Christmas – a time packed full of delicious foods and indulgence, but unfortunately also a time of huge food waste.
Food waste is a major problem around the world. Current estimates put global food waste between one-third and one-half of all food that is produced – and Christmas is no exception.
We often end up cooking for 20, even if there’s just 8 of us! And this means we end up with leftovers that we tend to throw away. In fact, UK households throw away the equivalent to 4.2 million dinners on Christmas Day.
The festive season is naturally a time when we indulge with our family and friends but throwing away 4.2 million of perfectly good Christmas dinners is a staggering waste. It would take the average family nearly 4 days to eat all of their food bought just for Christmas day.
Food waste is not just a moral issue, it’s an environmental issue too. Research from Love Food Hate Waste provides food for thought. It suggests that if we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
Let's make sure this Christmas isn’t a wasteful one!
According to the CIA Factbook, the amount of oil left is based on the current technological and economic viability of extraction. This obviously implies that technologies and economies change, which means that the reduction of these oil reserves will put further weight on the following issues:
The increase in fracking, and its associated risks (including water damage & increased seismic activity) Increasing dependence on imported oil, which could cause consumer prices to rise The development of more clean energy sources New innovations like Tesla’s solar-panelled roofs The adoption of electric vehicles The distribution of electric vehicle charging stations (making owning one and driving one more feasible across the country)
There is much more coal than oil available, but scientists agree that if we use it all, it will push us into the critical zone for global warming.
Interactive graphic by RS Components.
Every crisp packet, chocolate wrapper or drinks bottle we drop on the ground contributes to the overall global epidemic of litter, a problem that costs billions in cleanup attempts and leads to huge reputational damage for businesses and communities. If we saw a fast food restaurant’s grease-stained packaging draped over a tree branch or a pile of litter providing a less than picturesque welcome to a housing estate, we’d get the impression that the people who own the restaurant or the residents of that estate do not care about littering.
This infographic from Cleaning Services Group advises us as to the grim consequences of littering, as well as what we can do to actively tackle the problem. It doesn’t require hours of effort or resources. Even if all we did was educate friends or family about the harmful effects of littering, or took it upon ourselves to pick up and properly dispose of any litter we come across, that’s still a step in the right direction. A further step would be to lobby our local and national governments to commit resources to the problem and act against litter.
Litter is an environmental crisis that humans created. It’s now up to humans to undo the damage.
Can art change lives? Can art drive revolutions? Plenty of people think so. The rainforests of the world provide endless artistic inspiration, extraordinarily beautiful places seething with life, verdant and exotic. Here are three ways to enjoy the artistic fruits of rainforest inspiration.
Photographer Philippe Echaroux projects images onto the rainforest itself
As reported on Petapixel, the respected French photographer Philippe Echaroux recently projected a series of amazing images of indigenous Brazilian tribes-people onto the country's rainforest landscapes, in a project called The Blood Forest.
The artworks focus on a Suruí tribe led by chief Almir Surui Narayamoga, the man tasked by his country's government with replanting and protecting the tribe's rainforest lands. The chief apparently invited Echaroux to draw attention to the ongoing damage being caused to his land by deforestation and gold mining via photography, revealing the ancient, intimate connection between his people and their environment.
As the photographer said, “Victims of massive deforestation and gold washers who did not hesitate to violate the Surui’s territory to seize deposits of precious stones, the Surui people want to raise awareness of this horrible and greedy slaughter that endangers a territory and its people.”
If you're fortunate enough to be visiting Paris you can enjoy remarkable images of the projected photos at the Taglialatella gallery Paris from November 10th to December 15th.
Rainforest Artists moved by deforestation crisis
As we know, rainforests are disappearing fast from every corner of the globe. A group of artists moved by the crisis have made a series of paintings celebrating the forests in all their glory. The artists want to raise awareness through their work, and many of them donate a percentage of the proceeds from sold work to rainforest conservation initiatives and charities.
You can see the paintings on the Rainforest Artists website, which provides links through to the artists' websites or galleries, where you can buy their work.
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau – Who never actually saw the rainforest
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau is probably the most famous artist of all to be fascinated by the rainforest. He was awarded distinctions in music and drawing at school but didn't take up art full time until he was forty nine years old and retired from his day job at the Paris customs office. Self-taught Rousseau became the archetypal naïve artist, respected and admired by Picasso and Kandinsky for revealing “the new possibilities of simplicity.”
