A Greener You

Anbefaling av "Jordnært"

“Jordnært - Enkle tips til en mer miljøvennlig hverdag” er boken til søstrene Anette og Susanne Bastviken, som står bak bloggen og podcastet Radical Broccoli.

Først og fremst; jeg har elsket å lese denne boken! Den er både en kjempefin innføring i en grønnere livsstil og mer miljøvennlig og bærekraftig hverdag for de som akkurat har begynt sin grønne reise, men også kjempeinspirerende om du har vært på denne reisen en stund. Forfatterne deler også sine reiser for å bli grønnere, og det store funnet deres er kanskje det at de valgene som er gode for oss, også er de som er gode for planeten vår.

Boken er inndelt etter alle de kategoriene som vi som enkeltindivider kan påvirke vårt eget liv, som; mat, plastforbruket vårt, hjemmene våre, hygiene og velværeprodukter, klærene våre og transport.

Søstrene er vitenskapsbaserte og alle påstander i boken har vitenskapelige kilder, fra blant annet forskning på mat som Eat Lancet rapporten, til ulike miljøorganisasjoner. Søstrene er også plantebaserte, og oppskriftene i boken er også basert på dette. Selv om boken er solid bygget på fakta er den likevel lettlest, og veldig hyggelig, totalt uten å være fordømmende. Filosofien deres er at det er bedre at mange millioner mennesker tar mange gode valg for miljøet, enn at noen få mennesker er perfekte og gjør alt riktig.

Et spennende prosjekt søstrene deler med oss er hvordan det gikk da de skulle leve en måned uten plast. Mange så kanskje dette på Planet Plast på NRK i fjor. Etter å ha prøvd mitt lignende prosjekt med å ha shoppestopp på klær i et helt år vet jeg at kreativiteten og nytenkningen sånne prosjekter gir fører mange nye og bedre løsninger med seg.

Jeg kan på det varmeste anbefale denne boken til både mine grønne venner, og alle som er nysgjerrige og kunne tenke seg å bli grønnere.

The True Cost

I’ve just watched the Netflix documentary “The True Cost” and I cried. Very precisely, it sums up everything that is very unpleasant for us consumers to take in - that actual real humans, just like yourself, are making these clothes under the worst imaginable conditions.

The documentary was made in 2015, one year after the Rana Plaza accident, that killed 1138 factory workers in Bangladesh. As Andrew Morgan, one of the director of the movie says in this interview: “It’s something really important in this world that you have not considered, and you are a part of something intrical just by buying clothes, and as simple as just opening our eyes and our hearts to this idea, that it is hands, physical human hands that touch the things we wear, and that these hands are lives, and they matter”.

I will recommend this documentary to everyone I know who wears clothes, because every time we buy something, we make a choice to be part of the current system. Every time we chose to buy used, ethical, fair trade or ecological however, we are saying that we demand another world. That we do not want to be the buying force at the end of this chain that is ruining lives, the environment and eventually our planet.

Here is the trailer, but I am sure you either have Netflix, or know someone who does. So do watch it in full length, not just this short trailer. I am convinced that you can not remain unaffected afterwards. Thank you for caring.

Have a palm oil free Christmas

The festive season is soon upon us, and so is a lot of traditional festive food. In my everlasting investigation on how to live more sustainable, I’ve come to notice how much of the store bought food that still contains palm oil in Norway.

Palm oil production has a severe negative impact on the rainforest, as vast areas with a high bio diversity is mowed down to make room for palm oil plantations. This also impacts the animals who used to live there, and the indigenous that made their livelihood in the rainforest. If you would like to read more about the problem of palm oil (in English) you can follow this link to the site “Say no to palm oil"

Palm oil plantation harvesting

Palm oil plantation harvesting

As an eco conscious citizen, you don’t want to contribute to the deforestation of the rainforest while you are enjoying your store bought ginger bread, therefore, I will give you a guide on how to steer clear of the palm oil this Christmas:

Deforestation caused by palm oil plantations

Deforestation caused by palm oil plantations

RSPO certified Palm Oil

You have probably read the phrase “RSPO certified Palm Oil” on products containing palm oil. This is the “Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is a large, international group of palm oil producers, palm oil buyers, and environmental and social groups. According to WWF this initiative have taken steps in making the palm oil industry better.

However, Greenpeaces “Certifying Destruction” report shows that the RSPO is in fact not producing sustainable palm oil. The report uncovered how RSPO certified palm oil plantations was linked to deforestation. One of the reasons why RSPO certification is not working as it should, is because there are several loop holes to work around the conservation of the rainforest that it was set out to protect. If you want to understand more about RSPO, I recommend reading the report.

This is why RSPO certified oil is not a guarantee that the palm oil has not contributed to deforestation. Therefore it is better to avoid palm oil containing products altogether.

Have a joyful and palm oil free Christmas celebration. More tips on how to have a sustainable and eco friendly celebration will come.

