Sustainabl(ish) Talk Hosted by Fairer World Lindfield

During The Great Big Green Week 2021, Fairer World Lindfield put on a very commendable selection of talks and events to help raise awareness for sustainability and fairer trade. One of the talks was with non other than Jen Gale, founder of Sustainable(ish) and The Knackered Mums Eco Club, author of two best-selling books on sustainable living and to top it off a mother of two.

So please find below the whole talk kindly hosted and recorded by Fairer World Lindfield. I realise not everyone has a spare hour and twenty minutes to watch its entirety. So to save time, please find below the video a description of where to skip to, depending on what you are most curious about.

However, if you do have time to watch it, it is definitely worth it. Jen Gale has many easy-to-do ideas, tips and information relating to sustainability. She is also very down-to-earth and relatable.

skip to 2m 00s for MY STORY…
An introduction of the talk called, Sustainable(ish) in Sixty Minutes and a little bit about the speaker Jen Gale including her accomplishments such as setting up an online community of over 60,000 taking part in imperfect eco action.

skip to 10m51s for THE PROBLEM
Jen explains why there is such a great need for sustainability. Mostly explaining what is happening to our planet because of greenhouse gases. She summarises this into five key points relating to current climate change issues.

skip to 16m06s for THE SOLUTION
Leading with the quote from Dr. Jane Goodall, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” Jen talks about how you can make a difference just by making better decisions more of the time. You do not need to bust a gut changing everything in your life for the good of the planet. You just need to take small sustainable steps that work with your life.

skip to 17m 0sec for THE POWER OF YOU
This is where you can learn what the point is of taking those small steps even though others may not be. Jen elaborates on how and why you have power as a consumer, a citizen, an influencer and a change agent. Thus proving how your efforts to live more sustainably can have such a huge impact on those around you. She gives an example of her workplace when she used to be a vet. It really wound Jen up that there was no recycling and at first she didn’t say anything because she didn’t think she had agency to. However when she eventually did raise the issue, she was met positively by her bosses saying they were happy to do so if she could do some initial research. Point being: you can but ask if you want to make a difference.

skip to 26m49s for DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE(ISH)
A term coined by Jen herself. It is the idea that we can be sustainable and live our lives. We just all need to realise that we are going to start from a different point and therefore will each make different changes.

skip to 29m45s for CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION
A plethora of relatively easy tips and good ideas for things you can do at home and in your life to cut down your carbon emissions.

skip to 40m32s for ZERO WASTE(ISH)
Jen illustrates why we need to prevent waste with some important and interesting facts. Such as the fact that the average person in the UK will throw away their bodyweight in rubbish every 7 weeks. The feature of this segment is the waste hierarchy that shows how to make putting waste in landfill bins a last resort. For example, she points out you can ask yourself how to refuse buying balloons for celebrations or how to reduce your consumption of fashion.

skip to 48m20s for PLASTIC-FREE(ISH)
Ridding yourself of single-use plastic is a tough one for many. Yet so important for the good of our oceans and our wildlife as well as the carbon emissions. Jen puts forward the ‘BIG FOUR’ items that you can swap for reusable versions. She breaks down the issues of plastic production into four main points.

skip to 51m58s for FOOD
Another hot topic, food waste is responsible for a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions. One great highlight of this slide is Jen’s suggestion to have an ‘Eat Me First’ Box in the larder or fridge (or both) to help prevent food waste.

skip to 54m22s for AT HOME
Top tips here for changes you can make at home. One of her easiest tips is for you to delete and unsubscribe from emails. When you consider that our emails are all saved on servers, those servers are usually powered by fossil fuels and regardless of how they are powered, they consume a lot of energy – it is a no brainer. You can do this simple task while you watch the television or while waiting for the kettle to boil.

skip to 1h0m52s for DO ONE THING
The conclusion and the question: what one thing can you do today?

skip to 1h02m21s for QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Take advantage of Jen’s expert advice and information coming from her experiences and research. Questions include:

What media and methods has Jen found best to capture peoples imagination and inspire them to start an eco-journey?
What do your children think of your sustainable activities?
What tips do you have on moving your pensions?
Where do you shop? How do you avoid the plastics?

