We need to make some plastic illegal, for real

I want to start a European citizens initiative to forbid some types of plastic. Specifically single use, disposable plastic. Plastic bags for example, they should just be forbidden by law. I just arrived in Amsterdam and I wanted to buy snack at the airport. I am shocked that everything in the small store here was packed in plastic. Just look at this, this is insane! It’s the height of being spoiled when you can’t even chew your own apple, but you need it readily chopped in plastic. Luckily I found an apple and a banana that I could eat zero waste. Yes I can eat normal apples that are protected by peel, because I’m not an old person without teeth.

Last year in September I was out sailing with my mum and my brother. That’s when I decided that this few people being “zero waste heroes” isn’t going to be enough, we need to forbid plastic. My mum had made some sandwiches for lunch for us to take with us. I arrived at her house before we went down to the harbour, and she asked me to pack the sandwiches. I usually do not use plastic bags at all, living zero waste on most days. Not all days but always when I have the energy to go the extra mile to avoid plastic. This time I was stupid, I just took the first thing I found in mum’s kitchen and I packed the sandwiches in a little plastic bag.

Out on the sea, I had just finished my sandwich when the wind started blowing more. Before I could even blink the plastic bag was in the sea. “Noo! Liam, can you turn around the boat?” I asked my brother who was handling the sails. “It’s too windy to be able to precisely aim at that plastic bag…”. For a few seconds I think about jumping into the water but it’s September. The water in the Baltic sea was really cold. So I let the plastic bag go.

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Anyone who knows me can be sure that I would do anything to not litter in the sea. But despite this, I ended up throwing a plastic bag in the sea! I’m not generally very dumb or stupid, but I’m not wise enough to be able to handle the responsibility of plastic. Very few people are. Plastic is dangerous, to animal and human health. Plastic is made from fossil fuels but it’s not really a climate issue, it’s a litter issue. A issue of the health of ecosystems and our own healths. There are laws that try to make sure we don’t drive too fast and that we can’t buy drugs. Why are we allowed to pollute with plastic liter without any limit?

I can’t be given responsibility of handling such a material because I cannot guarantee I won’t do harm with it, no matter how much I try. What about people who do not even try? They surely litter even more. The only real solution to this earths plastic pollution problem is to forbid single use plastics, the kind of plastics that end up in nature. Plastic is durable, so we could still use plastic to make things that are meant to last. Just an example, I think pipes and toilet seats from plastic are fine, I’m hardly going to drop my toilet seat in the ocean. But all that packaging waste. All plastic bottles. Plastic straws. You find them at any beach. We need to stop it, make sure we don’t find that litter on the beach in the future. We need to make sure that the plastic most likely to end up in nature is forbidden by law.

It might take some time before we are politically at a place where it can happen, but the sooner we start working towards it the better. We have alternatives to plastic already. There is constantly news about engineers coming up with new sustainable materials, and once we forbid plastic these materials will be so demanded that they can be produced cheaply at scale.

I love the zero waste ideology and I try to follow it myself. What I don’t like is that the view is too individualistic. People are cheered for figuring out how to avoid plastic. The harder challenges you overcome, the more you are cheered. But why is it meant to be difficult to avoid plastic? We need everyone to become more zero waste. Instead of a few determined persons going to specialty stores to buy food because the normal supermarkets are just too full of plastic, we should change the supermarkets. Change all of society, not just ourself. Changing yourself is a great place to start. The best place to start, but we can take it further. You shouldn’t have to struggle and be a hero to avoid plastic, you should be able to live a normal easy life where you don’t need to constantly panic over where to get food that isn’t insanely wrapped in plastic.

If you are a European citizen interested in joining the committee organising a citizens initiative to forbid single use plastics, please comment on the blog and I’ll be in touch! The more the better 🙂

 

Våga se det fula!

Vi härdar våra känslor och undviker att möta blicken från tiggaren på gatan. När djurrättsaktivister tvingar oss se bilder på lidande djur tänker vi ett snabbt usch så hemskt men tränger undan bilden från våra tankar bara några sekunder senare. Det samma gäller bilder på svältande människor från Afrikas horn. Regnskogar som brinner, klädfabriker som kollapsar så att över 1000 människor dör.

USCH SLUTA tänker du kanske nu som läsare, sluta rada upp alla de här obehagliga sakerna. De får mig att må dåligt. Jag tror att det mesta i vårt samhälle som är fel beror på att vi inte vågar se det fula. Vi måste våga se det fula, utan att låta det kasta en skugga över allt det vackra.