My samoyed Kit looking forward to a new sustainable Christmas

My samoyed Kit looking forward to a new sustainable Christmas

Back to school, back to saving the environment

August is almost finished, and many of us is getting back into the routine of school, university and jobs. Here is a list of four tips for making your everyday life greener! For long term readers, you will remember the concept of how we can use habit building to incorporate more environmentally friendly habits in our daily routine. Basically what this means is; make it easier for yourself to follow up on the green choice you have already committed to doing. 

How to remember your reusable bag when grocery shopping: If one of your, like mine, green everyday choices is to use a reusable bag when you grocery shop - then always carry with you in your backpack or choice of carry on item a reusable bag. This way, you don't have to remember the action of finding it every singel time, and the amount of plastic you use will be drastically reduced.

Pick five peaces of plastic every day: Maybe you have seen the #5forhvalen on instagram? If you haven't the thought behind it is as simple as it is doable; if everyone pick up five items of plastic that they find in nature every day, it will have a massively positive impact on your everyday environment, and you stop it from reaching the ocean! Which makes you a climate hero! :D 

Plastic that me and my friends picked along the coast of Lofoten this summer to bring back to the mainland for recycling. 

Plastic that me and my friends picked along the coast of Lofoten this summer to bring back to the mainland for recycling. 

Cutting down on your disposable plastic consumption: After watching NRKs brilliant "Plant plast" this spring (if you haven't already, it is highly recommended) you probably don't want to contribute to plastic problem that we are currently facing. If your daily routine includes picking up a coffee to go, then remember to put your reusable cup in your backpack, making the decision so much easier for yourself when you are already in line (and remember "I do have one of those! Only problem is, it's in my cupboard at home...) Most coffee shops also give you a discount if you remember to bring your own cup, so there's economical incentives for remembering as well. I bought myself a cup (for hot drinks) right before the start of the hottest summer recorded, but as temperatures finally are cooling down in Norway, I will soon get a use of it. 

Start of a new season - new green habits! Most likely, if you do read this blog, you are already either quite concerned about the climate and environment, but do you get an every day outlet for your passion? I find that it's very important for me personally to contribute in the ongoing battle against climate change on many different levels, and one way that I've benefitted from in so many ways is by being part of an organisation that works on climate related matters. Being part of an organisation, you both support the good work they are doing, and if you support, either with your time spent volunteering or with financial aid, you are contributing in helping the environment. It is also one of the most meaningful ways you can contribute, by saving the planet for the future generations to come. August/September is a great time of year to start out with new activities, so you know you've always wanted or you have always intended to do it. Let this be the autumn where you take your green passion to the next level and start advocating for it louder. After the summer we have had, it's visible for all to see that we don't have any time to waste. I will include a list of Norwegian environmental organisations (but for my international readers, many of them, like WWF and Greenpeace will have international chapters as well) 

List of environmental organisations you should look into: 

- Greenpeace

- Spire

- Natur og Ungdom

- Fremtiden i våre hender

- Naturvernforbundet

- WWF

- Bellona

- Utviklingsfondet

There are lots more, but do some research, find out which one best resonate with you, and what are the options of getting involved in your local chapter where you live/work or go to university. Becoming an active member in one of these groups could be the best decision you make this autumn. Have a happy green back to work/school! 

 

Good green habits in the summer

We've recently experienced summer like temperatures where I'm studying. This blog post is therefore a quick reminder to us all that we don't forget our good green habits over the summer months. 

1. Reusable bag. Remember to bring your reusable bag when shopping. It saves the environment unnecessary plastic, and by refusing, you are stopping the demand for plastic bags. Remember we talked about 5 R's? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, RefuseThe trick is to leave the fabric bag in your bag/backpack so you don't need to make a conscious decision to bring it along each time, saving yourself the energy to remember.

2. Give away clothes you don't need. This blog has focused a lot on the clothing industry and for new readers; in 2017 I did a year of shop stop, here you can read my evaluation after one year had passed. By giving away clothes you dont need, you are both decluttering your own space, but more importantly, you are giving the clothes you don't need any longer to someone who will have real value of them. 

Translation of the text in the image "The dress that you give will give someone else an opportunity for a job", and "The trousers you are giving is saving the environment for 8 kg of CO2" and "The sweater you are giving will give warmth to someone who is freezing". 

Translation of the text in the image "The dress that you give will give someone else an opportunity for a job", and "The trousers you are giving is saving the environment for 8 kg of CO2" and "The sweater you are giving will give warmth to someone who is freezing". 

3. Reusable water bottle/cup for hot drinks. I bought myself a KeepCup in 2014, which I recently learned also makes glass cups. However, my plastic one started smelling and tasting like plastic, so I recently invested in a glass one from the brand JocoCups. Building on research from among others, the climate psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, who I reviewed the book of: 'What we think about when we try not to think about global warming' ; one important aspect when it comes to changing habits/making greener choices, is to base our desired new habit on something we already like or are predisposition to liking. In less academic terms: Choose a cup you find pretty/good looking, and you are more likely to use it! 

