Pucker up with a PHB Pout

Hello friends and welcome to another blog post. Today i’m going to be telling you about the PHB 100% pure organic lip tint- in Raspberry.

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PHB recently sent me an email asking for a review of their product and I was really excited about this because I’ve been interested in PHB for a while and if you saw my last video you’d know about the many things that I admire this brand for including being:

  • Cruelty free
  • Natural
  • Certified Halal
  • Supporting Charities
  • and I didn’t even mention that they’re palm oil free and handmade!

I have been using their brow powder and eye liner for a few months. I use these products everyday without fail because I look like a foetus without them and they’ve been the best ethical makeup brand I’ve used to date. 

The only thing I would say about the eyeliner is that I use the brush of an old eyeliner to apply it for a smoother look and sometimes do two coats to get it to look as dark as my soul. 

Back to the lip tint which boasts the following benefits:

  • 78% Organic Ingredients
  • Super-hydrating Tinted Lip Balm
  • Softens and moisturises lips
  • Long lasting, natural looking colour
  • With Shea Butter to nourish and protest lips against dryness
  • Gentle sheen which gives a natural glow
  • Free from carmine & petrochemicals
  • 100% natural- great for sensitive skin
  • Vegan, Cruelty Free and Halal Certified
  • Free from nano particles, parabens, bismuth oxychloride, talc, formaldehyde, mineral oils, fillers, gluten, fragrance, preservatives & GM ingredients.  

So I’m interested to see if their absolutely ethical lipgloss could impress me and do the job a brand that isn’t ethically conscious does. Judging from the products I’ve tried before I had high hopes.

I don’t usually wear anything on my lips to colour them because I don’t feel like many colours suit me and I’m also quite shy about standing out with bold lip colours. The only lipsticks I have were bought when I was around 20, when I used to buy the biggest brands. Yes they have lasted me 6 years and I think they still have another 6 years in them. Hopefully they don’t make my lips fall off…

Coincidentally the weekend I received the request from PHB, I had already stated out loud to my friend that I need an ethical lip colour for my growing collection of ethical makeup.

I wasn’t able to choose the colour I wanted but I figured that I’d give it a try anyway! The colours include Blossom, Cranberry, Mulberry, Peach and Petal. When I received the lip tint I loved the casing as it was clean white and a nice size. I was a little bit wary of the colour which at first looks like a metallic pinky purple. It looks very bold and to a wallflower looks a little scary at first glance.

But when I put it on I remembered (literally had an Oh yea! moment) that it was a lip tint and the boldness of the colour transfers lightly on the mouth. It is described as a colour that suits all tones and I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was true for me, and when my sister tried it, it suited her too. It has a shimmer and the pink matches my bottom lip so it basically evens out my mouth colour with a pink sparkly tint.

The lip tint is very moisturising and feels really good on the lips for a long period of time. I put it on at 12.30pm and then only reapplied at 4pm because it left my lips feeling really soft and cushiony for few hours. Then again I’m not the sort of person who constantly reapplies lip balm anyway, but I reckon it works as well as any good lip balm. For some reason I’ve recently had dryer lips, maybe due to not drinking my 8 cups a day, and this balm has tackled that.

I think this lip tint is perfect for me because of the hint of colour and moisturising effect. It basically what I create whenever I use my lip liner and mix it with vaseline to create the colour and moisturising effect- except is easier and ethical.

So far PHB ethical have impressed me so I think my next and final mission is to get an ethical concealer. PHB ethical gives two free samples of different products with every order over £5 so I chose a bb cream and foundation. Unfortunately they were too light for me but perfect for my sister, so with my next order I’ll be getting a sample of foundation to figure out my colour, with hopes of buying some from them.

Thank you guys so much for reading and if you enjoyed the post make sure to smash that like button and if you want to see more make sure to smash that follow button. Here are our social media handles- @ohsoethical on twitter and instagram. Make sure to check out the next post and we will see you guys a-next time (channeling Safia Nygaard, I figured I’d use her as a guide to review this product since she does them so well!).

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A Can’t of Coca Cola

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I used to be addicted to coca cola as a child and teen. I had to drink it almost everyday probably. I’m pretty sure my milk bottle as a baby was filled with coke instead of milk (lol jk). I weened myself off coke and if I ever have it now it’s so disappointing. To be honest that happens with everything that I’ve reduced eating. You have very high expectations of how unethical food should taste if you haven’t had it in while.

But anyway!!!!!! This isn’t about how Coca Cola tastes (rubbish). 

This about how Coca Cola acts (Rubbish).

So let’s get straight into it, shall we?

WATER RESOURCES

In India, farmers have protested against Coca Cola and more than a million traders are boycotting Coke and Pepsi. It takes 400litres of water to make a bottle of coke which is about 1690 cups of water in layman terms. Although who can comprehend that.

Well lets see.

If we should drink 8 cups of water a day, its about 211 days of water people!!! Please consider this the next time you order one with your meal.

Considering that India is having one of the worst droughts in 140 years this is not something to be brushed under the carpet. The low levels of water have caused a thermal power station to shut down in February, wilted harvests have led to higher food prices, water has had to be delivered to homes and tens of thousands of people queue daily for water.

