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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Carbon Fast week one

I know I'm a bit late but since I thought I'd jump on to the Reduce Footprints carbon fast challenge for the Lent.

Here is last week's challenges day per day:

  • Day 1 - Calculate your carbon footprint

    I did this at http://www.nativeenergy.com. Here is the result:
YOUR FOOTPRINT: 21 tons CO2 per year.
I would like to offset tons this year.
or pounds this year.

I have no idea is that good or bad? Could be better I guess! Most tons come from the fact that we have a house in Finland and live on rent here. But I wonder if the house in Finland counts as we are not living there so we do not heat it up.

  • Day 2 - Say no to bottled water and drink tap water

    Done! Luckily water in Finland and Sweden are good to drink from the tap. I miss mineral water sometimes though, I should drink more water probably but I'm not so good with remembering to drink plain water unless I'm really thirsty.
  • Day 3 - Only use your washing machine when you have a full load

    No problem either. None of us is very keen on doing laundry so we will "forget" about it until the washing doesn't fit in the dirty laundry basket anymore.
  • Day 4 - Get a home energy audit from your local utility company

    Hmmm, we have a thingy on the wall counting the energy we use, does that count? It doesn't say where it is used though.
  • Day 5 - Save energy in the kitchen

    Need to remember to keep the lid on the pans and pots more often!
  • Day 6 - Remove one light bulb from your home

    Which one is the question. We have lived with one less in the living room since we moved as the lamp is broken and no light bulb stays in place, so no more from that lamp.

    I say Stefan's office but I'm sure he doesn't agree!
  • Day 7 - Learn about current scientific thinking on how extreme weather events are caused by climate change

    I will hopefully have time to read up on this during the weekend. We're doing a trip to Finland for a wedding so perhaps on the train or the boat. Hopefully. Right now I need to pack up the dog's things so I can leave him at my friend's place tomorrow for the time we'll be away. We're gonna miss him!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Eco Deodorant

If there is something that I've been a bit reluctant to change to ecological on the personal hygiene part is the deodorant. It's horrible to find out that the one smelling sweat is acctually yourself, but then again I am not too keen on using deodorants that contain aluminium.

So at first I used eco deodorants only at home and my old deodorants when going out ( they needed to be used up as well, right?) Now, gradually I use mostly the Rosenserien deodorant and sometimes my Madára deodorant. I usually love Madáda's products but the deodorant was perhaps a bit too herby for me. The Rosenserien one is more "soft" in smell, which I like better.


Anyhow, before during winters I used to get really dry under my arms and yesterday I realized that it's springtime and I have not been dry under the arms for the whole winter so far! Can it really make such a difference?! That's great! I'm not changing back even if I feel a bit unsecure about my smelliness sometimes. I've heard though that it might take a bit of time before you feel the eco deodorants are working as well as the not-eco ones as your body is sweating out the toxins from before.

Not sure I am bold enough to try making my own deodorant from coconut oil just yet though!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sign up for the donation register

It's some time ago already that they spoke about organ transplantations on the radio while I was going to Uni and they spoke about the donation register in Sweden. I was thinking I should sign up but didn't get it done until now.

Basically it's a register where you can sign up with your social number to say if they are allowed to use your organs for tranplantations or medicial use in the case that you would die. You can also specify in case you don't want them to use your organs at all, or if you are ok with them using them for transplantations but not for medical tests. It is also easy to sign in afterwards and change the information in case you would change your mind. There is a FAQ page here in case you are thinking about it but want to know more.

I think this sort of register is good, because this might not be an issue you talk about in the dinner table with your closest ones and it might be a very delicate question in a traumatic situation. So it is a way to make sure that the medicals will know what was your will in case of, for example, an accident.

I'm personally fine with them using my organs in case something would happen, expecially if they could save somebody elses life.

I tried to google around to see if Finland would have the same sort of register but couldn't find anything. I guess this works different in different countries but if somebody knows let me know!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Let's talk about it

One thing I've learned when studying environmental issues is that there is usually no easy answer but, as my teacher said, sometimes the answer is not so important but it is more important that we actually bring up the issues and talk and think about it.

I guess what she meant is that if we will have an ongoing discussion on the issues we will work on doing something as well, even if it would be baby steps, additionally thinking about new and creative ideas.

Sometimes it's of course depressing to think that MY effort will actually have no impact but we will have to go big scale for making a difference. This is what Gernot Wagner is arguing in his new book "but will the planet notice?". Basically his saying that we need more and better incentives for more people to get involved into living greener. I thought it was an interesting video, as a business student I find it difficult to balance on the making profit but doing it in a good way line. I'm thinking there must be a different way to build an economy that is not focused on monetary growth. Because it will not be possible to keep growing on resources that are limited.