Rousseau's best known paintings are of lush jungle scenes, inspired by his frequent visits to the Paris gardens and zoo. Rumour has it he travelled to Mexico to fight in the subtropics while in the army, but the story isn't true. Rousseau did talk to soldiers who'd served in the Mexican rainforest, and their stories shine through his work: Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!), Scout Attacked by a Tiger, A Lion Devouring its Prey, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope and many more works all bear witness to his fascination. To experience Henri Rousseau's rainforest paintings in all their glory, visit Wikiart.
As reported in The Guardian last week, US imports of crude oil from the Amazon are at the root of the destruction of some of the area's purest forest ecosystems, releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases.
Amazon Watch highlights a serious threat
The study was carried out by the environmental group Amazon Watch, and highlights the planned expansion of oil drilling in the region as ‘one of the most serious threats' to the western Amazon. Most of the oil comes from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, and thanks to the USA and other nations now joining in, proposed oil and gas fields now cover an immense 283,172 square miles of the Amazon rainforest.
Cutting down the region's carbon-rich trees itself produces greenhouse gases. Transporting and burning the oil makes things even worse. Indigenous people and the Amazon’s famous biodiversity are all at serious risk, but the demand for oil keeps rising, and a blend of greed and short term thinking drive the destruction onwards.
What the experts say
As Leila Salazar-López, the executive director of Amazon Watch, said, “Our demand for Amazon crude is literally driving the expansion of the Amazon oil frontier and is putting millions of acres of indigenous territory and pristine rainforest on the chopping block. Breaking free from oil dependence and keeping remaining fossil fuels in the ground is an urgent, collective endeavour, and the life-giving Amazon rainforest must be one of the first places we start.”
California isn't anywhere near as Green as it might think
Much of the crude oil from the Amazon region is refined in supposedly-Green California – ironic to say the least – before being distributed across the USA. This means more or less every company, city and university throughout the nation unwittingly contributes to the Amazon rainforest's destruction.
On the surface of things, California has a good environmental reputation thanks to stiff targets to cut greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency and cut the use of fossil fuel in vehicles. But under the surface the picture isn't so Green. California depends heavily on oil imports from South America, partly because the state's Green policies discourage the heavier-grade oils produced elsewhere. And since the ExxonMobil refinery explosion in Torrance, California, in early 2015, the state has increased its gasoline imports more than ten times.
A spokesman for Jerry Brown, the state's governor, said he has taken “nation-leading action to fight climate change, decarbonize our economy and end our dangerous addiction to foreign oil”. That just isn't true. Sadly for the Amazon, it appears talk is cheap.
Many of the world’s vegans maintain the lifestyle because they consider themselves to be making a sacrifice for the sake of animals and the environment. At face value, it would seem that veganism has good intentions and would be more environmentally friendly and ethical given our current technological advances. Yet, the argument that eating a vegan diet is morally justified or even environmentally friendly may be flawed.
While it would be different if modern day vegans were gathering their food in the wild or growing it themselves, if we assume that vegans and omnivores are plugged into the modern food production complex, we get a very different image.
How Much Land Do We Need?
One of the largest arguments of vegans is how environmentally friendly their decisions are, but this is only partially true when compared to meat eating omnivores. A 2016 study entitled Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios showed the environmental toll each style of eating requires.
The worst diet, as far as how much agricultural land is required to sustain it, is a 100% omnivorous diet. Only 467 million people could be sustained on the arable land within the United States if we ate 100% animal protein.
However, with a diet that is only 40 or 20% omnivorous, more people can be sustained on our land (752 and 769 million respectively) than with a vegan diet (only 735 million). In short, veganism requires more land than those who are eating under 40% of their diet as protein.
This may not even consider how much land and emissions are needed for vegans to supplement the nutrition they lose through their diet. Many vegans consume vitamin B12, creatine, pea / rice protein and amino acids like carnitine in order to get proper nutrition. All of these supplements tax the land even further.
If this all seems too theoretical, here is a sobering fact: calorie for calorie, producing lettuce creates more greenhouse gas emissions than bacon. No vegan is going to replace all their bacon calories with lettuce, but it is an indicator of the flawed logic of vegan promoters.
All Sentient Life Matters
Another major problem of veganism is how detrimental it is for small animals and insects. This is due, in part, to the fact that grazing animals don’t require much alteration to the many square miles of land where they eat. In contrast, growing crops requires clearing the native vegetation, which kills thousands of animals and insects per square mile.
In Australia, each 100 kg of usable beef cost 2.2 animals to produce (this includes both the cow and animals on the land killed in the process). However, 55 animals die to produce 100 kg of usable plant protein. This is 25 times more deaths than the same amount of beef.