It’s not just coca cola that have to clean up their act. Hotels in India are being judged on the type of shower heads they use to conserve water. But Coke and Pepsi are fiercely opposed with hundreds of farmers demonstrated against them when they planned to build a $75 million bottling plant. The authorities approved cokes request to withdraw 4 million litres of groundwater a day. After 4 months of opposition the plan was cancelled. But when Pepsi proposed a plant and were authorised to draw 1.5 million litres a day, not only was it approved but protesters were beaten by the police.

In the past Coca cola bottlers have been closed for extracting groundwater above legal limits and because of water pollution and for violating mandatory environmental requirements.

Protesters have rightly accused the authorities for “acting as agents to foreign capitalists” and that “the common good was being sacrificed to foreign corporations” while “farmers were flying from water shortages and crop failures”.

“Coke and Pepsi are the best-known agents of water privatization and commodification of water,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, a journalist and activist in Chennai. “It is unethical and immoral for a resource that is so vital to life to be commodified. The two companies also stand accused of questionable practices. They make excellent poster boys, framing the issue of water scarcity as an actionable one of private greed causing the decline of a valuable public resource.”

SLAVE LABOUR YOU CAN KEEP

Brazilian government officials have recently accused two coca cola production and distribution centers for treating workers like slaves according to a Reporter Brazil. The following discoveries were made after a 7 months inspections:

  • 179 truck drivers were forced to work 80-140 EXTRA hours per month
  • They were often denied sleep between shifts 
  • This led to “a variety of physical and mental health related issues, such as “body aches, stress, lack of interaction with family members and almost no leisure time.”

in 2013 and 2014 truck drivers successfully sued Spal (a licenced manufacturer of Coca Cola).

Boycott Divestment Sanctions

The BDS movement has placed a priority on boycotting coca cola because of the factories that are in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine lands, breaking international law. “Coca cola has at large ignored calls to abide by international law.”

“In 2009 the company had also hosted a special reception at the Coca-Cola world headquarters to honour Brigadier-General Ben-Eliezer. Under the presidency of Ariel Sharon, Ben-Eliezer served as Israeli Defence Minister presiding over 2002 storming of Jenin, a refugee camp, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead.’

Coca Cola’s water and electricity demands are likely to be given preference over the needs of Palestinian people based on reports from around the world which show that their bottling plants usually adversely affect the communities living around them. People in Gaza only have access to 30% supply from the only power plant in Gaza, hospitals run on emergency generators and Palestinians in Gaza face a chronic shortage of fresh water. “Access to water is limited on average to 6-8 hours for 1-4 days a week for the population of Gaza.”

“The settlements help to sustain Israel’s illegal occupation making it impossible to create peace and an independent Palestinian state. The settlements are also considered illegal under international law. Israel’s yearly expansion of settlements has created an extremely difficult situation on the ground for Palestinians. Settlers get away with land theft while attacking and harassing Palestinians on a daily basis for simply being Palestinians.”

Be careful of buying coke disguised as another brand

Here’s a list of coca cola drinks:

  • sprite
  • lilt
  • schweppes
  • glaceau smartwater
  • oasis
  • fanta
  • minute made
  • roses 
  • 5 alive
  • dr pepper
  • powerade
  • appletiser
  • honest
  • kia ora

Further reading and sources
http://www.circleofblue.org/2017/world/right-life-water-drought-turmoil-coke-pepsi-tamil-nadu/
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Brazilian-Coca-Cola-Manufacturer-Accused-of-Slave-Labor-20160826-0007.html
https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2017/5/7/coca-cola-donated-thousands-of-dollars-to-extremist-zionist-group
http://www.foa.org.uk/campaign/notinmyfridge/
http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/drinks

When looking beautiful becomes ugly

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Let’s explore animal testing in the cosmetic industry! Note that the above photo is not an accurate representation of animal testing.

While the following arguments are made for animal testing:

  • animals are a close match to humans 
  • it can help to improve human health and has contributed to saving lives 
  • animals benefit from this so that we can produce vaccines for them 
  • ETC

We have to ask if it is vital and reasonable to test on animals for the cosmetics industry.

Typically rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice are used for the cosmetics industry.

Tests consist of:

  • rubbing chemicals onto shaved skin
  • chemicals dripped into eyes
  • repeated force feeding to induce 
  • inducing cancer and birth defects
  • determining the dose of chemicals that cause death

The results on animals can cause

  • blindness
  • swollen eyes
  • sore bleeding skin
  • internal bleeding
  • organ damage
  • convulsions
  • and obviously death

Is it really necessary? Do we need to have new innovative make up that could possibly harm us, so it has to be tested on animals first.

Basically, should animals suffer so that we can look our best.

Well, that’s a personal choice! Some argue that animals don’t have moral judgement so we can do what we like *major eye roll*. I’m sure many of us believe that we should:

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There are alternatives to using animals such as using human reconstructed skin. Or using methods that have already been tried and tested and do not require further treatment.

