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Navigating the issue of climate breakdown can be a heavy topic for anyone to face. Sometimes we need a little bit of help from someone who really knows their stuff.

Luckily for you, we've found the perfect woman. We spoke to the wonderful CEO of Ocean Conservancy, Janis Searles Jones, about fighting to protect our oceans, learning good sustainability practices and harnessing our passion for a better planet.

Her areas of expertise include environmental law, arctic conservation and policy as well as marine conservation, and Janis credits her time working with Native American tribes for her current understanding of legal issues spanning the management of public lands, waters, and natural resources.

The CEO began her career as a young environmental lawyer over 20 years ago in Alaska, "arriving with my dog and all of my belongings in the back of a pickup truck, ready to protect and defend public resources.

"As a young environmental lawyer, it was a profound experience working on natural resource issues in Alaska and alongside its citizens, and experiencing the state’s vastness and incredible beauty. The experience has shaped the rest of my career by helping me understand what it takes to make long-lasting, meaningful change, from fighting like hell to defend some of our nation’s core conservation provisions, to finding common ground, forging alliances and working with partners.

"Today, I’m proud to be leading an organisation that is working to create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it every single day."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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How did Janis discover her love for the ocean? We envisioned an epiphany moment reminscent of Ariel in The Little Mermaid when she spots Prince Eric, but it was Janis' upbringing that paved the way;

"The ocean has played a major role in my life ever since I was a kid. I was really lucky to grow up in a family that valued the outdoors and in a place close to the coast. I lived in the same neighborhood as a renowned environmental educator, Mrs. Terwilliger. She taught us about the impacts of plastic on wildlife, and how each of us, even as kids, could make a meaningful difference. Her favourite message for children was, “This is my country. Wherever I go, I will leave it more beautiful than I found it.”' 

When it comes to Ireland's ecological landscape, we're surrounded by ocean. Yet the conversation surrounding climate breakdown in this country hasn't brought the sea into mainstream dialogue.

The result of this is that we can feel overwhelmingly helpless when we discover our huge overfishing problem, the dangers of our agriculture industry and our lack of turbines. What can we do?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"I would say one of the biggest things you can do is to help convey to your readers that what we do on land matters to the ocean. Choosing sustainable seafood when you eat, reducing the amount of single-use plastic that you use, and supporting Ireland’s goal of protecting 30 percent of its ocean waters by 2030 are good places to start.

"And renewable energy, like offshore wind power, is an important part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is a critical priority for our ocean," Janis explains.

One great way to help is join Ocean Conservancy for this year’s International Coastal Cleanup on September 21, 2019. The ICC is the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to fight ocean plastics.

Volunteers have the opportunity to keep more than 20 million pounds of plastic and rubbish out of the ocean, and the fruit of your efforts can be immediately felt within your community.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When it comes to saying no to unnecessary single-use plastics, there are plenty of things each person can easily manage;

"Reducing your single-use plastic consumption is imperative in the fight against plastic pollution. Carry a reusable bottle for drinks, make sure to bring reusable bags to the shop, switch out your paper towels and napkins for cloth and if you are able to, skip the straw and quit the cutlery. You’ve just got to commit and develop a routine," Janis says.

"When making purchasing decisions, many of us are faced with a great number of choices. For the most part, there is a growing desire among some consumers to be more sustainable and reduce their environmental impacts. We all know about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—while these are evergreen habits that we should all practice regularly, we must be more proactive and have bigger aspirations," she adds.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Take a second to think about or develop your personal priorities and make sure your purchases align with those values. "

Community action can go a long way, as can starting the conversation with those around you;

"Volunteer, sign petitions and educate others. You don’t have to be near a beach to pick up rubbish, start your own cleanup or even organise a group to pick up rubbish around your neighborhood. And we have a handy app, called CleanSwell that you can track your daily pick up. When you submit the items you’ve collected, it goes into our global database and helps inform policy solutions around the world."

What are the goals of Ocean Conservancy, and how do they stay motivated? Climate breakdown can keep us all up at night, but Janis Searles Jones doesn't come across as a woman who gives up easily;

"Ocean plastic is a complex issue because it’s about a whole global system of consumption – products, business models, infrastructure, policies, and consumer preferences and behaviours. The two ideas at the core of Ocean Conservancy’s strategy are to recognise the urgency of the problem and to stop plastic from getting into the ocean in the first place," she begins.

"We’re calling for an end to the flow of plastic waste into the ocean by 2030. And we need all of our ocean allies to come together to achieve that goal. While ambitious, it’s what the ocean needs. Otherwise, if plastic use continues to rise, there could be almost 100 million more tonnes of plastic in the ocean by 2030. That is simply unacceptable."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Educating ourselves is imperative, but we can't ignore the fact that greenhouse gas emissions changing the ocean-scape as we know it. Janis stresses that this will affect each and every one of us as a result, whether we live on the island of Ireland or in a land-locked nation;

"Climate change is profoundly an ocean issue. Ocean Conservancy is working hard to make the ocean-climate connections, and make sure that countries who have committed to the Paris Agreement take the ocean into account and develop ocean-smart policies to protect our ocean and our future."