En kompis sade en gång att jag inte borde jobba med miljöfrågor eftersom det skulle göra mig deprimerad och orolig. Jag håller inte med henne. Jag är starkare än så. Nyckeln till att våga se det fula, är att inte sluta se det vackra. Att inte låta det fula äta upp dig. Det är så man orkar. Ibland har äter det lite upp mig, men det är bara på dåliga dagar. Oftast är jag starkare än så. Jag tränar mig mentalt och blir starkare hela tiden.

När jag ser havet ser jag gnistrande blått och svallande sjögräs. Fast jag vet att havet smutsas ner av plast, så är havet glädje för mig. Så länge glädjen över havet är större än oron över plastskräpet, så orkar jag se alla fula plastpåsar på stranden där jag går och plocka upp dem. När jag är orolig över att populationen växer okontrollerat så kommer jag också ihåg att barn är en otrolig glädje, att få barn är guldkanten i mångas liv.

Jag VILL våga se det fula. Jag vill orka fortsätta försöka göra världen till en bättre plats. Om vi inte vågar se det fula, så kan vi inte ändra på det. Våga se hela spektrumet! Det finns krig, svält, miljöförstöring och övergivna barn men sist och slutligen, mitt liv är ändå ganska underbart. Jag har otroligt fina vänner, en trygg familj, fysisk och ekonomisk trygghet och en framtid fylld av möjligheter och äventyr. Jag har det så himla bra, så om jag ens använder 10 % av min tid och energi till att försöka göra det som är fult lite finare, så klarar jag nog av att hantera de ledsamma känslor som kommer ibland. En människa klarar inte av vad som helst, men de flesta av oss klarar av lite mera fulhet än vi tror.

Jag har på mig en röd topp från Zara. Människan på bilden under dog i en klädfabrik som kollapsade. Inditex, som äger Zara tillverkade kläder där. Billiga kläder blev billiga byggnader och död.På den nedersta bilden är jag glad i den topp som kanske orsakade någons död. Jag älskar min röda Zara topp och jag skäms inte över att jag är glad på bilden.

Det låter mycket märkligt, när jag skriver så här. För vi är inte vana att se det vackra och det fula samtidigt. Men sanningen är att de hänger ihop. Och sanningen är också den att om alla Zaras kunder skulle bry sig om andra människors död, så skulle vi kunna få både vackra kläder och trygga arbetsförhållanden åt textilarbetare. Det är bara ett exempel, men det är så tydligt hur vi oftast blundar för det fula här.

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Vi kan inte ändra på orättvisor om vi bara blundar för dem. Våga se det fula, men kom ihåg att se det fina också.

Do you understand climate change? Most people don’t

“What would you care about, in case it was proven that climate change isn’t an issue anymore?”, someone asked me yesterday. I do think climate change is an important issue, but I would hardly lose focus in life if climate change was solved. I’d only be very happy! The thing is, this scenario, where climate change is solved is not some kind of utopia. In fact, we have all the tools we need to solve ut! So, why haven’t we?

Click here to read this text in Swedish.

Climate

Climate change is a problem on a too large scale. You don’t see it, you can’t feel it. You don’t even know how much your personal lifestyle contributes to climate change! The way humans try to comprehend climate change is interesting from a psychological point of view. How can we relate and fully understand it?

Even if most of us really don’t, it is still us who amplify it. It is you and me. We are the ones that buy products made by the industry that pollutes, we are the ones who fly for leisure. For about 150 years, we have been heating up the planet. I have studied how humans and the rest of nature affect each other both at university and in my spare time. I have learnt how little I know, how little I really understand. And I have learned how terribly little most people know and understand. There are so many opinions and perceptions about climate change, and what we need to do to solve it, that are not correct. One of them is the idea that we need to “go back to the stone age” in order to fix the issue, or that “climate change is too complicated, so we can’t do anything about it”.

Is it already a problem?

Climate change is in many ways different to many other problems. It can be discussed whether it even is a problem yet, although it is up to all of us to define what we even think is problematic, do decide what we like and what we don’t like. The earth is now on average about 1 degree warmer, since coal started being burned. In Helsinki, there is rarely much snow in the winters anymore, some animal species have moved away and there is a lot of smelly blue-green algae in the Baltic sea every summer. I am bothered by these things, but maybe most people are not? Maybe it’s not a problem yet, to most people.

