Monday, January 31, 2011

Choose your bank wisely

Murzuk erg (sand desert), Libya
Photo by Philippe Bouseiller
"Financial institutions use your money to make investments; and many major banks grant huge loans to enterprises such as fossil fuel plants and unsustainable forestry. You often have very little control over which businesses receive your bank's money, but some banks have ethical policies or accounts, or offer special credit cards that send a portion of the fees you pay to finance charities. Some community investment banks are some of the greenest banks around and many offer credit cards to nonmembers who funnel up to 50% of funds directly into environmental stewardship in a particular region of the country or into small business loans for low-income and underserved customers.

"Research your bank's investment and lending policies, and it commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint - and if it is not good enough, switch to an ethical or cooperative bank."
- From the book '365 Ways to save the Earth', by Philippe Bourseiller

A Gift

2010 transitioning into 2011 was a little different compared to other New Years. It was like after having gifting me a year of happy beginnings, 2010 stood handing me over 2011 with the promise of more dreams to chase and accomplish. I do not remember feeling so positive at the turn of a year and I'm hoping to hold that feeling close to me through the year.

It usually happens that one makes the best plans as the new year begins and then suddenly by March at the most, the new year is old and aspirations forgotten. Of the many aspirations that gush through the span of a day sometimes, I am keen on listening to that silent chap who pops in once in a while to say 'keep it simple, sweetheart'. I hope I am able to really listen to myself. And I hope that even when it's October, I remember that it is still a 'new' year.

I planned on opening a gift with you, but it's been a busy busy January! Sorry! But hey, it's still a New Year, so let's do it now...

a book: 365 Ways to Save the Earth

A simple and practical piece of advice for each day to help reduce any harmful impact we may have on our planet. Simple things really, like boil only as much water as you need when making tea/coffee, turn down your heating by 1 degree C, recycle your mobile phone. The quotidians are accompanied by spectacular photographs of the natural world by Philippe Bourseiller.

I am no forerunner on this cause, but at some level, I do get it. Some people still do not. Unfortunate. Some believe that the number of people who want to do something about it are negligible compared to the number who don't, so effectively it doesn't matter. Luckily, some are convinced it will still make a difference.

So here's my effort: To try and implement the advice as much as possible and to share it with you as often as I can. So here goes..

30th January

Pack waste-free lunches.

"Making packed lunches is a good way to eat more healthy and economically, but a packed lunch can generate a tremendous amount of waste if it is wrapped in disposable bags, plastic wrap, or tinfoil and contains a lot of individually packaged goods like juice containers. The average child that brings his or her lunch to school generates roughly 30 kg of waste every year.

"Everything in a waste-free lunch is consumed, recycled or reused. Start with a reusable lunch box and make sure drink containers, sandwich and snack containers, utensils are also reusable. Use cloth napkins. Pack fruit rather than snacks that come in plastic packets. If you have to use plastic bags, buy recycled ones and reuse them as much as possible. Sending your child to school and yourself to work with a waste-free lunch will save you money,provide more nutritionally balanced meals, and reduce landfill waste."
- From the book '365 Ways to save the Earth', by Philippe Bourseiller

Wish you a very happy and fulfilling (remaining) 335 days of the New Year ahead!