Imagining what our oceans will resemble in 50 years' time can be an anxiety-inducing thought, but it forces us to be realistic about our hope for the future;

"The ocean will be different. No question. We have already drastically altered the ocean as a result of climate change and human activities, and we will need to learn to adapt to those changes."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"But we do have a choice about how much more change is going to happen," the CEO adds. "And we are at a tipping point both in terms of the importance of action now, and in terms of broad and worldwide commitments to that action.

"I truly believe that in 50 years, many fish populations will have stabilised, thanks to improved management. I believe we will collectively agree that geo-engineering and deep-sea mining is not worth the risk and those activities will be unacceptable from a profit and public standpoint," Janis continues.

"We will have fewer coral reefs, but they will continue to exist."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Most importantly, I believe we will have a collective understanding – from people, governments, companies – that the ocean is critical to life on this planet and we need throw everything we have at protecting it."

If you want to get involved in the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup on September 21, use this interactive map and sign up to clean up here.

#TeamOcean includes everyone from Glenn Close to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Ocean Conservancy are expecting another million volunteers to come together in an effort to keep our oceans clean. 

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With concern about microplastics growing worldwide, we're not surprised that retailers are finally taking notice about the damage to the environment.

Popular retailer Marks & Spencer have joined the eco-effort by banning glitter from this year's Christmas cards, wrapping paper, crackers and calendars.

The brand is aiming to be 100 percent glitter-free by the end of 2019 after testing a biodegradable alternative to glitter on plants and flowers.

The worry about single-use plastics such as straws, water bottles, takeaway cups and microplastics (tiny particles that cause huge pollution) has significantly risen after the prominence of environmental documentaries, school strikers like Greta Thunberg and consistent climate breakdown disasters.

Glitter is usually created from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate, a form of microplastic that can end up in the sea.

The guess is that up to 50 tonnes of microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, according to The Guardian.

According to campaign group 38 degrees, up to a third of fish caught in the North Sea contained microplastic particles, including glitter. 

M&S’s action on glitter and plastic is following eco-crackdowns by brands like Waitrose and Tesco, who are switching to plastic-free ranges or environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Aldi is scrapping plastic glitter from their 2019 Halloween range, and even Strictly Come Dancing is banning glitter from their programme. Music festivals and playschools are also taking action.

M&S is now providing recyclable Christmas stationary designs and minimal use of foil for festival sparkle.

Most of its boxed cards have also switched from plastic to card packaging, which is saving almost 50 tonnes of plastic.

1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from across the business have been scrapped, and M&S aims to ensure all its packaging is widely recyclable by the end of 2022.

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Coca-Cola hosted their inaugural Melodic Wood area at All Together Now festival in Waterford, purely to create an atmospheric chill-out zone.

The area centred solely around sustainability and was an immersive experience thanks to the electronic music supplied by rising Irish music duo; Prizm.

Those at the festival who were drinking cans were encouraged to bring them along to be pressed into leaves for the installation, with Coca-Cola commissioning native trees in Waterford alongside Native Woodland Trust.

Coca-Cola has donated €10,300 towards the commissioning of 412 native trees to be planted in Waterford, following the success of the Melodic Wood area and it's hypnotic lights show.

The Native Woodland Trust are Ireland’s only organisation with a sole focus on preserving our ancient woodlands, and it's hard to believe that they're the only ones.

We chatted to Prizm as well as the Native Woodland trust about their time in the Melodic Wood, and the importance of Ireland's forests at this critical time in the planet's environmental history.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm

 Prizm are an up and coming electronic duo comprised of Ivan Nicholas and producer Aidan Bond, alumni of the Sound Training College in Temple Bar.

Their intricate knowledge of sound, coupled with their varied instrumental experience leads to standout performances. Their first headline show is set for later this year, and they're scheduled to play a string of festival performances and gigs this year. 

We were dying to ask them about their Melodic Wood gig, which acted as a useful yet artistic recycling hub for festival goers.

The Wood's eight trees were all created from recycled materials, with the area forming part of the Native Woodland Trust's wider World Without Waste initiative. World Without Waste commits to collect and recycle the equivalent of every can or bottle that they sell by 2030.

We quizzed them on everything from their first meeting to their involvement in the environmental project;

  • How do you think your music fuses with nature? 

For the song we wrote for Coca-Cola’s Melodic Wood at All Together Now 2019, part of the request was to incorporate nature sounds, we used wind and rustling trees in the intro of the track, and it worked really nicely. 

  • How did you both meet, and when did you decide to become a duo? 

We were working in the same place and got talking about music and quickly realized we both wrote and produced music. We strangely had the same vision for a project, so it kicked off from there.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm
  • What are your thoughts on Ireland’s attitude to sustainability?

It’s going in the right direction, small things like cardboard straws are a good start but it’s obviously a global problem, you have to start somewhere at the same time. 

  • Why are you named ‘Prizm’?”

In optics, a prism is a transparent optical element with flat, polished surfaces that refract light. At least two of the flat surfaces must have an angle between them. “ We are part of the two… it made sense for us musically and we just both totally agreed on the name.