Climate change is probably the most complex phenomenon in nature that humans have ever caused and been the subject to. The temperature of the earth is affected by probably a million different factors. Carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases is just a small part of it. Sea currents, solar winds and but also human construction! Locally, things such as large areas of black bitumen absorbs heat and warms up the air, the effect of large black areas could be bigger than local. The circulation of water has an effect too, that is known for sure, but it is very hard to predict exactly where it will rain more or less. All in all, it is very difficult to understand exactly what it would mean if the mean temperature of our earth was 3 C degrees warmer. It’s challenging to scientists, it’s very difficult to normal people. I’m writing my bachelor’s thesis on how media has reported on climate change. They have not done a very good job in the past, is my conclusion.

What’s up with the two degree goal?

You probably know that there is a global agreement that heating should be limited to two degrees. Why two? Last week I visited the national museum in Helsinki, and saw an exhibition about Finland during pre-historical times. About 6000 years ago, Finland was actually two degrees warmer than it has been during the 20th century. When the temperature dropped by 2 degrees, the Finnish human population declined about 80 %. The change in nature was too fast to adapt, and many died. Two degrees colder was a catastrophe, but a sudden two degrees warmer has a negative impact too. We will all survive at two degrees warmer, we have modern technology and science. Two degrees is what the temperature is historically known to have been changing. If we let earth heat up by two degrees, there will be effects but we will be okay. The problem is: with the current pace of emissions, we are heading towards 4 or 5 degrees warmer!! No one knows exactly what happens then, but there are many qualified guesses. In the history of modern mammals, no such rapid temperature changes have ever been recorded. Even when the last ice age in Europe ended, 10000 years ago: the mean temperature on earth changed less than this.

There are some sure things about what will happen. The sea levels will rise. This is a problem especially for poor countries. The Netherlands can probably afford to build a massive wall to keep the sea out. We here in the west, know and care too little about poor island-states. Honestly, most of us here don’t really care that much if some village drowns. We probably have a bad attitude towards these villages, an attitude that they will probably have some disaster anyways and will be poor and miserable with or without climate change. If they are going to be miserable anyways, why bother stopping climate change for their sake? This is not a conscious thought for most people, but probably an unconscious one.

Climate change is a different problem because the changes take place over a long time, they are slow but full of risks. There are signs that are not sure, like is the civil war in Syria now partly a result of drought caused by climate change? The climate of the earth is too complicated to say that because you drove your car to work everyday in the past 10 years, you have caused a civil war in Syria. In theory, it might be, that you and a billion other people with their cars, indirectly caused the suffering of Syrians today. We can’t know for sure about this specific thing, but we know for sure there are effects on people as a result of global warming.

Why are some people engaged in solving climate change, when others are not?

People who think climate problem is an issue, often have a few common ways of thinking.

  1. A fear of risk. A feeling that we do not know what we are doing, and that there might be far-reaching domino effects of changes in our atmosphere. That the effect will be so large both socially and environmentally, that civilisation will end up collapsing. We just don’t want to take the risk. Things might end up much worse than a drowned island in the Philippines and rainy winters in Finland.  Global famines when agriculture collapses if temperatures and rain-patterns end up being totally unpredictable. Global flows of migrants, fighting over the only places that are good to live in anymore. Is the fear exaggerated? I don’t know, I don’t think so. We can prevent this from happening, why take the risk?
  2. Solidarity between rich and poor countries. We should not change the planet in a way that means humans need expensive technology to survive and thrive. It should be possible to live a good life on earth in totally natural conditions. So these natural conditions can’t mean people have to afford huge walls to keep the sea out of their homes!
  3. We think there is a value of its own, in nature. We think it’s wrong to change the climate faster than animals and plants can adapt. Even if everyone would be vegan, humans would kill millions of animals by destroying their homes, if we let the climate climate change too much, too fast.

Most people are not engaged in solving the too fast climate change, that is caused by people. One might feel one’s own impact is too small, you can’t see the effect of your efforts and you don’t get any visible benefits from making an effort. Instead, you prioritise solving concrete problems, that are easily visible to you and affect yourself directly.

Solving problems here or now, or solving hypothetical future problems?

Most human problems are here and now. Such as poverty, both relative and absolute. If you can’t afford something you think is necessary for a decent life, it’s a huge problem right now. We don’t talk about the risk of possibly becoming poor in 20 years. Human trafficking and other human rights violations. We talk about those that happen right now. We help victims who have already been trafficked, by providing them with support, education and integration into mainstream society. Famine. We help people who starve right now. Domestic violence, we talk about it because it happens, not because it might be happening in the future. Mental health problems are also not fixed until they are definitely there, we don’t treat depression proactively.