So why do companies continue to test on animals? Well recently NARS admitted they test on animals and their reason?
“We must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China.”

To which many make up lovers responded “animal lives are more important than reaching another market” and eco beauty blogger Ana Goes Green responded “the China market is a bit of a poisoned chalice for beauty brands at the moment”.

Animal testing has been banned in all 28 EU member states, Norway, India and Australia, so it is possible!

So what can we do? Here is a list of actions that Humane Society International suggest:

  • Sign the global Be Cruelty-Free pledge to show your support for banning animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients.
  • Support us by becoming a Lab Animal Defender with our monthly donor program, or make a one-time donation to help us expand our Be Cruelty-Free campaign and save more animals.
  • Shop—buy only from companies that say no to animal testing and to newly developed and animal-tested ingredients. Download your own Leaping Bunny Global Shopping Guide.
  • Contact your favorite brands and urge them to make the leap to cruelty-free. Ask whether the company 1) animal-tests its products or ingredients, 2) purchases newly developed ingredients that have been animal-tested by the supplier, or 3) sells its products to countries like China that may require new animal testing. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, put the product back on the shelf.
  • Make some noise—follow us on Twitter @HSIGlobal and tweet about the campaign using hashtag #BeCrueltyFree. Like us on Facebook, too, and share our news and actions with your friends.

If you are interested to switching to cruelty free brands check out these guys:

  • Lush 
  • PHBethical (certified halal too!)
  • Kat Von D
  • Two Faced
  • Bare Minerals
  • Pixi

Find more below in the further reading section!

Brands who aren’t cruelty free:

  • MAC
  • Clinique
  • Loreal
  • Maybelline

Please note that you should look further into the brand to ensure they do not support other unethical practices such as supporting wars, racism, unfair treatment of factory workers.

Further reading:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahhan/cruelty-free-makeup-brands?utm_term=.wtZEjMj75#.jj4mG2G1g

http://www.hsi.org/issues/becrueltyfree/facts/about_cosmetics_animal_testing.html
https://axiologybeauty.com/blogs/our-blog/53155205-why-is-makeup-tested-on-animals
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/40440306/nars-make-up-boycotted-after-cosmetics-tested-on-animals-in-china

https://greengarageblog.org/12-pros-and-cons-of-animal-testing-on-cosmetics
http://animal-testing.procon.org

Mo Honey, Mo Problems?

Honey is great right. It soothes coughs, it treats wounds, relieves allergies and it almost never expires. But is honey production hurting bees and why can it be considered unethical? We need bees to pollinate plants but as their numbers fall how can we help to ensure their survival.

This blog will be focussing on the question- is eating honey ethical? You can decide for yourself!

Honey is bee vomit. Yes. Bee vomit. Why is bee vomit so precious to bees as well as humans? 

Bees store honey for nutrition during cold weather. “22,700 bees are required to fill a single jar of honey.” So it’s clear why it can be considered as common thievery when we consume honey. After all if you spent all summer making enough food to get by in winter, you’d be pissed if someone else decided they’re entitled to it.

Our relationship with bees, as it is with almost everything else on the planet on a mass scale, is unjust and not tayyib. Just as other animals are factory farmed, so are bees.

  • Factory farms pump bees with antibiotics whether the bees are sick or not. This is to prevent toxins from entering. Antibiotics contribute to immune system deficiencies and make bees resistant to pests and diseases. 
  • Queen Bees are artificially inseminated to breed better. This causes the death of drones who naturally impregnate the Queen.
  • Bees have been manipulated to be bigger than they used to be 100 years ago
  • A study done by food safety news found that ¾ of the 60 jars of honey were counterfeit and contained no bee pollen
  • Swarming (which is when the hive divides after the birth of a new queen) is avoided because it can cause honey production to decline. So beekeepers clip the wings of the queen, kill and replace older queen after just one or two years or confine a queen who is trying to begin a swarm.

But there is something to be said about a give and take relationship with bees. There are less than 200,000 hives in the UK and if this reduces any further sustainable food production would be affected. It is argued that the only reasons we have any bees at all is because of beekeepers.

Organic honey production can create a balanced human bee relationship. For example beekeepers move bees to areas that they can thrive at key times of the year. Without beekeepers there would be no bees because of parasitic mite infestation. Some people actually only take up bee keeping to beneficially impact the environment, and only take any surplus amount of honey. It’s also argued that beekeepers feed bees where they would have otherwise starved.

So what can you do to ensure you are making the most compassionate decision when it comes to honey?

Buy locally where you know exactly what is going down

Want to avoid Honey all together? What are the alternatives:

  • Agave nectar
  • Rice syrup
  • Molasses
  • Barley malt
  • Maple syrup
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit concentrates

Further Reading

https://www.omlet.co.uk/guide/bees/honey_and_wax/a_jar_of_honey/
http://www.yourdailyvegan.com/vegan-guides/is-honey-vegan/ 
https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/animals-used-food-factsheets/honey-factory-farmed-bees/
https://www.lovefood.com/news/57559/whats-in-it-for-the-bees–is-it-ethical-to-eat-honey
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jun/17/ethical-living-eating-honey-lucy-siegle

The Shy Activist- Attain that Taqwa

If you don’t know already, Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for muslims as it’s the month that the Quran was revealed. One of the pillars of Islam is fasting and this is what we do for the whole month of Ramadan, from dawn to sunset. Fasting makes us understand the physical pain of hunger, it encourages us to carry out more good deeds, it improves our will power by abstaining from our physical wants and it is a month that helps us to attain Taqwa.