  • How did you become involved with the Melodic Wood and All Together Now?

We put our song forward and Coca-Cola loved it. 

  • How do you think Ireland’s music scene can become more eco-friendly and sustainable?

Taking home your tents and cleaning up after yourself is simple and makes a huge difference.

  • Do you think music has the power to encourage people to focus on climate breakdown and the environment? 

No, people have the power.

  • What are your hopes for the future of your music? 

We want to release our debut song and work towards an album. Our live show is very important to us, we want to be a touring band. 

  • What would be your dream gig to play? 

Closing out a big festival. Our shows will have all the right ingredients to bring you back to life.

Image: Instagram/@we_areprizm

Prizm seem like the ideal artists to have played the Melodic Wood, as All Together Now have been an eco-focused festival from the beginning.

The band too share an interest in reducing their carbon footprint, and we were intrigued to hear what the Native Woodland Trust had to say about the installation.

The Native Woodland Trust is the only environmental organisation in Ireland with a focus on saving the last of Ireland's Ancient Woodlands, now down to as little as 0.1 percent of what originally existed.

The Trust is also the only Irish environmental organisation which has raised the funding to acquire and save some of these woodlands while also planting thousands of trees every year. The Trust now manages 11 woodlands and nature reserves across Ireland, from Donegal to Waterford. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • How did the Melodic Wood installation come about?

We were delighted to be contacted by Coca-Cola to provide new trees to complement their recycling concept. The Native Woodland Trust is the only non-profit in Ireland with a network of nature reserves where we plant new woodlands, so we were able to commit to planting new trees for Coca-Cola as part of the Melodic Wood initiative which comes under their World Without Waste global strategy.

  • Can you tell us a bit about Ireland’s Ancient Woods?

Ireland’s Ancient Woodlands are those that have been in continuous existence since at least 1650 – this means that they predate most imports of trees and are directly descended from the primeval forests that once covered almost all of Ireland. They are the most biodiverse habitats we have and are often home to rare and unusual species. 

  • What do you think Ireland’s woodland will look like in 30 years?

A few things will change – but gradually. We will continue to lose our old and ancient woodlands – they are not all protected and the protection is poorly policed. We will also lose some more species – some perhaps due to climate change – and gain some too – especially insects and birds. But our Ash trees, which is one of the most common trees in the country and famously used to make hurleys, will become as rare as Elm trees are today.

  • What would happen if Ireland lost its woodland and nature reserves?

We would lose a huge part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Trees and woods were a significant part of Gaelic culture – with even our native Ogham alphabet having its letters twinned with the different trees of the forest.  We would also lose our connection to the original primeval forests of Ireland – which once were thronged with bears and wolves and were the source of many myths and legends. And of course, we would lose biodiversity in a very significant way.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • What worries you the most about climate breakdown?

On a small island like Ireland, many species will not have the ability to simply move north – so we may lose some species. Higher temperatures and changing weather patterns may also add stress to various habitats, like woodlands and make them more prone to damage and disease. Climate change may very well alter the composition of our woodlands and change the face of our countryside.

  • How sustainable do you think Ireland’s festivals are?

They’re clearly improving hugely and its clearly part of the ethos of just about every festival now. Most festivals also now invite environmental groups to have a stand or kiosk, which is a great way to get our messages across to people and to allow them to actually engage with us in ways that we can’t do on social media or email.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • What does the Native Woodland Trust hope to achieve in the future, what are its aims?

We are also trying to prevent the loss of any more Ancient Woodland. We only have approximately 0.1 percent of those woodlands left – so 99.9 percent have been cut down, and yet now in the 21st century, we’re still losing some of what’s left. We would ultimately like to be able to plant a huge new forest – thousands of acres, which could make a really meaningful difference to people of wildlife.

  • How can we help the Native Woodland Trust?

There are lots of ways to help – join as a member, sponsor some trees – as presents, to offset your carbon or just because you want to. Come and volunteer with us – especially if you live near one of our reserves, there’s always lots of work to get involved with. If you run a company or work for one who will listen – get them to take out a corporate sponsorship with us.

  • Are businesses and specific corporations causing the most issues regarding the conservation of our landscapes?

Obviously agriculture and industry has a huge impact – but we as individuals are consuming these outputs and as a species, humanity needs to change its very wasteful behaviour. If we become less wasteful, we can change the behaviour of those businesses that produce them and who use up our natural resources. 

Wherever humans go, we tend to wipe out wildlife. We need to give some space back to nature and to leave it to its own devices, without human interference. 

  • What is it about Ireland’s landscapes that makes you so inspired and passionate?

For such a small island, we have such diverse landscapes, many of them as dramatic and picturesque as anywhere in the world. Within these, there are so many wild habitats that are home to our many native plants and animals. There’s something still innately wild about Ireland and its landscapes and its always a pleasure to be outdoors in nature in Ireland.

You can watch the Melodic Wood’s All Together Now journey here –and join the conversation using #WorldWithoutWaste. To volunteer with the Native Woodland Trust, click here.

