Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What shall I wear?

As a woman who has reached her late 50s I have lived through - and worn - miniscule mini skirts, crushed velvet hotpants [purple if you must know!], hippie peasant skirts and hair, loons [remember slitting open the bottom foot of a pair of trousers and inserting flowered fabric?], the 80's big shoulders and big hair [I had an afro perm along with everyone else], the 90's gauchos,  leggings, dungarees and all in one pant suits...well you name it we have tried it.
1970s fashion
The topic of how women present themselves to the world has always interested me and it is clearly a pre occupation of Vanessa Feltz. She has written an article called "Over fifty and not in the shade" today in a national newspaper. She coins the phrase "swoftie" for woman over 50 [the s was for single but she extends this to all women with "a twinkle in her eye and scarlet toenails peaking out of vertiginous stilettoes". 

She describes the concept of "mutton dressed as lamb" as a stultifying notion. She says "Lambs are frisky and furry and up to gambolling mischief. Of course we want to dress like them. Who doesn’t when you can enjoy fashion, flaunt your wiggly bits, experiment with new necklines, new career challenges and new adventures?"

The problem for me is  I no longer feel an irrepressible urge to climb a tree or skip down the road like I did when I was five. Yes to new adventures but not to wearing the fashions of a young girl. I have embraced my grey hair. I have resisted the bare mid riff look so popular even in winter not long ago . I have turned down the idea of wearing a tiny ra ra skirt. I feel uncomfortable wearing clothes that make me feel like a little girl. I think even as a young girl I felt uncomfortable in them. I want to match - I don't want to be viewed from the back as a 15 year old and turn round to reveal someone 40 years older. Is that empowering? Why can't each period in our lives be lived assertively and with dignity?

Note to fashion designers. There is a gap in the market all the same. How often do I meet women unable to find clothes they can feel comfortable and confident in that don't make them feel like a little girl or their mother?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The power of a baby

I really hope that an approach that was taken last month on the first anniversary of some heart breaking, gut wrenching street riots in the UK works. In London an area particularly affected by the riots and now full of dull shuttered shops has tried something new. Apart from creating a focal point with giant outdoor TV screens the innovative idea involves babies.

The idea is that the faces of babies might stop hooligans from acts of aggression. Professional artists were brought in to paint massive baby faces - inspired by photos of the real faces of local babies.

anti vandal baby images
So far so good...be good to see if it works.

It is always interesting to see how environmental tinkering can affect behaviour. I like the idea of prison cells painted a calming, warm pink, or classical music to work on mood.

Surely better than that red rag that is a sign. How many of these have you seen?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Unexpected places

Last weekend I spent in Norwich, East Anglia and I didn't realise how my interest in the oddities of my surroundings had crept up on me. Instead of the usual snapshots of the castle - which we went to and enjoyed in the shade too on this 30 degrees day...instead of the views of this lovely market town...what did I take pictures of?

tree art
These trees are wrapped in paper depicting different aspects of the Olympics. It sparked a long debate on "What is art?" as we walked along! I worried about the trees being damaged.

We went to the castle and museum. Want to see the lovely tapestries...? Ha..no here are the sinks in the ladies wash rooms:
poetic sink
The wording on the sink was "It is always pleasant to sail with a light breeze in these narrow waterways where you must handle your boat as if it were a thing of silk and threads". Peter Henry Emerson. Loved it but not quite sure it was appropriate ...still more so than these shoes.
shoe pictures in sink

graffiti wall
Later we went for a walkabout - listened to buskers, sat in the park but then I noticed this which brought a smile to my lips.

If I had had my camera with me in the evening there would have been Banksy style pictures too but I will have to go back for those.

What I like is the unexpectedness of things. Just when you think you know what to expect something comes along and pulls you up short. Great eh?!