If you are muslim you will know that familiar feeling in Ramadan when you think about how you are hungry but realise that is how millions of people in poverty feel. Or when you are about to get super angry but don’t want that to jeopardise your fast being accepted. This is because we are very aware of our actions during Ramadan.

Last year I went to the light upon light conference just before Ramadan and I really enjoyed one particular lecture about how the purpose of Ramadan is to attain Taqwa.

“O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may attain Taqwa” Quran – [2:183]

Taqwa means to become closer to Allah and being constantly aware of the presence of Allah. 

“Taqwa is not about performing religious obligations such as prayer and fasting: it is about living a pious life. A person possessing taqwa …chooses to live a moral life.“ 

“It strengthens a Muslim’s belief and enables him to become a better human being and an even better follower of the Islamic faith.”

This lecture particularly interested me because the focus was on our actions as consumers and how we need to be more aware of the presence of Allah in everything we do. 

The speaker was Ustadh Asim Khan who discussed how in the UK we waste 200k tons of food per year and we waste a whole load of clothes too (we’ve had a blog post on this before). The next speaker Zahir Mahmoud lectured about the the Prophet (peace be upon him) and how he hardly had any possessions or money and his home was very modest. This shows the contrast between the lifestyle we’re all so used to and the one we know would be should live as close as possible to.

I think there is a very strong connection between remembering our faith in everything we do and consumerism. Because consumerism and capitalism does not encourage us to think about other people. It encourages us to think about ourselves and what we need. “The love of this world, greed, hatred or enmity towards a fellow human, pride, etc. are all examples of such traits that hurt a believer’s Taqwa.”

One of my favourite quotes from the Prophet (PBUH) is:

“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people”

We can be beneficial to others in many ways. But we can accidentally be detrimental to people in many ways too. By remembering our faith in everything we do we know we should consider how our choices affect the planet and everything in it. Hopefully this weekly blog helps to consider the bad impact some of the most seemingly harmless things have on our environment and other people.

I hope we all attain the fruits of Ramadan and attain taqwa. Not just by doing the things we are obviously obligated to do like praying, paying zakat, being good to our family and friends etc but being honest in everything that we do. More importantly being more honest with ourselves that we are doing the best we can because that’s all we can do, the best that we can do as individuals. 

O mankind, indeed We have…made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.(49:13)

SO I will leave you with a very Oh So Ethical quote from the Quran.

“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (Qur’an, 13:11)

BE THE CHANGE. Attain that taqwa people.

FAIR FAVOURITES

So since we break our fast everyday with dates we should definitely get dates that are the most ethical they can be!

MEDJOUL DATES

Palestinian Medjoul Dates

sources and further reading

http://www.idealmuslim.com/how-to-gain-taqwa-in-ramadan/

https://www.muslimaid.org/media-centre/blog/ramadan-and-taqwa/

https://www.al-islam.org/message-thaqalayn/vol11-n4-2011/taqwa-part-1-ayatullah-murtadha-mutahhari/taqwa-part-i#term-taqwa

The Shy Activist- Beware of the Plastics

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The world is in love with plastics for many reasons. Not the Mean Girls plastics, everyone hates them.

But the water bottles, shavers, cutlery, toothbrushes etc. It’s lightweight, flexible, durable and versatile. It’s advanced medicine, transport, electronics – and food packaging. It’s great right!

But did you know that the demand for these disposable items mean that plastic is produced at 350m tonnes per years and it’s continuously increasing.

The trouble with this is that plastic never breaks down and every piece of plastic ever made is still living somewhere on our planet. Some of these plastics can be recycled and continue living on earth as a new product. Margarine and ice cream tubs, yogurt pots, fruit punnets and ready meal trays, drink, shampoo and detergent bottles could be reincarnated if you like.

However, there are many different types of plastic and the sorting process is very labor intensive.

“Only 14 per cent of plastic packaging is recycled, with the remainder, worth £60-90 billion worldwide lost as waste.”

There are plastics that can’t be recycled including plastic wrap, cling film, bubble wrap (I know it hurts, I’m sorry), plastic bags, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, polystyrene, soft plastic/metallic packaging, plastic bottle caps TO NAME BUT A FEW.

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Simon Ellin the Chief of the Recycling Association singled out Pringles, Lucozade, supermarket black plastic meat trays and cleaning spray bottles to be themes difficult/impossible to recycle.

So one major problem is that we keep producing tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of plastic and were just leaving it around the world. But there are other negative impacts.

