Plastic-Free Cake

 

You know how frustrating it is when you’re doing your best to avoid plastic but even the glass bottle of organic vegetable oil has a plastic insert, plastic lid and sometimes even a plastic neck-sleeve?  Well, after spending half an hour trying to cut off this evil neck sleeve the other day I decided, I’m putting my foot down!  I am not buying bottles like this ever again!  “But what about cake?” argued my alter ego, “how will you make cake without vegetable oil?”

This is how:

All you need is

  • four very ripe bananas,
  • a mug and a half of self-raising flour,
  • and half a mug of sugar.

 

The sugar is plastic-free too if you get it from a zero-waste filling station or buy Silver Spoon British Sugar (made from home grown sugar beet) which is always wrapped in paper.

First mash the bananas with a fork

Then preheat the oven to 160° C

Then add half a mug of sugar to the bananas and mix well.  This will magically make the bananas very runny.

When the sugar and bananas are thoroughly combined, add one and a half mugs full of self raising flour and mix well.

    

(NB there’s a lot of mixture in that bowl because I doubled the ingredients to make two cakes)

Now you should have a thick, moist cake mixture, ready to put in the tin.

(If You Care parchment paper is unbleached and totally chlorine-free (TCF) greaseproof paper which can be found at most good health food shops)

Line a loaf tin with some eco-friendly greaseproof paper and fill it with your cake mixture.

Put it in the middle of the oven and bake for one and a quarter hours (75 minutes).  Carefully remove and insert a sharp knife to test.  If the knife comes out clean, it’s done, if it has wet mixture on it, put the cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.

When it’s ready, take it out of the tin and cool it on a wire rack.

Use a serrated knife to cut it as it’ll be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Absolutely scrumptious 😀

No plastic required 😉

Source:  I got this recipe years ago from a brilliant homemade book called Grime and Nourishment, (NB this book is not suitable for children).

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vegan, vegan cake, cake recipe, plastic-free, zero waste, nutrition, health, environment,

 

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!

 

An Unordinary Lion (an unthinkable truth)

Here is another bright and fun rhyming story for little children from Dragana Vucic Dekic (author of The Not-So Crazy Cow).

It’s about a lion who, unable to hunt due to an injured paw, is forced to sit still and watch the world go by.  In doing so he notices that the other animals around him, those he used to call prey, fuel their bodies with plants.

The more he watches his neighbours, the more he admires them.

So much so that he decides to follow their example and adopt a plant-based diet himself 😀

An Unordinary Lion  is a very enjoyable happy story, beautifully illustrated by Szucher Agnes.

Of course the writer doesn’t believe that a lion could just choose to go vegan, but by using the lion as the central character in this story she makes the subliminal point that, unlike natural carnivores, we can choose.

I woke up this morning with this story in my head and it struck me – the reason we find it so hard to convince the human population to go vegan, despite the fact that doing so would solve so many world crises, is because those in charge, those in control of education and mainstream media, consider the idea unthinkable.

In 2006 Al Gore, former American Vice President, made the film An Inconvenient Truth about the human impact on climate change.  In the same year the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation published the results of an investigation which concluded that animal agriculture produced more greenhouse gases than all transport put together.

The preface to the UN FAO report begins:

“The in-depth assessment presented in this document of the various significant impacts of the world’s livestock sector on the environment is deliberately termed Livestock’s Long Shadow so as to help raise the attention of both the technical and the general public to the very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to climate change and air pollution, to land, soil and water degradation and to the reduction of biodiversity.  This is not done simply to blame the rapidly growing and intensifying global livestock sector for severely damaging the environment but to encourage decisive measures at the technical and political levels for mitigating such damage.”

Of course there have been no decisive measures taken at the political level.  No one wants to touch it.  An Inconvenient Truth doesn’t mention animal farming or suggest transitioning to a plant based diet, but perhaps that’s because Al Gore didn’t know then.  Perhaps he hadn’t read the UN report yet.  People were hopeful, therefore, that the issue would be front and centre in his 2017 sequel  An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.  Tragically it isn’t.

Rachel Krantz, lead writer for Mercy for Animals, criticised Gore for not highlighting the easiest and most effective thing people could do to save the planet:

“The link between our diet and the environment is both direct and strong.  To give you an idea, if every American committed to just one meat-free day a week, the impact would be equivalent to switching all our gas-powered cars to hybrids. … Important facts about the link between animal agriculture and the environment are left out of the documentary.  Perhaps the filmmakers thought that mainstream viewers couldn’t handle the truth,”

According to a discussion between plant-based advocates which I saw on television some years ago, that’s exactly right.  One of them met Al Gore, who himself went vegan for environmental reasons, and he asked him why he hadn’t drawn attention to animal agriculture’s devastating effects on the environment in the film.  He was told – because people wouldn’t be able to handle it.

So that’s it?  The planet must die because people cannot conceive of a bacon-buttie-less world?

Come on Al Gore, make a new film – a completely honest one.  You could call it  An Unthinkable Truth.

I understand that lions, except the Unordinary Lion, can’t live without meat.  But humans?  Come ohn!  Many of us have already proved that we can.  And if the rest of us don’t do it, that’ll be the end of that.

Let the Unordinary Lion be your inspiration.  Eat plants to save the world 😀

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.

