Climate Change

Look. Think. Buy. Part 2/2

In my previous blog post I wrote about the fashion industry in all its doom and gloom; how it has a high negative impact on the environment. In this post I will list the potential solutions that can help reduce this impact. Yay! Here is a list of ways of how you can support eco-friendly alternatives.

1. Sharing is caring.

Borrowing clothes from friends, especially if it’s for an event or occasion where you are unlikely to wear the outfit again, is a cheap and easy solution.

2. Pre-loved.

Charity shops, kilo sales and depop are places you can purchase clothes of good quality and range but for a good price. You are buying clothes that would have otherwise have gone into landfill and giving them a new lease of life.

3. Eco-friendly and ethical sourcing.

There are a range of companies that make their clothes from eco-friendly materials and treat their workers fairly. These responsible companies are increasing in popularity and are becoming more affordable. One of my favorites is ‘Lucy and Yak’. Their comfy, casual and colourful clothes are reasonably priced, use sustainable materials and support their workers with a good pay and by encouraging a safe working environment for them.

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Climate Change

Look. Think. Buy. Part 1/2

london
London high street

Why do you buy new clothes or a new outfit? Party next week – new dress? Clothes store sale – 3 new tops for the price of 2? Holiday coming up – more summer wear? When you shop do you think about whether you need it, how long you’ll wear it for and whether you believe in what you buy? I ask this because the ‘average life of a garment in the UK is 2.2 years’, according to ‘The price of fast fashion’ (BBC documentary 2018), and in the UK each person throws away an average of 15 kilos of clothing a year (Great British Sewing Bee, series 5 episode 5).

The materials of the clothes you buy can have a large effect on the environment during the manufacturing process, and even after your purchase. I was brought up on the belief that you can’t really go wrong with cotton. Man made materials like polyester, acrylic and synthetic blends shed plastic fibers every time they are washed, and the ‘UK puts on 7 billion washes a year’ (according to the Blue Planet UK series 1 episode 4). The plastic fibers end up in our oceans, they are so small they can end up in our food chain. They can be found in fish and even salt, ‘if you eat the maximum daily intake of 5 grams of salt, this would mean you would typically consume 3 micro plastics a day’ (Independent ‘How you’re eating micro plastics, 06/07/18). On top of that it takes a long time until clothing made up of these plastic materials decompose when they end up in landfill.

With cotton however you don’t have this problem, it’s natural. Unfortunately, unless farmed organically the fields of this mono culture leave a negative mark on the land. Fertilizers and pesticides are used over entire fields of cotton, contaminating the soil, if unregulated these can end up draining into water sources. In Punjab, India there are areas near cotton farms where people suffer from cancers and children from mental and physical birth defects at a higher number than considered normal, many believe there is a connection between the nature of the farming and these health issues. Cotton farming also requires large volumes of water: it takes 15,000 liters of water to grow the cotton to produce a single pair of jeans (Stacey Dooley investigates: Are your clothes wrecking the planet, article BBC 3). The irrigation of water to factories causes the reduction of water sources, like the Aral sea in Kazakhstan. Chemical waste is discarded from these factories back into water sources like the Citarum River in Indonesia, which has toxic levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic in the water. Locals bathe and wash their clothes in this river (Stacey Dooley). Organic and natural materials, are becoming more common but they are more expensive. You can even get fabric made from bio materials like corn starch that is biodegradable or algae that can photosynthesize!

The people. ‘If you aren’t paying for it someone else is’ a quote I have heard said a number of times. Women in Bangladesh earn $3 a day in sweatshops (True cost documentary), child labor is common and in order to keep prices competitive, factory’s in country’s such as Bangladesh, have poor safety regulations putting the people at risk. ‘ 1100 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013’ (Low pay in the garment industry… Guardian article 30/05/19), this happened due to garment workers being forced to work in a building despite cracks that were spotted in the walls the day before. The article continues to say that low wages are still a reality in the industry, workers can’t afford food, medication etc. So next time you buy a cheap piece of clothing from a chain, question the ethics. Companies sell what people buy, if you buy clothes from a company that treats their workers well and gives them a good wage then you are encouraging this fair trade.