My new glass Joco cup. 

My new glass Joco cup. 

4. Picking up plastic litter in nature. We know so much about the plastic problem by now, that we should all act on it whenever we see plastic laying in nature. Also, speak up against unnecessary usage of plastic, like in Norway helium balloons where recently banned on the 17th of May because enough people cared! Helium balloons are known for ending up in the ocean as marine litter.

17th of May plastic litter that can soon become marine litter. 

17th of May plastic litter that can soon become marine litter. 

5. Leave the nature as you found it. In Norwegian there is a term called "sporløs ferdsel" which essentially means to not leave a trace where you've traveled in nature. In practical terms this means for example to not leave your disposable grill on the ground (or worse - dumped in the ocean) after you've used it. The simplest way is asking yourself; should nature look like this? If no, pick it up. 

Thank you for caring about our joint environment <3 

Rana Plaza and Talanoa Dialogue 

Happy May Sunday, dear climateschool readers! I've had a short hiatus due to exam season starting up here at NTNU, but in just 6 weeks time I will have finished the teacher degree. In the meantime; climate-news does not take exam breaks. Therefore, this blog post will be a short summary of two important things that's been happening while I've been away reading pedagogy literature: 

- The 24th of April was the 5 year mark since the clothing factory Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh and 1138 textile workers died that day. Last year, I attended a meeting about the 4 year mark, and it was then announced that what needed to come in place was a binding agreement where the brands we know sign a uniform agreement of openness and transparency, so that an accident and working conditions like Rana Plaza can never happen again. The Future in Our hands has done a great job following the progress of this security agreement. However, they revealed that the giant IKEA has not signed this agreement. This is a huge shame, because the agreement works, and is already making a significant change in the life of the textile workers. To get a visual of how it was like to experience an ordinary day before the collapse of the Rana Plaza, The Future in our Hands has put together this short video.  

If you want to take action after knowing this, like I do, you can go to IKEAs facebook page and ask them to sign the agreement.  For example: (in Norwegian) "Kjære IKEA, skriv under den livreddende sikkerhetsavtalen for tekstilarbeiderne i Bangladesh!" (And you may also link to the Future in our Hands article) 

- There has also been a UNFCCC Climate change meeting in Bonn from the 30th of April - 10th of May. This was the start of the Talanoa Dialogue : "

"Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.

During the process, participants build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations are inconsistent with building mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the Talanoa concept. Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in dialogue, by creating a safe space that embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.". 

A short recap of the outcome of this meeting: 

  • There was progress made in the the Paris "rulebook"
  • The next meeting will be held in Bangkok, so a negotiation text will be made to prepare for this session
  • There is still key factors in the technical and financial negotiations that needs to be worked out

Thanks to ClimateTracker for the infographic

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Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution

Today, Sunday 22nd of April is Earth Day, where the mission is to end plastic pollution. Plastic pollution has luckily gained a lot of awareness this past year in Norway. On a recent survey by Norad, 7 out of 10 Norwegians answered that plastic pollution should be Norways most urgent environmental cause, and that Norway has a special responsibility as a sea nation. 

I worked with marine littering almost every day in Greenpeace, and have written some fact sheets about marine littering and micro beads. Fortunately, plastic in the ocean is so easy to get engaged in, as it is clearly so wrong. It also helps with great TV series like NRKs "Planet Plast"

Also fortunately; there is so much we can do about it! First of all, we can have a close look at our own consumption and notice how much plastic, and especially disposable plastic, we use every single day, and then take the measures to reduce our overall plastic habit. But as we know, there is already so much plastic waste in the ocean. 

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That is why in Norway, starting next week; its Beach Clean up Week! All over Norway, you can find your local beach and join in on cleaning your local beach for plastic. Off course, needless to say, but none the less - you can off course have every day of the year as beach clean up day! Whenever I am at home, on the South-Coast, and I see some plastic either already lying in the ocean, near the ocean, or on land, I pick it up, because eventually it all ends up in the ocean. 

There is also the recent trend of "plogging" where you jog and pick up plastic waste in nature at the same time. 

If you've ever walked a dog in nature, you know how easy it is for the dog to spot the plastic as something that is not belonging in nature. Two years ago, when I was walking my samoyed at home on a local beach, and I turned my head towards the horizon for 5 seconds, my dog had found a transparent plastic bag in the sea, and maybe mistook it for something edible, so when I turned back to look at my dog, she was half way inhaling the plastic bag. Luckily I got it out of her mouth in seconds, but it was absolutely horrible to witness and to think about what could have happened, and what has happened to so many animals living in the ocean. 

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I hope the awareness created around plastic pollution will last, and continue to be at the forefront of peoples minds as we have a national and global "dugnad" (joint volunteer work) to end plastic pollution together. Happy Earth Day. 