Beauty and the plastic ring

Story continues from yesterday:

For all the Venus Aqueous stories click here 😀

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vegan, vegan stories, vegan children’s stories, vegan children, vegan comics, environment, litter, dolphins, vegetarian, swimming, ocean pollution,

Love Unity Voice

Check out the new vegan online magazine LUV4All – 25 fantastic articles from vegans around the world. There’s so much fascinating and inspiring stuff to read – I’m reading one article a day. Like this one: Nation Rising by Sheanne Moskaluk, about a Canadian campaigning group who are demanding their government stop subsidising animal farming and instead spend their tax dollars helping animal farmers to transition to crop farming.  You can watch a video of highlights of the protest speeches and interviews at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada.

There’s an article by Katrina Fox about a new law in Missouri which bans the use of ‘meat’ terminology to describe any food products that haven’t come from a slaughtered animal.  It means that vegan brands could face imprisonment or a fine of up to $1,000 if they use words like ‘sausage’ or ‘hot dog’ on their packaging or describe their products as plant-based ‘meat’.  It’s absolutely crazy and of course is whole heartedly supported by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, because they want to ‘protect the integrity of their products’!!!!!!

Honestly, this mag has so much – you can read about activism, animal rescue, health, athletics, lifestyle, raising vegan kids, there’s even an article about Violet’s Vegan Comics 😉 It shares veganism from all walks of life, everyone playing to their strengths and being part of the solution.  This is only the second edition (the first came out in May this year) so if you don’t want to risk missing it in the future, make sure you subscribe in the top right hand corner of the Home Page 😀

 

More Plastic-Free Easter Eggs!

This time it’s from good ole Plamil – and they’re shouting from the rooftops about its plastic-freeness 😀

Of course we wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t also vegan, organic and fair trade, but it is, so we are 😀

We also wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t absolutely scrummy.  And it is 🙂 so we are!

Mmmmmm, this won’t last long 😉

Get some from your local health food shop now 😀

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 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 🙂

******

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

The Christmas Market

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 15, the denouement :

At ten forty-five on Tuesday morning, Luke and Joe climbed aboard the school minibus and grabbed two of the back seats.  Tania and Isabel grabbed the other two.

“This should be good,” said Isabel.

“Yeah, I need to get something for my mum and something for my grandad,” Tania replied.

“Is that all?” Isabel was impressed, “I’ve still got to do all mine.”

The engine started.

“Okay everybody,” Thomas shouted from the front, “seatbelts on.  Off we go!”

Luke and Joe pulled their lunch boxes out of their bags.  Isabel laughed.

“We’ll be there in ten minutes,” she said, “you shouldn’t spoil your appetites – I bet there’ll be some delicious Christmas food at the market.”

“Nah, we’d rather eat now,”  said Luke as he bit into his blueberry muffin.

Tania looked over at their lunches and it reminded her of something she’d been meaning to tell them.

“Thomas is a veggie.”

“Is he?” said Joe.

“I think so.  I saw Mrs Tebbut offer him one of her homemade mince pies yesterday and he asked if they had vegetable suet in them.  She said she wasn’t sure so he said no thank you.”

“He’s cool,” said Luke approvingly.

“Yeah,” Joe agreed, “it’s good he works in our class and dint stay with Ms Robinson.”

***

The Christmas market was really crowded.  It stretched the whole length of Fish Street which had been closed to traffic.  Mr Beardsley told everyone to make sure they were always in sight of himself or Thomas.  They were not to go off anywhere by themselves.

There was a Christmas tree at the car park end of the street, huge and covered in twinkling white lights.  Next to it the Salvation Army band played Christmas carols and the whole atmosphere was happy and festive.  The first stall sold reindeer food at a pound a bag, for anyone who wanted to leave a treat for Santa’s friends on Christmas Eve.

At the second stall, if you weren’t short of cash, you could buy a hand-calved Buddha.

The third stall looked more fun – they were selling robots playing snooker.  Luke thought he wanted one but forgot about it as soon as he saw the bird whistles on the next stall.  He’d always wanted to be able to communicate with birds.

The fifth stall sold snake-length marshmallows; the sixth sold Turkish Delight; the seventh had models of owls and elephants in jars; the eighth sold rock crystal lamps; the ninth had reindeer-shaped planters. Before long the market lost its charm for two boys with no money.

“Let’s go over there,” Luke suggested, pointing to an empty bandstand on the lawn behind the stalls.

“Mr Beardsley said we’re s’posed to stay in sight,” said Joe.

“We will be,” Luke assured him, “we’ll be able to see everybody from up there.”

The boys squeezed between the chocolate scissors stall and the cannabis incense stall and climbed onto the raised platform of the bandstand.  They sat comfortably with their feet dangling and tucked into their sandwiches while they watched the merry throng.

“This is good,” said Luke smiling, “I don’t mind shoppin’ if I don’t have to actually shop.”

By the time they’d finished their lunches their classmates were out of sight and Joe felt they should try to catch up.  Luke disagreed.

“No, we might get lost.  We should wait coz they’ll have to come back this way.  Look, I can see the minibus from here.”

“That’s not our minibus.  Ours doesn’t have a green stripe down the side.”

“Doesn’t it?” said Luke, a little thrown.  “Oh, well, they’ll still have to come back this way.  I think we should wait.”

