weekend links

Ten Things

Hello! “A new Ten Things post?” I hear you say. Indeed! It’s been a little while, but I am excited to bring this post series back. In case you’re new to these parts, Ten Things is where I round up the week’s environmental news in an easily accessible bitesize manner. Let’s dive straight in:

1. Economists at the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels – JP Morgan – have warned clients, in a leaked report, that under a business-as-usual approach to climate change that “we cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened.” The report implicitly condemns the US bank’s own investment strategy and highlights growing concerns among major Wall Street institutions about the financial and reputational risks of continued funding of carbon-intensive industries, such as oil and gas.

2. Record heat in Antarctica has led to large scale ice cap melts.

3. A quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots – largely with the specific purpose to amplify denialist messages about climate change. This proportion was higher in certain topics – bots were responsible for 38% of tweets about “fake science” and 28% of all tweets about the petroleum giant Exxon. Conversely, tweets that could be categorized as online activism to support action on the climate crisis featured very few bots, at about 5% prevalence.

4. It may only be February, but 2020 is already “virtually certain” to be among the 10 warmest years on record, and has nearly a 50 percent chance of being the warmest ever, say scientists from the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

5. “To get a sense for how backwards we are on climate policy, consider the fact that people are literally *rewarded* for frequent flying rather than disincentivized from doing so. It’s extraordinary.

6. Do we need to re-think our idea of time?

7. Fashion brands should be obliged to help you repair what you wear.

If you’re wearing a buttoned up top, chances are that secreted somewhere on its inside is a spare button, sewn onto a label, tucked under a hem. If your shirt were to pop a button, would you be able to make use of this spare? Or would you just throw away the shirt and order a new one? Sewing a few stitches used to be a skill as basic as reading and writing. But the fact that we collectively send £140m of clothing to landfill each year suggests that things have changed. “

8. Can we have prosperity without growth?

People can flourish without endlessly accumulating more stuff. Another world is possible.”

9. When it comes to ethical fashion, is anyone making money?

10. Finally, I wrote a piece for Kempii, an online zero-waste store, on zero-waste snack ideas. You’ll find over 30 zero-waste snack ideas – from sweet to savoury and fresh to dry – over there, so do take a look.

That’s it from me – I hope you are staying safe from the storms. My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the floods of the last few weeks.


ps: In case you’re wondering, the newsletter is coming back too in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye on your inbox!

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

DIY Cleaning Spray

diy cleaning spray

I have got a great winter scented DIY cleaning spray for you today, that I’ve been using to naturally clean my home.

February is always a difficult month, I find. The clocks go back in October, and from then on in it’s the cheery march to all the end of year festivities, twinkly lights and delicious food and all. January comes, and it feels like a bit of a reset. A quiet time to take stock, reflect and make plans for moving forward.

And then comes February. Pesky February. Far away from the festivities to make them seem like a long distant memory. And far enough from spring that it doesn’t feel like the mornings and early evenings will ever be anything but dark. I tend to find the worst of the winter weather seems to bite in February too. Right now, it’s snowing and we’ve just come through Storm Ciara. Hibernation until Spring always feels like a good idea round about now.

I’m trying to change my mindset on winter, and recently I read an article on the Norwegian secret to enjoying winter. It turns out Norwegians view their long dark winters as something to celebrate, so I’m trying to bring about some of that Norwegian attitude to Scotland.

I’ve started small – adapting an old favourite natural cleaning recipe to make my home smell like a forest in wintertime. I may not want to go out in the snow today, but at least I can pretend I am. It’s a start, right?!

Here’s my favourite DIY cleaning spray recipe with a winter twist, that can be whipped up in seconds:

DIY Cleaning Spray Recipe

You Will Need:

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A 500 ml spray bottle

500 ml cooled boiled water

2 teaspoons liquid castile soap (the citrus, eucalyptus or peppermint Dr Broners liquid castile soap works particularly well in this recipe, but any version is fine).

10 drops pine essential oil

10 drops cedarwood essential oil


Add the two teaspoons of liquid castile soap to your empty bottle (a funnel may help), and the essential oils.

Next add the cooled boiled water, and add the spray top.

Shake gently, and you’re good to go!

Directions for Use

This DIY cleaning spray is a great multipurpose spray that can be used all around the house. Shake well before use to disperse the oils and away you go.

If using on wood I always recommend spraying the cloth and then wiping your surface to avoid over saturating your wood, as this could cause it to warp.

Safety First

Keep all homemade cleaning products and their raw ingredients (particularly essential oils) out of the reach of children and pets.

Wear gloves for cleaning if you have sensitive skin.

Some essential oils aren’t recommended for use around children, pets, or during pregnancy. I’m off the personal belief, that using essential oils in this highly diluted manner for a product that is not ingested or applied to the skin doesn’t pose a risk – certainly not more of a risk than using conventional cleaning products. However, I would encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions as to which, if any, oils are right for you.