 

 

 

Using habit building to incorporate a more environmentally friendly lifestyle

Catchy title, but that is what todays blog post will discuss. How can you make it easier for yourself to live by the environmentally conscious principles you know would benefit yourself and the environment? For me, I think these two guiding principles helps you a long way: 

1. Make it easy - meaning; instead of wanting to cut back on the plastic bags you get from the store, but always forget, because you forgot that morning that you would grocery shop after school/work, then make it easy for yourself and always carry with you a fabric bag. It weights nothing and it saves you a lot of guilt. 

2. Make the decision beforehand. With this principle, I mean; instead of always having to consider every new temptation as they come along, of course you will be exhausted, and living environmentally friendly will seem like a shore. There is such a thing called 'decision fatigue' which is basically when you use up all your mental capacity on tedious little tasks, and when faced with the decisions you actually have to make, you dont have enough energy to make them. Therefor, I am an advocate for already making the decision, and incorporating them into the way you intend to live by. Say your green new years resolution was to eat less meat, as we talked about two weeks ago, but now, some time has passed, and maybe the initial motivation that comes by starting a new habit has faded ever so slightly. That's when this principle applies. Say your goal was to cut meat entirely, but now you're tempted to break it, because it seems easier to just go with what's familiar. That is when you now remind yourself; no, I've made a promise to myself, because the better, greener version of myself knows this is something that is important to me to follow through, and this is something I know will benefit me and the environement in the long term, even though it would seem like it does not matter what decision I make right now. I used this principle a lot in the beginning of my year of ShopStop

If you thought this blog post was helpful, this is something I am quite interessted, and have more resources on. Hope you will have a green Sunday! 

ShopStop 2017 Evaluation

The year of Shop Stop came to an end. It's exactly a year ago today that I outlined what would be the premises of my Shop Stop 2017. I just reread it, and I can now answer some of my predictions: 

Was the hardest part being tempted all the time? No, in fact that part came very easy. I knew I had clothes for the different seasons, and it was also such a burden being lifted not having to follow the constant white noice of commercials, because I had my auto reply "Sorry, not this year". I did however come up with these guidelines midway in the project in order to limit the time you are putting yourself at risk of being affected by commercials

Did I want to just stroll along in clothing stores out of boredom? No, not the least bit! This part was really liberating as well, because same reply as above. I do think I have spent more time in nature, I have for sure freed up a lot of time that I know I would have spent otherwise. 

What about presents? There were no soft presents this year! Most people knew the project I had undertaken, and even though it was questioned, it was at least respected that this was my wish. 

Did I learn to knit after a pattern? No, I haven't knitted at all, haha. It hasn't been a need or desire in my life the past year. 

However, did I repair a lot of clothing this year? I sure did! That is the thing about not buying any clothing for a year - things break. Specially trousers. In the end, I had 3 out of 4 trousers that were torn, so I've had my repair kit out quite a lot. The same goes for the majority of my clothes, but that is also one of the many great reasons why we should repair our clothes! I had a lot of repair jobs around November, when I wrote this on why we should always repair. 

Did I get any insights to what I actually need? Yes, and this was quite interesting. By tracking what I thought I needed over all the different seasons, without buying anything new, I could really feel the change between just wanting something and actually needing it. When the project was finished for example, I actually needed new trousers. Knowing this difference in once life is actually one of the better outcomes I gained from the project. 

Were there any downsides to it? At one point in the spring, I did become quite bored of using the same two skirts, before I had access to the clothes I would use over summer. This however, was not a major thing. The greater concern was rather would I be able to sew through quite thick denim. It turns out, that is very doable. Its just a matter of really needing it. 

How did I end the year to celebrate? This might sound contradictory, but I actually gathered almost two full black trash bags with old clothes and gave them away at the start of the new year. It was clothes that I had been holding on to for way too long, and as always it felt really liberating to pass them on to someone who needs them more than me.  

Me being quite happy to give away clothes to a charity.&nbsp;

Me being quite happy to give away clothes to a charity. 

What can others gain from my experiences? If more people question the choices if they should buy something, in stead of just first buying and then thinking, it can have an enormous impact. 

Will I continue to boycott the clothing industry? In fact, I will not. This is not because I suddenly think it is super great how the employees in factories are treated, but because I learnt from a seminar I attended in May (organised by "The future in our hands" - the organisation that helped make the "Sweatshop" series) that the factory workers actually does not want us to boycott their industry. When I first heard this, I felt that this project was counterproductive, but then I did want to have a years "gap" where I could properly read myself up and understand the situation better, and by not contributing felt like the right way to follow that path. However, as I wrote above, clothes fall apart, and sometimes actually beyond repair. This doesn't mean that I won't think twice about where I do get my clothes from. In November, it became public that H&M in fact burn sever amounts of the clothes they can't sell. This really makes you question their "ethical commitment". Luckily there are several other options on how to buy more ethically, and I will follow up with a new blog post on this in the time to come. 