Monday, 30 July 2012

101 Things To Do before I die

Staying at a cottage on holiday recently I picked up a paperback called 101 Things To Do Before You Die by Richard Horne. Clearly I am the wrong demographic. This book is for 17 year old lads. It has 99 totally self centred target activities and perhaps two altruistic ones. You know the kind of thing ...bungee jumping, get a tattoo, get arrested, master poker and win big in casino. Want to know about the exception? Save someone's life...
Not saying that a bit of adventure isn't called for...had always wanted to go up in a balloon and managed to do that this year...But how's this - the only entry under "nature" was to see a volcano erupting...
tamed rain forest

But what would be appropriate for a woman in the last ten years of working life? I started to think. I am not interested in the boys own things though I would keep saving someone's life of course. I haven't got even the tiniest adrenalin gene. My list would contain:

Take part in a river clean up
Donate blood 50 times...12 more to go...had so many interruptions
Stay in a yurt ...but there would have to be a mattress!
Stay in an ice hotel
Snorkel on a coral reef...
Explore a rain forest
Sign up 5 more people to give blood
Sign up 5 bone marrow donors ...it means chatting
up under 40 year old men who are really in short supply....
Get involved in a woodland preservation project
Help create a community garden
Train to be a recycling volunteer
Inspire people to get on the internet and change their lives
Sing a solo and feel good about it
Find a new craft and really explore it...how many things have
I picked up and discarded over the years
Acquire a regular drawing habit

Could I really come up with many more?? Go on tell me yours....

Friday, 13 July 2012

Five books that have made an impression

I’ve just had a blogging Booker Award presented to me by Rosalind from Rosalind Adam is writing in the rain My task is to list out my top five favourite books of all time and then pass the award on to five more bloggers. Ho hum...so many to choose...and what comes to mind are the ones that have left a real imprint on my memory.

Let's start with Annie Proulx's Shipping News - fantastic gritty descriptions. Forget the film which was a very poor rendition. read the book!

Got to have Rose Tremain's - well would love to choose one of her really intricate and deep books but I loved "The Road Home" for its perspective of east european migrant workers.

Not all men - next is William Trevor's "Felicia's Journey" - a rare full length novel as opposed to short stories - also brilliant. The film version of this with Bob Hoskins is surprisingly good too. 

Oh another man - Jim Crace and "Being Dead" - gruesome in some ways and poignant in another - this traces the life of a couple back from their dead bodies on the beach as they putrify. Is better than it sounds..
Finally - and again not a laugh a minute but it has to be Manil Suri's "The Death of Vishnu" - what an insight into status and servitude. A must read book.

I'm going to pass this award on to the following bloggers:
[Apologies if you've already received one.]
Ron Easton Dads Unlimited

and Dee

Friday, 29 June 2012

A lunch break boost

It's funny how days can unexpectedly blossom even when it does not seen to be a day for anything out of the ordinary. Take the other day...I had a long, most of the day, meeting in the city of London...near Old Street to anyone who knows the capital. I arrived having had the singing "Why aren't you all smiling?" train attendant on the way down.

Zebra burger anyone?
painted street furniture
I like going to new parts of London and this is a business area by day and an upwardly mobile residential area - on the whole - by night. So cut to lunch break and I was excited to see we were in a food market, but not just any old market....such lunch time choice. Not just a cheese sandwich for me...what about zebra burgers? or wildebeest? Mine's a Turkish wrap to be eaten at our rendezvous - a shady park cum grave yard where the last remains of William Blake lie. On the way there I was excited to see street art on a gable end and then another of my favourites - a series of dull old grey electrical boxes enlivened with an amusing painted illustration telling a story. I had left my camera and iPad behind but colleagues had their faithful smartphones so these shots are thanks to them.

Once in the park I stopped again to look at an insect hotel thoughtfully placed there for our tiniest London residents and surrounded by ancient gravestones! Everything seemed designed to amuse me!

Finally I was making my way back to the station when I wish I could have snapped the concentration on the face of an orange clad, shaven monk choosing a mobile phone in a shop. I could go on... but this is a note to self - never go anywhere without some kind of camera!
insect heaven

Saturday, 16 June 2012

iPad drawing heaven

I am not any sort of artist but I enjoy the idea of being able to sketch and every time I go on holiday I pack a sketch book and a selection of pencils believing that this time I will fit in a bit of drawing. It is a vain hope as  usually I manage very little in the end.