If you liked this talk and would like to watch more of the talks from The Great Big Green Week with Fairer World Cuckfield, please go to their YouTube page where you can find talks on:

Green Energy for Your Home with Nick Owen, Director of HKD Energy and much more

Climate Justice and the Global South with Tearfund

Veggie and Vegan Demo – Food for Thought

Veggie and Vegan Cooking Demo – Sushi!

Peter and Chris from Fairer World Lindfield also run a monthly climate cafe that is worth following. Each talk is online and varies widely in content from sustainable living to how to compost to circular economy. We would love to put on some talks of our own in Cuckfield, so if there is something you would like to know more about, please do let us know via email: hello@greenercuckfield.org

Until we meet again, thanks for your time, Cuckfielders and Mid Sussexonians.

Turmeric Bug for Naturally Carbonated Sodas

Jump to Recipe In the hopes that I can have my sewing friends over again soon, I’ve been brewing various concoctions with which to ply them, including naturally carbonated drinks made with my turmeric bug. As with a ginger bug or sourdough starter, microbes on turmeric and in the air, even on your hands, transform simple…

Turmeric Bug for Naturally Carbonated Sodas

Five Ways to More Sustainable Fashion

Until the pandemic, fast fashion had become the social norm for most of us.  With cheaply made clothes being so widely available and high street trends changing so rapidly, it is no surprise that many wore them a handful of times before throwing them away.

On average, clothing and textiles will make up roughly 2 per cent of your annual footprint. However, the footprint of fast fashion buyers is thought to be five or ten times that. The good news is that we can still get our shopping fix and look fabulous without destroying the planet. Here is some ideas to slower living

BUY SECOND-HAND

Right in our little village we have Edit Secondhand. The best thing about shopping second hand is that you are not directly supporting things like animal cruelty, child labour and you are saving beautiful garments from going to landfill. Another practical aspect with this store is that it specialises in quality, luxury brands so the items should all be built to last: the definition of sustainable!

If the items are out of your price range, there are plenty of great online second-hand shops including Brighton based Beyond Retro and Oxfam.

REPAIR AND REWEAR

If your clothes need repair, don’t throw them away. You have options. There are quite a few repair cafes not too far from Cuckfield. For example, Horsham Repair Café offers a free monthly repair service and – with the help of their textile volunteers – you can even learn how to do some creative upcycling for yourself. Even closer we have Hassocks Repair Café every fourth Saturday of the month, and one in Burgess Hill due to open once restrictions allow.

CLOTHES SWAP

Although unlikely you will see any clothes swap events in the flesh until the coronavirus pandemic is over there are new digital options available. Swopped.co.uk offers a point system whereby you can gain points for items you send in and spend them

BUY ETHICALLY SOURCED

New online shop Cuckfield-based Blossom & Roar focuses on offering brands that are sustainable and practice ethical retail. These are beautiful designs from small and independent companies. Your wallet will a lot lighter after shopping here but as fashion queen, Vivienne Westwood, famously said, “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”

GET SOME ADVICE

If you are planning on a spring clean and a complete wardrobe overhaul, there is a local service called Finely Tuned Wardrobe that offers styling advice and a reselling service with sustainability in mind. For the latest advice and news on ethical fashion, it is always worth checking out Ethical Consumer. This magazine covers more detailed insights broad range of topics from the slow movement to how current consumer trends affect our planet.

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These are just some ideas to get started with slower movement in fashion. There are too many to mention in one post just as there are too many shops and organisations moving away from fast fashion. Perhaps the above suggestions seem a bit overwhelming but even if you just made one change, you would be reducing waste in landfill and subsequently carbon emissions.

If sustainable fashion is something you are passionate about, we would love to hear from you or do feel free to comment below.   

By Vicky Koch

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels


What’s Cool with Washing Machines

***REPOST FROM FACEBOOK GROUP: SUSTAINABLE STEPS***

It is well known that cooler temperatures are more environmentally friendly. This is a post about the pros and cons of various washing temperatures.

