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They’re Afraid

9 Jan

Check out this commercial by the USA’s “Got Milk?” campaign. It’s a blatant (and poorly executed) attack on dairy alternatives claiming that if you have to shake it, it must be bad for you (and will terrify your children). The dairy industry has been preaching their false nutritional claims through advertising for well over 50 years but now that they’ve been banned from saying  “we need to drink milk for strong bones” they’ve changed their approach to attacking the competition. How immature.

This simply demonstrates how much they are struggling to advertise a product that is bad for you, cruel to animals and bad for the environment. No surprises there. Watch the video below or watch it on you tube here. The comments in response to this video are FANTASTIC!

Bold Native

8 Jan

Watch here for free! It’s a feature film about animal liberation activists. It’s good!

Find out more here http://boldnative.com/

Garbage Warrior

3 Nov

This guy is a pioneer in sustainable architecture and environmentally friendly housing. He built the first “desert houses” in New Mexico in the 1970’s. Really cool doco. This is the full film. Watch it next time you’ve got some spare time.

Acceptance not tolerance

29 Aug

I know I’ve already written about this topic but I got so upset last week when I saw footage of yet another political debate on the topic of gay marriage….

Did you hear about what started it all? Bob Katter and a bunch of others spoke about how legalising gay marriage would destroy everything that marriage stands for and pollute their children. They even said that the word “gay” has been contaminated. Oh and did I mention that this was during a rally that Bob Katter organised protesting against gay marriage?

Then two days later Bob Katter’s gay brother released a video describing his difficult journey of trying to find acceptance upon the realisation of his homosexuality. Then the debate followed.

Sure there was plenty of support by level-headed, compassionate types but the rebuttal was nothing more than a bigoted, insecure, fear-driven, homophobic gay-bashing… I felt embarrassed that these so-called “leaders” are representing us. It was truly disgusting. “Leaders” who cannot accept diversity should not be allowed to represent a diverse nation!

Some of their comments suggested that opening the door for “gays” to marry will then open the flood gates for “marriage in other types of unconventional relationships such as polygamous relationships”. WTF?! How is this even relevant? This isn’t the high school debating team! This is a discussion about why two people who love each other should be allowed to legally marry. The polygamy shit is simply a cover for homophobia and a convenient distraction from the issue at hand. And honestly, is having to say “no” to the guy who wants to marry all of his girlfriends really anything to be afraid of?

And did you notice the word “unconventional” in there? That was really a part of the debate – multiple times! As I mentioned in my last blog about marriage equality, allowing same sex marriage is about FAR MORE than equal rights, it’s about NORMALISING homosexuality so that the children of the homophobic blokes who are in power don’t grow up to be homophobic too. It’s about acceptance, not tolerance.

Tolerance is the whole “I don’t care what you do behind closed doors as long as our innocent children don’t have to know about it” attitude. Guess what? If a man wants to kiss his boyfriend in public, all I see is a demonstration of love between two people – and a child that grows up seeing gay relationships as a normal part of life will simply see that as well. Love is not wrong.

It’s interesting to see such strong opinions on this issue. Neither side seems willing to back down any time soon. But I have hope in the fact that: gay people aren’t going away just as much as women aren’t going away… and not long ago we gave women equal rights too.

#5 – I wonder if people realise…

24 Jun

just how evil supermarkets really are…

I avoid them at all costs.

#1 – I wonder if people realise…

6 Jun

that any food product that’s not organic has had chemicals or genetic modification used during it’s production.

Degrade this

15 Sep

This one’s for those of you that are tired of vids and are missing what this blog used to be about – having an opinionated rant!

So I’ve been thinking alot about product packaging that I currently don’t have to deal with thanks to my
local food co-op and I’m concerned that after we move we’ll be back to buying everything in stupid plastic packets. Not looking forward to that. We will do our best to avoid it where we can but it will be tough!

We have been able to reduce our household waste by about 75 percent – We have a regular (large) size wheelie bin which is only emptied once a fortnight and is never full. We do this just by shopping consciously and saying no to excessive packaging and plastic bags. We don’t feel like we’re making any compromises at all, in fact I think we live we live a fairly decadent lifestyle.

This is one of the things I learnt from No Impact Man. So much waste in the world is created for perceived ‘convenience’. It might be convenient to use a plastic bag to take home your groceries – but how inconvenient is it to bring your own bag?

Not really at all.

It might take you a while to remember to take them with you. If retailers don’t offer you a free bag anymore that may provide you with more of an incentive. Or if avoiding plastic bags is important to you then you may already be motivated to remember to pack them on your shopping trips.

Living consciously doesn’t have to involve compromise.

Once people adjust to bringing their own bags it becomes normal and they are no longer concerned about whether or not it used to be convenient to be provided with a free bag. This is why I say ‘perceived convenience’ because that’s all it is.

And there’s no doubt about it, people get a kick out of thinking that they’re doing something ‘environmentally friendly’ – probably because most things we do are not so much. I’ve noticed an increase in bags and packaging labeled as ‘degradable’, in fact ‘degradable’ is now a sellable feature which feeds on that good feeling that people get when they make a ‘conscious’ choice.

Sounds evil to me.
Although I was skeptical I hoped that biodegradable bags were actually making a difference. It turns out that they’re not…

I’ll keep this brief but basically there are two types of biodegradable plastics.
One of them requires a special, controlled process in order to be broken down and as a result they need to be taken to a recycling facility in order to be effectively disposed of. These are the type of bags that you now get at Target etc. in SA. They promote the fact that they are biodegradable but are probably banking on the fact that it’s unlikely you will be bothered to seek out a recycling facility and will probably just reuse them once or twice and then throw them away.