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Look at this little guy. He shouldn’t be eating plastic. He should be eating plants and insects! But the poor thing and 100,000 other marine creatures like him are eating plastic and 10% of marine life have died from being entangled in plastic bags that we are manufacturing and not taking responsibility for. It’s said that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea that fish!

It also pollutes the air, land and water as well as exposing worker to toxic chemicals when it’s being manufactured and incinerated. “Serious accidents have included explosions, chemical fires, chemical spills, and clouds of toxic vapor. These kinds of occurrences have caused deaths, injuries, evacuations and major property damage.”

Plastics used in cooking and food storage is also affecting our health. Chemicals that are typically hormone-mimicking and endocrine disrupters are evidenced to be coming from plastics.

There is a link between these chemicals and health problems “chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, early puberty, obesity and resistance to chemotherapy. Exposure to BPA at a young age can cause genetic damage, and BPA has been linked to recurrent miscarriage in women. The health risks of plastic are significantly amplified in children, whose immune and organ systems are developing and are more vulnerable.  The evidence of health risks from certain plastics is increasingly appearing in established, peer-reviewed scientific journals.”

We can tackle plastic pollution and we should as soon as possible. In fact there is a prize of £1.5million prize for environmentally friendly packaging design, backed by the conservation charity the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize.

Chris Grantham from the London branch of the global design consultancy Ideo said, designers would need to produce items that could be used again and again as pressure on materials increases from a growing population.
Mr Grantham’s ideas about how to tackle the issue include; if products are bought online products do not need branding and complex designs; supermarkets can fit a mini projector to project branding onto blank containers.

Here’s a short list of ways to reduce plastic pollution with your own bare hands from the Natural Resources Defences Council:

1. Wean yourself off disposable plastics.
Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then chucked: grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, coffee-cup lids. Take note of how often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions. It only takes a few times of bringing your own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks before it becomes habit.

2. Stop buying water.
Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag, and you’ll never be caught having to resort to a Poland Spring or Evian again. If you’re nervous about the quality of your local tap water, look for a model with a built-in filter.

3. Boycott microbeads.
Those little plastic scrubbers found in so many beauty products—facial scrubs, toothpaste, body washes—might look harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through water-treatment plants. Unfortunately, they also look just like food to some marine animals. Opt for products with natural exfoliants, like oatmeal or salt, instead.

4. Cook more.
Not only is it healthier, but making your own meals doesn’t involve takeout containers or doggy bags. For those times when you do order in or eat out, tell the establishment you don’t need any plastic cutlery or, for some serious extra credit, bring your own food-storage containers to restaurants for leftovers.

5. Purchase items secondhand.
New toys and electronic gadgets, especially, come with all kinds of plastic packaging—from those frustrating hard-to-crack shells to twisty ties. Search the shelves of thrift stores, neighborhood garage sales, or online postings for items that are just as good when previously used. You’ll save yourself a few bucks, too.

6. Recycle (duh).
It seems obvious, but we’re not doing a great job of it. For example, less than 14 percent of plastic packaging is recycled. Confused about what can and can’t go in the bin? Check out the number on the bottom of the container. Most beverage and liquid cleaner bottles will be #1 (PET), which is commonly accepted by most curbside recycling companies. Containers marked #2 (HDPE; typically slightly heavier-duty bottles for milk, juice, and laundry detergent) and #5 (PP; plastic cutlery, yogurt and margarine tubs, ketchup bottles) are also recyclable in some areas. For the specifics on your area, check out Earth911.org’s recycling directory.

7. Support a bag tax or ban.
Urge your elected officials to follow the lead of those in San Francisco, Chicago, and close to 150 other cities and counties by introducing or supporting legislation that would make plastic-bag use less desirable.

8. Buy in bulk.
Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, tiny packages of nuts—consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you tend to buy often and select the bigger container instead of buying several smaller ones over time.

9. Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner.
Invest in a zippered fabric bag and request that your cleaned items be returned in it instead of sheathed in plastic. (And while you’re at it, make sure you’re frequenting a dry cleaner that skips the perc, a toxic chemical found in some cleaning solvents.)

10. Put pressure on manufacturers.
Though we can make a difference through our own habits, corporations obviously have a much bigger footprint. If you believe a company could be smarter about its packaging, make your voice heard. Write a letter, send a tweet, or hit them where it really hurts: Give your money to a more sustainable competitor.

So you know what to do. Go do it. Please.

FAIR FAVOURITES

Mean It fashion- it was hard to stop choosing things I like from here. What a great selection!

“Our mission is to source ethical fashion around the world and offer well-designed, desirable and luxurious pieces in one marketplace. Clothing and accessories designed and produced in a sustainable way, using environment-friendly materials. Vegan pieces. Fair trade and upcycled items. All made by teams that have control over the production process, making sure there is no wrongdoing in any sense. Brands we are very proud to sell.”