They only had to wait for another quarter of an hour before they saw a couple of familiar faces.  Tania and Isabel were hurrying across the lawn towards them.

“There you are!” said Isabel, gasping for breath.

“Luke! – You’ve got to come!  They’re selling reindeer skins!” said Tania.

“And reindeer burgers!”

Luke and Joe, crestfallen, climbed down from the bandstand and followed the girls to the far end of Fish Street, where all the food stalls were. Luke was sad but not surprised to see what looked like hundreds of people eager to indulge in deep fried flesh foods, jostling to hold their positions in the queues.

“Say something!” Tania implored.

“What d’you want me to say?” Luke asked.

“Tell them they’re despicable to kill reindeer!  Tell them it’s sick to sell reindeer burgers at Christmas!”

In addition to the stalls selling reindeer, there was one selling inferno cheddar (cheese laced with chillies); another was selling turkey sausages spiced with chilli and paprika; another was using a cute-looking model pig to sell pork scratchings.

“You can tell ’em that if you want,” Luke said, loud enough to be heard by anyone who wanted to listen, “an’ I agree with you, but it won’t do any good.  Not while there’s so many stupid people who want to buy this stuff.”

“Who’s stupid?” said a large man in the spicy sausage queue.

“You lot,” said Luke unapologetically, “all you lot in these queues.”

“Is that right?” he said slowly, turning to face Luke with eyes narrowed.

Tania and Isabel blushed and took a step back.  Joe looked at his feet.  Luke didn’t move.

“Yeah,” said Luke, “Don’t you think it’s stupid to pay for somethin’ what’s killin’ the planet?”

A few more people turned to listen.  Luke went on.

“Well, I call it stupid coz animal farmin’ kills the sea and the rainforests and makes more greenhouse gases than cars an’ planes an’ all transport put together!”

“Says who?” asked the man sceptically.

“Said the United Nations.  Over ten years ago.”  He paused briefly to let them absorb it before concluding.  “Yeah, it’s pretty stupid to spend your money on killin’ the planet you live on.  You’re killin’ yourselves.  An’ your children.  An’ your children’s children.”

Luke was surprised and disappointed to get almost no reaction to his shocking revelation, but he didn’t give up.  He had more.

“An’ I should say it’s pretty stupid to let people starve coz you paid for their food to be given to seventy billion farm animals, just so you can eat meat an’ cheese.  Yeah, anyone who pays for that is pretty stupid alright.  And selfish.”

The large man laughed stupidly.

“But it tastes so good!” he scoffed and turned back to wait for his sausage.

In the silence before the conversational hubbub rose again, three or four people walked away from the food stalls.  Luke turned back to Tania and Isabel.

“See, there’s no point tellin’ people they’re horrible for sellin’ horrible things.  They don’t care.  They’ll sell anythin’ if people’ll pay ’em for it.  It’s the people what pay for it who make it happen.  If they didn’t buy it, no one would sell it.”

The girls nodded.  Isabel looked guiltily at the half-eaten bag of pork scratchings in her hand and quickly tossed it in the bin.  All four children walked back to the bandstand to look out for the rest of their class returning to the minibus.  When they were back in their seats on the bus, Tania made a declaration.

“I’m going to make an early new year’s resolution,” she paused for effect before announcing, “I’m going vegan!”

“Me too,” said Isabel, smiling.

Luke looked wonderingly at Joe.  Joe nodded.

“D’you want to join our secret society?” they asked.

  • Good Spirit, your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

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Christmas is just around the corner, for Luke as well.  Join us tomorrow for the beginning of a Christmassy final chapter of the second Luke Walker book 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, Christmas, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s book, fiction, juvenile fiction, animals, environment, humour, adventure, activism

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

Explain

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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Explain.  How is this the only waste you personally made this week?”

Luke explained.

“I told my mum not to buy the vegetables an’ fruit in plastic bags an’ nets an’ trays ’cause we don’t need ’em, we just throw ’em away as soon as we get home. So I jus’ put it all loose in the trolley; I laid it on top of a soft bag so it dint get bruises, and then I put it in our own bags when we paid for it.”

The fact that the bags to which he referred were actually pillowcases was an irrelevant detail unnecessary to divulge.

“Ok, good, loose fruit and veg – no need for packaging.  What else?”

“I told Mum to get the loose lentils and raisins that you can weigh, instead of the ones in packets, and we put it in our bags we took with us what we can re-use.”

He paused, waiting for her to acknowledge receipt of this information.

“Go on,” she urged.

“I told Mum to get me the porridge oats what comes in jus’ a paper bag instead of cereal what’s in boxes and plastic bags.  An’ we got flour an’ sugar in paper bags an’ bread in paper bags instead of plastic; an’ peanut butter in a glass jar with a metal lid; an’ vinegar an’ ketchup an’ apple juice an’ sunflower oil in glass bottles with metal lids – but we ‘aven’t finished all of ’em so I on’y brought the juice bottle today – an’ two tins of beans.  That’s everythin’ I ate an’ I made my Mum choose glass an’ tins because they can be recycled over an’ over forever an’ ever, back into bottles an’ food tins, but plastic is bad an’ can on’y be cycled to things like plastic bricks an’ stuff that can’t be recycled in the end.”

