Friday, August 31, 2012

Give a Little

My husband has been saying for a while that if he ever has his own company he will (if he makes any profit) give a little to a good cause.  He hasn't gotten the company yet but we decided that we'll start anyway to give every month. It can be the smallest amount or, if we can and feel like it, a bit more. It doesn't necessary have to be money either but it can be our time, clothes or anything else we can spare. Sometimes him and me can give to different causes and sometimes we can make a joint donation. If we give money I'll try to match the same sum to our saving account as well to keep a good balance. For the moment we won't sign up to giving to the same organization every month (even if it's a good idea) but I think we both like to just go along with life and see what feels most important at that time.

I got even more inspired about the idea as today I've read on the NonViolentMoney blog (in Swedish) about the most beautiful answer, according to the author Cecilia Carlsson, to why we have money. Her answer is that we have money because it makes it easier to give, especially to strangers.

I've also recently found out about Free Money Day, which occurs 15th September. They are organizing events around the world where people give out money to strangers asking them to share half of it with someone else. By doing this they want to raise awareness about economies based on sharing. They had the nicest quote by Winston Churchill on their twitter:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

So this month I made a donation to Doctors Without Borders. This organization, which is probably well known by all of you, has a campaign in Sweden at the moment so it is easy peasy to send them some money with a text message to support their work in South Sudan. If you're in Sweden, read more about it here.

I'll try to follow up on our future donations on the blog. If you know Spanish you can also read about it in my husband's blog.

To go back to the subject about giving as a company, if you have your own company and want to do something good there's lots of alternatives to give something back to your community or to the planet. Many companies decide to give money to local projects which is a great idea to strengthen the local economy. Do think about what fits your company though so you can proudly stand behind your decision. This can definitely be a boost for the company image, if  the customers feels it goes in line with other things you do. Another organization I like is 1% for the Planet (not only because Jack Johnson is lovely), learn more about them in the video:

[one percent] of the story from 1% for the Planet on Vimeo.

Remember that no amount is too small and it's allowed to feel good about yourself for giving! I'm going back to being a student after tomorrow (last day at the summer job), so I might have to be creative about what I give but I'm sure it's gonna turn out fine.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Slavery Footprint

We live in 2012 and there are no slaves right? Hmm, well, this question is maybe a bit less easy to answer than what you might think. If you haven't checked your slavery footprint yet you can do so here and when you check your results take a moment to think about why for example Fairtrade is important.

P.S. the campaign in the video was in July but I decided in this case that it was better to post it late than never.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How does your dreamhouse look like?

I'm happy to see that there is more inspiring building out there than the normal "shoebox" appartments! I want to see more of this!

[ours] Hyper-Localisation of Sustainable Architecture from Andrew Michler on Vimeo.

If you also like this you can support his project on Kickstarter. I found the video here.

On another note, Maggie gave a tip about the a free meditation session online by Lorna Byrne during August. Few days left if you wanna try!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Too Much or Good Stuff?

I've been a member of  the green social network Green Way Up for a while now and just discovered Ozoshare. I think they are both great but the fact is that I don't log on to Green Way Up too often. It is already quite enough to keep up with both Facebook and Twitter.

Do you use any additional social media to Facebook and Twitter or instead if these?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Are you up for a Challenge?

I only found information about these challenges in Finnish but do feel free to join if you are up for it!

On 6.9 the Nordic Ecolabel, the Swan, is organizing (at least in Finland) the No Make-up Day. The idea is to go the whole day without make-up to support and inform about eco-cosmetics. Let's hope I don't wake up with a big spot on the nose!

The other challenge is for a bit longer, the challenge is to eat at least 500 grams of locally (nationally) produced greens per day during the period 10.9-19.9. I'll try to stick to eating at least 500 grams greens per day but let's see if I will manage to find locally produced that is also eco-friendly. We'll see, I will try to update on the challenge here.

The Importance of Less Stress

I've been a bit too busy the last weeks and once I lack behind in one thing it's easy to fall behind in other things as well so, unfortunately, the blog has been suffering a bit.

I've also noticed how difficult it is to be environmentally friendly when you are in a hurry. I can honestly say that now when I've been working full time again during summer, if there's been anything that has disturbed the routine it's straight away more difficult to stick to my environmental goals. I've been buying too much food sometimes because I haven't gotten the time to plan it as usual, I've missed the bus so I've taken the car and a couple of times when I've been home late we've grabbed pizza which is so not what I would like to do thinking about the environment and my own health.

