecologist

To:  DEFRA

Quick! Prevent Fracking in Lancashire!

UPDATE:  Lancashire county councillors have rejected Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road.  Fantastic news and a huge relief!  Thank you to everyone who signed the petition.  Stay in touch with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth because this is just the beginning.  According to the Guardian article, Cuadrilla will certainly appeal the decision and our Conservative government is extremely pro-fracking.  But we can stop them if we stick together.  A big thanks goes out to all the councillors on the committee who stood strong and voted against Cuadrilla’s application.

dont-frack-future-web

A critical decision on fracking is taking place in Lancashire. County councillors are set to either slam the doors on plans to drill for shale gas, or give way to the fracking industry.

After an initial vote, councillors have hit a deadlock. Seven have come out in support of fracking, with seven other councillors standing against.

A final has been scheduled for Monday, 29 June. So between now and then, we need the councillors on the committee to know that if they take a stand against fracking, we will stand with them.

Please go to the Greenpeace site right now to sign the petition – it only takes a few moments and it could mean the difference between letting the frackers in or seeing them off for good.

Don’t put it off – they’re voting again on Monday!

Thank you xx

Let the trees stand

And the best and most productive way to stand for trees is to adopt a plant-based diet.  These forests are being felled at an alarming rate to provide grazing land or grow fodder crops for farm animals.

If everyone ends their dependency on animal foods, the forests could be left in peace.

It’s that simple 🙂

Save The Cow, Save The World

save-the-cow-save-the-world-1

10 acres of land will support:

61 people growing soya

or

24 people growing wheat

or

10 people growing maize

or

2 people raising cattle.

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“The world’s cattle alone consume enough food to sustain nine billion people, which is what the world’s human population is projected to be by 2050.”

Mimi Bekhechi, The Guardian, 22 January 2013

Earth Flag

In 1992, Earth Day Canada‘s original Earth Flag campaign collected signatures from 500,000 people and the mosaic flag traveled to the Earth Summit in Rio, when the first international agreement on climate change was signed.

Looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year, Earth Day Canada’s 2015 goal is to collect one million signatures – especially those from children and youth, whose future depends on our collective action today!

Time is running short now but if you want to join in and encourage your school or community to contribute to the 2015 Earth flag, click here to find out how 🙂

Back down to earth

Click here for the story so far 😉

1 allotment

2 allotment

3 allotment

4 allotment

5 allotment

6 allotment

7 allotment

8 allotment

If you fancy growing your own delicious organic fruits and vegetables but you don’t have a garden, why not apply for an allotment?  Click here to find out how.

It’s true that there are sometimes long waiting lists but not always. We were very lucky that our village was just setting up new allotments and we were able to get one within a few months of moving there. And there are still a few plots available now.

So go on, find out what’s available in your area – the National Allotment Society will give you all the info you need – and do something that’ll get you out in the fresh air and sunshine for a good dose of vitamin D and some healthy exercise, while at the same time providing you with quality, organic vegetables that are good for you and the earth 😀

Election 2015: Frack-Free Promise

The UK General Election is just weeks away. With MP candidates going all out to win our votes, this is a huge opportunity to push fracking up the political agenda.

Can you ask your local candidates to promise to oppose fracking if they’re elected?

Frack Free Promise

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are appealing to us all to contact our local election candidates and ask them if they will promise to oppose fracking if they are elected.

And they’ve made it so easy: all you have to do is go to their website, and enter your postcode.  You will then be told which candidates in your area have not signed the frack-free pledge and enabled to send them an email request to do so.

Let’s all do it!  And share it, far and wide.