Mrs Tebbut was lost for words.  He had read the printouts.  He had done the work.  Impressively.  She looked at the three paper bags, one glass bottle and two baked beans tins and was amazed at how simple it could actually be.

“Well done Luke,” she said, “very well done indeed.”

At the end of the day when everyone else was going to get their coats, Mrs Tebbut called Luke to her desk.

“Good work today Luke,” she said, “is this something you’ve been concerned about for a while?  I mean before we started our project?”

Luke was unused to his teacher’s friendly voice being directed at him but he saw no harm in indulging her.

“Yeah.  Since I saw Spiker caught in the plastic rings an’ all the litter what hurts the animals.  An’ since so many people are jus’ stupid to keep droppin’ the litter I thought the best thing to do is to make shops stop sellin’ it, then there’d be nothin’ to drop, ‘cept maybe paper bags but that won’t hurt no one and it won’t last long.  So I’m teachin’ my Mum not to buy things with plastic.”

“Well, Luke, that’s wonderful, I’m very impre….”

“An’ I’m makin’ new things out of old things as well,” being impressive was new to Luke – he couldn’t stop now, “so I’m recyclin’ ’em myself and I’m reducin’ the buyin’ of new things ’cause of fixin’ things and makin’ new ones out of old ones.”

Mrs Tebbut smiled.

“Really?  What are you making?”

“At the moment,” he said proudly, “I’m knittin’ a blanket for my pet lamb to keep ‘im warm on chilly nights.”

“Wonderful!  And are you using recycled yarn from an unravelled jumper?”

“Kind of, but no, not yarn.  Strips of material.”

She looked confused so he tried to explain.

“I got the idea from me Nan’s magazine ’bout makin’ rag rugs by cuttin’ old material into strips an’ knottin’ ’em together to make long long strings of it an’ then knittin’ with it. It’ll make a thick, soft blanket for Squirt to sleep on.”

“Fantastic!  What material are you using?  What are you cutting up?”

Luke was glad she asked because he’d put a lot of thought into that decision.  He answered with the quiet confidence of a wise person enlightening a complete beginner.

“I decided the warmest stuff would be what blankets are made of and I found two big blankets in the airing cupboard what nobody was usin’ so I used ’em.  I’m nearly finished now.”

Mrs Tebbut smiled again.

“You’ve got a good heart Luke,” she said, “off you go.  Have a nice weekend, I’ll see you Monday.”

Luke, almost overwhelmed by the unfamiliar sensation of being approved of, went to get his coat.

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (£4) – the first eight chapters; and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook (£2.75) – every member of Luke’s secret sersiety of animal stick up for-ers should have one; are available from Amazon 🙂

   

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vegan, vegetarian, environment, recycling, children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour, animals, children, sheep, lambs

School Project

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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At Besco’s Luke watched her closely with his project in mind.  To Mum it seemed like every time she reached for something he said,

“No!  Not that.  Get this one!”

She found it very trying but at the same time was impressed with her son’s commitment to the project and didn’t want to curb his enthusiasm for anything school-related.  She bit her tongue and cooperated with most his suggestions.

At the checkout, when the lady asked if she’d like any bags, Luke spoke out before she could answer in the affirmative.

“No thanks.  It’s very bad to get plastic bags.  They make pollution.  You should ban ’em.”  Then he put his pile of pillowcases onto the end of the checkout and started filling one with loose vegetables.  Mum flashed the checkout lady an embarrassed smile and said,

“School project.”

When the day came for the presentations to the class, Luke, because his surname began with W, was one of the last to present.  His peers were getting restless.  They had already sat through twenty seven similar presentations in which they were shown similar empty packets, cartons and bottles being thrown out that week by each family.  Those to be recycled included cereal boxes with their internal plastic bags, plastic milk bottles, plastic ketchup bottles, plastic shampoo bottles, Tetra Paks, glass wine bottles, beer bottles, plastic pop bottles, drink cans, food tins and the like.  Those to go to landfill included toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, brillo pads, polystyrene food trays, plastic straws and crisp packets.  Mrs Tebbut herself was having trouble staying awake at this stage and decided that next year she would get the class to work on a single collective presentation for a school assembly.

Luke waited for Susan Vickers to take her family’s waste off the presentation table and then he walked to the front and stood awkwardly facing his class.

“Ok Luke, how have you reduced waste in your household this week?” asked Mrs Tebbut.

Luke reached into his bag and put onto the table three paper bags, one glass 1 litre bottle and two empty baked beans tins.  He looked at the class and spoke loudly to conceal his nervousness.

“This is my waste for this week.  The yellow and blue paper bag what had oats in will be recycled; the brown paper bread bags will go on the compost; the bottle and the baked beans tins will be recycled.”

Relieved that it was over he waited for Mrs Tebbut to tell him to stand down.  She didn’t.

“That can’t be all,” she said, “I told you to show the class how much waste your household had produced and how you’d helped to reduce it.”

“I did.”

“This is all your family’s waste for a whole week?”

“This is the reduced waste what I made ’em reduce.  I don’t think it’s fair to include the things I told ’em not to buy.  They’re not my fault.”

“Luke, that wasn’t the project.  You’ve misunderstood.”

