Sustainable Mothers Day

Mothers day is upon us, and it’s time to make the best women we know realise how much we adore them. Of course, mothers day consists of loads of beautiful gifts like cards, flowers and bottles of prosecco that are great presents of course, but not so good for our environment. Here I will give you five present ideas for your amazing mother that are no danger to our environment:

1. Organic Flowers

If you ask your local florist, you can get organic and therefore eco-friendly flowers. People will rarely ask for them, therefore they will be easier to get hold of and they still look just as beautiful.

2. Homemade, Organic Jewellery

A number of shops create organic jewels nowadays, and your town center is sure to have at least one shop that is based upon their organic guidelines. This kind of jewellery has a much more rustic feel to it, and it makes the perfect mothers day gift whilst still being affordable.

3. ‘Mum’s Ultimate Survival Box’

Online shop Not On The High Street is selling a gorgeous beauty box by Green Tulip Ethical Living. It contains a selection of hand-picked natural products that any woman is sure to enjoy and feel beautiful in.

Check it out here.

4. Handbag Loving

A selection of well-known, high quality fashion brands create sustainable and ethical handbags. This includes Matt & Nat, Parker Clay and Purse and Clutch. As well as this, they’re incredibly affordable and you cannot go wrong with these gorgeous brands. Find the best ethical handbags here.

5. Make your own cards

This is the most simple and obvious option on this list. It’s so much more meaningful and personal to buy mum a handmade card that you put a lot of thought in to. As well as this, it’s also incredible to the environment to create it yourself.

There you have it, the amounts of ideas are endless.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer 

 

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A chat with Erik from Divine Chocolate

As you may already know, on 1st March 2017, we are holding our second evening of Fairtrade chocolate tasting with Divine Chocolate – a London based organisation that creates an incredible selection of chocolate in a variety of flavours with fairtrade ingredients only.

I had a chat with Erik, master choclatier at Divine Chocolate ahead of his second visit to Canterbury about his career, ideas on sustainability and chocolate of course.

Most companies are beginning to adapt fairtrade guidelines, do you believe this has taken too long?

Getting the public to change shopping habits is a matter of educating people about the options available.  As well, showing the larger players that there is a market for Fairtrade is something Divine has been doing for many years.

What is the best thing about working for a company that prides itself upon fairtrade?

Working for Divine is a pleasure.  Not too long ago, I became a father and it made me rethink the concept of family.  Of course, many of the cocoa farmers have families themselves and they want the best for their children – ensuring that they can earn a good wage for their work, is incredibly important to me.

So true! How did you get into this field?

I have a background in education, teaching music and drama, but have always been interested in food and drink.  Divine were looking for people to share the Divine Chocolate story, so I produced a video of myself presenting a recipe in the kitchen, got the interview, and won over the panel!  That was three years ago, and now I speak at schools, run chocolate making workshops and give after dinner talks.

Besides from Divine Chocolate, what is your favourite brand of chocolate?

There are three main types of cocoa being grown, and one of them is called Criollo and is used in less than 3% of the worlds’ chocolate production.  If you can find it, it is certainly an interesting taste experience.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

Clearly eating lots of chocolate!

I should hope so! What can we expect from the chocolate tasting evening?

Participants can expect to learn how to use all five senses to better understand chocolate. We learn about the history of chocolate, chocolate production from bean to bar, and of course we hear about Fairtrade cocoa farming.

And lastly, what does sustainability mean to you?

For me, sustainability means that I’m ensuring future generations will be able to share my love of chocolate.

 

There you have it! Join us on 1st March 2017 at Barista and Baker for this fun-filled, informative evening!

 

 

 

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One Day Without Us – CCCU Joins In

Monday 20th February 2017 will mark a day of celebration for migrants in the UK, and their incredible contributions that they make to our culture and economy.

Canterbury Christ Church University will ‘walk-out’ (of lectures if necessary) and stand in solidarity with migrant workers, as well as our international students and staff. We will gather by the pond in the quad for ten minutes, all are invited.