Funny anecdote, my teacher told us about a proffessor in class very interested in these issues, turned out to be the same guy that brought the subject up in the Beyond Durban seminar I went to. I need to read up on his work!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A different shampoo

What are these doing in my bathroom?


Well, the jars are actually filled with bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar mixed with water.

That's what I have used to wash my hair with lately, believe it or not. This is because I read that apple cider vinegar should be good for an itchy scalp since it will restore the natural pH-balance. As my scalp had been both itchy and flaky all autumn I thought it was worth a try. I had already switched to eco shampoos but it seemed it still didn't quite help. About using bicarbonate as shampoo I read about here and I was a bit curious to try, and I thought that at least it can't make it worse!

Using the bicarbonate is a bit messy sometimes but then again who cares if there's a bit of mess in the shower, it will rinse of. The vinegar is just used with the last rinse, I use 3 parts water and one part vinegar. Just be careful not to get it in the eye as I did, it hurts!

After a week I could still not see much difference when it came to how flaky my scalp was, especially after just washing, a lot of flakes of dry skin would fall off but it was not as itchy anymore. With the actual hair there was no problem though, it even stayed clean for more days than what it did with shampoo and got quite a lot of volume. It felt a bit coarser though but I quite like it and it doesn't tangle at all if I just let it dry by itself.

After a couple of weeks I was a bit desperate with the flakes as they still persisted but I thought that I'd still go on for a bit, at least there was no itch!

And now finally after about a month I can feel that even the flakes have lessened, I have even started to use eco shampoo every now and then but I am definitely not giving up the vinegar rinse after washing the hair!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Update on the stranded dolphins

I posted a video on the stranded dolphins about a week ago. It seems that the scientists are not quite sure why so many dolphins have recently stranded.

Here are some possible reasons listed in the article.



  1. This year's unusually warm winter. As Discovery News recently reported, the unusually warm temperatures are affecting animal reproductive cycles, hibernation patterns and more. The change could also somehow be impacting dolphins.
  2. Geography. Moore said the hooked shape of Cape Cod appears to be trapping the dolphins and confusing them. But the question still remains, why are the dolphins going in that direction in the first place?
  3. Movement of prey. Climate cycles could be altering the course of fish and other dolphin prey, the AP report suggests. Dolphins following the prey could then become stranded. That might help to explain why both sardines and dolphins washed up in Peru.
  4. Disease. This is an obvious reason, but workers at the IFAW are tagging and taking blood samples of the stranded animals, AP has reported. Researchers have also conducted necropsies on dead dolphins, and yet still there are no clear answers. A Congressional briefing was even held earlier this month in the push to resolve the problem.
  5. Decompression. I would be curious to know if the dolphins have internal air bubbles that can cause decompression sickness, more commonly known as "the bends" in humans. That might seem far fetched, but scientists have determined that the blood and tissues of some deceased beaked whales stranded near naval sonar exercises are riddled with bubbles.
Whole article can be found here.


In the comments people are also mentioning that chemicals in the water might cause intoxication of the dolphins, which might cause them to act differently than normally.

In whichever case, it might not affect only dolphins but all sea life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Greener Search Engine part 2

In August I wrote about Ecosia, a green search engine that donates 80 % of its revenue to rainforest protection.

Now I found out there is also a search-engine called Growyn that donates their profit to Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Children’s Rainforest of Sweden. Here you can read about the projects the money goes to.

Time to try out an alternative to google sometimes?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eco vs. Conventional

A week ago a friend (unfortunately her blog is invites only) showed the difference of conventional egg versus eco eggs in the pan when she was frying them and pointed out how "waterish" the conventional ones are compared to eco eggs.

I had surprisingly never even thought that there would be such a difference (maybe cause we always try to buy eco eggs) so I did my own experiment.

I cracked them first in two separate bowls and you can maybe guess that the one more transparent is the conventional egg. The difference was not super obvious though.


After I put them into the pan. The conventional one spread out much more whereas the eco egg stayed together much better.


After they were cooked the eco egg looked much more full and white compared to the conventional one.


Now I should of course have done a tasting test as well but the eggs ended up on separate plates. Lori did quite a cool tasting test though on CSA Eggs vs. Organic Store bought eggs if you are interested in reading up more on eggs.

Some days after this I was toasting sunflower seeds and finished up the old package so tossed in some of the eco-ones from the new package and here you could really see the difference. The bigger ones are ecologically grown.


I was quite suprised as I thought the old ones were eco as well but after some research it turned out they are only marketed as "green" as they are heatlhy for you and don't contain any additives but they are not organically grown. So another thing to keep in mind next time I go shopping.

On top of this the eco-milk for example really has a much better taste than the normal one.

Have you noticed any difference in eco and conventional food?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Equality lessens poverty

Found this interesting video here.