It has been an interesting and fun year in many regards, and a lot of people has asked me about it, which I think is a super positive outcome. If anyone else feel inspired to do it for a month, six months or a full year, I can actually recommend it for the peace of mind if offers. 

 

 

New Year, New Green Resolutions!

2018 is here, and with it, new possibilities to do and be the best version of yourself, for yourself and the environment, if you let it. I am all about new beginnings at the moment, coming back to finish my last semester at the teacher studies course I'm taking at NTNU, leaving Greenpeace, for now. 

Let this be the year when you start living by your ideals. If you've been meaning to cut down on meat eating, or cut meat entirely, now is the time to do it.

What step have you been meaning to take in your own personal life to live a greener lifestyle? Have you thought about:

  • Letting the car stand, and rather use public transportation or biking on your way to work? 
  • Getting more involved in the environmental movement and becoming supporting member of an environmental organisation? 
  • Using your voice and vote in elections to promote environmentally conscious politicians? 
  • Reading yourself up on a seemingly big environmental topic, as Norwegian oil drilling? 
  • Taken a closer look at your own carbon footprint

You are in luck, because there is no better time than the present to start taking one or more of these steps. This kind of thought process was part of my decision to make 2017 my year of ShopStop. The year is now finished, and my regular Sunday blogpost will be a review of how it went. 

Let 2018 come with all the new beginnings that follows. 

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Have yourself an environmentally friendly Christmas

December is here, and very soon, so is Christmas. So here, in this blog post, I will give you a few reccomendations on how to make your entire Christmas celebration more green. 

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1. Chose public transportation when you are traveling to get home. For a lot of us, Christmas means traveling back to where your family live. This can be a pleasant start to your holiday. Remember, you can still listen to "Driving home for Christmas" - from a train ;)  

2. When shopping for Christmas presents to your loved ones, consider these guiding questions:

- Is this something the recipient explicitly has said they want or need? If not, dont buy it. 

- Is it a possibility to buy the item used? Remember when we learnt about why circular economy is good for the environment? 

3. If your friend or family member says that they don't actually wish for any more material goods, a great gift that you could be giving is an experience! There are so many alternatives here, only your imagination sets the limits. It could be anything from a concert, trip to the cinema or possibly a journey you've both wanted to take. A study from 2010 in Norway showed that the majority of the people asked, actually wanted experiences over things

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4. A lot of the traditional Christmas foods tends to be meat based. This article explains how eating meat is actually more damaging than a long distance flight.  'A kilogramme of beef protein reared on a British hill farm can generate the equivalent of 643kg of carbon dioxide. A kilogramme of lamb protein produced in the same place can generate 749kg. One kilo of protein from either source, in other words, causes more greenhouse gas emissions than a passenger flying from London to New York' .Those numbers are shocking, but true. Therefore, making more of your Christmas meals green is a good place to start. 

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There are numerous other things you could be doing to save the environment over Christmas, but these ones; letting your car stay at home, don't buy things you or others don't need, and choosing to eat green over meat, are the key ones to remember. 

With wishes that you will have a green (and white) Christmas! 

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Buy nothing - repair something

This week's Black Friday frenzy has luckily also brought out the Green Friday/Buy Nothing Day movement. My Facebook feed has been full of articles advocating that you rather go out in nature instead of to shopping mals, as this initiative that American national parks made to make their parks free this day.  

However, as I have become quite well aware of, seeing as my year of 2017 - ShopStop is soon coming to an end; materials break - and sometimes beyond repair. Massive sales as Black Friday is only constructive if you buy something you truly need, that can not be bought used or otherwise obtained. Most of the time, this is the case; that you are able to find the item you "need" somewhere else than in a shiny wrapping showcased with good lighting, and even better advertising. 

When you start asking questions to why you need to continue to follow this commercial order of things, you come to realise there are so many alternatives of how to save money, free up your own time and save the environment all at once. Did you for example know that it takes 10.000 litres of water to produce one single pair of jeans? Knowing this, in addition to some other water facts: Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater and only 0.3% is accessible to humans. 

Underneath is a picture from the site Good On You that shows how the Aral Sea in Central Asia dried up due to the unsustainable cotton industry in the area. You dont want to be part of this. 

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That is why I chose to repair rather than buying a new pair of blue jeans when my current pair broke last week. These jeans are under 2 years old, so I am not ready to give them up. It only took a few stitches and then their life span was prolonged again. Another pair, some brown chinos type of trousers, that are actually 10 years old also broke this week (a bad week for trousers in my household). These however were worn thin by the fabric, but I went to a tailor and asked for some extra fabric to repair them. I brought with me my the trouser to show the tailor, and he ended up giving my the fabric I needed to mend it for free! It didnt take much fabric for him, but it was enough for me to be able to give my garment a longer life, and hence reducing my need to replace it. 

I hope this inspired you to repair something you have, that you know needs mending. It is not hard, and you feel better afterwards because you've done the sensible thing for yourself, your economy and the environment. 