Maya Day Dreamer Maxi Dress

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Kelly Cotton Chambray Shirt Dress

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Queenie Dress

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Verushka Denin Skirt

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https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/16/toxic-timebomb-why-we-must-fight-back-against-the-worlds-plague-of-plastic

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39953209

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4519380/Prince-Charles-Dame-Ellen-MacArthur-tackle-plastics.html

https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/the_plastic_problem#.WSAkiXeZPqQ

http://www.plasticsindustry.com/plastics-environment.asp

http://www.therecyclingassociation.com/latest-news/ceo-simon-ellin-picks-out-worst-packaging-offenders-for-recyclability-for-the-bbc

https://www.nrdc.org

The Shy Activist- “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh.”

I’ve already highlighted some of the issues that are connected with the chocolate industry in previous blog posts including child labour, milk production and palm oil. 

I suppose this is a post to highlight the issues we face with this product which is a staple and an addiction for many of us.

It isn’t a surprise considering the state of the industry that child labour and unfair treatment of workers is prevalent in cocoa farming. Cocoa is mainly grown in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Latin America where farmers are paid $2 per day. You don’t need a huge imagination to think what workers get paid. In fact research suggests children are imprisoned on farms after thy look for work or their relatives sell them to farm owners.

These farms supply the biggest chocolate companies including Mars, Hershey and Nestle. These three companies are in the top 10 leading confectioners in the world. I just will never understand capitalism and the concept of being mega rich but not paying your workers enough to live, if anything. If we buy a bar of chocolate which is now around 60p we’ve already used almost half of a farmers daily wage.

The confectioners hide behind the layers of industry, the government, chocolate dealers and farmers, in their bid to stay ignorant. Food Empower Project have written a lot about the issues in the chocolate industry and you can read it here. They have highlighted that although some confectioners certify that they are fair trade and do not allow child labour undercover investigation has found this to be greenwashing. Companies are slow to make changes to ensure that workers are treated with dignity.

If you want to make sure that your money is going to people who deserve it here’s a list that the Food Empowerment Project put together based on companies they recommend to least recommend. The list is extensive and it includes the following that I can recommend in taste. I am REALLY fussy about chocolate because I sadly am a chocoholic.

  • Vego- My favourite
  • Coop brand
  • Divine
  • Montezuma
  • Plamil 

The good shopping guide also made a list based on environmental impact, animal welfare, political donations and many other factors. Read it here. The only company to get a score of 100 is the seed and bean company which I have yet to try, but I will make sure to!

FAIR FAVOURITES- FOUNDLING

“For something to be truly beautiful, it has to be beautiful inside & out..so we set about finding a team of ethical manufacturing partners around the globe. With children & families of our own…ethical production was the only way to go!  Our clothing range is made by a sedex accredited, government regulated business in India – an assurance that people are not being taken advantage of & that they are entitled to the working conditions which most of us just take for granted.”

la cirque trapeze tunic bleu

darjeeling kimono

byzantine nightingale earrings gold

trinidad button down maxi dress

Sources and further reading

https://www.statista.com/statistics/252097/net-sales-of-the-leading-10-confectionery-companies-worldwide/

http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-chocolate/

http://grist.org/food/a-guide-to-ethical-chocolate/

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/02/the-truth-behind-the-chocolate-industry-will-leave.html

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/how-ethical-is-your-chocolate/

The Shy Activist- Palm Oil Palm Oil Palm Oil

Palm is the most commonly used vegetable oil, it is in most food products and mixed with motor vehicle products. I have found that it’s really difficult to find any food products that don’t have palm oil in them. As an ethical eater I try to avoid food that uses palm oil because of the impact it has on the environment and animals.

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Air Pollution

Palm Oil is cultivated in tropical places such as Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. Vast areas of forest are destroyed to make room for more palm oil plantations everyday. 

When forests are bulldozed and torched large amounts of harmful gasses are released into the atmosphere.

The fires also affect the health of workers and people who live in the surrounding areas.

Animals

Tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans are threatened by Palm Oil production. Endangered species habitat’s are destroyed for the purpose of Palm Oil and they “are squeezed into increasingly isolated fragments of natural habitat.”

Pail Oil forests have the least amount of biodiversity at 11 species compared with 80 species in a primary forest.

All animals are affected when poison is used to eliminate rats.

Communities

Deforestation for the purpose of Palm Oil displaces communities who aren’t recognised by the government when the land is handed over to companies. People are pushed out of their land which often creates friction within communities and against companies. 

Farmers who are pushed out of their land then have to clear forests to set up a new farm. New farm land is often very far from towns which restricts access to markets and health and well being services.

Labour rights- taken from SPOTT

  • Workers often live in poor conditions without access to basic facilities such as clean water and lighting, and are isolated by a lack of social support and cultural barriers.
  • Some oil palm plantations are dependent on imported labour or undocumented immigrants.
  • Trafficking cases have been identified in Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm plantations. Workers often have their passports and other official documents confiscated and are not given proper contracts. They can face abusive conditions and can be threatened with deportation or confiscation of wages.
  • Child labour is a common problem in Malaysian and Indonesian oil palm plantations. Children receive little or no pay and may be forced to endure harsh working conditions including long hours and exposure to toxic chemicals. This can be driven by poor education, a lack of school facilities and a generally low regard for education in rural areas.
  • In Malaysia, it is estimated that between 72,000 and 200,000 stateless children work on palm oil plantations.