Most people will probably still feel better about themselves considering that it has the word ‘degradable’ printed on the side. The truth is, it does about as much damage in landfill as a regular plastic bag.

The other type is the one that is used for the smaller white shopping bags and bin liners. This one will actually degrade in the right environment. Unfortunately , the right environment is closer to your compost bin than landfill. So yes, these bags will eventually break down if you put them in the compost but if you are using them to put rubbish in that’s then destined for landfill then it’s unlikely that you’re bag will be any different to the thousands of regular plastic bags that surround it.

And even if it did…

It would break down and leave behind all of the contents of the bag – plastic packaging that someone else decided was convenient for you.

Everything

10 Jan

I’ve just finished reading this book about factory farming. If everyone could read it – the world could be a much more positive place and people would actually be informed about the realities surrounding animals raised for meat production.

If information about where your food comes from was available, would you want to know?

To me, not wanting to know is selfishly choosing ignorance & taste over things that are far more important such as your health, the environment, the future of diseases in the world, animal rights, sustainability and positive change.

If you are brave enough to find out the truth about your food then read this book – I’ll lend it to you.

Once you know, everything changes.

Everything.

The world would be so much shitter without you, Colin

29 Sep

Colin Beavan that is. You are probably like me and have never heard of him. And if you are anything like me, you will probably appreciate his efforts, his findings and his writing just as much as I do.

Recently I was in LA airport with a few hours to kill before my flight to Sydney. I had wandered around all of the shops and was trying to cure boredom while not spending any money, but was not really succeeding. I had already bought a copy of Dwell magazine, a milky way and about 6 bags of reece’s pieces (for gifts I swear).

I was feeling the effects of constant traveling and movement over the last two weeks. My body was struggling with just being in one place, that wasn’t bed, for more than an hour. I felt like I was moving even when I was sitting perfectly still. I needed… nothingness. I found a spot to sit by myself, listened to some relaxing music on my ipod and drifted into a dream, just being. I visualised places far more lush and peaceful than the grimy airport terminal and when I opened my eyes about 45 minutes later, I was completely relaxed.

Even though I was feeling totally at peace, I had an urge to walk… back to the bookstore that I had visited twice already to buy candy and a magazine. I wandered through the aisles of books with no expectations as I had already walked through here earlier and found nothing worth buying in american dollars. And then, there it was. Way up above my head on the top shelf, Colin’s book “No Impact Man”. I had to climb up on the the bottom shelf so that I could reach it. I did this without even considering what anyone might think of me.

The raw cardboard cover grabbed my attention, the blurb connected with me and after I flicked through a few pages I knew that I would enjoy this book. I decided it was worth an extra international transaction and read 1/4 of it before we boarded the plane, laughing and nodding out loud to myself.

Basically he spends a year of his life trying to reduce waste in his life as much as is humanly possible. Whether that be wasting plastic, water, power, emissions, anything.  Oh yeah and, he lives in an apartment in New York City.
It’s not like it’s anything ground-breakingly original. It seems that these days it’s cool to be green anyway. But the beauty of Colin’s story is that he is not trying to be rad or to have all the answers, in fact, throughout the book he confirms that he is just like you and me… someone that is concerned about the planet and climate change but feels that they can do nothing about it.

He proves us all wrong. He shares his challenges along the way and I connect hugely with his feelings of guilt when considering doing something that you know is ‘bad’. Sometimes it’s such a dilemma, especially when you take into account the old saying – When you know better you are expected to do better. Even if it’s only yourself that expects it!

This book makes me want to be a better person. I have become more conscious of things that used to be automatic, for example:

Bob and I normally share a container of roll-on deodorant. He has taken it away with him for a few days and I thought I had a spare one at home but I don’t. I had planned to buy one during my lunch break today at work and did not see that there were any other alternative apart from just simply buying a new one… until last night.

I was reading No Impact Man and Colin mentions that he has started using baking soda as deodorant. I consider it and then talk myself out of it before going to bed. When I woke up this morning I considered it again and then decided to stick to my original plan and to buy some today at lunch. It will get used right? It’s not really a waste is it?
I began to wonder about how I would go without deodorant at work until lunchtime. I opened the pantry and found the baking soda. This time I talked myself into it with the rationale that if it didn’t work I could at least buy some at lunch.

You might think that I’m crazy for rubbing baking soda into my armpits, but I tell you what, it worked better than any deodorant that I’ve ever used. I am going to use it again tomorrow and if it’s successful again then I may well make the switch permanently. This girl did. Read her blog, she’s awesome.

This got me thinking about not washing my hair again. I have major envy of many of the guys that I know who don’t wash their hair. I’ve found that with longer hair it’s alot harder to get away with. So far this year I’ve done a few week-long stints without washing my hair to reduce my it’s need to produce oil everyday. It works but it gradually goes back to wanting to be washed every day.

But today, my shampoo is almost empty and I’m inspired. Watch this space for an update.

So back to Colin… If I open the floodgates on everything I think and feel about this, we could all be here for a long time so I’ll just say this:

Read it.

I’ll lend it to you so you don’t have to buy anything new that comes in polluting packaging that’s designed to last forever yet to only be used once.