 

Third quarter of 2017 on shopstop

September is coming to and end, and so is the third quarter of my year on shopstop. For new readers, this is the rational behind it. 

Reviewing what I thought would be challenges, I mentioned the constant consumer pressure that you are exposed to. To be honest, this has been a lot easier than I thought it would be! If you are planning to attempt a project like this I can give a few tip of advice: 

1. Remove yourself from the constant temptation - meaning for example; dont spend significant amounts of time walking in clothing stores or browsing online.

2. Also, it can be a handy tip to unsubscribe to newsletters that are sent to you daily, like H&M does. You probably dont realise, but this way of marketing really gets under your skin, if you dont fight back. 

3. If your presens on social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram, is constantly bombarding you with commercials, because you are in a target audience group, like I must have been - chose to hide or block it. You are allowed to chose who influence you. 

As previously mentioned, it only gets easier the more time that passes. However, I would encourage you to make it easier on yourself by not letting yourself be overexposed to the clothing industries constant commercials. 

We are now moving into early autumn, which means another cold season. I started this project in January, so I already know I will be fully equipped for the coldest part of the year. 3 months remains of the project, and the last review will come towards the end of the year.

 

 

 

Climate March!

This weeks blog post is a little different, however, I hope you'll find it inspiring. It's about one of the many ways that you can contribute towards a greener and more environmentally friendly society.

Today, there is a big climate march happening in Oslo. I am helping to organise it, so as soon as this blog post goes up, I will head down to the Oslo central station to help out. If you are in Oslo, and have this afternoon free, do come and join us, this is the Facebook event.

The march is the work of a broad coalition, raning from the environmental movement to the religious movement, workers union and scientists. In addition, there will be appeals by author Karl Ove Knausgård and Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

The reason why its good to come to these kinds of marches is both to see for yourself that you are part of a much broader movement than you probably knew. Also, it is very good to show our politicians how many people who actually do care and are concerned about the environment. 

Our three major banners this year says "No Arctic Oil", ""Show Climate Justice" and "100.000 new climate jobs". These are our demands, in addition to that we want the upcoming Norwegian election (happening on the 11th of September) must be a tide turn for the environment. We want it to be a climate election. 

So if you are around in Oslo today and want to get some inspiration and feel how broad this movement is, I strongly encourage you to come. We will be marching from the Oslo central Station at 13.00 and end up in front of the Parliament where the appeals will be held. 

 

Second quarter of 2017 on shopstop

June is nearing its end, and so is the first half of this years non-shopping policy. To be honest, it only gets easier the more time that passes. 

At first, I figured the main challenges could be changes of the seasons, but now that I have 'mastered' ice cold winter, mild spring, and warm summer temperatures, I know it will be easy to last the rest of the year without breaking it. 

The key to any habit building activities, at least to what I have found, is reminding yourself every so often, why you are doing this in the first place. Until the new habit becomes an integrated part of your daily routine, then it can be good to remind yourself why you first set out on this journey. To me, I am luckily beyond that point, which makes it easier to focus on the idea behind this. 

One cool thing that has happened since the last update, is that I have had several really good conversations with friends about how they too has started questioning themselves more about their consumer habits. Which I think is great! A higher awareness of how much we consume is the first step towards decreasing the amount that goes in to what the advertisement industry wants us to think is a 'normal' or 'standard' amount of clothes, shoes etc to consume in a year. 

Another good thing that has come out of this project so far, which was one of my intentions, was to free up spare time, in order to use it how I know I actually would, in stead of ending up in a store. I can definitely say that I have been able to go on hikes both in the weekdays and also in the weekend a lot more frequently (while living in cities) after starting this project. 

If you have a similar idea that you want to test out for a years time, that you think will bring you closer to the kind of life you want to lead; I would say go for it! I am happy about doing shopstop 2017. Maybe you would like to do shopstop for the second half of this year, starting on 1st of July? :) 

 

3 tips on how to be eco friendly this summer

Hi everyone, June is here, and so is the start of summer holiday for a lot of you. With summer comes a lot of well deserved spare time, and with that, here are some handy tips on how to not let the good habits slip over the holiday: 

1. Slow travels: If possible, chose a train/ferry/bikes/kayak in stead of a flying. Slow travel is all the rage, and for a good reason. By making the travel part of your journey, you can find a necessary slowing of the pace, that might be the reason why you wanted to go on holiday in the first place. For more inspiration, you can follow this link to a couple who are committed to slow travels. 

2. Be a local hero: If you do decide to stay at home, be a local hero in your community! What I mean by this is - if you see that someone has thrown a disposable grill out in the water right next to a beach or any place that children or animals might get stuck in it - be a local hero and pick it up! I have seen this happen numerous times; its polluting, and the grill has no reason to be there. 

3. Pick up the plastic: Following up on being a local hero, I am assuming that a lot of people associate summer with spending time near the ocean, or at least waters, at least, that's summer to me. Whenever you see a plastic bag, or a bottle that have lost its way out of some owners hands, please be the climate hero they failed to be, and carry it with you until you can throw it away in a designated place. Last summer, I did a kayak hike, which turned into a picking up plastic bags from the sea hike. 