Having just been loaned an iPad as part of my digital inclusion work and I have to report that I am really excited! I have discovered Penultimate, a drawing app that means not only do you have your games, books to read, music, cameras, the news, shops, maps  and all the information you would like, you also have the chance to sketch without all the palava of the equipment. First off, this time round, whilst waiting for the Eurostar train I was able to sketch these two gentlemen - and the joy of it is that no one suspects you are sketching them...well you could be playing Sudoku couldn't you, like my partner was on his tablet?
Waiting for the Eurostar

This is certainly providing new exercise for my little finger since for me that is what works the best!
self portrait sketch

On the train I started drawing a Chinese man asleep across the aisle but then I decided to try importing a photo of myself [that I took using the reverse mirror on the iPad] and sketching that - a lightning sketch you understand and not really a likeness. Then I thought about the photos stored already on the iPad and decided to try sketching my Mum - having run out of inspiration on the train - backs of heads being the main view.
Quick sketch 

Back home now what am I up to? [ as my son would say!] - well exploring the delights of combining drawing and photos some more, and playing Draw Something - that great virtual pictionary game - with a couple of friends almost as addictively. I love it, and so does my little finger!!
on the iPad

Saturday, 2 June 2012

I'll just get my cardy

The great thing about blogging is that sometimes it forces you to look at a subject in a bit more detail and in this case helps to clear up a niggling unexplained difference between men and women.

All my life I have had a sense of being patronised for being just that bit colder than my male partner. Mostly this manifests itself when on daily walks for which I might don three or four layers to a male equivalent of one. Or on coming down from a few hours at the computer and shivering in the kitchen as I eat a meal. The ever present riposte about “learned response” - one jibe - or the non verbal eye rolling at the sight of the cardy. The sense that it is wimpishness or a “weakness” [my word] or even for some the female equivalent of “man flu”. It is so irritating. So what is going on here??
male/female responses to temperature cartoon

Perhaps if I had read more magazines in my life I might have picked up that this is a classic relationship battleground. I would have read that science offers a simple physiological explanation and that there is a well researched set of differences between men and women that affect the way we regulate our body temperatures. More than one factor is involved here:

·         It seems that women conserve more heat around their core organs, which means less heat circulates throughout the rest of their body.
·         Women generally have a higher percentage of fatty tissue than men, and although fat tends to preserve heat well this is offset by the fact that women are also generally less muscular than men. Muscle creates body heat during exercise.
·        The blood vessels in women appear to constrict as a result of temperature sooner, and to a higher degree than men.
·         Women’s temperature regulation fluctuates enormously during the menstrual cycle.
·         Women are generally smaller than men. With a smaller size but a consequential larger surface area, women lose heat more quickly than men.

So I hope in my household I have put to bed the learned response theory and we can carry on with our individually regulated electric blankets and mismatched walking gear without further comment. Yes? Thought not!!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Digital inclusion - we all have a role

I started blogging exactly a year ago and my motivation at the time was to get a feel for what it was like to blog because of my job. I suppose it is time to come clean ... I work in what is grandly and sometimes confusingly called "digital inclusion" and for my job this is all about people in later life embracing computer based technology that we all take for granted  [I work for a national organisation called Age UK but this blog is entirely my own views]. There is a worrying statistic that tells us that in the UK there are more than 5 million people over 65 who have never used the internet.
New laptop and printer for my Mum

For people like us ...me writing this and you reading it ...it is inconceivable to think of life now without the internet and all it gives us. Life is swiftly moving to a world that is digital by default. Accessing even the most basic service is likely to be online. We all know that there are enormous cost savings to be made online. Friends to be made and family to keep up with. A world of interesting stories, opportunities to keep your brain awake. You name it and it is there for the taking.

Some people take a lot of convincing and we know what the stated reasons for non take up are but I suspect we will never unearth the real ones that run a little deeper and will never be revealed in surveys. People cannot always be honest with themselves so a survey doesn't stand much chance. Successful projects working on this with older people tend to create low stress, non competitive, sociable environments. People can need to repeat training several times and not feel uncomfortable about it. Some people enjoy being supported by their peers and some work well with young people. Skype is an enormous pull. Touch screen technology has added another dimension to training of course. I wanted a photo so here are some biscuits I made recently for an event - can you guess what they are?
It is what has been termed the "hard to reach" that is the challenge. Isolated people whose only companion is the TV for instance. And here is where you come in ...we have all helped others with computers and mobile phones at some point so we are all experts in our way ...how would you reach out and involve these older people and enhance their lives like it has enhanced yours? And as two thirds of bloggers seem to be from the USA what are the experiences there? I'd love to know.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Cow alert!