Linda is a normal Swedish girl who leaves her job in a bank for three weeks to try out to live in Uganda under the NGO, Cooperation Without Boarders (Kooperation Utan Gränser). You can follow her blog in Swedish here and on twitter here.



What a cool thing to do! I'm sure it puts things into perspective and gives you a lot. I guess it might also makes you think about equality at home, like she says, we might take some things for granted in the Nordics but still men get better pay, even in Sweden, so there is still things to work on!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Half-full

These sort of things can make me so dissapointed. I like my raw cacao nibs on my yoghurt in the morning but they are not that easy to find and not super cheap. So when I buy them and find out the package is half-full I can only think two things:

1. What a waste of packaging

2. What a cheap way to fool your customers

Need to go back to Hötorget in Stockholm and get a big bag again so it lasts me all spring.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hair colouring with herb colours

It's been some time since I was at the eco hairdresser and my own dull "grayish" colour started showing more and more.


So I decided it was time to try out colouring by non-chemical herb colours. I used Sante's Nutbrown colour. When using herbs you cannot really go much blonder than what you are so this colour was relatively close to my own colour. For a darker colour they said to mix the herbs with red wine or black tea but this time I used only warm water. The mixture smelled a bit like tea anyway so it might have contained some tea leaves.

As the instructions said to put the mixture as warm as possible in your hair I was a bit too impatient and almost burnt myself, better wait 5 min next time!

Here is the result, my hair felt both ticker and had a very nice toffee colour to it.


As it was still much lighter in the ends where I still had the old chemical based colour I asked my friend ( no professional hairdresser but she did a good job) to cut a bit of the lenght away. It's about  about a week after the colouring and now it looks like this:



It has lost most of the intensity but still relatively good. My boyfriend says the light in the picture makes it looks less brown than what it is though.

Next time I might try out to mix the colour with some red wine. Any tips for things to think about when colouring your hair at home with herb colours? Or any favorite brands you can recommend?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Video of Dolphin Rescue

 
Saving stranded dolphins operation, video found here.




Read more about it on the rescue organisation IFAW's website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Be kind to your digestive system

I like the part in this video where she says that the processed noodles are made to survive armageddon, no wonder processed food is tough on our digestive system as well!



Video found here.

So what did you have for lunch and how does your tummy feel about it?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Work from home Day

Today is the work from home day in Sweden (jobba hemma dagen).

I definitely believe in more flexibility in the work place, I can understand why some jobs need to be done at a certain time and place but the ordinary office job I can't see no need to stay in the office for. Also meetings can ususally be done over skype nowadays.

Here is a list of reasons by Seth Godin on why not to go to the office:

150 years later, why go to work in an office/plant/factory?
  1. That's where the machines are.
  2. That's where the items I need to work on are.
  3. The boss needs to keep tabs on my productivity.
  4. There are important meetings to go to.
  5. It's a source of energy.
  6. The people I collaborate with all day are there.
  7. I need someplace to go.
But...
  1. If you have a laptop, you probably have the machine already, in your house.
  2. If you do work with a keyboard and a mouse, the items you need to work on are on your laptop, not in the office.
  3. The boss can easily keep tabs on productivity digitally.
  4. How many meetings are important? If you didn't go, what would happen?
  5. You can get energy from people other than those in the same company.
  6. Of the 100 people in your office, how many do you collaborate with daily?
  7. So go someplace. But it doesn't have to be to your office.

Unfortunately, it seems (link in Swedish) that more men are allowed to work from home than women, even if more women thinks that it would improve their every day life. I wonder if that has to do with the fact that more men are in higher positions were it is easier to make own decisions on working hours and place.

Stefan has now worked from home since August and it has turned out very well for us and as far as I know his company has no complaints either. For him the "place to go" for work is a seperate room in the house, not big at all but where we usually don't spend any time otherwise. That creates some sort of sense between when he is at work and not because there is of course the danger that you will work continously at home without taking a proper break if you don't have some sort of system of when you are at work and not. I wrote a bit about the eco-benefits and his office before in this post.

If you are interested in reading more there's a lot of material and links on the Facebook page for working from home day, mostly in Swedish though.

So where and how do you work today? 

I will stay at home working on the assignments and do some studying for Uni, but there are no lessons on the schedule anyway today so I don't need to feel bad for skipping anything.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Practically Green

Found this webpage called Practically Green and have been entertaining myself by expliring it the last hour. Seems quite fun, you bascally earn points and badges by different environmentally friendly choices you do and you can challange yourself and friends. Unfortunately, I think it is a bit focused on US but it is still an inspiring page if you feel you need some new ideas on how to improve your greeness.






Pssst, today is International Day against FGM, see the movie Desert Flower about the life of Waris Dirie if you haven't seen it yet, or read her book. You can also support her organization here.