“Reports of displaced communities and illegal land grabs are not uncommon. The resulting conflicts, loss of income and dependence on large plantations have had a significant impact of the social welfare of many.”

Can things improve?

Greenpeace supporters campaigned for many years and put pressure on big brands to stop using Palm Oil company until it changed it’s practices. IOI, the worlds third largest Palm Oil company, has now put together an action plan agreed to independent third-party verification of its progress in one year’s time. This came after a suspension from “Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) following a complaint by environmental organisation Aidenvironment, which meant it could no longer call any of its palm oil ‘sustainable’”

Unilever and Nestle have stopped buying from IOI and refuse to buy from IOI after the suspension from RSPO has been lifted.

“One of the most important points is that IOI will be actively monitoring its suppliers to ensure they too are safeguarding forests and people. Any company selling palm oil to IOI will need to prove it is protecting forests, so the impacts should spread far beyond IOI’s own operations.”

Here is a list of things you can do taken from rainforest rescue:

  • Enjoy a home-cooked meal using fresh ingredients and oils such as sunflower, olive, rapeseed or flaxseed are ideal for cooking and baking.
  • Read labels: As of December 2014, labeling regulations in the EU require food products to clearly indicate that they contain palm oil. However, in the case of non-food items such as cosmetics and cleaning products, a wide range of chemical names may still be used to hide the use of palm oil. A quick check of your favorite search engine will turn up palm oil-free alternatives, however.
  • Ask your retailers for palm oil-free products. Write product manufacturers and ask them why they aren’t using domestic oils. 
  • Sign petitions and write your elected representatives: Online campaigns put pressure on policymakers responsible for biofuels and palm oil imports. Have you already signed all of Rainforest Rescue’s petitions?
  • Leave your car at home: Whenever you can, walk, ride a bicycle or use public transport.

Ethical Consumer have put together a list of products that contain no palm oil or sustainably produced palm oil. I’m going to focus on the chocolate list because that’s my vice!!! But have a look at the rest of the list for more products.

Other Palm oil-free boxes of chocolates:

  • Vivani (organic): all gift chocolate (mini bars gift tins)
  • Co-op: 24 Assorted Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Coins, Truly Irresistible Milk Chocolate Truffles gift cube, Truly Irresistible Mint Selection, Loved By Us Belgian Chocolate Pralines,  Loved By Us Irish Cream Liqueurs
  • Mondelez: Terry’s Chocolate Orange Plain, Toblerone (all varieties)
  • Guylian: Seashells, Dark Chocolate Sea Horses, Pearles d’Ocean tin
  • Lindt: HELLO Milk chocolate heart tin

Best company rating for palm oil:

  • Booja Booja (organic, palm oil free company),
  • Divine (Fairtrade, palm oil free company),
  • Cocoa Loco (organic),
  • Montezuma (organic),
  • Vivani (organic),
  • Ferrero Rocher, Raffaello,
  • Mondelez brands (Green & Black’s Organic Collection, Milk Tray, Roses, Heroes, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Terry’s All Gold, Toblerone),
  • Mars brands (Celebrations),
  • Guylian,
  • Lindt: Lindor, Lindt
  • Co-op

Worst company rating for palm oil:

  • Thorntons,
  • Elizabeth Shaw,
  • ASDA,
  • Morrisons,
  • Tesco,
  • Aldi,
  • Lidl,
  • Iceland

FAIR FAVOURITES- Ethical Collection 

OK these guys have such a beautiful collection. I want everything!

“Giovanna Eastwood founded Ethical Collection in 2015, encouraged by the work of her mother’s charity in Brazil. The charity taught young women to craft and sell bags made of recycled material and Giovanna witnessed the impact that the work had on these women and their communities. The pride they took in their art and the environmental benefits of recycled material gave her inspiration and incentive to dedicate her skills to ethical fashion.”

Pitusa Pom pom Top Pink

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Uzma Bozai Cotton Sagittarius Sweatshirt Grey

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Armor Lux Organic Cotton Red Breton Top

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Beaumont Organic Sophia Maxi Dress Navy & Red

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Sources and further reading

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/topics/palm-oil#start

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/agriculture/palm_oil/environmental_impacts/soil_water_pollution/

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/forests/major-palm-oil-company-promises-protect-forests-20170428

http://greenpalm.org/about-palm-oil/social-and-environmental-impact-of-palm-oil

http://www.sustainablepalmoil.org/impacts/social/

The Shy Activists- FASHION REVOLUTION

We are nearly at the end of Fashion Revolution Week but Fashion Revolution runs all year long.

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Photography by Rahul Talukder

At the beginning of Fashion Revolution Week Mayisha shared her thoughts and what many of us who see through consumerism feel- “We are all unwillingly complicit in this cycle of exploitation, through a system called ‘fast fashion.” We wear the clothes, we buy the clothes, we ask for them.