I am not one of those people who has fears about spiders, snakes or furry creatures. I love most wildlife. In fact I am thrilled by the merest glance. BUT I am a quivering mess when it comes to a field of innocent cows quietly chewing their way through an English grassy field that happens to be a public right of way. Take my last walk near my home, for instance:
cows on the horizon
Not exactly the stuff of horror stories is it? Grabs partner's arm, holds on tightly..

cows nearer - oh this one is looking at me...

Fast breathing...instructions to stay calm. He's more scared of you than you are of him. They are just curious etc etc [or if he is feeling playful..oh look a killer cow..!]

phew behind the gate...
Made it over the stile..can face them now...heart beat calming. Voice slowing to normal.
At this point the farmer of these cows came over to us and asked what we were doing taking pictures of his cows and entered into a friendly and lively discussion about Bovinophobia and whether it was grounded in any sort of rational reality...and of course it is and it isn't...even farmers have been killed by their own cows but is doesn't happen very often and it helps to be sensible especially when walking your dog - take them off the lead if there are calves. Didn't really make me feel any better.

Then the next footpath had a charming sign. 

skull on footpath sign

Monday, 30 April 2012

Z for Zero everything

Zero carbon 
The big idea is zero tolerance. 
Don’t you just love it when you see a sign proclaiming an area to have zero tolerance to alcohol - signs proclaiming an alcohol free zone and strewn around it are beer cans? Or the nuclear free zone a random town declares itself to be? Yeah?! Right!

Eco equivalents abound. 
Zero carbon footprints. We are asked to take action towards zero food wasteAll new homes in England will need to be carbon neutral by 2016 with Zero Carbon Hub conferences working towards the countdown and topics like fabric energy efficiency and carbon compliance definitions are part of the discussions - way out of my depth here...

Fancy a jargon buster to help you keep up??

I do hope these aims are more realistic than declaring a nuclear free zone in a random town in the middle of the UK.

But let me end this alphabet on a positive note. I think we can all contribute to the care of our planet in so many ways and that we should look for opportunities to make a difference wherever we can. My alphabet has just touched on 26 topics in the lightest, fluffiest way but the next challenge for me - and you I hope - is to work towards our impact being as light as possible too. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Y for Yes, but...

I have tried to be as honest as possible about the topics I have covered – I think of myself as Ms Average so if I am confused other people must be.

I have learnt a lot from these daily snippets – such a lot to learn and what a big area. But will I do anything differently? 

This month I was galvanised to join a Love where you Live initiative in my town and here I am in my hi-glow gilet with the tools of the job – litter picking paraphernalia!

love where you live volunteer
On a more trivial note I have also made a new fabric bag out of a second hand skirt that did not fit me – from Monsoon and beautifully appliqu├ęd – combined with a calico conference bag in the interior. 
bag from fabric scraps
I have found some other people writing great blogs on environmental topics. I have to mention the endangered species blogs and especially the issues with palm oil which I am much more aware of now thanks to Liz Brownlee and I have not even dared to start on a whole raft of issues but at least I have made a start...and thanks everyone for comments. I hope to go back and respond now we are not writing a blog a day!

Friday, 27 April 2012

X for eXpert

Didn’t I choose a great area for experts? I am awash with them. Five experts on each of my blogs would give five different responses, five counter arguments – all this research makes you realise how nothing is ever simple.... 
cartoon from http://mcdanielpolitics.blogspot.co.uk
There is just so much information out there, some of it mis-information and some of it linked to a selling opportunity or a government initiative of some kind [a selling opportunity] – its a bit like when you have your first baby – everyone thinks they know what is best but you have to make up your own mind.
an excuse to have a picture of Will Smith as an expert...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

W for Wind power

no windpwer sign
The topic of wind power provides some real opportunities for NIMBYism when it dares to venture into a person's locality. All round the country there are signs fighting the possibility of wind farms.

And what a clever word “farm” is  – nice and cosy...not as unfriendly as stations or facilities. 

There are so many signs about it is almost tempting to have a sign against signs against things, they are such blots on the landscape! 

This from Wikipedia says it all for me, complex though it all is:
wind farm
“Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, and uses little land. In operation, the overall cost per unit of energy produced is similar to the cost for new coal and natural gas installations. The construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed, but any effects on the environment from wind power are generally much less problematic than those of any other power source.”