“I’ve done it fair.  It’s not fair to say I dint do well makin’ my family’s waste smaller if my family won’t do what I tell ’em.  It’s on’y fair to see what waste was made from choices I made ’em make.”

Mrs Tebbut couldn’t argue with that.

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story concludes tomorrow 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, environment, recycling, children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour, animals, children, sheep, lambs

Bags

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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Mrs Tebbut continued.

“Now can anybody think of ways in which we could reduce our waste in the first place?”

Several hands shot up.

“Yes, Andrew.”

“Draw on both sides of the paper.”

“Very good.  Yes, Katia.”

“Stick a note on your door that says ‘no junk mail’.”

“Good thinking.  Yes, Simon.”

“Get your shoes re-soled instead of buying new ones.”

“Ooh, yes, well done Simon.  Repair things instead of throwing them out.  Good one.  Ok, well done, you’re all thinking now.  What about the choices we make when we buy things like food.  We have to buy food, but how can we reduce waste before we even get it home?”

The class went quiet again.  Everyone was thinking but they weren’t quite sure what she was after.

“I’m thinking packaging here,” she explained, “we eat the food but we throw away the packaging.  How can we reduce that waste?”

“Buy food with recyclable packaging!” Butler shouted out.

“Yes, if we must, but what would be even better?”

Joe’s eyes suddenly lit up and he opened his mouth as if to speak but didn’t.  Mrs Tebbut noticed.

“Joe?  Did you want to say something?”

“Buy stuff without packaging,” he said quietly.

There were a few snickers.

How ya gonna do that?  Everything comes in packets!” someone scoffed.

Joe went red and looked down at his hands.  Mrs Tebbut frowned.

“Quiet!  Pay attention to Joe, he’s got the right idea!” She turned to Joe, “well done, that’s exactly what I was looking for.  We need to avoid the waste coming into our homes in the first place by choosing things with the least amount of packaging, and even no packaging when possible.  Kenny – see me at the end of class!”

Mrs Tebbut went on to explain their class project: a week on Friday they would all make a presentation to the class in which they would explain how they had reduced waste in their household.  As visual aids they were to bring with them everything being thrown away in their house that week (after it had been cleaned if necessary) and tell the class where that rubbish was headed: recycling or landfill.  She gave them printouts which told them all about recycling.

********

After tea on shopping night, Luke was rummaging through the kitchen drawers.

“Come on Luke if you want to come, I want to get this over with,” said Mum.

She hated shopping.

“I’m coming …” said Luke, but didn’t.

“What are you looking for?” asked Mum.

“The shopping bags.  I thought they were in here.”

“So did I.  Oh, I don’t know.  I think I put them in the wash.  I don’t know where they are now.  Never mind, just leave it.  Let’s go!”

“Hang on!” said Luke and he rushed upstairs.

Mum picked up the car keys and headed for the door.

“If you don’t come now Luke, I’m going without you!”  And she went outside.

Just before she released the handbrake Luke opened the passenger door and climbed in.

“What are you doing with those?” Mum asked with alarm as she looked at a large crumpled pile of flower-print and cartoon superhero pillowcases on his lap.

“Bags,” he said, “we need reusable bags.”

Mum inhaled deeply, checked the mirror and reversed out of the drive.

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continues tomorrow 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, environment, recycling, children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour, animals, children, sheep, lambs

Last but not least: Luke Walker chapter 8 starts here!

Chapter Eight:

Luke Walker and the recycling

*****

Ha ha ha ha,” Luke laughed, “stop it! I’m nearly finished! Let me finish!”

Luke was sitting on the straw in Curly’s shed, trying to knit a blanket for Squirt.

Curly had given birth to Little Squirt a few days after she arrived at her new home and he was the most playful, affectionate little chap Luke had ever met.  Curly hadn’t let Luke come near him at first but after a while she let Squirt go to him.

“Hey!  I nearly dropped another stitch!  Ok, that’s it! I’m putting it away.  I’ll have to finish it at home.”

Luke preferred to do his knitting in the shed on his plot because at home Jared teased him for it.  He had laughed when Luke first asked Nan to teach him.

“Knitting?  That’s what girls do!  You wish you were a girl don’t you Luke?”

“It’s jus’ like makin’ knots at Scouts Jared!  Don’t you make knots at Scouts?”

“Yeah – knots are useful, for camping and sailing and stuff boys do.”

And knittin’ is turnin’ string into material to make blankets or mats or clothes or tents or anythin’!”

He believed an outlaw should have the skills to make his own things and be self-sufficient.  Knitting was a useful skill.  Nan had been very happy to teach him.

Luke put the half-made blanket back in his bag and played with Squirt until it was time to go home for tea.  He had to be home promptly today because it was Mum’s shopping night and he needed to go with her for his school project.

****

This half term’s topic was The Environment and Mrs Tebbut had started by talking to them about rubbish, waste and plastic pollution.  This was of great interest to Luke.

On the board she wrote:

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

“This week we are going to think about how we can reduce waste by the simple choices we make in our lives,” she began. “Although the amount of rubbish being recycled in this country has increased in recent years, the amount being sent to landfill is also on the increase.  In England, we only recycle about 44% of household waste when in fact 80% of it is recyclable.  This means we all need to try a little bit harder.”

“Or a lot harder,” Luke mouthed to Joe.

