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Leftovers in glass

If you are, like me, the kind of person who bring leftovers for lunch, you should consider which container you use. I used to have the small simple plastic ones, because they take minimal space in the cabinet and in the freezer. Ideal. But, it’s neither healthy or great for the environment so I´ve decided to change that.

I´ve invested in a few glass containers for my leftovers instead, and although they are still too few to fill up my need, I try to prioritize them. They feel nicer to eat in, and I know I don´t get any plastic in me from microwaving them. And of course, they are prettier and don’t go that ugly yellowish color after a few uses. The ones I have are from IKEA if you want to get some.

There are however two issues.

One, they are to big to fit conformable in my freezer. I´m going to look for smaller ones that work better and that problem will be solved. If you aren´t a regular leftovers-person this is not an issue, but for me who cooks for ten meals at a time it’s a problem.

And second, what to do with my old ones? This is a general issue when changing to eco-friendly products: it shouldn’t mean you throw the other stuff out because then you still created extra waste. Therefore, I´m still using my old ones, and I’m trying to figure out if I can give them to someone who needs a few free.

So they are two solvable issues at least.

Oh, and in the other container in the picture is a food thermos which is perfect for picnics and stuff, or soup. And if you often bring salad you can use glass jars for that – it’s easy and looks really tasty.

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This is my hair

This is me, and more importantly for this post, this is my hair. I have good hair days and bad hair days. But the thing that grabs people’s attention the most is that I have no washing days. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner for at least eight months. I rinse it maybe once a month, but no more than that. It’s my own little micro-climate.

Hearing it, it sounds like it might be gross, but it’s not. It’s not that greasy or torn or icky in any way. It’s actually kind of nice. It does what I want it to.

The reason I started with this is mostly chance. In highschool I had micro-braids and basically couldn’t wash my hair with them in. So two months at a time would pass without a wash and it was incredibly time saving. I reduced my washing to maybe once a week. Then I went to Nepal for a few months and we had only cold water in cold weather. I choose gross before clean hair. And then I have just continued to stretch it, beacuse it didn´t fell gross like I thought it would. And now it’s been since January.

One of the major pros for me has been that it saves time, but an added effect is that I don’t use products that put a strain on the environment. Less water, less products, less strain on my hair. Thats a win all the way. Even if it grosses people out the first time they hear about it.

An effective change to brushwood

These are my brushes for dishwashing. When I was younger we usually had one of the heavier ones, made of brush wood,  at home and used quite a lot. So when moving out it was quite natural for me to find one. And I love it. For one, it’s less plastic than a normal one, but I also feel that they are much more effective and easier to use. Since you hold the brush itself it somehow feels easier to get everywhere and to scrub as hard as needed. And well, brushwood is harder than plastic so it makes sense.

The thinner horse hair brush with the metal clasp is one we decided to try but that haven’t made a hit in our kitchen. It’s too soft, but I still prefer it for frying pans to that they are not damaged. I have another head to change it to, but we get along so well with the other one that I haven’t gotten to it yet.

Anyhow. You should get one with brushwood if you haven’t already.

School has started (soon)

Long time no see

A lot has happened since I last wrote a post. I have quit my job at the 4H farm and started studying at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. I have started a five (omg like eternity long) year program which will make me an engineer in biotechnology.
I am currently in my first week, out of two, of the program initiation.
So I am getting to know a lot of new people at the same time and trying to get a perspective of where everything is at campus.
I am enjoying myself a lot and we will see how everything feels when school starts for real, after the initiation.
This is a hard subject with a long way to struggle through, a very nice and fancy school packed with super smart people.
All these factors make me doubt myself a bit.
It also gives me fire, fire to start school and learn, to get more knowledge and maybe be able to make an impact on the world in the end.
Biotechnology is a broad subject, where you can start focusing on almost anything and trying to make it more sufficient.
There are two paths, one which leans more to the environment and the other is more about health and medicine.
I was at a lecture two days ago, where this professor told us about his work with finding a cure to breast cancer. After his research he actually found a new way of diagnostics for breast cancer, which they actually use at hospitals.
Another professor told us about her profession in polymers and her work with plastic and trying to reduce it.
She and her partners have started a seaweed plantation where they use the cellulose in the seaweed and modify it in to plastic resembling materials, which are just as to compost as which ever plant.
How cool isn’t this subject!
And there are millions of other ways in this field to start researching and finding solutions for making more sustainable.
Only your lack of curiosity and your imagination can stop you.