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

V for Vegetarian

I wanted to see if becoming vegetarian could be one of the most important and effective actions I can take to ease the strain on the Earth's limited resources, protect the planet from pollution, prevent global warming, and save countless species from extinction... 

I am not a vegetarian though I did attempt to be one for a while in my 20’s, but I am pondering this quote:

‘if everyone skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off our roads. ‘  [from Become an Eco-vegetarian]

edamame - a vegetarian staple
But then there is the fact that it is argued that the average rich world vegetarian may not consume much less of the planet's resources than the average moderate omnivore: a report for the Worldwide Fund for Nature (download pdf) on the impact of food production pointed out that highly processed vegetarian meat substitutes or foods made of imported soya might actually use more arable land and resources than their beef or dairy equivalents. Deforestation in the developing world to grow cheap soya for human and animal feed is a major issue in climate change. 

However some would say that the way we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet, that it pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs.

So are vegetarians more eco than meat eaters? 

Monday, 23 April 2012

U for Use by dates

I have frequent calls from my son - “Mum can I eat ...?” and he goes on to describe some food he has bought that looks fine but is just past its sell by date on the label.

But hooray!! The "sell-by" date on food packaging in the UK is to be removed in a bid to cut the £12bn worth of food needlessly binned every year. Research shows that a significant part of the blame for this is 
confusing food labelling.
use by date label

Packaging should only carry "use by" or "best before" dates, according to new government guidance, while "sell by" and "display until" labels currently used by supermarkets will be removed to deter shoppers from throwing away good food.

"Use by" labels should only be used if food could be unsafe to eat after that date, while "best before" dates should show the product is no longer at its best but is still safe to consume, the advice states.

We all know which foods to be careful with don’t we? That is the food likely to require a "use by" date, like meat, soft cheese, fish and ready meals, It leaves biscuits, jams, pickles, crisps and tinned foods needing only a "best before" label
. Only down side is that there will be less bargains in the supermarket and less “cherry picking” opportunities but it is an eco victory so worth it.

I say , I say, I say! Have you heard the one about the three bears at the breakfast table – one says “Have you seen the use by date on this box of porridge?”

T for Travel

Confession time!  I lost an eco styled friend once because of a long haul holiday I took she did not approve of – was she right? Perhaps I was being irresponsible? I have also visited countries in Europe that have limited supplies of water and I have been on one inclusive holiday. Confession over.
Lorenzo Duran leaf art with a message

I like this quote from John Vidal writing in the Guardian a couple of years ago:

Green travel is not just what happens at the destination, or indeed how you get there. It does not demand that you eschew air travel altogether or hotels or comfort, or that your holiday is within 10 miles of your home. Rather, it asks you to pack your brain as well as your swimsuit, and to assess and then act on the impact of your visit.

He says
Hotels used to call themselves green if they offered not to change the towels every day; these days, people demand evidence of real commitment to community, place and the environment.

I would be interested in knowing about other people’s experiences of travel with the ‘eco’ uppermost. 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

S for Solar power

I would love to be able to install solar panels to my house. 

Photovoltaic panels convert light energy into electricity. In such a middling climate as we have in the UK the opportunities to be self sufficient in your own home with solar energy are more limited than in other parts of the world though many people have taken up the opportunity. For a domestic house you need to have a sloping roof facing the south or possibly west and east but definitely not north. It needs to have no interruptions to the sun’s rays – no shadows from trees or neighbouring buildings.
Row of solar panelled houses from The Guardian
Excess electricity produced which is most likely in the summer months, is sold back  - in the UK - to the electricity companies as the panels are connected to the national grid. Solar power is one of the cleanest methods of energy production known but of course nothing is ever as simple as we would like it to be. It seems that the technological barriers to harvesting this energy are great - think collection, distribution, and storage.

And there are issues about how solar power works alongside our existing electricity. It seems that in Australia for instance that

"The runaway take-up of rooftop solar panels is undermining the quality of electricity supplies, feeding so much power back into the network that it is stressing the system and causing voltage rises that could damage household devices such as computers and televisions." www.theaustralian.com

It is pretty hard to imagine all this though. Most people find understanding electricity hard enough on its own!

