Saturday, 20 July 2019

Branded toy giveaways encourage consumerism in children

Slap bang in the middle of Plastic Free July seems an odd time for a well known UK food retailer to launch its Little Shop series of "free" toy products with each £20 you spend.  Quite understandably some eco-aware people have been up in arms about this pointing out that many of the mini items are plastic and at a time retailers should be working hard at reducing plastic the marketing team of this shop have come up with this idea.  They are, of course, not alone.  Macdonalds have been giving away free toys for years and in Australia 2 well know supermarkets are doing the same thing.

M&S have tried to defend their decision saying the plastic is all recyclable but that is not really the point, after all how many will actually end up in the recycling and as I have said so many times before recycling is not the answer?  However whilst the plastic issue should not be ignored I feel there is a bigger and more serious threat to the environment through schemes such as these.  M&S is an upmarket food retailer that sells a large range of ready cooked meals, imported and plastic packed produce. Through the little shop items M&S are encouraging children to become their consumers of the future thus increasing how much of these unsustainable foods they purchase.  This is even outlined in the press release about the mini shop launch:

"A similar campaign proved to be hugely popular in Australia last year with one of its largest supermarkets, Coles, driving sales and social media talkability about the supermarket and its products."

Branded Toy Giveaways encourage consumerism in children

This giveaway isn't about giving children toys, it is all about developing brand loyalty.  It is often the case that once a consumer finds a brand they like and are used to they will stick to it come what may, without questioning its price or how environmentally friendly (or not) it may be.  This is why all shops work so hard at developing a distinctive brand through their logos and adverts ... the mini shop is just an extension of this, priming children to become the M&S shoppers of the future.  And as I keep writing in this blog fundamental to reversing climate change is the need to reduce how much of everything we buy.  We do not need to be encouraging consumerism in the citizens who will suffer most from the effects of Climate Change - our children.

If you think shops such as M&S should be banned from running these sorts of giveaways there is a petition you can sign.  You can also contact the retailers direct either by email or on their social media pages and you can also boycott their shops (do let them know).

When shops do toy giveaways it is all about building brand loyalty and encouraging children to be consumer focused - this is bad for the planet where we need to be curbing how much "stuff" we buy. 
Our planet needs us to turn our backs on consumerism and these giveaways should be some of the first things to be banned.  Do you agree?

Branded Toy Giveaways encourage consumerism in children

Monday, 1 July 2019

Going Green #29 - July 2019

Welcome to Going Green. This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world. If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky here: Going Green Linky.

Plastic Free July - will you be taking part?

It's July so it's time for Plastic Free July.  I am hoping with the problem of plastic being so high on the current environmental and public agenda that loads of people will take part this year.  But if you think the idea of going plastic free for a month is just impossible, fear not, my blog post will give you plenty of ideas of how you can take part even if you aren't able to ditch all plastic for a month.

So whose up for supporting Plastic Free July?

Logo for Plastic Free July 2019

Saturday, 29 June 2019

20 Great Plastic Busting Ideas to try in #PlasticFreeJuly

Plastic Free July is upon us, challenging us to go plastic free for a month.  Wow - just think how great things would be if we all did that but some people have, quite rightly, said they cannot go plastic free for all sorts of reasons - food may not be available to them without plastic or it may be too expensive.  They may need medical supplies than come in plastic or have to buy things for family members that are plastic.  But I say to you all, don't be put off Plastic Free July because you don't think you can manage to go plastic free for the month. Instead do the very best that you can and use the month as a stepping stone to a plastic reduced life thereafter.  Here are 20 things you can do to help yourself on that journey.

Logo of Plastic Free July 2019

20 Great Plastic Busting Ideas

  1. Remember that every piece of plastic you reject is a win.
  2. Do a plastic audit in your house and bin so you can identify where your household plastic lurks. 
  3. Use the month to research out plastic free alternatives.
  4. Focus on eliminating single use plastic - this blog post on ditching disposables might help
  5. If you have to buy plastic then contact the manufacturer/shop saying you want to see change - call them out on social media.  If they send you back a cut andpaste corporate answer, ask for specific answers to your plastic related questions
  6. Go on a litter pick.
  7. Write to your MP asking what they will do to reduce plastic.
  8. Look at your workplace - can plastic be reduced there?
  9. Liaise with your children's school/clubs or your own college/university/clubs to help reduce plastic.
  10. If you are feeling a bit rebellious, when you end up buying plastic, unwrap the items and dump it at till.
  11. Research where your nearest zero waste shop is - if it is a bit far join up up with friends and do a bulk buy together.
  12. Join plastic busting/zero-waste Facebook groups and follow accounts like Pointless Packaging on Instagram.
  13. Party time?  Why not link up with other parents or the PTA to make a party pack of reusable plates etc.
  14. If you are having a BBQ and might previously have used plastic plates why not do what everyone here in France does and just ask your guests to being their own. 
  15. Set yourself one food challenge a week to reduce plastic.  Pick 4 foods you buy in plastic and make them at home
  16. Learn where plastic is to be found - did you know it is in many teabags and most wet wipes?  Become plastic savvy!
  17. Find out if you have local milk delivery and sign up.  Maybe this doesn't work for you all the time but every glass bottle helps reduce plastic milk bottles
  18. Sign up for a veg box delivery.
  19. Talk to your kids about reducing plastic and what changes you will all need to make as a family.
  20. Shout about your successes on social media and remember to use the hashtag #PlasticFreeJuly.
Did you know it only takes 21 days of doing something new for it to become a habit?  That's right, just 21 days to make rejecting plastic a habit.  21 days to save the planet from the scourge of single use plastic.  It's not much is it?
 What will you be doing to reduce plastic through Plastic Free July?

