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Many of us will still remember the days when we used to be able to purchase milk in glass bottles. In fact, that sound of the milk cart powering up the street and the clinking of bottles is synonymous with bygone decades. However, times have changed and plastic is now the preferred way to store milk. Despite this, glass milk bottles are experiencing something of a surge in popularity again. There are many reasons for this, from environmental concerns to nostalgia. Which is better? And which is...
Many of us will still remember the days when we used to be able to purchase milk in glass bottles. In fact, that sound of the milk cart powering up the street and the clinking of bottles is synonymous with bygone decades. However, times have changed and plastic is now the preferred way to store milk. Despite this, glass milk bottles are experiencing something of a surge in popularity again. There are many reasons for this, from environmental concerns to nostalgia. Which is better? And which is less damaging to the environment? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of glass milk bottles.
In the not too distant past, glass milk bottles almost disappeared. People once relied on bottles of milk delivered daily to their doorstep. At this time supermarkets had yet to corner the market or require mass production of milk to stock their shelves of convenience. Customers also enjoyed the freshest milk possible delivered straight to their door.
However, times change and so has consumer behaviour. In the 1980s, around 90% of the milk consumed in the UK was delivered in glass bottles. Just a few years ago this stood at 3%. It looked as though doorstep delivery was dead with the glass milk bottle suffering a similar fate.
There are two reasons for this.
The first being the supermarkets. For years they have squeezed down prices paid to farmers and manufacturers whilst increasing mass production to satisfy our weekly shops. To ensure they were able to sell milk as competitively as possible cheaper to produce plastic bottles became the norm. They were also lighter and suffered from fewer breakages making them perfect for the high volumes of milk sales supermarkets began to enjoy.
The second and related reason being shifting buying habits. As more people shopped at supermarkets for their weekly needs milk delivery services began to experience less custom. Our busy lives have led to more convenience shopping at all hours of day and night. The idea of always remembering to put out old glass milk bottles and collect fresh ones at a set time each day for many is no longer actually convenient.
Subsequently, many milk delivery services were no longer economically viable. As a result in the UK the then biggest glass milk bottling plant, owned by Dairy Crest, faced closure due to the growing consumer preference for plastic bottles.
Fortunately, in 2015, Müller, a competing dairy company, decided to invest and with that came growth in Milk & More, a modern milk delivery service where consumers can place their orders online. Further, the service also offers other groceries such as butter and eggs. It has now become the largest milk delivery service in the UK.
A similar service exists in the US called ‘Drink Milk in Glass Bottles’. Another example of a service in resurgence that had started to disappear.
Office deliveries have also become a growth area. Due to higher volumes and higher concentrations of offices in any one area services can deliver more profitably. As such, today we can see more office fridges stocked with glass milk bottles.
So whereas most of us still buy our milk in plastic bottles from the supermarket options for glass bottles still do exist. With this in mind, are they better than plastic?
The biggest advantage of glass milk bottles is that once we’ve consumed their contents they get returned for reuse. Once returned glass milk bottles are washed and refilled and sent back out to consumers full of fresh milk. Whereas there are transport considerations to take into account, avoiding the production of a new plastic bottle for every milk purchase is a win for glass.
When it comes to whether glass or plastic bottles are better we actually have quite a lot to consider. Glass typically takes twice as much energy to produce and therefore during production can actually generate more C02 than plastic when compared by weight.
However, this is just at manufacture, if you average out the additional energy requirements across the lifecycle of a glass milk bottle which gets used again and again the winner is glass over plastic every time.
The Container Recycling Institute has found that plastic bottles are recycled at a rate of 29%. In comparison to this, glass has a recycling rate of 37%.
Further, as far as plastic goes, there are many vagaries when it comes to recycling. Different types of plastic waste can vary in their recycling. Whereas most curbside collections do take plastic milk bottles, what happens once collected can vary considerably due to the capacity and ability for them to be processed once collected.
What’s more, despite many doing their best, a great deal of the single-use plastic we use ends up in nature. Plastic that enters the sea or landfill will take hundreds of years to break down. When you consider that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled, it has to end up somewhere.
Further, plastic that does get recycled tends to be downgraded into lesser items. For example, you’re more likely to find recycled plastic milk bottles in plastic outdoor furniture than in another food-based application. As a result plastic milk bottles will most likely be “new plastic.”
Glass, on the other hand, has more of a conscious element to it. Glass breaks easily when thrown away and is heavier, both of which people are aware of. As such, consumers seem more likely to carefully recycle a glass bottle than a plastic bottle.
Meanwhile, glass milk bottles not sent back for refill and at the end of their useful life are 100% recyclable and we can recycle them over and over again. What’s more, glass has a quick turnaround when it is recycled. Once consumers recycle it, it can be reused again within 30 days.