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In worrying news, a new survey has found that the majority of Irish beaches and rivers are polluted, with one-in-six deemed "clean to European norms".

The most common forms of litter discovered by assessors included food wrappers, plastic bottles, cans and cigarettes, according to The Journal.

Five-in-six beaches and waterways examined as part of Irish Business Against Litter's survey were considered clean enough to meet European standards.

The study analysed 42 areas across Ireland by IBAL, and only 1-in-6 beaches were clean enough to meet the standards. 14 percent were classified as ‘littered’ or ‘heavily littered’.

Beaches, harbours, rivers and their immediate environs were monitored by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce over the summer, with fishing industry-related litter found in almost all marine sites.

Salthill was stated to be one of the cleanest beaches in the country, and the report praised the Galway beach as a “well used and cared for environment”.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Curracloe beach in Wexford was also added to the 'clean' list for having 'a virtual absence of litter', but Seapoint in Dublin was the only other beach considered clean.

Lough Rea, the River Shannon at Carrick-on-Shannon, the Nore in Kilkenny and KiImore Quay harbour in Wexford were also inspected as clean.

The Barrow in Carlow town and the Tolka in Dublin were both heavily littered, along with Cork Harbour near Midleton.

Cork harbour was “subject to dumping, with heavy levels of land-based food-related items and large numbers of traffic cones and household appliances discarded in the water”, according to the report.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Inspectors claimed that the River Barrow at Carlow had “a very definite heavy litter presence … with a wide variety of regular litter, both land- and water-based."

Blackrock Castle also had “heavy levels of plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, food / sweet wrappers and large pieces of plastic … several plastic bags of rubbish and other miscellaneous items were dumped adjacent to the coast.”

Bundoran, Dingle, Kinsalem Brittas Bay in Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire harbour, Tramore beach in Waterford, Portmarnock beach in Dublin and the tourist destination of Lahinch were considered “moderately littered.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Conor Horgan spoke as a representative of IBAL, saying that the need for action on plastic pollution in aquatic environments was increasingly more vital;

“Our regular surveys consistently show 80% of our towns to be clean; we cannot say the same for our beaches and waterways.

“Litter as we know it has acquired a wholly new importance for society. This is especially true for an island like Ireland, where litter can readily wind its way to the sea irrespective of where it is dropped," he added,

“When it comes to marine litter the sea starts at every household, street, green space and workplace.”

Feature image: Instagram/@alex_travel_lounge

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The lungs of the earth are choking from smoke. We're sure we aren't the only people who checked their Twitter or Instagram feeds and were deeply shocked by the visuals of flames licking the Amazon's greenery and blackness covering São Paolo. A feeling of general helplessness can't help but wash over us. After all, the Amazon is in Brazil (among other nations) and we're in Ireland. 

We can still offer our own assistance to the species of the rainforest, can fight Governmental idleness and capitalist greed and stop the extinction of Indigenous people. There is still time, if we act now.

The Amazon rainforest provides one-fifth of the entire world's oxygen supply, but what if it burns to cinders? Essentially climate breakdown will be irreversible.

The forest acts as a carbon sink, absorbing more CO2 than it emits while releasing oxygen, and stocking 90 to 140 billion tonnes of CO2, which regulate worldwide global warming, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Deforestation is reducing this capacity for absorbing CO2. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Illegal deforestation is taking place and forest fires are being started for cattle farming in Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of beef. What can you do to help? Well, stop eating and buying beef. 

The entire Amazon rainforest has been ablaze for three whole weeks, yet media coverage is only really kick-starting now.

Many are correctly pointing out the irony that the Notre Dame fire, which killed or injured no one and didn't even result in significant damage, resulted in billionaires throwing money at it within seconds. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The most important ecological landscape in the world, which houses one-quarter of the Earth's species; namely 30,000 types of plants; 2,500 fish; 1,500 birds; 500 mammals; 550 reptiles and 2.5 million insects, according to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).

In the past 20 years alone, 2,200 new species of plants and vertebrates have been discovered there. As the largest tropical forest in the world, it covers 5.5 million square kilometres.

Reports are now saying that if we lose just one more fifth of the rainforest, it will trigger a feedback loop known as dieback. This essentially means that the forest will dry out and burn in a cascading system collapse that no amount of human intervention can save.

The amount of deforestation taking place in the Amazon has increased by around 68 percent since Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has entered office.

He has basically declared war on the environment, threatening to wipe out the whole department in the Government and even blames NGOs for the forest fires. 

The majority of the deforestation in the Amazon takes place to make room for cattle farmers to export beef and soy products, so a boycott of these products is an absolute must.

Bolsonaro accused non-governmental organisations of setting wildfires in the Amazon rainforest to damage his government's image, despite presenting no evidence to back up this ridiculous claim.

Bolsonaro has also threatened the exctinction of Brazil's Indigenous population, much of which reside as tribes in the Amazon. Corporations are allowed by the President to illegally confiscate their land, burn it to ash and farm on it.

The Amazon has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years and today counts 34 million people, of whom two-thirds live in cities. 