People who are against strict climate policies say we should not focus on problems that do not fully exist yet. That we should not speculate and treat problems just in case. I think that we should treat climate change just in case, because it probably isn’t just in case, it probably will be just in time. I also think we should treat a whole lot of other problems just in case. Society should support people at risk of becoming depressed and at risk of becoming poor. We should educate girls before they are trafficked as sex-slaves. The reason for not doing this is often stated as money, but preventive measures are usually much cheaper. The same applies for climate change, it makes financially sense to fix it now, not later.

There is already a solution

Renewable energy and vegetarian food. By changing our diets and agriculture, as well as our energy production system: we can already decreased greenhouse gas emissions by about 45 %. On a personal level this means to eat less meat and call your energy provider to ask if you can buy wind or solar power from them. Climate change is an extremely complex problem, but there are a few very easy solutions to fix the largest part of it. The rest of the problem will be fixed when science advances and population growth slows down. So, we already have the solutions, we are just too stupid to use them!

We have the needed technology, we just need to be willing to pay that little extra for it. Both as individuals and businesses. If you and every other private consumer spends 100 euro more per month on supporting renewable energy, and 100 euro less on travelling by fossil fuels, we have already solved a large part of the problem. If you cycle to work, instead of taking your car, we have taken another step. If you own a business, you can transition to renewable energy too, it’s constantly getting cheaper. There are positive possibilities for changes on a state level too. The most obvious example is countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE who really can afford to switch to renewables, and their state economy would benefit from stopping to subsidise oil. In many countries, we can have our public transport run on electricity and biogas. We have the technology, we just need to make the investment. Humanity is now richer than ever, so it’s completely realistic to make these investments.

We do not need to go back to the stone age. I’m always a little bit confused when I talk about slowing down climate change and someone starts talking about the stone age. What do modern photovoltanic solar cells have to do with the stone age? We can fix climate change and still take warm showers, use electricity, enough food and an endless supply of Netflix series! Swap your pulled pork for pulled oats, you won’t even miss pork after a while. Your life won’t look that different after we fix climate change. The difference will be that travelling will be more expensive, when we use less fuels for aviation. Clothes and consumer goods manufactured overseas might get more expensive, when energy and shipping gets more expensive. But when a normal, middle-class Finnish person can afford to fly on vacation to Thailand only every five years, instead of every two years, or one can only buy one new pair of shoes every year instead of five, we can’t really compare it to the stone age, that’s ridiculous.

You’ll still be able to afford lots of shoes, but bought secondhand. You can still take the more energy-efficient train to Thailand every year (current route is by the Trans Siberian to Beijing, and via Hong Kong and Vietnam down to Thailand). On top of this, you’ll be able to travel anywhere by virtual reality! The point of stopping climate change isn’t to stop human development. The point is to stop shooting yourself in the foot. Why make climate change worse when we have the means to fix the issue?

The change we should make in our daily lives is so minor,  and still it could do a great deal to solve a difficult issue with huge risks. Why take the risk if we don’t have to?

Climate change can be solved. And don’t worry about me, I’ll have stuff to do after that’s solved. I think I’ll start with problems such as the out of control population growth, littering of the oceans, helping poor people both near and far, supporting development to end hunger crises, support gender equality to have an impact on domestic violence and sex-trafficking, and of course: support my loved ones around me to feel mentally well. And myself, make myself happy too. So lets fix climate change so I can get more time to deal with these other problems too!

 

Would you eat cricket pizza?

I did, and I enjoyed it!

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Last week, I attended an event by the Aalto Sustainable business club called Into the foodture with my friend Sofia.

We were both quite keen on trying the cricket pizza there. I’ll admit, there was that 3 seconds of looking at the crickets being like “am I really going to eat that?” but then you just put it in your mouth and it tasted fine. It’s possible to quite easily overcome a certain “ew” factor by just deciding to give it a go and eat it! It was really nice going together with Sofia since we’re interested in quite the same things, friends who fearlessly try new foods such as crickets are good to have. Crickets on pizza are not very crispy but still a bit crunchy and chunky. Quite a good piece, something to bite in but not too hard. They don’t taste much in themselves and taste even less than for example chicken. All in all, I think crickets go quite well on pizza but I think I prefer them as a crispy, salty snack. I’ve tried that once before, and I can’t wait until you can start buying roasted crickets as a healthy snack at the supermarket.