An easy wrap

This summer I did my first zero-waste wrapping. It turned out better than expected.

For wrapping papers I used a food magazine for its pretty pictures. It looked much nicer than using newspaper, which are a thinner material, has more advertising and can leave ink impressions. I used a paper based twine to tie it together. I´m quite happy with the results though it was hard to keep the paper down and in place while adding the twine.

The couple I gave it to sadly threw the paper in the normal trash can, along with the twine (which they cut instead of opening), so it wasn’t recycled or reused yet another time. I wasn’t fast enough to stop them, but next time I will try to be before they open. The more usage the better, especially for the twine since it’s not harmed in any way during the packaging.

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To do this you just need: magazine paper, scissors, twine and fast fingers.

Good luck!

A new effort: Sunday Wardrobe

I love clothes and fabrics. I love looking pretty and I love feeling comfortable. I love finding that perfect outfit and trying out new things. But I hate shopping (it feels crowded) and I hate the concept of fast fashion where there is always something new to try. As a human rights advocate and believer in social sustainability I’ve tried to move further and further away from big brands and companies that give little insight into their process. I do my best to buy only second hand and or things I´m given.

This is often a bit restricting. So I´ve decided to look more into slow fashion – brands that invest in themselves socially and take responsibility for their workers. Often with the added benefit of using better materials. If you’re into sustainable fashion I hope you have checked out some awesome slow-fashion bloggers from your area, otherwise you should. If you are interested, you should also check out documentaries like The True Cost on why we need slow fashion.

So, for the coming year I challenge myself to buy slow and sustainable fashion, freshly produced and second hand. I will document this journey through this blog every Sunday with a little Sunday Wardrobe piece. As an extra challenge, I´m taking up my gradually-ok sewing skills. I´ve made some stuff before but now it’s time for more. I have a few things in mind for this year, so let’s see how it goes!

Did you know your electronics supports conflict?

Social sustainability is important to me, and it also what has lead me to look into other aspects of sustainability as this blog shows. Usually I try to find alternatives that are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. When I have to choose, I prioritize social sustainability. It’s not hard to see why this is the path for me: as a human rights student I care that social sustainability is a way of achieving respect for people’s rights.

During one semester of my bachelor we focused on Central Africa, and on reconciliation processes around the world. A concern of both is Congo. One of the things we spoke of was conflict metals. To be honest I had no idea that a large portion of metals in a common mobile phone comes from mines in Congo. That Congo is the producer of metals is not a problem in itself, the problem is that these are conflict metals. The mining supports several armed groups in the countries, allowing them to continue to control areas using threats, violence and sexual violence – thus the name conflict metals.

Today electronics with material from Congo are made of conflict metals since there is little control of the supply chains which could guarantee conflict-free metals. During the time we read about this in school I was feeling increasingly guilty that the phone in my hand probably supported armed violence against civilians. That’s far from something I want to do, but since it’s already in my hand it’s too late to do anything about it. I thought to myself that with my next phone I would do better.

And here I am: time for my next phone and for me to do better. Therefore I’ve chosen to buy a Fairphone which will arrive at the end of October. Until then I am borrowing my dad’s spare phone. The Fairphone guarantees transparent supply chains which conflict free metals, while reusing what can be reused. As an initiative they have chosen to continue to source their metals from Congo, despite conflict, but to it in a way that supports the common people, free from conflict and with minimal impact on health and the environment. Which in itself sound almost impossible, but as a company they’re getting incredible results. Last year they announced that all metals – tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold – now have conflict-free supply chain and are fair trade. That is just wow.

As a added bonus, and important to me as a human rights tudent, is that they strive for fair working conditions throughout the process by working with manufacturers to constantly improve conditions and relations at the workplace.