Well , luckily, it's soon back to school for me but this certainly made me think of the difficulties we're facing when it comes to making every citizen live as environmentally friendly as possible. Most people are too occupied with their everyday things to take on an extra challenge. Perhaps stepping out of the hamster wheel would, at least for some, open their eyes to the challenges around us and give them time to think about their choices.

Unfortunately, we are constantly served solutions that are easy but not so eco-friendly, like the paper-cups for coffee at work. In the cupboard there is a dozen normal cups but not so many are actually using them, instead they take a new paper cup every time they take coffee. I get so tired, but I'm not the sort of person to nag at people.

However, maybe it's time to start. It probably didn't pass any of you that it was Earth Overshoot Day during the week? So now we are living on debt to the Earth for this year and unfortunately this happened earlier than last year, when it was 27th September (more than a month later)!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekend Picks

We have had a friend visiting over a long weekend, therefore not much updates here. Also I should start on my thesis but that's another worry for another day.

We had a good time with her though, we visited the African restaurant, Messob, in Uppsala that I've wrote about before. It was just as good as always! Then again how can they fail as they are both a fairtrade and eco-labelled restaurant.

We coloured my hair, with Logona chestnut brown herbcolour. It worked out as just as well, perhaps even better, than with Santé's colour last time I tried to colour the hair myself. The colour was a bit more red than last time but I also added some Rooibos tea to the mix. It said on the package that you can add black tea but as I don't drink black tea I had to use what we had in the cupboard. I still would like to try out adding red wine as well to see if it gives an even deeper colour. Regarding the colouring process, I have to say it was a relief to have a friend to help put the mix of water and herbs in the hair! Here's the result (I forgot to take a before pic, sorry!):

We also did some baking as our plum tree is basically overflowing with plums this year and we don't have time to eat them all.

So we tried to make a plum-pie, recipe (in Swedish) here ( I added some oat on top as well) and it was really, really good!

Additionally to the plums we have some lovely lavender in the garden so I had to try out a recipe when I found out that you can eat it. I don't know why I haven't thought about eating lavender before.

Cookie dough, lavender & chocolate:

Cookies, when done: 
They were awesomely good, after one cookie you felt already quite filled up though so you don't want to eat more than one at a time (which is good). The taste of lavender was surprisingly strong even if we only put around a spoon in there, so be careful with that if you are not sure if you like it!

Now it sounds like I made my friend bake and fix my hair all weekend long but don't worry, we also spent time walking around in Uppsala and we even took a detour to Norrtälje. It was not only hers but my first time in Norrtälje and I was positively surprised by the cute centre, the harbour area was less nice but no need to hang around there. In the centre you can enjoy a traditional Swedish "fika" in a cafe in one of the small old tree houses. I have to go back there another day when the dog cafe is open, which is wasn't when we were there as it was a Sunday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homemade Nutella!

Finally we got around to do some homemade nutella! We stopped buying it since we learned that it contains palm oil (palm oil plantations are contributing to deforestation of rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia). This time we tried this recipe from a French guy who is trying to live without Palm Oil. Luckily my husband is half-French, otherwise I'm not sure I would have interpreted the whole thing correctly!

You need a bit of water (50 g according to the recipe, I just put a bit tough cause we don't have a scale) and 100 grams of sugar, we used muscovado sugar, put these together in the microwave for a bit until the sugar melts.

Then mix the following in a bowl and add the water and sugar:

25 grams of milk powder
60 grams of cacao powder
95 grams of hazelnut powder ( we mixed our own with a food processor)
100 grams agave syrup

In the original recipe he still adds normal syrup as well but as far as I can remember we didn't add any extra syrup, I think we added a bit if honey tough.

Mixing the nuts to powder:

When everything is mixed well you can adjust the nut/chocolate amount to a taste that suits you. Ours tasted quite a bit of hazelnuts but in the end Stefan decided that's fine (he's the one who's gonna eat it anyway).

We put everything in an old honey-jar, it was just a tiny bit much for the jar-size but we dipped some banana in the rest and ate it (yammi!). Now the rest is just waiting in the jar for some pancakes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunshine Award

What a nice way to end a hard day at work, I was awarded the Sunshine Award by Reduce Footprints!

Here goes the rules:

1. If you are nominated, you must blog a post linking back to the person/blog that nominated you.

2. You must answer some questions, nominate ten fellow bloggers and link their blogs to the post!

3. You should comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them.

Here's the questions:

1. Who is your favorite philosopher?

Difficult one! I used to love philosophy in secondary school but right now it seems I only remember a lot of names but not really what theories they stood for. However, when it comes to ethics I do like virtue ethics, which was founded by Aristotle.

2. What is your favorite number?

3 and 5

3. What is your favorite animal?

Dogs, elephants, dolphins

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter URLs?

