Are you being greenwashed?

For those that have never heard of Greenwashing; it is defined as:

Marketing to make it look like a company is eco friendly when actually they are not.

It is sad to know how easy it is for companies to mislead us.

Who’s guilty?

  • McDonald’s non-recyclable paper straws are a perfect example of greenwashing. The company is known for deforestation for cattle ranches and tons of plastic and yet the paper straws mean they’re a good eco friendly company, right?
  • Burberry destroyed unsold clothes, accessories and perfume worth £28.6m in 2017 to protect its brand, they have since said they will stop 🛑 but it isn’t just them H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013. Many other companies have been doing this too – take a look at this video it may shock you.
  • It isn’t just clothes, Amazon has been found destroying tons of returned items, like mattresses, washing machines, and mobile phones.
  • Car companies who claim to manufacture “clean diesels” – there is no such thing!
  • Nestle claim that they use sustainable cocoa beans however it is completely false when you look at the deforestation they are causing in West Africa.
  • Fast fashion outlets who promote throwaway culture and cheap clothes.
  • Companies that advertise “compostable” or “biodegradable” products such as coffee cups, straws, coffee pods etc. that will not actually degrade in your compost but need to be sent to a special facility (and there aren’t many around!). Starbucks, McDonald’s and others have been found doing this.
  • Any “eco friendly” cigarette companies – they aren’t!
  • Paper plates/cups are not eco friendly – throwaway culture is never eco friendly.
  • Ben & Jerry’s like to make you think they have happy cows and that they care about the planet but they actually use factory farming which is one of the biggest pollutants out there.
  • Lush like to make you think you are buying with no packaging by having all of the soaps out without plastic but once at the counter they use plastic to wrap the products.

What to look out for:

  • Boasts about impressive initiatives such as solar power and recycling at head office (head office is usually tiny compared to the rest of the carbon footprint in production and shipping)
  • If a company claims that they are sustainable, as there is no formal definition of sustainability they can get away with calling themselves sustainable even if they have many bad practices.
  • Perhaps a company boasts reduced or recycled packaging – a step in the right direction but if the rest of their production isn’t eco friendly then it is just a tiny thing to make you think that they are an eco company when they aren’t.
  • Some companies boast about their attempts to use eco friendly LED lighting etc. when actually it is the legal requirement for that country anyway!
  • When companies make big claims on reducing emissions but in the fine print you may find they are actually not that great.
  • Then we come to recycling – the products are recyclable? Great, but where? Is it widely accepted or will you have to find somewhere special to recycle it? ♻️
  • Where are the products made? Is there full transparency on the workers pay and conditions? Companies may claim they pay minimum wage (which isn’t that great anyway – a living wage would be much more impressive) but that is to the staff in the shops etc. and not where the products are actually made.
  • Does the shop have a few “ethical products”? This is a way to make you think the shop as a whole is ethical when they aren’t. Take a look at h&m with their conscious range – it’s very small compared to the rest of the things they stock.
  • Packaging products in earth tones with the word ‘natural’ emphasized everywhere is another trick.
  • Biodegradable doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t bad for the environment or that it won’t take a long time to biodegrade.

If you want to read more then take a look at my books: Being Mindful of Our Planet 🌎 and Eco Evie.

Louise x

How capitalism is killing the planet

What is capitalism?

Capitalism is where the industry and trade is run by private individuals for profit rather than by the state.

Cobalt is a good example to show the importance of profit over anything else in capitalism. Every lithium-ion battery contains cobalt – a rare mineral. It is in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo that this rare mineral is mined, where children as young as six spend every day searching for stones which will then be bought by Chinese companies who will pay them about 50p for a days work – of course that is if they fill the sack. Workers mine, sometimes for 24 hours straight in darkness, unable to stand up, terrified that the mine will collapse and bury them – which does happen. Health is affected hugely by the dust breathed in from birth leading to hard metal lung disease.

The cobalt is then shipped to China where it is refined and then sold all around the world.

Think of this when you buy your next phone, tablet, laptop or electric car 🚙. Someone has had to pay the price for your luxury so don’t take it for granted.