HERE ARE THE SUMMARY POINTS:

– Since 2013 washing machines have had a 20 degrees wash function- Washing at 30°C instead of 40°C saves around ~38% of the energy required and at 20°C instead of 40°C saves ~62%.- It is estimated that if the UK changed from 40°C to 30°C for their washes this would reduce the CO2 footprint the same as taking 400,000 cars off the road.- Many new detergents are formulated to work at low temperatures and you may get just as good a clean- Higher temperatures may be required for stains and soiled clothes- Higher temperatures can be damaging to clothes and reduce their lifespan- always check the care labels!

THE DETAIL:

Firstly it is important to note that the cleaning ability of you washing machine is related to more than the temperature. It is also dependant on the laundry detergent, length of cycle and cycle speed (agitating clothes helps remove stains). Newer washing machines are able to clean clothes at lower temperatures due to improvements in technology alone.To help remove spot stains you may consider treating them before the wash with undiluted detergent on the location of the stain. Vinegar can also be used in washing to help brighten colours and remove stains (search the group for more info on this). The sun is also a great stain remover- leaving clothes on a sunny window or out on the line is great (and free). 🌞😎

WASHING AT 20°C

Which found that stain removal was worse at 20°C compared to 40°C, but that switching to a liquid detergent helped with this. There is a large energy saving to be had when washing with this temperature and for everyday clothes it may offer adequate cleaning and save you money. It is not advisable to only wash at this temperature, as it may promote mould growth in the washing machine. So having a mixture of wash temperatures and regularly cleaning your machine (seals and drawer included) is advisable.

WASHING AT 30°C

30°C is recommended for all delicate clothes. It also has a role in preserving the colours of coloured clothes. This temperature may not be adequate to remove blood staining. 30°C is a good consideration if you have clothes which are lightly soiled and just need a freshen up. It is also worth considering for your regular clothes washes. If your clothes have had light use then hanging them up rather than leaving them on the side or leaving them outside may freshen them up and reduce the requirement to wash them.

WASHING AT 40°C

Although washing at 40 degrees is better for heavy soiling, it does take its toll on your clothes. It can cause colour fading, shrinkage and damage certain fabrics. Therefore for bright and dark colours considering 30 degrees may make your clothes last longer.I would also like to add here that I contacted Ariel and asked them about the enzymes in their biological washing powders (I’m not advocating Ariel here, they just have a responsive customer service). Enzymes are proteins and each is specific to a certain molecule (e. enzymes for fats will not work on starches). Above certain temperatures enzymes are damaged and no longer work (denaturing). They told me that above 30 degrees their enzymes are denatured, so washing at higher temperatures will not improve your washing powder. Enzyme activity breaking down stains will not happen above 30 degrees (any activity that occurred will be at the cold filling temperatures or washes under this temperature).

WASHING AT 60°C

60°C was found to deliver “slightly better cleaning” than 40°C, especially relating to greasy stains. Caution is advised as heat can actually ‘set’ stains. It is generally recommended to wash bedding and towels at higher temperatures such as 40°C or 60°C, although it should be noted that this temperature is not going to kill all bacteria.

by Grace May

Image by Cotton Bro at Pexels

Starting Sustainability at Home

According to an Independent article detailing the average middle-class family of four’s carbon emissions, the biggest source of carbon emissions (16 tons per year) comes from our general consumerism, whilst a meat based diet produces all of 12 tons of carbon per year. Though these numbers don’t account for the pandemic and are a rough estimate that will vary family to family it does give you some idea of our own impact.

So what can we do differently? The good news is that it does not take much to live more sustainably. There are lots of things that can be done and most of them are very easy to do when you consider how much time we spend at home these days. So here are three ideas that we hope will inspire you.

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Cleaning Products

Did you know that lemon and vinegar both make for excellent cleaning agents? Using these means less waste from packaging, less harmful chemicals being put into the water system and you get to save a little money too.

Some easy recipes to start you off can be found on Ecotricity’s Post: Sanitise Your Home the Natural Way

However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own products there is always ethical shops like The Good Club and refilleries like Scrapless and Cloughs.

Composting

Did you know that the food scraps that you throw into the bin does not get the opportunity to decompose? This is because they get buried under the ground with the rest of the landfill and compressed with no oxygen. The solution to this is to compost at home.

According to BBC Good Food’s How to Compost Food at Home, two popular systems are the Boyakashi Composting System and Worm Composting. You do not need a big garden for this – in fact Boyakashi composting is done indoors – and you won’t need much more than a few small bins with lids. 