Made in China. The label in every piece of clothing tells you where it is ASSEMBLED. That’s right, assembled. So the cotton could be from the US, woven into fabric in Turkey, the buttons from India etc. Giving you no idea of the real journey the garment has been on and its miles.

The manufacturing of fast fashion clothes:

  • Uses large volumes of water that could be given to the 1/9 people in the world who lack access to clean water (Guardian ‘Are we running out of water’ 18/06/18).
  • Is produced in factories that run on fossil fuels.
  • Pays for a salary that many garment workers can barely live on.
  • Has a long journey, creating a large carbon footprint, in the production line, the shipment and trucks that eventually gets it to your local store or to your door step.
  • The wash of plastic/man made fabrics release micro fibers that eventually end up in animals that can result in their death e.g. through suffocation.
  • The farming of cotton destroys the soil and contaminates it making it unusable over time.
  • Eventually land in landfill, sooner than you think, and take decades to decompose.

All of these factors are draw backs of the fast fashion industry for people and the environment. It is one of the top 5 most polluting industries. For tips on ways you can get clothes which are more ethical and environmentally friendly, read my part two of Look, Think, Buy, coming soon.

Climate Change · politics

‘Never have I ever…’

‘Never have I ever’… taken part in a demonstration. I needed to get you all intrigued some how!
The demonstration coming up this Friday the 12th of April will be my first. Although it might not be the ‘never have I ever’ you might expect, or ever would expect, if it were ever stated it would be awesome if pretty much everyone had to take drink of their volvic lemon and lime.

The demonstration on Friday is about climate change. The Earth is warming. We all, (apart from the odd middle age conservative with blonde hair, who thinks everything that goes against their political agenda is ‘fake news’) know this.

So here are some reasons for why I am going along, so maybe you will too. So give them a read, they may persuade you.

1. It’s power through numbers. Being with a large group of like minded people, you get a good feeling of significance and making a difference. This feeling is sometimes hard to come by with social and political issues. You also meet new people and increase your connections by attending these events.

2. You get to make a sign. I was very excited about this, it involves creativity and thought using colour and words to make an impact. It can be fun to do this with others – make it a fun social gathering.

3. You could be campaigning to voice an issue that isn’t taken seriously enough, despite all the facts and figures. Politicians want power, for power they need votes, if the people show they want action against climate change in big numbers then that’s what will happen. We need to show support to the science and the research, so that politicians will too.

4. Last persuasion… Climate change means loss of species and habitats. If that’s not enough, according to WHO, “between 2030 and 2050 climate change is expected to cause approximately 250.000 additional human deaths PER YEAR, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress”. Let alone the increasing extreme weather events that can kill 100s.

So why not check out your local city’s demonstration on the 12 of April. Go along with some friends even for just a while, make a funky sign and show your support. It’s our future and no one is going to fight for us.

Leisure · Uncategorized

Why dancers should ski and skiers should dance

I, like many others, am an aspiring dancer. I train at a college where I receive classes every day in different dance styles, acting and musical theatre singing. When I went on holiday this February half term to visit my friend chalet hosting (Morzine, France), I decided to have ago at two days of skiing. I have never been skiing before, despite that many people around me, including my parents, have experienced this incredible sport. I however, never really had the opportunity or the confidence to be able to also experience it.

I was very nervous before going out. Yes I thought I would have the required strength, but skiing can be dangerous. Hearing a first person story from a man, while I was tipsy at a new year party, about how he (while skiing) became part of a snow ball avalanche while rolling down the mountain, which followed by him falling off and landing lower down the mountain where he was lucky to survive, didn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Yes I was scared at times when skiing, but there were a few golden moments when I felt extremely relaxed and free. The views were not only spectacular, but it’s one of few sports where you have as much fun falling over and going wrong as you can when it goes right. So overall I loved it and would definitely go again for longer.