“So today I’m going to tell you about The Three Rs: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.  Have any of you heard of this before?”

Lots of blank faces and shaking of heads.

“Ok, well the idea is that, although recycling is very important, we should first try to reduce the amount of stuff we buy in the first place by holding on to the stuff we’ve already got for as long as possible – taking care of it and getting it repaired instead of throwing it away.

“Then, once we have really worn out our stuff and it can’t be repaired anymore, before we throw it out for recycling we should try to think of ways to reuse it.  Old clothes, for example, could be turned into cleaning rags.

“And finally, when we can no longer find a use for something, we should recycle it.”

“Interesting,” thought Luke.

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continues tomorrow 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, environment, recycling, children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour, animals, children, sheep, lambs

I wrote a book

vegan Christmas book

I wrote a book about some birds,

With pictures in and also words.

Brother birds who love each other,

And want to be free together.

1

The birds are turkeys, big and fat,

The farmer makes them fat like that.

He makes them fat to kill and eat,

For those who think they are just meat.

2

But they are not, they’re meant for more,

Christmas dinner’s not what they’re for.

They’re clever and they think and care,

They suffer too and that’s not fair.

3

So when I saw some library books

In which a family smiles and cooks

A big fat bird to celebrate

The Prince of Peace born on that date, …

4

I decided to put my book

On that shelf in the library nook.

A child might find it and read it and see

Turkeys deserve to be happy and free.

5

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There are so many books in libraries that perpetuate the illusion of the witch’s spell.  Whether they be fiction or non-fiction, they tell children, at the most impressionable  time of their lives, that some animals are “farm animals” and as such are there to serve our ‘needs’; that we ‘need’ meat and dairy and fish; that our health is dependent on these things; that animals are happy on farms and rearing animals to kill them is the most normal, natural thing in the world.  It’s no wonder it’s an uphill struggle for those of us trying to share the truth:

  1.  Animal farming is extremely cruel,
  2. Eating animal products is detrimental to our health
  3. Animal agriculture is by far the biggest cause of global warming, rainforest destruction and ocean deadzones.
  4. Going vegan is the only way to save the world.

Years ago I purchased a new copy of a Ruby Roth book and donated it to my local library.  It never made it to the shelves of that or any other library in the county.  They refused to include it.   They rejected it.

Adults don’t listen.  Children might 😉

NB: If you photocopy an insert from a different county library than the one you’re infiltrating, maybe with the word DISCARDED stamped on it, img199and a child finds and likes the book and wants to take it home, one of two things is likely to happen:

  1.  The child puts the book, perhaps with a pile of other books, onto the automated check out machine and doesn’t notice the illegitimate book hasn’t registered on the system.  They simply bag it and take it home.

Or

2.  The child does notice the book hasn’t registered and takes it to the librarian who looks at it and says, “oh, this has been returned here by mistake, you can keep it”.

And just keep doing it, different books, different libraries, all with a positive vegan message that tells children they are right to follow their instinctive, compassionate natures and love all animals, not eat them.  Most grown-ups are too stuck in their ways; too brainwashed.  Communicating directly with children is the only way we’re going to change anything.

Go on, be a rebel – it’s kinda fun 😉

dscn5751

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.

img199

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

Out of the mouths of babes

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

16

continues tomorrow but if you want to go to the Fairy Tales page and read the whole story now, you can 🙂

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

The Spell

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues Monday but if you don’t want to wait, you know what to do 😉

What? Oh, it’s 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

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

Dependent

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait,

go to the Fairy Tales page for the whole story 😀

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

Her plan was working so well

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait and want to read the whole story now,

go 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

Part 3 of the plan

Story continues from yesterday:

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Luke, wearing full school uniform, was finishing his jam and toast when his mum entered the kitchen at half past seven.  She was stunned.  Normally she had to call him at least three times before he’d get up, and even when he was up he had to be constantly nagged to get dressed and breakfasted.  He didn’t appear to have had a shower and he was wearing Friday’s dirty shirt, but Mrs Walker decided to let that go.

“Morning Luke,” she said, apprehensively, “everything ok?”

“Yes thanks Mum,” he replied politely, “I want to get to school early today so I’m bein’ organised.”

“So I see.  Any particular reason?”

“No.”

Mrs Walker, known by Luke to be very distrustful, looked closely at her youngest son.

“Ok,” she said, eventually, “well done.”

Luke smiled, put his gobstopper back in his mouth and went upstairs to clean his teeth.

He was at school a good twenty minutes before most people got there.  Even Mrs Tebbut wasn’t there yet.  He went in to his classroom.

He furtively looked around to confirm he was alone and then rushed over to the drawers.  Everyone had a drawer with their name on.  They kept their books and pencils and stuff in them.  He found Kenny White’s drawer and pulled it out.  Then he took from his bag Kenny’s droppings – 1 panda pop can, 1 crisp packet and one half-empty sherbet fountain.  He pushed them into the drawer and closed it.  Then he ran outside to kick a ball around on the playground until the bell went.

After the register had been called everyone had to line up for assembly.  Luke took his place at the end of the line, followed the rest of his class into the hall and sat down on the floor behind class 3.  He watched all the other classes file in and the assembly began.  He sat still, faced forwards and pretended to be interested.  When it was half way through he tried, quietly, to get Mrs Tebbut’s attention.

