consumerism

Amelia Womack's week without plastic

Amelia Womack
| 19th December 2017
Green party deputy leader AMELIA WOMACK tried to cut plastic out of her life after witnessing haunting images of a bird struggling because its stomach was lined with waste. But the ingrained nature of plastic in modern society made the task much harder than expected. This is her story.

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What's the most import ingredient of hummus? No, not chickpeas, olive oil or tahini ... Garlic! Photo: Paul Mobbs (still from video).

Hummus and mindfulness: skills, resilience and relaxation beyond consumerism

Paul Mobbs
| 16th May 2017
Food is so much more than a heap of pre-processed consumer products snatched from supermarket shelves or websites, writes Paul Mobbs. And the key to unlocking its deeper meaning is to prepare, bake and cook your own from basic ingredients: in the process expressing creativity, developing skills, building independence from the industrial food machine, meditating in doing, saving money ... and making some pretty amazing hummus!

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If it's not organic, milk in UK supermarkets is almost all from cattle fed GMOs in their feed. Photo: Echoplex7 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Supermarkets: 'Feed me the Truth' about GMOs in our food chain!

Liz O'Neill
GM Freeze
| 7th March 2017
UK supermarkets led the world in saying 'no!' to GM foods and ingredients, writes Liz O'Neill. But they faltered on GM feeds for pigs, cattle, poultry and fish, with GM soy and corn dominating the UK's non-organic market. Now campaigners are putting the pressure on supermarkets to make their entire supply chains GMO-free for the sake of animal, human and ecological health.

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Is there more in your supermarket meat than you bargained for? Like antibiotic resistant bacteria? Photo: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr (CC BY).

Supermarkets must act on farm antibiotics!

Emma Rose
| 11th October 2016
Hot on the heels of the recent revelations of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on UK meat, a new Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calls on supermarkets to prohibit 'routine mass-medication of livestock' in their supply chains, and commit to 'drastic reductions' in farm use of critically important antibiotics. Make sure your MP signs!

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How to green your photocopier? Easy - just change the default from single to double-sided copies, and most people will go along with it. Result? Save thousands of trees. Photo: Bruce Bortin via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Green by default - how a nudge and wink can save the planet

Cass R. Sunstein
| 27th September 2016
There's a simple way to induce us to make good environmental choices, writes Cass R. Sunstein: make them the default setting. Whether it's selecting double sided photocopies or renewable electricity tariffs, defining easily-overridden 'green defaults' is by far the most efficacious means to influence consumer choices for the environment and the planet.

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Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle
| 3rd August 2016
Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough.

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Once a mangrove forest full of life, now a sterile shrimp farm. The hard labour of destroying mangrove forests and building and operating shrimp farms is often performed by slaves. Photo: Tracy Hunter via Flickr (CC BY).

World must end slavery - for the environment as well as human rights

Kevin Bales
University of Hull
| 18th May 2016
Slavery is a terrible thing for the world's estimated 36 million slaves, writes Kevin Bales. But it's also an environmental disaster. Many slaves are forced to work in destructive activities like clearing forests for mines, farms and plantations - making slave labour the world's third biggest 'country' in terms of CO2 emissions. It really is time to end slavery!

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Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the picket line supporting the junior doctors' strike, 26th April 2016. Photo: Garry Knight via Flickr (Public Domain).

In the Corbyn era, Greens must move from socialism to ecologism

Rupert Read
| 10th May 2016
Where does the Green Party go now? Last week's uninspiring election results show that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour poses a serious challenge to us Greens, who can no longer succeed by being merely left wing. We must fulfil our own destiny, representing a distinct, authentic ecological strand in politics, making the case for living as if we only had one planet - as is in fact the case.

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Ben & Jerry's GMO Labeling poster in Portland, Oregon, 15th October 2014. Photo: anna Hanks via Flickr (CC BY).

Flawed US GMO labeling will damage the anti-GM movement on both sides of the Atlantic

Lawrence Woodward
Beyond GM
| 22nd April 2016
Little Vermont is having a big impact on GMO food labeling across the US, writes Lawrence Woodward. And with 'regulatory cooperation' under TTIP that influence could reach into the EU. Trouble is, Vermont's labeling law contains major exemptions - on meat products, take-aways and restaurant food, as well as products from animals fed GM feeds. The US, and the EU, deserve better.