I also surprisingly, learnt a lot about myself and developed skills that I need for dancing.

Yes, I developed skills for dancing. I always thought my dancing ability would help skiing – my strong core and legs and good sense of balance etc. (reasons why skiers should dance to improve these), but it has impacted my dancing. Every dancer has specific things they need to focus on, for me it’s not letting tension I have when I hold myself be seen in my upper body. In other words, I need to be able to look calm while still staying strong.

After a while on the nursery slopes and swiftly moving on to the blue slopes, my instructor yelled:

“send it!!!”

rather a lot, which at the time I didn’t really understand. I sent myself down the slope where I very quickly went out of control and belly flopped forward. Despite being a bit afraid and feeling like a liability for everyone else, I got up and kept trying.

The following day I woke up. My friend asked me if I ached at all. My arms were really stiff but my legs felt fine. She said this was because while skiing I tensed up my arms and upper body. I presumed I did this because I was pretty scared, especially when I thought I was going to lose control and ski off Piste into oblivion. So I tensed and squeezed every muscle like crazy hoping that would do the trick in helping me regain control. My friend told me that the tensing technique wasn’t and isn’t effective, which annoyed me a tad because I was pretty good at that. I needed to keep my lower body strong, my weight forwards on my toes while my upper body stayed relaxed. I did this that second day, and it transformed my skiing technique. I managed to isolate my muscles and relax my upper body, something my dance teachers have been trying to get me to do for years. Yes it can still be improved but it was so much better!

I made that improvement because you can’t faff about with skiing. You have the pressure of sliding full pelt down a slope, so you HAVE to rely on your body and abilities and not hold back. Holding back usually involved me leaning backwards with the hope I would magically stop or slow down. In reality I kept skiing faster, nearly taking people out in my path.

That is the meaning of the phrase “send it” – give it everything you’ve got, don’t hold back and rely on your ability. You have to be calm and enjoy what you’re doing and then hopefully you will experience some golden moments. This is an attitude I will be taking from the slope to the studio, where I know I sometimes just need to “send it” and enjoy and embrace the hurdles I face.

Climate Change

Do You Suffer From Nimbyism?

Students have been missing school to take part in demonstrations for governments, to take action against anthropogenic causes of enhanced global warming and its negative effects on the climate.

Yet when I read the comments on articles reporting these demonstrations, as well as motivational and supportive comments, there are many negative comments.

They claim that our generation will demonstrate for change but won’t change our own life styles. Therefore they are accusing us of NIMBYism.

NIMBYism comes from the acronym NIMBY, which stands for:

Not In My Back Yard.

It is:

‘the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality’ –

This is what prevents a lot of the mitigation strategies against enhanced climate change, for example renewable energy, reducing plastic, less meat consumption etc.

Yes it is improving, people are using bags for life, more people are becoming vegetarian, we recycle. People are becoming more climate conscious but it is not enough.

Is this our fault? Some people say it is. They say that the time youths spend on mobile phones is excessive and that we always want the latest fashion with clothes etc. People are changing habits but some habits are not easy to change or can’t be seen as they are ingrained in our society. The adults accuse us of NIMBYism? Well I accuse the government, authorities and adults that support these of hegemony. Capitalism, consumerism cause an unsustainable and throwaway culture society and economy making these negative habits of ours seem normal. They try tl persuade us that we want or need these habits and way of life for their own profit.

They advertise and sell the newest cars because it generates more money than creating an effective and cheap public transport system.

They sell products that don’t go far past the guarantee year so that you buy another. When they could be built to last or even offer a service so they can be fixed.

They don’t invest in renewable energy because apparently fracking, fossil fuels and nuclear energy are more effective. They can take the base load power, but if we invested the amount of money we spend on the disposal of radioactive waste and flood barriers (flooding because of thermal expansion of the sea due to the green house effect caused by CO2 emissions of fossil fuels), on renewable energy technology and research into how we can make it more efficient the emissions and the negative effects and waste would reduce.