“Psst, psst, Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered.

She didn’t hear him.  He coughed.  She didn’t turn her head.  He faked a loud sneeze.  She frowned at him.

“Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered again, “can I go to the toilet?”

She silently shook her head.

“Please Mrs Tebbut, I really need to go,” he whispered a little louder.

The children near him started to snicker and Mrs Tebbut reluctantly gave in.

“If you must,” she hissed, “slip out the back.”

Luke did as he was told.

Once back in the classroom he grabbed his bag and exited through the cloakroom.  He ran to class 6, the long way round so as not to pass the hall, and entered their cloakroom.  He scanned the names above the coat pegs until he found what he was looking for.  Yes! There it was. Haines.

On Haines’s peg hung Haines’s coat and into its pockets Luke deposited Haines’s droppings: 1 Tango can, almost empty, upside down; 1 crisp packet, almost empty, upside down; and 1 used piece of …… oh no! Luke found that the chewing gum he’d wrapped in paper when he’d recovered it from the crime scene, was now as hard as plastic and therefore unfit for purpose.  He needed something sticky.

Of course! With almost no hesitation – he reminded himself it was for a very important cause – Luke spat what was left of his gobstopper into Haines’s inside pocket.  Part three complete.

“Who are you?  What are you doing in here?”

The man’s voice behind him made Luke’s cheeks flush hot.  He turned round and reached into his bag.

“My brother is in this class,” he said, meekly, “’e forgot ‘is English book so I brought it for ‘im.  I was jus’ lookin’ for ‘is bag on ‘is peg.”

He handed Jared’s book to the Year 6 classroom assistant.

“Oh, I see. Thank you,” he said as he took the book, “I’ll see that he gets it.”

“Thanks,” said Luke and ran back to his own class.

He opened the door just in time to witness Mrs Tebbut holding up a cola-soaked, sherbet smeared, grease-stained copy of the new History text book while shouting at Kenny White.

Luke sat down quietly and waited for lessons to begin.

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You can read the whole of Chapter 3 here, and the first eight chapters are available in paperback.

vegan book for children

Taking note

Story continues from yesterday:

****

Luke put the gobstopper back in his mouth and wiped his sticky hand on his trousers.  There were seven Year 6 boys again.  The missing two had returned with snacks.  Luke knew their faces but not their names.  One of them was Katia Haines’s brother so his surname must be Haines.  Luke picked up his comic again and peered over it in their direction.

The big boys hung around the swings, some sitting, some standing.  The tall one thought it was funny to throw one of the swings over the top of the frame, over and over again until it was too high up for anyone to sit on.

They all had crisps and pop.  Katia’s brother spat chewing gum on the ground before getting stuck in to his crisps.  There was a litter bin next to the swings and when the boys had finished snacking they, one by one, tossed their rubbish into it.  Each boy took his throw further from the bin than the one before him, to demonstrate his superior skills.

Haines went last and missed.  The others laughed and teased him for his ineptitude when his rubbish hit the ground, so he proved them wrong by hitting every one of them with the football.  All seven scuffled noisily out of the park.  

Luke picked up his notebook and pencil,

LITTER: 1 TANGO CAN, 1 CRISP BAG, GUM

DROPPER: HAINES, YEAR 6

then he went over to the swings and collected the rubbish.

Suddenly he heard Butler’s loud shouting voice.  The class 4 kids were coming back!  Quickly he ran north and concealed himself behind the trees next to the pony paddock.  He watched them through his binoculars.  They sat together on the bench, eating crisps and drinking pop.  Kenny White also had a sherbet fountain.  Luke waited patiently for Butler to drop his rubbish on the grass.  His pencil was poised for the inevitable notebook entry.  Simon Butler would then be taught a lesson.  But Simon Butler did not drop his rubbish on the grass.  He put it in the bin, as did Christina and Becca.  Luke was begrudgingly impressed.

He looked at his watch.  It was 1.54pm. 1.54!  Mum had said 2 o’clock, don’t be late!  He had to get home for dinner!  But he couldn’t come out from behind the trees, they’d know he’d been spying on them.  He had to wait.  So he waited.  And he waited.

“Don’t you lot ‘ave ‘omes to go to?” he asked under his breath.

He looked at his watch again: 2.01.  He heard Becca shouting.

“Let’s go on the swings!”

They all ran and Kenny, being the last to get there, found no swing for him (the fourth having been wound around the top of the frame).  He shrugged and said he was going home for dinner.  The rest of them followed his example.

2.09.  Luke emerged from his hiding place and ran across the park.  As he sped past the bench something caught his eye.  He stopped.  Looked back.  There was something on the ground under the bench.

LITTER: 1 PANDA POP, 1 CRISP BAG, 1 SHERBET FOUNTAIN

DROPPER: KENNY WHITE

Sunday evening.  It was nearly bedtime.  Luke emerged quietly from his brother’s room.

“Hey! What are you doing in my room?” Jared scowled.

“Jus’ doin’ you a favour, that’s all!” said Luke, returning the scowl. “You left your school bag downstairs so I put it in your room.  Mum gets cross when you leave stuff out so I’d say I did you a favour alright!”

Jared eyed his younger brother suspiciously.  It wasn’t like him to be so considerate.  Luke stomped off to his own room.