Nearly three million people are members of some 420 different tribes, of which about 60 are completely isolated in the Amazon forest, according to ACTO.

Alarmingly, according to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, there has been an 84 percent increase in wildfires this year and more than 9,500 last week alone

A blackout in São Paulo on Monday sparked worldwide concerns, with the city being submerged into darkness at 3pm. São Paulo is almost 3,000 km away from the rainforest, yet the sky became entirely black, showing the extent of the fires.

It's vitally important at this pivotal moment in our climate emergency that you donate to charities and organisations like Rainforest Action Network, the WWF and Amazon Watch. 

Indigenous people are among the most vulnerable in society, and history has not been kind to them when it comes to colonisation and economic capitalist gain. 

Sign as many Greenpeace petitions as you can, write to your Government asking them to demand action, and change your lifestyle to exclude Brazilian beef and soy products. Buy deforestation-free products. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Almost 20 percent of the Amazon forest has disappeared in the last half-century, according to the WWF, and this is accelerating at a massive and terrifying rate.

We can't simply see the images on our phones and become disconnected from the dangers, and assume the death of Earth's lungs won't affect us.

The Amazon rainforest is one of the reasons why Earth has managed to stay alive, and we need to save it and it's animal and wildlife inhabitants.

Feature image: Instagram/@ocean_armour

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Plastic Free July is upon us, but the question is: Will you take up the challenge?

The initiative is a global movement that helps millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution in order to have cleaner oceans, cities and environments.

The overall action is simple: Choose to make small, easy changes and refuse single-use plastics. 

Plastic Free July is all about reducing plastic consumption in order to free the world from plastic waste.

The initiative itself is run by a non-profit organisation called The Plastic Free Foundation, founded in 2011 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in Australia.

Organisers say that the movement is "designed to help people refuse single use plastic and improve recycling practices". Single-use or disposable plastics are used once before thrown away into landfill.

It's hoped that the large-scale challenge will "drive positive change through simple solutions that help communities live more sustainably".

Plastic-Free July also aims to "kick-start long-lasting solutions and influence business and governments to take action" to improve their environmental approach in a number of areas, including recycling.

Businesses desperately need to move towards a "circular economy"(promoting the reuse of materials) and for producers to take more responsibility over the end-of-life of products.

The consequences of plastic

Plastic bags often break ups into micro pieces that can easily blow into nature and, if mistaken for food and ingested, end up being fatal to animals

Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in landfill, if it even breaks down at all, and reducing our use of plastic can help to counteract this.

Reducing waste overall is a better alternative to recycling, which uses a lot of water and energy, but we're all doing our best and changing what we can in our lives to alter our carbon footprints.

Top tips for Plastic Free July:

-Buy a 'KeepCup' and refuse to use a takeaway coffee cup. Even the 'recyclable' ones end up in landfill, so choose to dine in at your local café or bring a reusable cup.

-Plastic straws: Buy a metal straw and refuse plastic or paper straws as often as you can. There are now options to buy foldable metal straws to slot into your purse easily.

-Choose not to buy pre-packaged fruit and vegetables when you're doing the weekly shopping. Go to a local grocer, organic shop or farmer's market with a tote bag and collect your own loose fruit and vegetables instead, and save yourself all that single-use plastic. Support stores that offer paper bags rather than plastic bags, and who grow the food in Ireland.

-Don't buy pre-packaged meat: Support local butchers and bring your own containers to the shop. This scenario is only if you even eat meat at all, a plant-based, vegan diet is better for reducing waste and your carbon footprint.

-Choose to refuse single-use plastic shopping bags. Save yourself money by bringing your own reusable bags, and prevent as much landfill building up as possible. Plastic bags are incredible dangerous for wildlife and environment. You could even consider making your own reusable shopping bags using repurposed fabric, like the 'Boomerang Bags' movement. Bags made from natural fibres are a better option if possible, made from ethically-produced cotton, jute, hemp or recycled plastic bottles.

-Choose to refuse plastic bin liners: Line the bin with a few sheets of newspaper, or try using certified compostable bin liner bags. You can even use the bin as a ‘naked bin’, and simply washing it out as needed, or try home composting. Composting helps food scraps to deteriorate rather than producing methane from anaerobic landfill.

-Use lunch-boxes instead of packaging for food, and support vendors that offer cardboard or recyclable utensils and packaging rather than plastic knives and forks.

-BYOB: Bring your own bottle. Buying single-use plastic bottles year-round can cause a huge amount of damage, but it's incredibly easy to carry a reusable water bottle around with you. Carry small tote bags in your purse too in case you're in a situation where you need to reject using a plastic bag.

-Bamboo toothbrushes: Plastic toothbrushes can take 500 years to break down, but buying bamboo has never been as easy. Try buying organic toothpaste in recyclable packaging too.

-Avoid clingfilm like the devil: Wrap your food in cloths or keep it in containers instead rather than using single-use clingfilm to keep items fresh.

-Bin audits: Make sure the bins in your workplace, home and anywhere else are separated by category. Divide them into recyclable waste, general waste and compost bins, or by material (glass, cardboard, paper, plastic, etc). 