Yet WE suffer from NIMBYism! Yes a bottom up approach to changing society and politics is important but the top down approach is just as important. Stop blaming the youth and people for not doing enough or encouraging us to do more just to distract from the people in power’s lack of action. They don’t want to pay for change in our society, but they will pay for the damages later. We all need to pull our weight and it must start now.

Uncategorized

You, He, She, Me, I

I am a bear. That’s the animal I have given myself. It might not be the animal people would associate me with, but it’s an animal that gives me strength.

Everyone goes through everyday stresses. I train as a performer, which involves a lot of self critique and critique from others. In any occupation that people have, you, he she, me or I need to have self worth. Self worth can only be given to yourself by yourself.

I have found ways of staying motivated, being positive and giving myself value. Different techniques work for different people but here are some of my personal remedies:

As mentioned in a previous blog, I have a book of a line a day. In this book I write about the best things of each day. For example, something I did well, something that made me laugh etc. Yes on some days there is more to write than others, but there is always something you can write. For me this ends the day with a positive mindset.

Walks outside are so important. You can put life a bit more into perspective, clear your head find new inspiration. It’s good for physical and also psychological fitness. Walking in groups can be socially a positive thing to do. Activities like yoga and swimming can also be calming and meditational, find what’s best for you.

Talking to friends/colleagues who can empathise with what you are experiencing can help you motivate each other. The likely hood that by listening to others you realise you are not the only one going through similar feelings is high, this can be a consolation. You also know you have someone you can go to. Talking to others about feelings can put them into perspective and organise them so you can work out what the issue actually is, rather than being all jumbled up in your head.

Have a hobby that can help you escape from work. Preferably something that doesn’t involve social media, like writing drawing, socialising etc. Have something to look forward to when you finish working.

Finally, give yourself about 5 minutes a day to breath, reflect and think about yourself. What you want your mindset to be, how you want to come across to people. I want to be a bear, strong, self assured, kind and loyal. When I struggle at work I think of myself and channel the bear. It doesn’t make me into a super hero but helps me refocus and not let all my feelings escape suddenly.

I hope this post has been helpful, chin up 🙂

Uncategorized

The Beast From The East

I wrote this article almost a year ago and didn’t get round to publishing it. I think however, it’s still quite appropriate…

We Brits really care about our weather. It’s the grounding of our small talk. While the Chinese choose food, the German’s only talk about work and the US just skip small talk all together, the weather is our starter and fall back for conversation.

Lately however, it’s been our complete focus of conversation, of all conversation. Why? Because it is forecasted to snow and snow isn’t normal and when the weather isn’t normal, it is the topic of interest for all Brits, because it affects our mood. Snow. Snow means excitement for some.

As I was driving in the freezing cold car, covered in a layer of white frost, the radio presenter dramatically stated that the ‘Beast from the East’ would be arriving soon and we would be kept updated exactly where and when the snow would hit. Posts on social media inform us that we need to re think the way we walk (as a penguin is best) to adapt to the snow fall that will soon be everywhere. My friends strategically tell me of the homework they aren’t going to do for Friday, because the snow will inhibit their journey to school. It is all very dramatic, but then for a places that haven’t seen snow for over 5 years it would be.

If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said is that “it better snow”. My view was: otherwise all the fuss would have been for nothing, I could have gone on a school theatre trip (cancelled by the bus company because of this looming hazard) and I may even get a day off to appreciate our inch of snow.

Yesterday, I read an article that changed this view. Amongst this there are those who are dreading the snow. There are those who will struggle even more these next couple of days. The homeless have to fight through this weather.

Here is a link where you can help:

https://centrepoint.org.uk/?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAiAgrfhBRA3EiwAnfF4tpL87XEWcheI-yJxHMULDVypTTpa-bIDDt8F-pZpxDhgCTQqaEf-nRoCnfAQAvD_BwE#