Monday morning.  Time to implement part three of the plan.

********

Continues tomorrow, or if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here.  The first eight chapters are also available in paperback.

vegan book for children

Come with us if you want to live.

We do our best to inspire people towards veganism but are very careful not to push too hard.  We don’t want to frighten people away so we take the gently, gently approach with stories and colourful pictures and poems.

But after watching Cowspiracy in full yesterday I realise there isn’t actually time to do it gently.

If this planet and all its inhabitants have any chance of survival, the entire human population must make the transition to veganism NOW.  And when I say transition I don’t mean gradually, one meat-free day a week.  I mean now.  I mean overnight.  There’s no more time for gently gently.  Everyone needs to know about the urgency; about the crisis we are in.

World leaders and leading charities have shamefully kept quiet about the devastation caused by animal agriculture.  The destruction of the rainforests, the dead zones in the oceans, the pollution of the rivers; the greenhouse gases, land degradation, soil erosion, human starvation, species extinction – all caused by animal agriculture.  They distract people with worrying about CO2; encourage them to drive and fly less and use low-energy light bulbs.  But CO2 is a minor problem compared to the huge huge one caused by animal farming.

Why do you think they keep quiet about that?

It’s not a human’s right to choose to eat meat, eggs and dairy.  No one should be allowed to choose something that is so harmful – so completely devastating – to everyone and everything else.  They made it illegal to smoke inside in public places because second hand smoke is harmful to others.  Animal agriculture is a billion times more harmful, and not just to others in the immediate vicinity.

And it could be stopped.  Without legislation.  Without waiting for the slow machine of politics to get around to it (which it won’t).  It could be stopped by us.  By all of us, ordinary people,  just refusing to buy its products.

Tell the world, tell everyone you know that they can have their cars and their holidays abroad.  They don’t have to cycle anywhere if they don’t want to.  They just need to go vegan.  It’s the only way.  And it needs to happen now.  It isn’t hard.  It’s actually very pleasant.

Watch Cowspiracy (it’s on Netflix and if you don’t subscribe to Netflix you can sign up for a month’s free trial to watch it.)  The trailer’s great but you need to watch the whole thing.  Everyone does.  Please watch it.  Thank you.

Come with us if you want to live.

Amelia Meyer’s Take Care of the World Day

Prepare to be inspired.  Prepare to be in awe.  Prepare to have your heart lifted and your eyes moistened 🙂

Amelias wish

Eight year old Amelia Meyer, who was granted a wish by The Make-a-Wish Foundation because she suffers from brain cancer, wished that she could clean up all the litter in her local park.

She chose to clean her local Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri because she wanted it to look nicer for her friends and neighbors. “Another reason is because [litter] can stay dirty and it can get animals sick,” she added.

Fortunately, Make-A-Wish didn’t just hand Amelia a trash bag and wish her well on her endeavors. Instead, the foundation organized hundreds of people to participate in the cleanup, with everyone from local business employees, the Kansas City Fire and Police departments and schoolchildren getting in on the action. Amelia said she was surprised at just how many people showed up to help.

Watch video here

Sly James, the mayor of Kansas City, attended the event at Swope Park to congratulate Amelia on being selfless and an all-around “really neat kid.” He then proclaimed February 27 “Amelia Meyer’s Take Care of the World Day” throughout the city.

Amelia’s story didn’t just motivate people in her own community, but people in other parts of the state and even the world. As word of her wish spread on social media, other people organized cleanups in their own areas, tagging photographs of their efforts with #AmeliasWish.

Though Amelia’s wish is unconventional, it seemed to bring her no less joy than another child’s trip to Disneyland might. Throughout the day, she ran around collecting trash with a big smile on her face. Jill Meyer, Amelia’s mother, said that the night before the cleanup, Amelia expressed she was “so excited” for the litter patrol. When Jill asked her why, she responded, “Because I get to pick up trash!”

It’s hard not to feel inspired by Amelia’s caring attitude. She clearly hasn’t let her age or life-threatening illness stop her from doing her part to make the world a better place. May her selfless wish serve as an inspiration to people who come from more fortunate circumstances.

Meanwhile, my wish is that Amelia overcome her battle with cancer because we absolutely need more people like her in this world.”

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/this-amazing-girls-make-a-wish-dream-was-to-clean-up-litter.html#ixzz41rivfDYj

Kirk and Crew Save The Whales!

Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home – the best Star Trek movie ever!  We love this film and watched it again last night.  If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, you should watch it at your first opportunity and witness Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Chekov, Uhura and Sulu go back in time in a Klingon vessel (complete with cloaking device) to save the whales.  In spite of its serious message it is full of humour and is a fast-paced, entertaining, well-told story.  Highly, highly recommended 😀

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

The Clock Ticks

collage clock

Every day the clock ticks on,

Around us the moon, while we round the sun.

First Winter then Spring then Summer then Fall,

Through all time ticks on, disregarding us all.

****

Machines and gadgets that progress has brought

Fill homes and lives and contaminate thought.

It’s not progress for the Earth, our Mother,

Miraculous Nature whose gifts we plunder.

****

But She is resilient and could be returned

To Her former glory if lessons are learned.

If we could tread lightly, be gentle and kind,

The damage we’ve done might reverse and rewind.