weekend links

Ten Things

Hello! Having a good weekend? I’ve had a busy one at work – evening and weekends this week – so I’m just going to jump straight in if you don’t mind me:

This week’s links:

1. New Zealand has just abandoned economic growth or other growth indicators as a political priority, in favour of well-being. Billions of pounds will be spent on mental health services, child poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.

This is absolutely huge news. In the UK we are pursuing economic growth at all cost – economic growth is used as a justification for everything, from additional runways to increased road building. Meanwhile the Government are pushing wellbeing further and further down the agenda. Neither of these aspects are in any way sustainable, and we could learn a huge amount from New Zealand’s lead on this.

2. What do the plastics and climate crises have in common? The same someone profiting from the status quo.

Whether it be the fossil fuel industry or the broader petrochemical industry, the corporations profiting from the problem have been reluctant to envision a future where they could profit, instead, from the solutions to the problem.

While governments, various private-sector actors and private citizens have joined forces in an effort to find alternatives to single-use, plastics manufacturers have been largely AWOL. In fact, they’re increasing production“.

3. That status quo is clearly hurting poorer communities. This week it has been reported that Malaysia is to return 3,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste to the countries that sent it there, including the UK, after being deluged with so much waste that their recycling systems have been overwhelmed. Rubbish has often been dumped or discarded, only to end up as marine litter.

The environment minister, Yeo Bee Yin, said that “garbage is traded under the pretext of recycling [and] Malaysians are forced to suffer poor air quality due to open burning of plastics which leads to health hazard, polluted rivers, illegal landfills and a host of other related problems.”

4. Every protest shifts the world’s balance. An eloquent reminder on why our actions matter.

People taking such stands have changed the world over and over, toppled regimes, won rights, terrified tyrants, stopped pipelines and deforestation and dams. They go far further back… to the great revolutions of France and then of Haiti against France and back before that to peasant uprisings and indigenous resistance in Africa and the Americas to colonisation and enslavement and to countless acts of resistance on all scales that were never recorded“.

5. Britain has now gone two weeks without coal.

6. Mexico has a new environment minister, and I like the cut of his jib.

“Human beings are not responsible for global warming, as superficial environmentalism and uncritical science would like to tell us… The responsible are a parasitic and predatory minority, and that minority has a name: neoliberalism.”

7. After last week’s radical plan to save the planet by working less, here’s a further case for working fewer hours: each bank holiday saves at least 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

8. Supporting this campaign from Which? on Freedom to Pay, which highlights the many people and industries that are affected by a society moving away from cash payments. 

9. The Indian school that accepts plastic waste instead of school fees.

10. Finally, new podcast alert – Big Closets, Small Planet is a new podcast series that seeks to explore what it will take to transform the fashion industry so that it contributes positively to the lives of people and the health of the planet.

Have a great Sunday!

Wendy.x

Home, Home and Garden

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Last year I shared a look at our refurbished bedroom. We’d done a lot of insulation works, and redecorating works, but then left things where they were because we had a home extension plan.

Well, February saw us commence building works to create an ensuite off our bedroom. After quite a long time of pain and dust (a lot of dust), our extension is now complete, and we now have a bijoux en-suite wetroom. It might seem like a lot of pain to go through for such a small extension, but let me tell you, having that room upstairs is lifechanging!

moral-fibres-bathroom

To give us the space we needed to put the en-suite in, we extended our house to the side, over a single storey lean-to where our front door is, but we had problems with headroom so our shower is down some steps!

moral fibres shower

It’s a difficult space to photograph because like the rest of our house it’s very small, but we opted for a single colour scheme – white – to make the space feel as large as possible.

Whilst the work was on, we slept downstairs in the living room on airbeds for two months. It was wonderful to get back into our bed again. I had missed it SO much! Our bed made of 150 recycled plastic bottles, which is a fantastic use of plastic bottles. Sounds sweaty? Not at all – I wrote a full review of it over here.

We haven’t made any changes to our bedroom, beyond the addition of a door through to the bathroom. The only other minor change is that Silentnight recently sent me a set of their new Eco Comfort Pillows to try out, made from 100% recyclable plastic bottles. Each hypoallergenic Eco Comfort Pillow made prevents around 17 plastic bottles going into landfill or the ocean, and is made here in the UK, giving it a low carbon footprint.

The pillows are soft, plump and bouncy, and don’t require any fluffing up – a boon for people like me who would rather spend that time at night sleeping rather than plumping pillows! And like the Eco Comfort mattress, despite being made of plastic, the pillows are soft and breathable, and the only indication that they are made of plastic is the little label on the side reminding me that 17 plastic bottles were used.

Unlike some pillows, they are also machine washable to keep them fresh and expand their life.

Whilst the work was on we had the loft space in our spare room downstairs insulated. It was too cold to spend much time in, so before it was a bit of a dumping ground, but now it’s insulated it’s a much cosier space and useful space. There are loads of grants out there that will top up your loft insulation for free, making your home warmer and less costly to heat. If you rent, speak to your landlord about the grant schemes.

This spare room is now an office for my partner and me, a space for my partner to play drums, and a guest bedroom for any overnight guests. This makes it sound huge, but it is little – a desk in one corner, the drums in another and a sofa bed. It’s not quite finished but we are getting there slowly!

I’m hoping to share more updates as and when we progress!