Also, obviously, great to pick up the plastic before it enters into the ocean as well, because as we know, almost all the plastic that ends up in nature find its way to the ocean. 

There might be more tips over the summer, but if we all try to follow up on these, you are really making a difference. Have an eco friendly start to your summer. 

Is the clothing industry getting any better?

I was recently at a meeting that discussed how the clothing industry is progressing, now 4 years after more than 1110 people died in the collapsing clothing factory Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. 

Status quo today 

The project lead for the Sweatshop (which I encourage you to see, if you haven't) said that the salaries they are making, is still not enough to cover daily costs. On the topic of security, we learned that there is still a lot of uncertainty in the job market. After the Rana Plaza accident, two work agreement was drawn up, the 'Accord on Fire and Building Safety' in Bangladesh and 'The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety'. If the new standards are not met, western companies must end their relationship with the factories. They have until the end of 2018 to meet the targets. However, as per today, the majority of the factories are still far from reaching these targets. There is still a lack in rights at the workplace, wages are low, and the workers are treated badly and without respect, and is sometimes beaten with plastic bottles. 

After the Rana Plaza, the industry wanted an overview of who had produced their clothes there. It turned out that none of the companies that used Rana Plaza had operated with open lists. In order to tell a customer where their garments are made, a company should always operate with an open list. That is why asking for open lists in the clothing industry is one of the ways you can help alter the system. This is because if an accident where to occur, the responsible would be easier to target, to prevent it happening again. 

Still, progress is being made, but a lot remains to be done. The term 'when best is not good enough' was used about the 'best' factories. In the meantime, we as consumers can look at these lists to see what companies operate with open lists. The other thing we can do is to keep paying attention to the working conditions, and keep asking questions. 

First quarter of 2017 on ShopStop

As March is soon coming to an end, so is my first quarter of the shopstop, hence I thought it suitable with an update on how it is going. 

So, these are the ‘lessons’ that I’ve learned so far, and bear in mind that this is highly subjective: 

  1. You don't necessarily need to wear everything you find pretty. 

I know I have an affinity for burgundy as a colour, and I can not remember what it was that I saw in that colour, but I think it was a pair of trousers, and they might have also been corduroy (another favourite of mine), that in combination was tempting. However, this is not something I am lacking, so I simply reminded myself of this fact, and walked away. 

This lesson is also true about other things, for example if you come across a particular pattern you might like, or a colour, it still doesn't mean that you have to wear it. This part of the project is more about changing how one view what you own and not. Say for example, when you look out on a lovely sunset, you can not own it, but you can still carry the feeling of it with you. In that way you do own it, or at least you own the feeling or sensation it created. And in a lot of ways, that is what the fashion and advertising industry wants us to experience, some sort of feeling that we are buying (along with their garment) 

For me, I have had this thing about dark blue lately, but as I am committed to this project, I rather got an outlet for this with painting with dark blue. Also, I found a dark blue sweater that I’ve had for a few years and started wearing that again, in stead of following a quick and easy impulse, which would have been to purchase a new one right ahead. I should probably point out that I am not saying you can paint yourself out of any temptation; if you actually do lack something, then you do lack it. But the case for most of us with easy access to stores like H&M, is that we actually don’t lack items, we are just bored and easily affected by advertises. Therefore I am trying to create a higher awareness in the decision making process regarding what you actually do chose to buy. 

My quick check list would therefore be: 

  1. Do I actually need it? 
  2. Do I have something from before that could do the job? 
  3. Am I buying this piece because I answered ‘yes’ to the two prior questions, or am I trying to fill some gap in another part of my life with this purchase? 

The first of these I have been asking myself for years, the latter two are new, but I will adopt them, as these are some of the things I want to be more conscious about as a consumer. 

It is actually already becoming easier. 

I hope this can inspire some of you who is reading this, because at least to me, this feels like a relief, not like giving something up. 

For further inspiration, I can recommend this series by Australian blogger and youtuber Muchelle B of how to simplify your life, that I was quite inspired by in January.

Thank you for reading, and remember that it's not just the grand efforts that makes a difference <3

ShopStop 2017

It's been a while, its a new year, and a new greener you, if you'd like to. 

I've decided to introduce a new element to this blog, which is more about green living and how you can do lifestyle choices that is helping us taking care of our common earth. 

For me, one of my contributions this year is that I will not buy any new clothing in 2017. This is because of the awareness I have gained over the past few years about how the textile industry works and the enormous effects this has on our climate. For a more in debt about this, see my last blog post: http://theclimateschool.com/news/2016/11/30/black-friday-and-over-consume-of-clothes

I do believe this is going to become a challenge, even thought I do know I have what I need in order to physically manage it. The biggest challenge, the way I see it now, is to overcome the constant offers that the advertising world is constantly imprinting in you that you need. I read somewhere that earlier we used to talk about the four different seasons. Now, clothing advertises the year like every new week is a new season, which is insane. However, these things are effective, and just the other day when I was walking down the street, I saw a long warm looking black skirt, and immediately thought ‘that was nice’, then I remembered the vow I had given myself and thought about alternatives to buying this new skirt, and straight ahead I recalled a long black skirt I had from four years back that could do the job! So solution number one: See what I already have that can be used. 