I’m usually a pesco-vegetarian but for some reason I don’t really see crickets as meat. I eat fish, so I’m definitely not going to feel bad over eating crickets. Crickets are frozen to death which isn’t supposed to hurt them so makes them even more ethical to eat than fish.  Food is the one thing that has the greatest environmental footprint. The poisonous blue green algae in our sea in the summer, the rate of species dying out, deforestation, pollution of drinking water and climate change are all related to our food production. Sustainable food production will also potentially end hunger crises in the world and is socially really important too.

The event was about how the food sector can be innovative and become more sustainable. Four companies were featured at the event. The cricket farm EntoCube who tries to make people realise there can be alternative sources of animal protein! Right now, the law in Finland doesn’t allow for crickets to be advertised as food, which is silly. But I hope that changes soon. Another great company featured was Helsieni who does urban farming of mushrooms. The mushrooms get their nutrients from biowaste, such as coffeegrounds that is produced in cities. It’s just a great way to reduce transportation and get more fresh food! In general, I really like the idea of urban farming. I don’t think we’re ever going to grow all food in urban areas, that’s impossible. But I think it would be possible to grow all fresh ingredients very locally and reduce transportation and use of land. Then more of the countryside can be nature reservats to preserve biodiversity! Also, by promoting people to eat mushrooms instead of meat the overall environmental footprint of the food is reduced.

Two companies trying to decrease food waste and surplus food being wasted was also there: ResQ Club and From Waste to Taste who runs the surplus food restaurant Loop in Helsinki. I’ve used ResQ club but I realised many restaurants didn’t sell surplus food via the app, but just saw it as a possibility to sell more food in general. So, I started doubting whether I’m actually rescuing any food. Also, everything I bought via the app came in plastic packaging so I got tired of having to recycle so much plastic all the time. But they’re developing the app constantly so maybe I’ll start using it again one day! You get good cheap food via it for sure.

So Loop seems like the greatest idea ever: a restaurant with a different menu everyday, depending on what food has been in oversupply in the local supermarkets! Just to make clear, they do not serve foodwaste in the sense that it would be old food: just food that would go bad in the next couple of days and is unlikely to be sold at the supermarket. The menu looks great, I think I’ll go eat at the restaurant and update the blog about it in a fes weeks!

Hugs and kisses! /Felicia

Ps. I’m sorry I haven’t been updating the blog frequently. I’m writing my bachelor’s thesis and that’s so time-consuming. I’ll be back full-time by mid-May, hope to have you still frequently checking in then!

I’m so happy she’s running in the local elections

Amanda_Pasanen_lokaatio_KP-5WebShe is wise, she is educated, she’s brave and she’s humble. My friend Amanda Pasanen and I share a lot of political values, which made it easy for me to support her all the way through her campaign. Sometimes we disagree on a few points, but both of us has an attitude towards always wanting to learn more which makes even those discussions really good. I’ve known her for 7 years, now she’s running in the local elections for the green party.

Voting in local city elections is extremely important. After I went to Dubai I have been even more interested in city planning, because that was in my mind an example of a complete disaster. Bicycling in Dubai was practically impossible. A well planned city is crucial because it makes it easier to live a sustainable lifestyle. And green areas! Who doesn’t like plants and trees? A nice park to hang out in with your friends? I think Helsinki could become even greener and more beautiful. Tourists could be attracted to come here if they knew they are able to get both city life and nature experiences in just one place. Helsinki has a lot to improve when it comes to energy production as well: coal power stations are bad anywhere but here they are placed in central areas that could instead be beautiful seaside restaurants and leisure areas. I get quite excited when thinking about how Helsinki could develop!

I give Amanda my full support. She knows environmental science really well and could do Helsinki a great favour in that aspect. But she knows more than that. She has studied economics, she know there aren’t endless resources but still she thinks the priority of a society should be to take care of each other. Making economically sense and wanting to take care of each other shouldn’t be seen as contradictions. I think Amanda has a healthy mix of realism and idealism. After all, you can have a city making economically sense and still put priority into taking care of the weak ones!

One of her particular priorities is young people – making sure they do not become marginalised. The “economical benefit” of a young person who escapes unemployment, substance abuse and poverty is very difficult to measure. By investing in the future, we can have benefits over the next decades.

She envisions a green Helsinki in the future, literally a green one where plants can flourish. Save the city forests and use land more wisely by building high buildings. Helsinki has a huge influx of new inhabitants. The majority of people moving here are young people. If the city incentivises building houses where flat-sharing is easily possible, where rooms are properly isolated to give privacy but bathrooms and kitchens can be shared, this would reduce the living cost for many young people.