I feel so glad now that I´ve ordered it and I know that I am taking a step towards supporting a sustainable and fair process. Every bit I read about it, I feel proud that it can be done, but also optimistically glad that there’s enough people who want to go out of their way to produce a fair and socially sustainable phone instead of finding the cheapest alternative. It’s the sort of thing that restores faith in humanity, so I’m more than happy to put my faith in them.

Our hike to the nature reserve

 

We started our day around 8.30 when we hopped on the bus that went all the way from our station Tanjung Tokong to the National park, which took about 45 min. The public transport in Penang is really cheap and nice, a bus ticket cost you about 2 ringgit which is like 4 kr. All of the buses have air con, and are pretty clean. The traffic is very typical for this region, lots of cars, traffic almost everywhere and pretty crazy driving. Still I didn’t see a smashed car anywhere along the roads or anything.
After the bus ride we ordered a taxi boat to the parks furthest beach called Kampi. We wrote ourselves in to the National parks register book (probably so they know who to look for if we didn’t return).
The parks opening hours were between 9am-5pm.
We started walking on the path through the rainforest towards our first stop, the turtle sanctuary and meromictic lake.
On the way we met a monkey, a goanna and a couple of other hikers. The walk consisted of pretty steep hills both upward and downward. The air was extremely humid so we were sweating lots by just standing. Luckily the thick leaf works gave us shade so we didn’t have to deal with the burning sun.
When we reached the turtle sanctuary and got under the roof it started raining for a short while.
I was pretty disappointed at the sanctuary itself, we got to know that it was a public holiday which meant that there were no guides there to inform us about their conservation work. So we just had to draw conclusions by ourselves, which was not in their favour. There were approximately 5 tanks in the sanctuary. One with lots of baby turtles which I, and some of the other hikers we met inside, assume are going to be let free in the ocean when they have grown a bit bigger and won’t be as easy take-away lunch targets for the big fish.
The tank beside the one with the babies was a turtle that was a bit bigger in size, yet not full grown. I hope with all of my heart that this one will be let free soon.
Then there were the tree last tanks, the most depressing ones. All of the had a big adult turtle inside them, one had a broken shell, the other two I didn’t notice any outer injuries on, but what do I know. The thing is, these big magnificent creatures where put in small (maybe around 1,5×1,5 m) tanks. They swam around in a circle for a bit. They had nothing in the tanks but water. No seaweed, no rocks, not a single thing to enrich the enclosure they lived in. It made me angry. Especially when there was nobody to defend the work the centre is doing.
They hade nice informational posters about how an embryo becomes a turtle and pictures of the different sea turtle species that can be found around the beach. But there was not much about their conservation work.
I innerly hope that what I saw, has a good explanation because of those turtles are just kept like that for fun, this conservation project is a mere scam.
After watching the poor turtles we continued our walking trough pretty rough terrain with more hills. After about an hour or so we reached the beach Kampi, which was pure beauty. We were accompanied the last 20 minutes by a local who normally walks around the reserve on his spare time. But other than that, we were alone at the beach. After a couple of hour of chill we got picked up by our ride and got to see reserve from the outside and the rainforest was magnificent. I can’t believe how you wouldn’t want to conserve the nature, trees may not radiate wifi or grow donuts on them, they make the air around us breathable. They are the reason we live. They are important, much more important than our petty little needs. Much more important than us.

Day 6 of zero waste

Hi peeps! Today I have had a pretty chill day (: Started it by working out at the gym with the bf. We trained legs, so lots of both front and back squats some deadlifts etc. Tomorrow we are going to do a teamwod at the crossfit box near us, so I am very excited. We have just hanged around all day and enjoyed the lovely weather, had a big melon for lunch because it was all I had at his place. But I compensated it by having a big big dinner (: We barbecued lots of veggies such as carrot, paprika, corn and I also had beans, avocado and sweet potato. Delicious and filling ❤ Now we are actually on our way to get some ice cream in town. I’ll “cheat” a bit by also buying, but I mean, if I have a cone with ice cream and don’t take any napkins or plastic spoon, it’s kind of waste free. I promise not to through away any of it (;

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Sliding in to the ice cream vendor like…

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