Since Rana Plaza collapsed “1,137 have been confirmed dead, with over 200 remaining missing. Tales of workers trapped in the rubble with no choice but to saw their own limbs off to escape, of workers trapped within the collapse for days without food or water, surrounded by dead bodies. Of the families who had to identify their deceased family members, only to find that the bodies had been so deformed by the collapse they were almost  unrecognisable. The suffering of the injured workers who are no longer physically capable of working, plummeting them into further poverty. The orphans who lost either one or both parents. The workers who survived, but must face on going psychological torment, as they return to work in the garment factories.”

Mayisha covers how although there is an improvement, things still haven’t massively improved, and that we can try to make a difference by pressuring our favourite brands to make a change. 

Here’s a link to her blog which is a must read.

WHO MADE MY CLOTHES

Who made my clothes is a campaign to look past the clothes, past the label to the person behind the finished product. Supporters of the campaign taken photos of their item of clothing with the label showing to ask the brand on a social platform- who made their clothes.

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Change is at your fingertips

Although there are many ways to lead a more ethical life in terms of fashion such as:

  • swapshops
  • upcycling
  • recycling
  • ethical shopping

We mustn’t forget the plight of garment workers and the issues they face everyday. Mayisha covers a lot of the terrible conditions that garment workers suffer for example, Bangladeshi garment workers earn the lowest minimum wage in the world and it is nowhere near the living wage. 

We have to show that we are in solidarity with garment workers and we have to hold companies accountable. We also have to hold ourselves accountable. Where there is demand there is supply. Let’s demand transparent and fair supply.

Islam teaches us that “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”

Many of us have the power to use our voice and therefore have the responsibility to do so.

One of the easiest ways that you can put pressure on brands is by tweeting them. Fashion Revolution have helpfully made a template for twitter- 

I’m , and I want to thank the people who made my . Hi @[brand], #whomademyclothes? via @Fash_Rev.

Islam teaches that the condition of the people won’t change until the people change. I think this is a really valuable and important message. We shouldn’t expect things to change on their own. 

We should shoulder the responsibility of making the change happen. 

As Mayisha stated in her post, that although she is unsure about how to change the industry she is sure that we need to make our voice heard.

Sources and further reading

http://fashionrevolution.org/get-involved/ways-for-everyone-to-get-involved/

http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/rana-plaza-fourth-anniversary-fashion-revolution-week

http://www.thestar.co.uk/business/sheffield-store-gets-behind-ethical-fashion-revolution-1-8517624

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/9-ways-master-eco-conscious-sustainable-dressing-stay-stylish/

https://standup4islam.wordpress.com/2012/12/25/when-you-see-a-wrong-change-it-with-your-hand/

http://ohsoethical.tumblr.com/post/159933245193/fourth-anniversary-of-the-rana-plaza-collapse-my

The Shy Activist- Assignment: Earth

Happy Earth Day!

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Every year this day serves as a reminder of our responsibility as stewards of the planet. 

Why should we care about the state of the environment? Because it is important for our own personal well being and our great great grandchildren’s well being. Earth is our home and we should treat is as we would our own four walls. 

I’ve compiled tips that can be used in everyday life from the moment you read this post. 

Start your New Earth Year resolutions now!

Buy locally-grown produce to reduce your carbon footprint. Find your local farmers market or farm and support their sustainable business. You’ll be giving your money to a good business and be part of a bigger change.

Walk to work- Walking to work isn’t only good for the environment. It’s good for mental health as well as physical well being. We generally spend too much time away from natural light and those at desk jobs spend too much time sitting down! I find that walking to and from work is an easy way to add some exercise to your lifestyle. 

And ask Elle Woods explains:

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Stop using disposable plastic

Bottled water- Drink tap water and if you feel it might not be safe then get a filtered bottle. A bobble is an affordable sustainably made reusable bottle and the filter needs to be replaced every 2 to 3 months. 

Plastic bags- Use. Reusable. Bags.

Microbeads- Ensure that your beauty products don’t have microbeads which go down our sinkholes into our land and sea.

Eat less meat- If you read our last post you’ll know that meat production accounts for a large proportion of greenhouse gases. “Producing one calorie of meat requires nearly twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie!”

Support environmentally friendly fashion- Stop relying on fast fashion and have faith in sweatshops and ethical brands! Next time you feel the shopping urge or need something new check out the many fair favourites we have featured or just google it!

FAIR FAVOURITES- KOMODO

“Komodo has been a pioneer brand, promoting the use and development of Organic Cotton, Hemp, Bamboo, Tencel and other natural fibres since the early 90s. Equally important was the welfare of the suppliers and people who work in the small factory units that make our clothes. There needs to be loyalty and respect to make a good deal for all and we still visit our factories for at least 2 months+ each year to ensure that any problems are solved together.”

JUNA Trousers

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FLYNNI Tencel Denim Dress

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JUNA Trousers

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HERRINGBONE Orange Organic Cotton Socks

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Sources and further reading

http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/11-earth-day-tips-to-make-our-planet-a-better-place-1684608

http://time.com/money/3828566/earth-day-tips-environment-save-money/

http://www.earthday.org/campaigns/

http://ecoadmirer.com/6-reasons-you-should-care-about-our-environment/