Tomorrow’s the election, I think you can guess who gets my vote 😉

Trendy, sustainable shoes for this spring

Hey guys! I wanted to share my two favourite shoe brands at the moment. Buying good shoes is quite important I think. Shoe’s are a consumer product which is very difficult to recycle. I don’t know any organisation that would recycle old and broken shoes, so they just go to landfill or end up being burned at a trash incinerator. Shoes are being thrown away at such a rate that getting good quality ones made from sustainable materials really makes sense.

If you already have a pair of nice spring shoes, please do not get another pair. But if you have already worn your shoes for several years and they are literally falling a part, have look at these two brands: Veja and Nae! Vejas shoes are sold at several web-shops, for example Zalando.

The black shoes at the bottom from Veja are made out of Tilapia-fish leather, how cool is that? Tilapia is also quite sustainable to eat if you compare to it to salmon, since it’s a Tilapia is a fish that eats only vegetarian food which means there’s less energy wasted in the food chain. The brown ones are vegan shoes, made from organic cotton. The velcro shoes are so cool but they’re made from cow-leather, and even if this particular leather is tanned with less chemicals than normally, I’m a bit unsure about the sustainability. Better than “normal high-chemical” leather at least!

And Nae is of course made of the all time favourite material Pineapple leather. Sustainable shopping is the absolutely easiest way to make a sustainability impact: you are not sacrificing anything but still you can contribute to making a difference. I’m considering buying the black Tilapia ones, I think they’re gorgeous. But I’ll have to keep considering for another couple of weeks, I want to buy shoes I can be happy wearing for the next 3-4 years!

I saved 10000 liters of water by upcycling old bedsheets

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We talk about reusing and recycling clothes all the time, but bedsheets use a lot of fabric too! I needed a new duvet cover, and I realised how much fabric (a.k.a. natural resources) that actually takes to make. I couldn’t find any secondhand duvet covers that would fit a double sized duvet. Selling your old sheets doesn’t seem to be a thing! Instead, I went to my parents and asked them for some old sheets they do not use anymore. Believe me, people tend to have stuff accumulating over the years at a crazy rate so they had quite a few odd ones to spare! No double sized ones were to be found so I took two single sized ones and made a new cover out of them. Both of them were at least 20 years old, but still of very good quality.

Two old sheets, scissors, a few needles, thread and my grandmothers sewing machine. Voila, it took about 3 hours in total. A new double sized duvet cover would have cost at least 50 euro. This cost me absolutely nothing and I love how it ended up looking! About 2000 liters of water are used for producing a cotton t-shirt, so for producing a duvet cover made from cotton, it would take approximately 10000 liters of fresh water. I really managed to save a lot of natural resources by reusing the textiles for a new duvet cover!

The double sized duvet I got was unfortunately brand new and I don’t really know its environmental footprint.  But I really like my new duvet so I guess it’s worth the environmental price. I did check online for a secondhand big duvet but when I could not find one I bought a new one. A lot of people would find the thought of a secondhand duvet a bit disgusting. I would not mind using a secondhand one, I would just have it properly washed at the dry-cleaner. When I lived in England, I had a secondhand duvet. It turned out to be quite difficult to sell when I moved away! Secondhand duvets are just fine if they’re only a couple of years old, I wish more people realised that used stuff isn’t un-fresh at all.

I gave my old duvet to a beggar, who said her child was freezing and she wanted money to buy one. I did not do it because I’m a particularly good person, I merely thought that this would be a good excuse to buy a new duvet since I wanted a big two-person duvet instead. However, I do hope that she got some use of the duvet. Since I sincerely cared about her family’s wellbeing, and not only about getting rid of my duvet, I did buy her some groceries as well.

I am going to sound harsh here but it’s the truth: Don’t ever think that you are doing the world a favour when you donate bad quality clothes to secondhand shops. Working for a secondhand fashion company (secco.fi), I have become even more aware of how much clothes of really bad quality people have bought. It is really, really difficult to recycle a H&M t-shirt with a hole in it. With good quality fabrics, you can reuse it as a textile and sew a new piece of clothing out of it. Please, dear readers, start checking for the quality of all the textiles you buy. I am writing all this to remind you, that even though recycling projects like this one with my bedsheets, really DO save a lot of natural resources: the only reason I could do it in the first place was because I had quality sheets to work with. It would have been really difficult to sew something from a bad quality fabric.