Use #PlasticFreeJuly to reduce plastic in our life

Saturday, 22 June 2019

What inspired you to become more green?

It was a Winter's day, I am sat in the car whilst Mum has popped into the shop to buy something.  The car parked in front of ours has the engine running and I am drawn to the exhaust fumes spewing out.  The longer Mum is shopping the more I watch and wonder what happens to the fumes, as surely they can't just keep filling the air?  Not long after I was watching the TV and saw a news story about Acid Rain and a connection was made.  Huge areas of forest were being destroyed by the rain that had become so acidic it killed the trees. This acid rain was, in part, created by nitrous oxides in the atmosphere that come from ... you guessed it ... car exhaust fumes.  I was probably about 12 years old.

Acid rain and how it led me to live a greener life

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Electric Vehicles are not the answer - we need a more radical solution

We all know that driving a traditional diesel or petrol car releases CO2 that contributes to Climate Change.  These cars also release pollutants that can be damaging to our health.  Many countries are pledging to phase out the production of diesel vehicles urging the car drivers to switch to electric vehicles.  But are electric cars always the greenest option or should we be concentrating on a different approach altogether?  Whilst electric vehicles undoubtedly produce less CO2 when being driven they are far from being as environmentally friendly as you might think.  For that reason I believe that we should we actually be pushing for a massive reduction in overall car ownership because the negative effect that all cars have on the planet goes far beyond the CO2 they emit whilst being driven.

We need a more radical solution than witching to Electric Vehicles

Monday, 3 June 2019

Going Green #28 - June 2019

Welcome to Going Green. This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world. If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky here: Going Green Linky.

Tackling Climate Change through Good Environmental News

If you read my second linked up post about tackling negativity to taking action against Climate Change you'll read how too many harrowing images of the effects of Climate Change actually desensitise people to the problem - a problem now coined Climate Change Fatigue.  There are plenty of ways to counter this and one is to make sure we spread as much good news about the environment as bad.  Who's joining me on being the purveyor of Good Environmental News.

Using good news stories to engage people in tackling climae change

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Why antibacterial cleaners are bad for you and the planet

Antibacterial cleaners, wipes and hand santisers are big business with countless varieties available, all claiming to kill 99.9% of germs/bacteria.  There is however compelling evidence that these antibacterial cleaning products are both ineffective in keeping us healthy and in fact dangerous for the people using them, their families and the environment.  Their success in recent years can be put down, at least in part, to some very effective marketing by the manufacturers, who have duped the public into believing they are vital to maintain health, when actually the complete opposite is true.  Just look at this marketing for a product called Lysol, an American antibacterial cleaner, that uses the tagline: Stop just CLEANING. Start HEALTHING. 

Photo Credit

Thursday, 30 May 2019

How to Overcome Negativity to Climate Change

It is a sad fact  that many people are not engaged enough with the issue of Climate Change to make the changes in their lives to tackle it.  The more I see of attitudes, especially on the Internet, the more I worry.  Let me give you three examples:

I was recently made aware of social media accounts pushing people to extreme cleaning with a massive arsenal of often toxic products all supplied in plastic packaging.  If you suggest an eco-friendly alternative or mention health concerns you will be labelled a troll and more than likely find yourself blocked.

Then there is the petition asking to being back plastic straws to MacDonalds.  Thankfully many more people have signed the ban plastic straws petitions but over 44,000 still want to drink their milkshakes with a plastic straw.

And very recently someone reading this blog was clearly not able to accept my point of view: In my last blog post, I wrote about how the world cannot support a growing population that over eats and wastes food. Whilst many acknowledged this, one reader was clearly very upset and accused me of being a sanctimonious vegan who spouted crap and was now turning on people.


I don't believe she properly read what I wrote, not least because I am not a vegan and my whole reason for writing this blog to to help people make simple green changes that can have far reaching positive effects - it is something I am passionate about but it appears this lady was very much against my view this time - or at least read it that way and so turned on me in her comment.  I have no idea exactly what sparked her anger but people will use various defences or strategies to justify why they do not need to do anything to something and she will have used one or more of these.

Overcoming Climate Negativity

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Overeating, food waste, obesity and climate change.

It is well documented that the beef and dairy industries contribute to rising level of atmospheric greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane and these increases are responsible for the planet's current Climate Emergency.  Eating a plant based diet (vegan) will do a huge amount to reduce CO2 and methane emissions but this alone will not save the world as some vegans will have you believe. It is not as simple as switching your beef burger for a veggie burger and to truly tackle Climate Change we need to make major changes to how we produce and prepare our food and we need to tackle one main issue urgently:

The world's population over-eats and/or wastes way too much food

Monday, 6 May 2019

Going Green #27 - May 2019

Welcome to Going Green. This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world. If you are not sure what subjects would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find all the details about the linky here: Going Green Linky.

Petition Overload??

I don't seem to be able to look at my social media accounts at the moment without seeing a post from some-one promoting a petition.  I actually have a subject I think may be helped by another petition but I do wonder if we are all suffering from Petition Fatigue.  What you you think?  Would you singn another environmentally themed petition?