-Community clean-ups: Organise a group of friends, colleagues or community members to clean up specific areas around you. As well as improving your local environment, it shows a good example of teamwork for positive change and engagement. Use social media to gather and include as many people as possible.

-Cosmetic industry and wipes: There are many options for removing your make-up or washing your face that don't use micro-plastics and harmful irritants like wipes. Reusable cloths and biodegradable wipes are sold on numerous online beauty websites and are extremely effective, and try bringing your make-up palettes to be refilled in The Body Shop. Going make-up free for the month of July would be a big challenge, but reducing cosmetic waste and using skincare products made with recyclable packaging will create a beneficial impact.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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-Ask your local shops to use biodegradable products, and to support brands that use recyclable packaging or minimal packaging. Companies will listen if enough customers speak out.

-Spread the word: Talk to your co-workers, your friends, your family and neighbours about their lifestyle choices and how they may be impacting the environment. It may just take some encouragement for them to change small aspects of their lives and reduce their plastic usage.

Head over to the website here to take the Plastic Free July pledge, you'll be glad you did.

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With all the conversations regarding the decrepit state of our planet, it's no surprise that the terms 'ethical fashion' and 'sustainable clothing' are coming up again and again.

Whether it's the depressing lack of labour rights which garment workers possess, or the untold amount of damage a simple white t-shirt can do to the earth; it's time to get serious about the disastrous environmental impact of fashion.

Fact Attack

1. The truth of the matter is: the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry.

Unfortunately, developing countries are constantly the ones to suffer from developed nations and their materialistic consumerist culture. While high street shops have lower pricing, it's important to ask ourselves why this is so.

Normally, it's because the cost of production is incredibly cheap, and the workers aren't being paid in equity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Patagonia Dublin (@patagoniadublin) on

For example, according to Stephen Leahy of The Guardian, 100 million people in India don't have access to drinking water. However, 85 percent of the daily needs of the entire population of India would be provided by the water used to grow the country's cotton.

The same cotton that goes into making our clothes, the clothes of people who have always had access to daily needs like drinking water. So the question is, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Fast fashion is a hugely feminist issue seeing as women in these underdeveloped countries are paid less than men for working in these garment factories.

The number of workplace injuries and deaths in factories in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and Cambodia are still shockingly high.

Now, this article isn't intended to guilt or shame anyone. It's just a wake-up call, and knowing the facts of this vital topic can lead to change. Change can lead to less harm on the planet, and isn't that always a good thing?

2. First of all, it's important to know that the untreated toxic waste-waters from textile factories are often dumped directly into the rivers of countries where clothes are made.

These waste-waters contain toxic substances like arsenic, mercury and lead, which kill the aquatic life and health of millions living by that same river. Contamination reaches the sea and spreads globally.

The use of fertilizers for cotton production heavily pollute waters, another danger of creating just a single item of clothing for brands we all know and buy from. 

Image: Catch News

3. Clothing in our culture has become disposable, and more and more textile waste is accumulating as a result. According to Elizabeth Cline of The Atlantic, a family in the 'western world' throws away an average of 30kg of clothing every year.

4. Only 15 percent of this is recycled or donated, and what happens to the rest? Landfill or incineration.

What's worse, synthetic fibres like polyester are plastic fibres, and can take up to 200 years to decompose.

Global textiles production emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases every single year. That's more than international flights and maritime shipping put together, according to Fashion Revolution.

5. These biodegradable synthetic fibres are used in a shocking 72 percent of our clothing. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fashion Revolution Ireland (@fashrevireland) on

6. The UK population has £10.5 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closet, according to recent research. It's massively valuable to donate your unworn clothes rather than throw them away. Every item of apparel has a history, and can tell a story.

Fast fashion is having an unparalleled influence on the planet, with more and more clothes being incinerated into the air every year.

Workers are suffering in poverty to make our clothes, and we have no idea who they even are. We have a responsibility to bring ethics into what we wear and how we style ourselves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ethical & Sustainable Fashion (@thekindguide) on

The issue may seem far away, but we can't ignore the problem any longer.

Clothing is a basic human need, give someone else the chance to wear the clothes you don't want anymore.

6. The apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions, because our clothes are made in countries which power their factories with coal.

This means our synthetic fibres are basically made from fossil fuel, hence why it's so important to buy clothes with natural fibres.

Image: Remake

Here's our survival guide for ethical shopping and sustainable fashion, but remember: Nobody's perfect.

Even if you reduce your buying habits a tiny bit, or change one of your high street shops to an ethical brand, that's great. Just do your best; if everyone did a little, it would mean a lot.

Swap Shops

The Nu. Wardrobe is an Irish female-led startup company focusing on dramatically reducing fashion waste by encouraging the swapping or renting of clothes. Their tag-line is 'Look Good. Save Money. Reduce Waste.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@thenuwardrobe) on

Right on, gals. Extending the life cycle of clothes is hugely important in the fight against fast fashion.

Why not borrow an outfit from a friend or sibling instead of buying something entirely new when you probably don't need to?