The second challenge that I think can become a fall mine is that sometimes one buys stuff out of boredom. Although, now that I am aware of this, I will rather used the time and money spent on something more lasting; like spending time in nature! The nature is of course free, but sometimes it can cost a bit to travel to the more remote areas. This is where the saving aspect of not buying any new clothes come in. I went over my online receipts for 2016 and found out how much I used on clothes that year, and it came to the sum of 4480 NOK. From my perspective, who is someone who considers oneself as not that materialistic, I was quite shocked. It is tempting to come with three explanations as to why the number was this high: 

  1. In 2016 I gave away half of the clothes I owned in the first half of the year. If anyone else is getting inspired by a minimalist lifestyle, as I am currently, I will write another blog post on how minimalism can help you to become more green in your choices. However I would also state that if you do decide to get rid of a lot of clothing, do not throw it away in the bin, donate it to somewhere you know the items will be taken care of, as too much textiles in the garbage is another severe environmental problem. 
  2. There was a holiday in 2016 that I was on where I arrived to the final destination, whereas my suitcase did not. This was in January, and it was rather cold, so I had to buy a new outfit from top to bottom. 
  3. After having given away half my wardrobe in the first half of 2016, I came to realise that a few essential things, like trousers, where now currently missing from what I had left, so that needed to be bough in order to cope with the cold winter of Norway. 

After having reflected on the clothes that I did need to buy, I am still thinking that I must have bought things I did not necessarily need. This is one of the insights I am hoping to get this coming year, what you really need. When you limit your purchase of new resources, you become more creative with what is already available to you. At least that’s my theory. On the bright side, the amount of money I spent on clothes in 2016 could buy me a trip I am planning with a good friend travelling from Oslo to Lofoten, even in an environmentally friendly way. If you come to look at your spendings that way, I am sure you would end up with better memories from an experience like that, instead of yet another pair of black jeans. 

A third challenge I have thought of is this - but what about presents? Will I not be able to give gifts that are textiles this year? There will come a Christmas towards the end of this year as well. For the time being, I am thinking no to soft gifts this year. 

Something constructive I have thought of that can come out of this years experiment is that I want to learn how to knit after a pattern. I haven't tried it yet, and when I manage it, I will be able to produce things myself out of wool this year. 

These are the premisses for my shopstop 2017. So far these are the challenges I see as most likely. Other solutions during the year will of course be to for example borrow say, tour equipment should I need that. On the top of my head I rememberer that I don't own a sleeping bag, but I know someone who does. I am exited about this project, and when I have something to report along the way I will, and then when the year is finished give a full review of how it turned out. 

Black Friday and over-consume of clothes

Last Friday was the so called 'Black Friday', the day after Thanksgiving that Americans, and slowly also Norwegians, have come to embrace as a shopping day without any sensible limits. The day encourages you to buy items, just because they are so cheap you can not afford not to. This goes especially for clothes. 

However, there are major reasons to be concerned about the current situation of how our clothes are being produced and the lifecycle of the cheap clothes we buy. I was glad to see that organisations like Greenpeace wrote this excellent piece on the day (in Norwegian) https://www.nrk.no/ytring/buy-nothing-day-1.13243458 because November 25th was also Buy Nothing Day. The equivalent of Black Friday that is so sorely needed. They also published this factsheet (in English) http://www.greenpeace.org/norway/Global/norway/Miljøgifter/Dokumenter/2016/Fact-Sheet-Timeout-for-fast-fashion.pdf which I highly recommend you check out. 

The current way our clothes are being produced are severely bad for the environment. Composting a fabric that is made out of several different types of textiles, which is also coloured can take up to 1000 years to break down. In this process it is also likely that toxic waste will either leak from the compost area into potential drinking water or if burned, turn into the climate warming gass methane. 

Worst of all is still the conditions that the clothes are being produced under. The Norwegian environmental organisation Framtiden i våre hender (The future in our hands) teamed up with the newspapers Aftenposten and sent Norwegian youths to the factories where the clothes we buy are being produced. They made the short series Sweatshop http://sweatshop.no to show a Scandinavian speaking audience how horrible the conditions are for the workers in these literal sweatshops, and how little they earn. I strongly recommend seeing the series. Both seasons are 5 episodes lasting 10 minutes each. When you think more consciously about the cheap clothes we buy; from it is made to when we dispose of it, you start seeing that this is not a sustainable solution.

The best alternatives are to: 

-Buy less

-Buy used

-Buy only what you need

-Buy higher quality when you first buy