During this time of movement, solidarity and change, it needs to be understood that we need migrants in the UK. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Contributions to our economy

Of course, more migrants means a higher demand for public services. However, it is undeniable that this is outweighed by the contributions immigrants make to our GDP. It was once found that, contrary to popular belief, 1.7% of EU migrants claim unemployment benefits. Immigrants help fill gaps in a market of jobs where there are shortages, i.e the NHS.

2. International students

As a university student, I am friends with plenty of international students. It has been said that foreign culture is conducive to great, life-long friendships. International students paired with British students provides a sharing of culture, a positive on so many levels. International studies are amazing for career prospects as well, and some of our most pioneering minds will stem from international study in the UK.

3. Saving the ageing population

An ageing population is basically what it says on the tin, a population that has more individuals past a certain age. This leads to more retirees, resulting in less money being pumped into the economy as there are less people paying taxes and earning money through jobs. Therefore, we need a growing population to ensure this becomes less of an issue.

4. Diversity

The benefits of a culturally-diverse nation are endless. It promotes humanistic views, builds new relationships, promotes equality, allows us to explore new fashions and cuisines, the list goes on. Diversity gives, especially young people an amazing outlook.

These are only some of the benefits, but I couldn’t possibly list them all!

Please stand in solidarity with us on 20/02/2017 at midday.

http://www.1daywithoutus.org/

By Communications Officer, Amanda Elliott

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5 of the Best Sustainable and Ethical Fashion Brands

As consumers, we are becoming more and more aware of the detrimental effects we are causing to our planet. It’s reached a point where pretty much everything we do has some kind of effect on the environment, good or bad, and for some it’s becoming truly exhausting.

Many people don’t realise that there is a way to be environmentally-friendly in pretty much everything you do. This including, fashion. Some of the world’s most well-known and renowned brands are taking the steps to becoming more sustainable in their collections. I’ve noted five of the best:

1. Stella McCartney

The daughter of Paul McCartney is undoubtedly one of the pioneering designers in sustainable fashion. Her collections are luxury, and McCartney is committed. She’s been a vegetarian for the majority of her life, and she uses no real leather or fur in her designs. As well as this, she ensures that her garments are created in ethical environments, with McCartney heavily following the guidelines for ethical trade.

Image result for stella mccartney sustainable fashion

Photo Credit: Stella McCartney by Alice Von Der Burg

2. H&M Conscious

H&M is one of the most popular shops on the high street. I mean, I buy most of my clothes from H&M. On the affordable side of things, H&M has created a line of clothes that are completely ethical and sustainable. The line still conforms to H&M’s usual look, but it’s created out of fabrics that aren’t at the expense of our environment.

HM

Photo Credit: http://www.hm.com

3. ASOS Eco Edit

Ah ASOS, I love you. Going over to the online side of things, ASOS has also been eco-friendly. Whilst not actually creating their own line, the company has a ‘green room’ on their website which holds collections from a wide selection of eco-friendly brands. From vintage, to upmarket, you can’t go wrong.

http://www.asos.com/eco-brands/

4. Fat Face

In recent years, Fat Face stores have been popping up everywhere in the UK. One of the company’s biggest requirements is that the Code of Conduct is stuck to. The Code of Conduct states that their garments must only be created from factories that treat their employments fairly.

Photo Credit: Fat Face

5. New Balance

You cannot beat a pair of New Balance trainers. I own a pair, and I live in them. This incredible and sporty brand has a number of board members that are dedicated to stomping on the issues surrounding global supply chains, ensuring their products are made with the best care.

Photo Credit: Me, these are mine. 

So there you have it! If you want to know more, there is plenty available online to be seen about ethical and sustainable fashion, there are hundreds of more brands that practice what the rest of the world is preaching.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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Two super easy homemade face-masks you need to try!

Are you aware of the great opportunities that are available to you when it comes down to making your own face mask?  Not only is it organic, but your skin will love it!

You may be thinking this sounds like a Pinterest fail going to happen but I am telling you now it’s not.