Of course, it's important to treat yourself every now and again, and we all need new threads every once and a while when our body sizes change etc, but just remember to ask yourself every time: Do I really need this?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fashion Revolution Ireland (@fashrevireland) on

Charity shopping/Vintage outlets

Dun Laoghaire's main street contains some great charity shops like Bernardos, Oxfam, Age Action, Goodwill and more.

George's Street in the city centre also have a great selection of charity shops with the proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul, Oxfam and Enable Ireland.

The array of vintage shops in Dublin is not to be understated. Head to Dublin Vintage Factory (there are two shops) in Temple Bar for the cheapest but best selection of vintage clothing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dublin Vintage Factory (@dublinvintagefactory) on

Vintage has emerged onto the scene even more in recent years, and has undoubtedly become one of the biggest trends in Dublin fashion.

Why not buy something no one else could possibly have? Pre-owned and pre-loved.

Other options include; Tola Vintage, Nine Crows, Lucy's Lounge, Monto, The Harlequin, Folkster, Tahiti Vintage, Om Diva, The Cat's Meow, Siopaella and Retro in George's Street Arcade and Temple Bar.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tola Vintage Reworked (@tolavintagereworked) on

Apps: Depop/Good On You

Depop has become our addiction in recent months. The app is a clothes-selling platform, basically a digital swap shop, and the range of fashion styles involved is incredible.

Shipping from all over the world, the items are totally unique. You'll see some amazing style trends as well, and the app allows you to refine your searches for uber specific items and brands.

From vintage sportswear brands to quirky 1990s-era fashion pieces, don't miss out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Depop (@depop) on

It's a great feeling knowing that you aren't buying brand new clothes all the time, and the app allows you to make some $ cash dollah $ by selling all of the clothes you haven't worn since your teenage disco days.

We first heard about Good On You from none other than Emma Watson. If she models and endorses them, they have to be sheer excellence.

The app allows you to inform yourself all about the workers rights and sustainability of your favourite brands.

They offer great suggestions for ethical and sustainable brands too, and it's practical and easy to use.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

Our favourite ethical/sustainable brands

Finding sustainable clothing for an affordable price can be challenging in Ireland, mainly because of shipping charges.

It's a huge comfort to know that you're paying for clothing made by people who have workers rights, and that they are high-quality. Here are some of our all-time fave brands:

Reformation

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Reformation (@reformation) on

Weekday

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@weekdayofficial) on

People Tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@peopletreeuk) on

Oxfam

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Oxfam Ireland (@oxfamireland) on

Thought

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Thought (@thoughtclothing) on

Fame and Partners

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fame and Partners (@fameandpartners) on

Ilk + Ernie

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@ilkandernie) on

Ninety Percent

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ninety Percent (@ninety_percent) on

Other gorgeous favourites include: Base Range, Etica, Everlane, Uniqlo, Exhibit, Komodo, Patagonia, Athleta, Petra Von Kant, Lara Intimates, Mayamiko, Thoreau, Boyish and ASOS Made in Kenya

Last but not least, we recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix, it pulls back the curtain on fast fashion and the developing world. It's time to wear your values.

Feature image:  Instagram/@cheriebirkner/@sustainablefashionmatterz

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Is there anything Sir David Attenborough can't achieve? Probs not. He's an absolute legend and undisputed king of nature, as well as possessing one of the greatest narratorial voices of ALL TIME.

He's lending his voice to Netflix for their forthcoming natural history show (seems off-brand for them?) but now he'll be back on the BBC screens with a huge new programme.

The TV show will focus on the environmental forces reshaping our world, and is entitled One Planet, Seven Worlds. We can't wait for this.

One Planet, Seven Worlds will focus on an individual continent per episode, and uses cutting-edge technology to explore the characteristics of how the animals are affected by their habitat.

He is also appearing in Green Planet, which will look at the world from the plants' point of view in the global ecosystem.

Attenborough recently spoke to Prince William about today's environment, emphasising the fact that we are less in touch with nature than ever.

"We are one coherent ecosystem- it's not just a question of beauty or interest or wonder, it's the essential ingredient. The essential part of human life is a healthy planet," he said.

He urged politicians and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos to focus their attention on climate change, before it's too late; “the Garden of Eden is no more”.

Blue Planet II and Plastics Watch have both achieved massive success, so the new BBC One shows are hoping to spotlight the environment in the form of protection.

Three-quarters of a BILLION people worldwide watched Blue Planet I, which is mind-blowing. Some people see his new Netflix affiliation as a blow to the BBC, as streaming services take over.

He has worked with the BBC for over 60 years, so he most likely isn't ditching them.

The Netflix show is due out this April, while the BBC show will hopefully air in the autumn. Get yourselves and your metal straws ready, it's time to save the WORLD, people.

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Lena Headey, Queen Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, has changed the #10YearChallenge game after posting an image of a polar bear, and now everyone feels hella guilty.

Rather than focusing on herself in terms of the ageing process, the actress instead chose to take a stance on climate change and its horrific environmental consequences.