The environmental hypocrites

All environmentalists that I know are hypocrites, myself included. Some more, some less. I’m sure there are people who follow their ethics to 100%, I just don’t know anyone who does that when it comes to environmentalism except one remarkable green politician in Finland called Leo Stranius. At least he says he’s 100% vegan, never flies and cycles everywhere. Goals.  I have just arrived in Dubai, by plane. We environmentalists know we are hypocrites every time we make an ‘non-environmetal’ choice. And if we didn’t know that we’re hypocrites already, there will be hundreds of people in line informing us about what awful hypocrites we are.

Like the guy with a 400 gram steak in front of him, telling me how unethical I am for tasting a tiny bite of my friends dish that contained meat. Or the anonymous commentator who thinks this zero-waste blogger is wrong to promote environmentally friendly sunscreens when in fact, flying is the worst part of her trip. Or all the millions of people who say Leonardo di Caprio isn’t an environmentalist because he flew in a private aircraft twice in a year.

I made an extremely hypocritical choice. I went on holiday to Dubai and Abu Dhabi with my family even though I think airplane traveling is not good. Flying by plane is something I should not do. I took the train to London because I’m really am trying to quit flying but it’s extremely tempting to do it. 7 hours direct flights for a very affordable price to see white beaches and another culture. It’s easy to make quite irrelevant justifications for myself like “but at least the flight is shorter than to Thailand, less fuel is required, no stop overs means less fuel for takeoffs too…”.  But the truth is I’m going to a state that’s criticised for using slave labour, that has a very high oil consumption, a very high water consumption and promotes very much commercialism. I wanted to go out of curiosity, to see what it’s like. Dubai is very popular, and seeing many people going here made me want to go too. If I stay more true to my values than I did this time, perhaps I’ll never go again. I’m sorry if I let someone down by making this choice, I’ll try not to do it too often anymore.

The criticism does have grounds, but by calling environmentalists hypocrites you put the focus on the wrong thing. Saying “airplanes are bad for the environment” and taking an airplane OR saying “I never ever think about the environmental impact of planes” and also taking the airplane has the exact same environmental impact.The individual environmental hypocrite is in no way worse for the environment than the ignorant person. By saying “airplanes are bad” the environmentalist is at least more likely to start looking for alternatives. I’m less likely to go to Dubai or Thailand every year. I think companies who put millions of dollars on Greenwashing-marketing are the right subjects of being called hypocrites. They do it on purpose, to make money. I make hypocritical choices because of weak moments of temptation, that partly is a result of that greenwashing marketing. Like Norwegian air, which I’m flying to Dubai, saying they have the newest, least polluting fleet in the world. It´s still at least 3x more polluting than train but they don’t mention that in their marketing.

Dubai is a catastrophe environmentally. I didn’t know how much it is so, until I came here. I’m not going to regret coming here and I’m sure I’ll enjoy my time, but really this isn’t the best travel destination. It is still a massive construction site and the main thing to do is shopping. We’ll drive (yes driving is bad too) to the old town of Al Ain tomorrow because Dubai is so silly. The stupid thing is, after we booked this trip I started hearing from friends they didn’t enjoy Dubai too much either, but they didn’t say that on social media when they posted nice pictures. Please dear reader of this blog, be smarter than me: don’t come here. Don’t book a flight to Dubai, even if they are cheap. 

Environmentalist are trying to change society. But sometimes we just want to wholly be part of our society. And our western societies include food wrapped in plastic or occasional very polluting airplane rides. My friends and family go for holidays, it look’s lovely, is it so hard to imagine I might want to go too, even if it’s against my ethical principles? Social media does things worse here. In the long run, we want to get rid of unenvironmental travelling but it’s a change that might take some time. Allow us to fail without judging too hard on our journey towards environmentalism.

So cheer us for the times we do choose vegetarian food, cheer us for choosing the sunscreen that doesn’t harm coral reefs and cheer us when we take the train instead of flying. Shouting “hypocrite!” just creates a negative feeling. If you feel an environmentalist could be even more environmentally friendly, share your tips with them in a friendly way! Tell them in what way life can be nice while doing something even better. Ugly words and blaming those who really try to change isn’t the best way of making society more sustainable.

Trust me, we know better than anyone how polluting airplanes are. We just think that occasionally, it’s nice to travel. Just like a smoker, knowing how unhealthy it is but still enjoying smoking. Some environmentalists have already stopped flying, other’s are still, just like that smoker, thinking that perhaps next year I’ll have more self control… Perhaps next year I won’t be as tempted to fly to a warm location for a quick getaway from the Finnish winter. We are weak sometimes and that is okay. We should love ourselves anyways.