This time of year, your skin needs a lot of TLC and what’s a better way of doing that than using freshly sourced ingredients!? This is better for the environment because you’re using products that are friendly to your skin and have not been tested on. Here are two different home-made face masks for you to try:

First up is my all-time favourite which is the organic banana face mask. Basically, this will give your skin a healthy glow. All you need is:

  • One mashed banana.
  • Mix the banana with a tablespoon of orange juice and table spoon of honey.
  • Apply to the face for 15 mins.
  • Rinse your face with lukewarm water and do not forget to moisturize.

The second face mask does not sound amazing, but it’s brilliant for oily skin.  For this mask you’re going to need to:

  • Combine an egg yolk with a tablespoon of honey and then olive oil mixed with oatmeal.
  • Apply this mask for 20 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water.
  • Use your moisturizer and toner like normal because your skin will love you for it!

There you have it, two beautiful organic face mask that will work wonders for your skin but is kinder to the environment.

By student blogger, Emily Jackson

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Some businessses are helping prevent global warming: here is how they’re doing it

A greenhouse gas is a substance that causes the greenhouse effect or as we all know it, the process of climate change. Greenhouse gasses are emitted into our atmosphere, acting as radiation and it warms the planet’s surface.

Greenhouse gas emission levels are heightened by a lot of things we do including: the transport we use, the way we produce and consume our food and deforestation. A huge contributor is the manufacturing sector. This sector produces raw materials and goods that we use every single day, we probably couldn’t survive without half of it.

These factories produce two kinds of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Direct emissions: greenhouse gasses that are emitted at the factory/facility
  • Indirect emissions: greenhouse gasses that are associated with the facility’s use of energy, but it’s not on site.

In recent news, it has been reported that China (the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world) was reducing their coal power projects in a bid to use more renewable energies that won’t have a damning effect on our planet. With this movement leading the way, we have looked into the ways other businesses are trying to protect our planet.

1. Energy reduction

Big buildings are the biggest energy users in the world. This is textbook. Businesses have taken action to create certifications that ensue realistic energy reduce goals that will, in time, reduce the amount of energy they’re using – from 12% reductions to 100% reductions.

2. A green commute

Some workplaces are setting rewards for workers who have a ‘green commute’. They are being encouraged to bike to work, use public transport (even though public transport isn’t the MOST green way to travel, if 20 people use a bus/train as opposed to 20 cars? You see the difference) or even walk, instead of using cars and paying congestion charges as well as parking charges.

3. Developing a response

The effects of global warming are being felt in some regions of the world already. In more urban, MEDC, populated areas – this doesn’t feel like the case. In spite of this, businesses have been creating their responses to when these changes do start to happen. It’s allowing them to have a better understanding of how climate change will effect their business and themselves. Baby steps.

4. Assessing carbon footprint

When an organisation investigates how much pollution they are creating, they can gain a lot more scope into how they need to reduce said pollution emissions. A greenhouse gas emission assessment is actually a thing – a business can get one to determine where their changes need to be made once a figure is found.

5. The carbon tax

Basic economics tells us that putting a tax on an action reduces that action. The London congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic (and car pollution) in the capital. Alas, it worked. In the US, a firm must have a permit for every tonne of carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere. Therefore, this introduces a price on pollution through a permit – which eventually leads to the prevention of global warming.

These simple steps are just some of the things that can be done to reduce global warming. If a large factory can do it, you can too.

W/C 23rd January 2017 sees #ClimateChangeWeek2017 at Canterbury Christ Church University. A week dedicated to raising awareness and having some fun with it to. Full details of events on our social media pages.

By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer

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January resolutions: how eating healthy can keep your mental health positive

In recent years, eating healthy has been associated with maintaining your mental health. As a contributing factor that not many people actually know about in more detail, here is how healthy eating can bring you closer to healthy living:

Some figures:

It has been predicted that in the UK and other industrialised countries, we will eat more than 4 kilograms of additives every year. This is due to food’s available in shops that are, ideally, a lot quicker to prepare, as they are either half way made for us with a selection of unhealthy ingredients, or they simply just need to be heated up. This is called processed food. These kind of foods have resulted in us consuming a lot less fresh, nutritious, local produce. In the last 60 years, there has been a 34% decline in vegetable consumption, with only 13% of men eating their 5-a-day, and only 15% of women eating theirs.

