TAG: Sustainability

Re-Use and Re-Cycle

Recycling Household Items

While recycling things like plastic bottles and aluminum cans may seem like no-brainers, other products may be more complicated to correctly dispose of. Empty cosmetic containers, appliances, electronics and chemicals for instance, may take some researching in order to properly recycle them. Empty makeup containers that are made of things like glass, metal and plastics can usually be recycled at local facilities. Mail-in-programs are available through some cosmetic companies, and many other eco-friendly manufacturers are offering recycling incentives or services for their products and packaging. Once the makeup is gone, you can also see if there is something the container… read more

Cheesed Off

Climate V's Cheese

Can cheese be made sustainably? A recent Environmental Working Group and CleanMetrics study found that that cheese is among the top three worst protein sources in terms of negative environmental impacts (lamb was first, beef second). One of the biggest problems associated with food production is that farming, processing, packaging, and transporting food products generates greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global warming. In the case of cheese, the majority of GHG emissions occur during milk production. Dairy farmers can reduce GHG emissions by making cheese from cow’s or goat’s milk rather than sheep’s milk (sheep produce more methane per… read more

Traveling Smart

Smart traveling

Whether you are lucky enough to book a global adventure or content to hike through a local terrain, responsible traveling is a model to take along. You might not think about your need to explore having much of an environmental effect, but when thinking in terms of the numbers of transnational travelers each year, it helps to watch your own steps. According to the World Tourism Organization, international travel was up 5% in 2012, which was around a 22 million person increase since the previous year. That’s a lot of worldwide trekking. And while there is no way to put… read more

Community Capital Helping to Achieve Sustainability

Community Capital

When we hear the word “capital”, it’s not uncommon for people’s thinking to default to money and economics. But capital – particularly human, social, or community capital – is so much more than dollars and cents and physical property. It is also key to achieving widespread social change for sustainability. Whilst it can be difficult to clarify, social (or community) capital is generally understood as the “capacity of individuals to secure benefits by virtue of their membership in social structures” (Portes, 1998, p.6). Founded in human activity, community capital is produced through social organization and the sense of cohesion this… read more

Farms in the City

Farm in the city, Holland

It is very exciting to report on three new and inventive ways to produce and sell food on the retail scene. These promise to utilize modern sustainable agriculture techniques to make good food available to the local masses. All encompass the theme that healthy food should not have to go on a massive mile journey to get to the table. These fresh food concepts are friendly for the environment as well as the surrounding shoppers. Located in the East End of London, FARM:shop is just what its name says. This farm inside a shop aims to make fresh food accessible to the neighboring city… read more

Food Justice

Pears

In her book, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, Julie Guthman argues that simply buying organic, local, or otherwise environmentally friendly foods is not sufficient to reform the food system. Rather, she suggests that such approaches simply allow the affluent to opt out of the current system. Meanwhile, the vast majority continue to purchase pesticide-laden, hormone-contaminated, environmentally unfriendly food produced by exploited agricultural workers because they cannot afford to do otherwise. Purchasing organic, local foods certainly provides many benefits for buyers, local farmers, and a small percentage of farm workers who will not be exposed to… read more

Climate Changes All

emerald tree boa

If biodiversity – the proliferation of life on Earth, the totality of plants and animals and micro-organisms – is already being radically diminished through human activities, what impact will climate change have on ecosystems and species around the world? There is growing agreement amongst conservation biologists and ecologists of the intimate connection between concerns about biodiversity loss and concerns about climate change. To this point, habitat destruction, introduced species, over-population and consumption, pollution and over-exploitation have been the key culprits for loss of species world-wide. According to Robert May (cited in Planet Earth: The Future (what the experts say)), these… read more

100 Things Challenge

Declutter your life

Many people are reacting to the negative psychological, social, and environmental impacts of rampant consumerism with a strong desire to declutter and simplify their lives. Some have taken this to the extreme, attempting to reduce their worldly belongings to just 100 things. The 100 things grass roots movement, started by entrepreneur Dave Bruno, has been gaining ground in recent years (you can read about Bruno’s challenge on his blog: guynameddave.com. The enthusiasm with which the 100 things challenge has been embraced is unsurprising given how many people feel overwhelmed, weighed down, and oppressed by the sheer volume of stuff they… read more

The Scoop on Weeds

The problem with weeds

Whilst some ecologists may argue the details, we can think of weeds as invasive species that pose serious threats to both the natural environment and primary production industries. Whether in Australia or elsewhere in the world, weeds are widely recognized as having major economic, environmental and social impacts. They cause damage to wild landscapes, agricultural lands, waterways and coastal areas. Terrestrial weeds are a problem to the land (and those who rely on it, human and non-human alike), while aquatic weeds can pose major challenges to the health of water systems – from mangroves to mountain streams. According to the… read more

Slow Food Movement

Farming local produce

By the second half of the 20th century the world was already moving at a fast pace, with a majority of people living fast, driving fast, and eating fast. Then, as now, you couldn’t turn onto any major highway without a billboard, sign or restaurant promising cheap, fast food uprooted alongside every exit. But these fast-food chains did more than frequent busy stretches of traffic, as soon they were beginning to invade sacred sections of the built-environment. During the 1980s in Italy, the fast food industry went so far as to propose the construction of a new McDonald’s next to… read more