Haven't done Facebook page for this blog yet.

5. What is your favorite time of the day?

Depends on the day. In general I would say during weekends it's probably mornings and during weekdays evenings.

6. What was your favorite vacation?

I think one of my favorite vacations was in Northern Spain, people tend to go to Spain to enjoy the beach but northern Spain is also really beautiful and has a different charm (just laying on the beach has never been my thing anyway).

7. What is your favorite physical activity?

I don't mind too much as long as I have fun doing it. I like hiking in the forest, we also had a lot of fun playing Finnish Baseball with our friends. On the other hand I do like dancing and yoga as well. I think I like to do a little bit of everything not to get bored.

8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Lemon-water, if warm with a bit of honey.

9. What is your favorite flower?

I think I like all flowers in all shapes and colours, everything that blooms is pretty. Cherry blossoms are lovely in spring and roses later in summer. Also orchideés are pretty.

10. What is your passion?

Environment and all that comes with it.

My Nominations (I'm gonna nominate also some Swedish-written blogs just not to nominate the same persons over again):

Maggie-Bohemian Ideals (Swedish)
Organized Chaos (Swedish)
So Stainable (English)
Little Eco Footprints (English)
Hannas VirrVarr (Swedish)
For the love of Green (English)
Patricia Southwell Blog (English)
Emma Granath (Swedish)
Karin's miljöblogg (Swedish)
Groovy Green Livin (English)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Update on Gibson Guitars

You might remember that I wrote about Gibson Guitars in March and how they are/were possibly using illegal wood for making their guitars. Their guitars that musicians are very found of as they claim these guitars have a better sound to them than guitars made from other wood.

Now it seems Gibson Guitars have admitted they have "failed to act on information that the Madagascar ebony it was purchasing may have violated laws intended to limit overharvesting and conserve valuable wood species from Madagascar".

That's a good start, however, I hope they will not continue on the same road. Perhaps it is time to check for different materials for the guitars or reuse and remake. We want to leave the rainforest alone for a while now, don't you think?

Friday, August 10, 2012


Join the I was here campaign for the World Humanitarian Day 19th August.

And join the Kiva Free Trial! Kiva is an awesome webpage were you can make a mini-loan to small business and start-ups around the world. $25 is not much for us but for someone in a third world country it can make a huge difference, and especially for women's start-ups as they might not have any own income from before.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When a Global Crisis becomes a Local One

While there has been a lot of talk about the rising food prices because of the drought in US it seems there has been the opposite problem home in Finland: too much rainfall have destroyed this years crops. This has resulted in that a lot of farmers, especially meat producers, that wants to quit completely because they cannot handle the rising prices of the cattle feed. Unfortunately, the rising prices of food does not usually gain the farmers but the retailers. Now, Juha Marttila, the president of the central union of agricultural producers and forest owners (MTK), is trying to gather the parliament for a crisis meeting as it would be important to have some food produced nationally as well.

Interesting! Even if it's all tragic I'm a tiny bit happy that this forced people to think a bit longer that their noses are long, because it might just affect themselves.

If global warming will bring more years like this it would indeed be good to secure that some local food is produced, it's very likely that nations will try to secure that their own people have food before they start exporting, like Russia who announced export bans in 2008. Additionally, when we will reach peak oil, transporting food will not be as easy as before and you might just be a bit more lucky if you can provide the food from nearby.

Here's some articles in Finnish:
Food Crisis Threat
Food Crisis Winter 2013
and a last one

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Second-Hand Sunday

We started the day with a fruity breakfast and headed to the store where we stumbled accross a flea-market (called "loppis" in Swedish). So we came home with one bigger glass bowl and six small ones for 60 kronor (about 6-7 Euros). Perfect! Just what we needed as we only have two of our old glass bowls left, as the rest have broken.

The glass bowls are in the ones in the upper left corner in this pic. The small coffee cups were also adorable, but we really don't need them so I restrained myself, even if the old lady selling the stuff was super sweet.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homemade Ice Cream

As I've experimented with doing some different homemade ice cream recipes I thought I'd share my favorite with you. I think I like this recipe most as it's easy to make and the taste is great! I've tried some recipe's with egg in as well but they usually are more trouble to make and it never taste very ice creamy (as I would like ice cream to taste). I found the recipe on Little Eco Footprint's blog.

Just mix into a blender or food processor 4 frozen bananas (it's easier if you peel them before you freeze them), 2 heaped tablespoons of natural yoghurt, 2 teaspoons of cocoa, and 2 teaspoons of honey.

Mix until smooth.

 Enjoy! (with chokobits on top if you like)