The facts:

  • Foods that are high in sugar naturally give you a surge of energy as they are absorbed quickly in the bloodstream – meaning that once this surge is over, we are left feeling tired and low. A sugar comedown, if you will.
  • Foods like vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals are more filling, as the natural (and much healthier) sugars from them are absorbed into the bloodstream a lot slower. This also stops the possibility of mood swings.
  • These foods contain thiamin (B1), which has been closely associated with the control of mood. Zinc and folate have been proven to improve the mood of participants with depression in a number of studies.
  • Eating lots of vegetables has been closely associated with preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s later on in life – proven in a number of studies.
  • Bloating and discomfort, caused by fatty foods like burgers, pizza and chips can lead to low moods. Have vegetables ever made you feel uncomfortably full?

The facts are endless. By all means, still eat sugary foods every now and again. That will not hurt at all, it’s about maintaining balance. Fad diets have been proven to only be a short term fix for weight loss, but maintaining a balanced diet and exercise is a sure fire winner to keep the weight off for good.

Happy January!

By Amanda Elliott

 

 

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Goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

There is nothing like the excitement of a new year. A joyous occasion that brings us all together, gives us a new lease of life and in some ways, allows us to start again. After an amazing 2016 at the SGO – we’re ready to make 2017 even better.

2016 was disliked by a lot of people. We lost a lot of great talents, world politics became what can only be described as a bit of a, mess and the general mood was just not good. Our planet has suffered. Record temperatures were taken – with each of the first six months of 2016 recorded as the warmest in a modern temperature record which dates back to 1880, according to NASA. Later assessing of the climate concluded that 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Some positives did come from 2016. There was an 8% decrease in carbon emissions compared to 2014/2015, a 4% water consumption decrease and overall reuse has doubled from 2% to 4%. A small start, but progress is progress.

However, a new year breathes new life. We have a chance to make this year different, and start making a change to being more sustainable. With many people changing their diets in the new year (and hopefully sticking to it) and billions of new years resolutions – we’re already halfway there.

At the SGO, we have so much planned for this year in terms of events to get students and staff university-wide more involved and more importantly, more sustainable, starting with climate change week from the 23rd to 27th January.

More details will be shared as time goes on. We’re in for a very exciting year!

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Sustainable Gifts

Deeming a gift eco-friendly, to some people, makes it a bit strange and something that will be put in the cupboard never to be used again.

However, here we are, at the end of 2016 and there is so much choice for eco-friendly Christmas gifts for an amazing price. So. Many. Options. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Anything from Lush.

Lush Cosmetics are renowned for their beautiful all-organic products. Unknown to some, the products are so organic that they are edible. I wouldn’t recommend eating them, but you catch my drift. At this time of year (and all year around) Lush sell already gift wrapped, affordable sets with a great selection of their seasonal products as well as the classic ones we all know and love, all in recycled packaging.

Fairtrade Chocolate.

Chocolate is great all year round, but at Christmas it’s on special just everywhere and we all eat more than we normally do. Most well-known brands sell fairtrade chocolate nowadays anyway, but usually lesser known brands that have the fairtrade label taste better and are more affordable. Treat that chocolate obsessed family member this year!

Home-ware.

December festivities mean craft companies and environment charities join together and create ranges of gift ideas that are created with the environment in mind. Protect the Planet have an entire shop of stunning Christmas gifts that can go in the home, from recycled placemats to authentic lamps and glasses made from alcohol bottles. Vintage!

So, there’s a few ideas for you all. Enjoy!

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8 Ways You Can Be Sustainable This Christmas

Ah Christmas. A large population of the world say this is their favourite time of year, myself included. It may be cold, but my god, there are fairy lights everywhere and chocolate is on sale in every place that sells it. What. A. Delight.

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