How is it affecting the planet? 🌏

You probably know by now that the Amazon Rainforest was on fire for weeks. This incredible habitat is home to 1 in 10 of the worlds animals, 1 in 5 of the worlds birds, without even looking at the plants, fungi and microorganisms.

The reason the Amazon is so incredible is because it is so hot but it also rains a lot which makes the perfect conditions for plants to grow. These trees also help us to trap carbon and give us the oxygen we breathe.

What’s the problem then? Well, the very sad thing is that in this capitalist world we find ourselves in, money is much more important than the animals, and the trees 🌳 and 350 different groups of indigenous people (30 million) who’s lives are turned upside down and homes lost to logging and to make room for palm oil, cattle ranches and natural resource extraction.

Is going vegan the answer?

Although going vegan is a huge help because:

65% of the nitrous oxide we humans release comes from livestock, and that’s actually 296 times more destructive to the planet than CO2 (and will stay in the atmosphere for 150 years)Even if we stopped using fossil fuels, it is calculated that we would exceed the limit of CO2 (565 gigatonnes) by 2030 just by raising animals.1 burger needs 2500 gallons of water to be produced1 lb of eggs needs 477 gallons of water to be produced1 lb of cheese needs 900 gallons of water to be produced1 gallon of milk needs 1000 gallons of water to be produced 45% of earths land is used for animal agriculture We could run out of fish by 2048Every 1 lb of fish caught, 5lb of unwanted marine species are caught too, and discarded.

It is naïve to think that it will solve climate change, but it will make a difference. We need a huge overhaul of how countries are run. The only way we can do this is if we work together, there are power in numbers.

  • Sign relevant petitions
  • Go on peaceful protests
  • Write to your local representatives
  • If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – the only way companies are going to stop making unnecessary things is if we stop buying them
  • Avoid fast fashion
  • Try to make your technology last – consider the cost of changing your phone/tablet/laptop every few years to keep up with fashion for those who mine the minerals and for the land that is depleted.
  • FYI apple said walking away from the Democratic Republic of Congo “would do nothing to improve conditions for the people or the environment.

We need a society that puts the planet and life first over profit and greed.

If you want to learn more about the environment check out Being Mindful of Our Planet and Eco Evie.

Q: What small change can I make to reduce my impact on the environment? It all adds up?

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Credit: Alexas_fotos
  • Ditch the cling film and use beeswax wraps
  • Swap driving for using the bus or train if a journey is feasible
  • Keep a reusable coffee cup in your bag to replace buying a plastic bottle or cup
  • Try to gradually shift shopping habits to more sustainable choices such as capsule wardrobe over fast fashion, and buying unpackaged fruit and veg
  • Change one or two (or as many as you can deal with!) meals to meat free
  • Support small, ethical businesses that care about the environment
  • Resist the tat! I know it’s cheap but really think about whether you need it
  • Of course Re-use, Recycle, Reduce – reduce being the most important one, recycling shouldn’t be seen as such a wonderful thing, of course it is better than landfill, but because it omits any responsibility for the amount of waste we are producing – when only 12% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled. Wouldn’t it be better to use other materials that aren’t made from fossil fuels?

Q: what can I do to lower my CO2 emissions?

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Credit: Pixundfertig
  • Use public transport when viable
  • Walk or cycle if you can
  • Avoid aviation when possible
  • Avoid plastic
  • Avoid purchasing items that have been shipped or flown from far away
  • Offset your carbon footprint
  • Lower your intake of meat and dairy
  • Switch to a green energy company
  • Swap baths for showers

Q: How can I get my two year old interested in the environment?

A: There are lots of things you can do to get your young children interested in the environment, from as soon as they are born.

Credit: Mojpe
  • Read to them about nature and animals
  • Take them to the park and on walks and talk to them about what they can see
  • In the autumn take them out to play in the leaves and make pictures with them
  • Play outside
  • Teach them mindfulness

Basically, I’m sure your already doing it because all you have to do is show them how beautiful and magical the world is and they will want to protect it.

I think it’s easiest with animals as a lot of children are really interested in animals.

This book is a great resource with sooooo many ideas about how to talk to children about the environment and to teach them, different things, I really really recommend it.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Green Parenting: How to Raise Your Child, Help Save the Planet and Not Go Mad