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Be the one that got away ... and others may follow. Photo: Rodrigo Benavides via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The 'non-compliant challenge' - mindful disengagement from modern evils

Julian Rose
| 11th April 2016
How to dissent peacefully from the corruption, waste and destruction of the world? By a mindful disengagement from evil, writes Julian Rose: from fossil fuel energy to propagandist media, from sweatshop clothing to the predatory financial system. Some of the steps we can take are easy, others very difficult - but what ultimately matters is the direction of travel.

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Intensively reared animals are typically kept in barren, squalid conditions, however product labels often don't display this reality. Photo: © Compassion in World Farming.

No more keeping consumers in the dark over animal welfare!

Philip Lymbery
| 10th March 2016
Labels on meat, egg and dairy products are often the only clue we have into the lives of the animals they came from, writes Philip Lymbery. But they are often confusing or even misleading about the truth of cruel farming practices. Labelling needs to be clearer to allow ethical consumers to make the right choices.

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View from Diyarbakir hotel window, with bullet hole. Photo: William John Gauthier via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Turkey's war on Kurdish cities - clearing the way for 'urban regeneration'?

Defne Kadıoğlu Polat
| 3rd February 2016
Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls.

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The future is clean, inexpensive and renewable - if only the government can get over its nuclear obsession. Westmill Solar Park, with wind turbines behind. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government's nuclear fixation could ruin us all

Caroline Lucas MP
| 28th January 2016
EDF's unfolding fiasco over the Hinkley C nuclear power station proves that nuclear power can come only at enormous financial cost to consumers and taxpayers, writes Caroline Lucas - and even then, investors are scared off by the risks. The government must get over its nuclear obsession and seize our renewable future.

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The problem is not just eating meat, but the kind of meat. Brazilian beef causes emissions around ten times greater than chicken. Photo: butcher's shop in Mares, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil by Vin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Can eating less meat really tackle climate change? (Yes)

Mike Berners-Lee
Lancaster University
| 27th January 2016
Meat is responsible for about 30% of all 'wasted calories', writes Mike Berners-Lee, so with food causing a third of all greenhouse emissions, eating less meat is one of the most effective things we can do to reduce our climate impact. But no less important is to switch from high to low-impact meats - and to do all we can to cut food waste in our kitchens.

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It was fun while it lasted, at least for some. But now the 'growth party' is over. And it's time for us to adjust the new reality. Photo: James Vaughan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Peak stuff: the 'growth' party is over. So what next?

Bennet Francis
Rupert Read
| 22nd January 2016
Over in Davos world leaders are desperately trying to find a 'fourth industrial revolution' to keep the 'growth' juggernaut rolling, write Bennet Francis & Rupert Read. But their efforts are doomed: the real challenge we face is to build a healthy, more equal society and a green, sustainable future for us all.

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Skip-diving in Belgium. Photo: Jan Slangen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From shelf to skip: food waste and the culture of rush

Diana Moreno
| 20th January 2016
A third of all food that's produced in the world is thrown away. What's going on? Diana Moreno finds some answers in her own experience working in a German supermarket. Leading the list is the mind-numbing 'culture of rush' that permeates high-volume, low margin retailing, and which subjects workers and customers alike to the soul-less logic of the production line.

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Living the real climate experience? Image by Brandalism.org.uk. Artwork by Bill Posters. Author provided.

Brandalised! COP21's 600 fake adverts take the real climate message to Paris

Thomas Dekeyser
University of Southampton
| 9th December 2015
Civil society may have been kept out of the COP21 conference centre, even forbidden to march on the streets, writes Thomas Dekeyser. But climate activists have found an new means of expression: the 'Brandalism' of 600 advertisements in bus shelters across Paris, replacing corporate brand-building with subversive messages on climate and consumerism.

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Photo: Visit Exmoor via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Forget Black Friday - this is 'Buy Nothing Day'!

Vicki Hird
| 27th November 2015
Black Friday is yet another manifestation of a consumer culture that is both empty and destructive, writes Vicki Hird. So instead let's join in creative celebrations of Buy Nothing Day ('no purchase necessary'), and develop a new life-enhancing ethic of joyful frugality.

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Under examination: 'smart meters' that sent fault codes back to utility offices. Photo: David Dodge / Green Energy Futures via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Stop the £11 billion 'smart meter' ripoff!

Mel Kelly
| 14th August 2015
At an £11 billion cost to energy users, and against all expert advice, writes Mel Kelly, the government is forcing the rollout of 'smart meters' repeatedly exposed as expensive, poorly tested and potential threats to our health and privacy. This madness must stop.

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