Why don’t you join me and become a hypocritical environmentalist? Allow the changes in your life to take it’s time, maybe some of them never happen. Keep an open mind, accept that you’re a hypocrite and continue learning so that everyday you can become less of a hypocrite. I welcome you in the club of self-declared environmentalists, even if you do the smallest change.  

The worlds tallest building is about the only thing I really like in central Dubai. But there are other skyscrapers in the world, go to Taipei, New York or Tokyo instead.

Going vegan – difficult? Not if you go Ambronite

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Last weekend, I went skating with my sister which was a lot of fun. I had already cooked myself a nice lunch but I knew I would be hungry before being back home again. And being able to buy a vegan snack at the cafe by the ice rink wasn’t something I counted on. Vegan! Difficult? Crazy? Unnatural? Or more like environmentally friendly, healthy and less animal cruelty?

I’ve been a pescetarian for almost 3 years now,  meaning I eat fish, milk products and eggs but no meat. Even if my diet hasn’t included meat, a transition to a vegan diet required a little bit of thinking. I had a little hack that made my vegan month possible: it’s called Ambronite. It is a smoothie made from a powder that you simply mix with water. I tried another similar one called Joylent too, you can read my review here, but to be honest: I like Ambronite more.

5 reasons to recommend Ambronite:

  1. It’s produced on all natural ingredients
  2. It’s not too different from a normal smoothie, it doesn’t seem like “fake food”
  3. It has no animal products making it cruelty free and environmentally friendly
  4. It’s incredibly fast to make, but gives me the same energy as a warm meal that takes a lot more time to make
  5. It’s healthy, if you don’t have time to cook, you’d usually eat sandwiches but now you can eat much healthier on the gocapture

The only negative side for me is the price since it’s a bit expensive, but I have become slightly addicted to this time-saving, healthy, vegan, environmentally friendly smoothie. The taste is interesting, because half of people who has tried it hate it and half love it. I think it’s great with nettles leaves, nuts and berries. It really tastes natural and the ingredients seem to be of high quality. If you want to try it, I suggest you order a “try out” pack of 3 bags for only about 5 euro.  Use the code NOM to get it! Update: right now you get the starter pack of 3 for free with this link.


I tried Ambronite the first time in January and ordered 3 of their breakfast pack. I liked it so much that I emailed them and asked if I could get a sample of their full-meal version for free, if I wrote a blogpost about them. I approached them solely because I thought their product was so good I wanted more of it! For comparison, Joylent is a cheaper option at around 3-4 euro per meal but that again isn’t from natural ingredients. Joylent is a great way to save environmental resources, Ambronite is healthier and has even better ingredients, I think. A full meal Ambronite costs about 8 euros. For a student, that’s a lot of money for a meal. I still think it’s worth it and in the end it doesn’t become too expensive if you only have a couple of them per week. I always keep a bag of Ambronite in my bag just in case there isn’t a vegetarian or vegan option available. This has been such a great dinner on busy days!

Even if you’re not vegetarian, I’d recommend Ambronite for health and environmental reasons. This is the easiest way there ever was to cut down on your meat consumption and get healthy with no effort!

This blog post is produced in cooperation with Ambronite. I have not been paid to write it, but I have received samples of their full meal smoothie.

I’m in love with these sustainable luxury handbags

 

 

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I won’t buy a new bag until I can afford these two. The Finnish sustainable high-end brand Lovia has absolutely lovely products. I’ve been dreaming about this bag for a while now, but at the price of roughly 500 euro, I can’t afford it now.

The thing is, I don’t mind waiting. When I say I won’t buy a new bag, I mean brand new bag. I will be perfectly happy with buying secondhand handbags until I can afford something that is sustainably produced and that is so lovely I know I will cherish for years. For me, sustainable consumption of new things means to buy high quality that you use for many years or that has value to sell to someone else.

If you’re going to buy an expensive bag, like a Louis Vuitton bag, why don’t you put that money into buying a luxury bag made from reused leather or leather from wild, free animals? Louis Vuitton leather is often from calves. Not only do I think it’s ethically questionable to slaughter calves at the age of just a few months old just to get a handbag, but the cattle industry is also very damaging for climate change. So next time you have the chance to buy an expensive handbag, look at sustainable brands like Lovia!

Happy sustainable shopping!

xo, Felicia