Reusables

I am sure you already have a reusable water bottle, it is an accessory that most people have these days. The metal ones double up as a flask which has been great for hot drinks on winter walks, hasn’t it? Have you been finding other ways to reuse and repurpose things though?

As recommended above, refilleries are a great way to step closer to zero waste. You just need to save your jars, bottles and tubs and fill them with your grains, cleaning products, coffee beans and even sweeties. Not only are you then drastically reducing your single plastic use but it is an opportunity to support local shops as well.

How Do You Do It?

Reusing plastic bags has become increasingly popular as has buying reusable tote bags. However, another popular option is to use trolley bags for big shops. It is especially good for those that like to organise their shopping. Also great for those that like to scan as they go.

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There are so many things that we can do that make such a huge impact. We would love you to share with us the little things you have been doing. Anything that has worked or perhaps something you thought would work that hasn’t!

In the meantime, here is a carbon footprint calculator that helps measure your impact on the planet. It is pretty eye opening and thought provoking. There is also a chance to offset your carbon emissions if you wish.

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator1.html

Small Sustainable Steps

If you want to do something to help the environment but can’t budget for those expensive ethical brands, solar panels or electric cars, there are still LOADS of things you can do that don’t cost anything at all. It is the little things that make a difference, after all, isn’t it?

Turn off the Lights 💡

A flick of a switch sounds simple doesn’t it but actually it can be quite a challenge especially if you have kids in the house! Yet even if you are becoming more mindful, that is a good thing. It doesn’t have to be a success/fail operation. By becoming a bit more aware and switching them off even a little bit more, you will be saving on your electricity bill and reducing carbon emissions in the process. Other small ways you can save on energy at home would be to dry your clothes on the radiators instead of the tumble dryers; to turn down the heating a little bit then use blankets, slippers and hot drinks to keep warm; and/or to turn off taps whilst you brush your teeth. These are all just small, easy ways that won’t cost you much. Obviously they won’t work for everyone. Of course, there are sometimes you need to turn up those radiators or use the dryer for times sake. However, just a little tweak in our behaviours can make such a big difference.

Reusable

Treat yourself to a reusable cups, there are some gorgeous ones on the market for any taste. Take them to your local coffee shops for your hot drinks so they don’t have to use disposable ones. I have heard that Sussex Coffee Trucks are selling some but if you hear of anywhere else, let us know!

Perhaps you don’t like hot drinks, in which case you could make sure you carry a water bottle on you. There is a theory that if you pair new habits with old ones it will be easier to do. One idea would be to attach a water bottle/reusable cup to your lists of musts whenever you go to get your wallet, keys and phone.

There are refill stations across the country where you can fill up your water bottle free of charge. To find out where these are you will need to install the app via https://www.refill.org.uk/. The first place to offer refills was Tom’s Food back in 2018. Though I am sure if you asked in any shop in Cuckfield, they would refill for you.

Refill Mid Sussex Facebook Page

If you are rolling your eyes because you already have both of these containers and never leave the house without them, why not buy some for your nearest and dearest? If you do, please comment below as to where you got it. Got to love a recommendation!

Drive Less

Another great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you only need milk, bread and eggs, there are plenty of places in the village that stock these. Perhaps there will be more in the future. Recently, places across the world are doing their best to create 15 minute cities. In short, this is the idea that all our necessities will be within a 15 minute walking distance (or a brief bike ride away).

I recently posted a poll on the facebook group, Cuckfield Gossip (image below) to find out what people wanted and was not only surprised by the amount of responses but also by the speed they came. The most wanted establishment being a bakery followed by a butchers and a delicatessen. Of course there were those that did not think it would work as it has been tried before. However, there is an argument for a local bakery or produce shop working if enough people carry on working from home post pandemic. There are also more people than ever clued up on why it is important to drive less.

To Conclude..

There are so many ways to take little steps towards sustainability that you can end up getting a little overwhelmed when you look into it. The three ideas above are just that: ideas. They may not fit in with your lifestyle. For more ideas, check out some of the references below:

Ten Ways to Live Sustainably

14 Ways to a More Sustainable Life

Let us know your thoughts or if there is anything you would add.

By Vicky Koch