Though her status has a LOT of cursing in it, it's understandable how angry she is considering the lack of lawmakers making vital environmental alterations.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lena Headey (@iamlenaheadey) on

She captioned the harrowing image;

"Law makers. People who sign papers. Stop being greedy c*nts and get it done. Ban sh*t that is killing the earth. Stop f*cking about. Make changes NOW, stop all this knobbing about bullsh*t. Stop wasting time we don’t have."

"We don’t need votes on things that don’t need votes. We need bold INTELLIGENT leadership. WHERE THE F*CK ARE YOU ALL?" she concluded.

Lena isn't the only celebrity to focus on the environment, with Shailene Woodley posting an equally as disturbing image;

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by shailene woodley (@shailenewoodley) on

With reports that plastic waste is set to treble within the decade, and scientists discovering that the Great Pacific garbage patch is now three times the size of France, the conversation on plastic waste has come into the fray.

David Attenborough’s 2018 nature documentary Blue Planet made us sit up, listen and get serious about recycling, so maybe we need to talk to our lawmakers even more.

We're sure if polar bears could talk, they'd be cursing about it even more than Lena.

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It seems that every day, another company is trying to become more environmentally-aware and it's fab.

The latest to make new moves towards helping our world be a better place is the leading beer company, Carlsberg.

They obvs use a lot of wrapping and plastic in their six-packs, but no more!

What's the solution, so?

Recyclable glue!

From now on, the cans will be held together by this glue – pretty cool right?

When the new multi-pack of beer cans arrive, it will be a world first and it is set to cut back the Danish brewer’s use of plastic to package by more than 75%.

Called “Snap Packs”, they have spent three years in development and are strong enough to make it unscathed from shelf to home, but will break when twisted. 

Brits will be the lucky ones to debut the eco-friendly packaging innovation as Carlsberg has chosen the UK market, as it consumes 30% of its beer yearly.  

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is a big fan of this new development and has hailed it as a “big step” in efforts to tackle the deteriorating situation regarding plastic pollution. 

The company will reduce its plastic use by 1,200 tonnes a year, i.e. 60 million plastic bags once the ''Snap Packs'' are rolled out. 

As the plastic rings can trap birds and animals, this issue is serious.

Bo Oksnebjerg, secretary-general of WWF Denmark said in a press release that, ”our wildlife is drowning in plastic. We, therefore, need to act now. We need less plastic to end up in nature. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging.”

So, we can now buy a six-pack of beer without harming the environment?

Count us right in. 

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We love Strictly for a lot of things – the glitz and glam, the fabulously choreographed dances, the brilliant judges…

And now we have another reason.

The BBC show has just announced that it is going to make a bigger effort to protect the environment. 

Yaaasss!

While we all adore the lashings of glitter that Strictly heaps on us every year, they have now confirmed that the glitz being used on the contestants and their outfits for the upcoming series will be environmentally friendly.

This comes after the ban that has been put on plastic microbeads by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra have also explained that all liquid glitter used during the show is eco-friendly, and that no marine life will be under threat after it is flushed down the drain.

They stated that, ''all our liquid glitter used in the theme weeks is sourced from Burt’s Bees which is all biodegradable, and this series they will also be supplying us with biodegradable wipes.''

In addition to this, the make-up they use is also biodegradable, however the show is looking into whether all of the ingredients in it are biodegradable. 

Fair play, Strictly. 

Strictly Come Dancing is most definitely on a mission to become more eco-friendly, as it's attempting to get rid of single-use plastic too.

A spokesperson for the show has said how it should be at least 90 percent free of single-use plastic by next year, which is amazing tbh. 

As for the confetti that we love seeing swirling around our shimmering dancers and celebs on the TV?

It's 50 percent biodegradable – plus last year, the paper that the scripts and running orders were printed on were replaced with iPads instead.

Strictly, if you weren't one of our favourite shows before, you certainly are now. 

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Ireland has been enjoying plenty of sunshine and high temperatures over the past week. The public has certainly been making the most of this heatwave with thousands flocking to their local park and beach to soak up the sun.

Unfortunately, a group of beach-goers ruined one of Ireland’s most-loved beaches – Brittas Bay-over the weekend, leaving the local community disgusted.

Brittas Bay Beach Care shared a shocking video of the beach which has been covered in empty beer bottles, cans, plastic bags an, wrappers.

The video has already accumulated over 2,000 views and people are truly horrified by the state the beach was left in.

One user said: “People are disgusting. Bring your rubbish home or to the nearest bin if the bin is full bring it home. This is just shameful.”

“Lazy, dirty people,” another added.

The team had no choice but to organise a Beach Sweep, which will run from 7 pm to 8 pm this evening. They’re seeking the public’s help in tidying up the beach and one generous citizen has already kicked off the cleaning spree.

The Brittas Bay Beach Care team explained: “We just popped down to see how our beach is doing this morning at 9.30am, to find a beach visitor cleaning up the sand at the South Beach entrance. They had seen the news stories about beachgoers littering and wanted to do their bit, so bought some bags down!”

“They said they wanted their children to see this is unacceptable behaviour,” they added.

The team shared a vital message that everyone needs to remember when heading along to the beach during the heatwave: Leave only your footprints.

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