Friday, 20 April 2012

R for Reduce, reuse and recycle

We all know the old mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

Reduce the amount of the Earth's resources that we use.
Reuse Don't just bin it, could someone else make use of it?
Recycle Can the materials be made into something new?

local 3Rs lorry and our blogger
In some areas – notably plastics – this is a four pronged mantra – we are invited to follow the “4 Rs” of sustainable living: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

The Plastic Pollution Coalition invites us to take a pledge and says
Say NO to disposable plastics! 
Reduce your plastic footprint: buy in bulk, choose products with the least packaging, look for products and packaging made from renewable resources, and avoid plastic packaging and containers. Choose products that have the least amount of disposable parts.
Reuse preferably nontoxic (glass, stainless steel) containers and goods to make less waste.
Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Recycling is a last option because it uses energy, and there may not be a market for the refabricated materials

can recycling bin
Keep ‘em short they said [the blogs] –  a few random facts about drink cans then - Making new aluminium cans from recycled cans uses 20 times less energy than making cans from raw materials. Just one recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television set for three hours! An aluminium can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now. There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminium drink can can be recycled. There is a much quoted 60 day turn around from recycle binned can to it being back on the supermarket shelf.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Q for Quality or quantity

Love food Hate waste poster

I am not surprised to see that supermarkets are under pressure to ban buy-one-get-one-free offers [with the charming acronym BOGOF] because it seems in the UK alone they may be creating a £13.7billion-a-year mountain of wasted fresh produce. 
ubiquitous BOGOF

Although we worry about rising bills, households are throwing away an average of £520 of good food and drink a year. Last year the government even set up a Love food, Hate waste campaign to try and tackle it. Sadly, there are numerous cartoons out there with the joke “Buy one, throw the other one away”..

On the quality front there are moves in the UK this year to cut down on some of the sell buy dates on food that many people slavishly follow – another source of waste – in the mistaken belief that the food is not of sufficient quality to be consumed.
waste poster from thisismoney.co.uk

Some councils now offer kerbside collection for food waste so that at least it does not go to landfill – mine included and it is amazing how heavy the bin is every week.

P for Plastics

I can hold my head up here - I have actually written to my local paper about plastics and recycling them. Plastics are a major offender in the packaging of items from foodstuffs to postal cushioning. A lot of packaging materials are made from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). These are biodegradable, but require a lot of time and special conditions to degrade and are not considered viable to recycle – certainly in the UK which still does not have household collection of plastics everywhere.
It is hard to find out about if the plastics we put in our recycling bins are actually recycled. We tend to go by the numbers on the base. The symbols here – polymer ID or PET codes - were actually developed by the American plastics industry to give the plastic recycling industry a rough guide to the many different plastic polymers in use today. But the symbols do not necessarily mean that a plastic can be recycled and they often cause confusion. It does seem, in the UK at least,  that those with code 1 and 2 are recycled if they are bottles but beyond that who can say?
Cartoon from  www.ecologycenter.org home to the
International Plastics Task Force. 
I am using the word "recycle" but plastics don't actually get reformed back into the original products but are reprocessed into secondary (and usually non-recyclable) products. 

There are packaging companies all around the world trying to come up with solutions to replace the PE and PP granules with natural materials like starch, corn, wood pulp and cotton, potato, sugar-beet, soy, tobacco, sugar cane, cellulose and lignite. Read more on eHow and Which.

Monday, 16 April 2012

O for Organic

Organic products are grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture.

In theory I would love to embrace all that is organic in my everyday life from the food I eat to the clothes I wear [dubbed eco fashion!] to the cleaning and beauty products I use. Who can argue with the fact that the use of pesticides is considered unhealthy and hazardous to the environment and human health in general or that we should adopt “an organic approach to a sustainable future for people and our planet”?
Organic fruit and veg
Actually quite a few – on the grounds of it not being possible to feed the world on organic food alone and the higher land and labour use for food production [as yields are smaller you have to cut down more trees, or plough up more land or disturb more wildlife] to name but three counter arguments.

And I am an old cynic and have images of vegetables marked organic being rubbed in mud to make them look more authentic and then the charge doubled! Well not quite but you know what I mean. There is certainly an expensive niche market out there – if I start on this I have to carry it through for everything I buy...

PS Why not visit a related topic on the use of palm oil and its affect on rainforests and animal habitats? http://lizbrownleepoet.com/2012/04/17/o-is-for-orangutan/