Two methods contribute to this disproportionate ratio. Firstly, clearing land to produce crops kills insects, snakes, and mice. The ploughing often leaves a field of dead animals for the birds to feast upon. Second, the fumigation within grain storage can kill thousands more mice within granaries.
If vegans and other animal-rights activists believe a diet low in meat is saving lives, these statistics provide a sobering look.
Where Do We Go Next?
The intention of the vegan diet may be well-meaning, but the results do not support the overall goal. Looking forward, humans must learn how to sustain themselves on a diet that is partially omnivorous, but under 40% of their daily calories. The animals we do consume must be processed in healthier, more sustainable, and in more humane ways. If we do this, and keep in mind that all sentient life is valuable, we will make less of an impact on the earth and remain in integrity with our roles as stewards of earth.
Did you know bees are one of the most significant pollinators on earth? Many people think bees are an annoyance and hate when they’re buzzing around. However many of us don’t realise that they play a massive role in supporting us – one third of all food in world has been created thanks to the help of bees.
- Preserve genetic diversity.
- Enhance biodiversity.
- Help plants reproduce.
- Augment fruit yields.
- Assist with the dispersion of species into new regions.
- Therefore they support fauna & flora at each part of the food chain.
Over the past few decades, the bee population has dramatically declined all over the globe. There are several significant factors that have contributed to the decline, however the most significant is the use pesticides. Any Pest have investigated this pandemic and detailed all of their findings on the beautiful infographic below.
Not only does it reveal some shocking statistics it also offers some supportive advice on how we can support these ancient insects, from small changes in our gardens to education. For all the info on why we need to save the bees, let’s check out the infographic below!
What statistic shocked you the most? Let us know your thoughts on the bee decline in the comment section below!
In light of the start of the Olympic Games in Rio, Ethical Consumer have turned their attention to the main sponsors.
Coca-Cola has sponsored the Olympic Games since 1928. It has been the biggest and longest running sponsor of the tournament.
They have updated their Coca-Cola company profile and found a number of issues that question its role as a key sponsor for the biggest sporting event in the world.
- Irresponsible marketing
- Operations in oppressive regimes
- Poor workers’ rights
- Animal testing by third-party experts
- Likely use of tax avoidance
See the full Coca-Cola company profile for more information.
Adidas is one of the main sponsors of the 2016 British Olympic Team, and has been partnered with Team GB since 1984.
We take a look at Adidas’ record to see if it's a suitable sponsor for our athletes:
Scores badly on…
- Poor workers’ rights in garment factories
- Boycott call for use of kangaroo leather
- Likely use of tax avoidance
However, some progress…
- Set two environmental reduction targets
- Has made progress to detox from key chemicals
See the full Adidas company profile for more information.
Both companies have work to do before they are considered as ethical and responsible sponsors for such a global sporting event.
What you can do
Share their short video on Twitter to help spread the word about Coca-Cola’s poor ethics. Alternatively, if you do not use social media, share this post with your contacts.
Every year the earth loses around 15 billion trees. This is a shocking figure. A huge figure. But how big is that really?
It shows just how frightening the true scale of deforestation is.
For instance, every two days we lose an area of forest the size of New York City. An area the size of one of the world’s biggest cities gone in a weekend!
You can also see in this graphic that every three and a quarter years an area the size of California is lost, and every 15 years an area the size of Mexico. That’s almost 72,000 square miles!
Read on to discover more about the devastating scale of deforestation, and the work being done to prevent it.
When we think about lowering our carbon footprint we tend to think of turning off lights, lowering heating and reducing the number of times we use our cars, however, while these things do matter this infographic highlights the carbon footprint of the digital age.
Every time we send or receive emails, carry out a Google search, put a ‘Like' on facebook or watch a YouTube video we are generating CO2 emissions. In fact, no matter what you use your computer for you are contributing to producing escalating amounts of CO2.
The infographic provides a host of comparison statistics to put things into perspective, giving you insight on to the potential and actual harm the digital age is having on the planet. Some of the largest digital giants, such as Google, facebook and Amazon, are already attempting to rectify the problems they are causing by focusing on sustainable operations and being carbon neutral.
As we become more aware of the problem it is hoped that our digital habits will change. While the footnote at the end of many emails asks you to think of the planet before printing, much more effort is needed on a global level if we are going to actively contribute in lowering our carbon footprint and help save the planet.
Read through this infographic and you'll find that with a little less streaming, fewer tweets and emails really can make a difference if everyone makes a real effort to reduce their CO2 emissions.