Better still, recycling glass produces less CO2 emissions and consumes less energy than new plastic. This is largely down to the polluting resources required to produce new plastic and that plastic recycling requires more complexity and processing and accordingly higher energy use.
When it comes to storing and consuming milk, glass milk bottles are safer. Plastic milk bottles come with a number of risks including chemical leaching. This means that chemicals can leak into the milk and pose health risks.
Glass milk bottles do not come with the same health concerns. We make glass with natural materials such as sand and limestone. What’s more, it is the only packaging that the FDA classes as fully safe.
Due to its natural composition, glass is chemically inert. This means that it does not consist of reactive chemicals.
Let’s face it, consumers love simplicity. Plastic milk bottles can leak from the lid when squeezed. We’ve probably all suffered a leaky plastic bottle from time to time.
Whereas a glass bottle retains the same shape and won’t leak when crushed at the bottom of a supermarket bag under heavier items. They’re also more robust and sturdy to hold, of course, you do need to keep them upright.
We all know just how flexible plastic bottles are. While glass is undoubtedly strong and has the ability to safely store content, it is also fragile. Any kind of impact can cause the glass to break and this instantly means that it is useless. What’s more, it means that the contents will also go to waste.
Glass is also susceptible to sharp changes in temperature. Therefore, a glass milk bottle left on a doorstep can shatter once it is met with warm temperatures.
When we compared to the thin plastic milk bottles we have become accustomed to, there is no doubt glass is heavier. As a result, its weight adds to the cost of transportation. Also, it means that consumers will have to the price as well as the environment due to the emissions from transporting the bottles.
In this respect, alternative containers such as cardboard or even plastic are a more favourable option. In some instances, manufacturers have attempted to use thinner glass. However, this brings with it a range of other issues.
A simple accident can cause the glass to shatter and break. This makes it more dangerous than plastic. With shattered glass comes the risk of cuts and what’s more, the broken pieces can also find their way into other bottles if damaged during the manufacturing process.
At any time during the entire process, from manufacturing bottles to filling them to transporting them and even handling by consumers, the glass can pose a safety risk.
Of course, having a milk delivery will ensure that the milk is as fresh as possible. However, traditional glass milk bottles come with foil tops. Exposure to air can reduce the shelf life of milk once a seal gets broken. Plastic bottles can come with lids that we can re-seal. This ensures the milk can remain as fresh as possible.
It is possible to put lids on glass bottles. However, this would require the use of other materials and that can have a cost implication as well as an implication on the environment if the lid is made of plastic.
Further, the wholly transparent nature of most glass milk bottles can result in the degradation of milk when exposed to light. The slightly translucent plastic alternatives offer a slight advantage here. Of course, it’s not too much a problem as most of us safely store our milk in the dark of the refrigerator.
With the advantages and disadvantages clear to see, we have asked whether glass is a feasible option for transporting and storing milk?
The environmental advantages outweigh the disadvantages which is certainly a positive thing. What’s more, the resurgence in the use of glass milk bottles proves that people are now thinking and buying in a more environmentally conscious way.
More and more of us no longer want to purchase milk in plastic bottles. As we increasingly look to alternatives to plastic we’re likely to see more glass used. Therefore, it should only be seen as a good thing that glass milk bottles are making a comeback.
All the same, until supermarkets can find a way to produce, transport and reuse glass milk bottles cost-effectively plastic will continue to be their de facto choice. The more of us that switch to glass the more likely it is they’ll look to proactively move away from plastic.
From being kinder to the environment to reducing plastic waste and even being kinder to our bodies, glass bottles seem to be a better choice all round.
There is no doubt that technology is the biggest contributor to climate change but it also can act as a saviour when used in a pro-environmental manner. Yes, you read it right! British Engineers have created a tree-planting drone that can plant 100,000 trees in one day. Biocarbon Engineering, a start-up based in Oxford, has been using these flying machines to plant trees and grasses at abandoned mines in Australia and on sites in other parts of the world. Read more Tree-Planting Drone Can Plant...
In this post, TRVST welcomes George Stacey, an environmentalist, author and CEO at Norvergence. Norvergence is an NGO based on New York working to raise awareness around climate change.
There is no doubt that technology is the biggest contributor to climate change but it also can act as a saviour when used in a pro-environmental manner.
Yes, you read it right! British Engineers have created a tree-planting drone that can plant 100,000 trees in one day.
Biocarbon Engineering, a start-up based in Oxford, has been using these flying machines to plant trees and grasses at abandoned mines in Australia and on sites in other parts of the world.
Irina Fedorenko, the cofounder of Biocarbon Engineering, said:
We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions. We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success.
Biocarbon is working with Worldview International Foundation, an NGO to replant mangrove saplings in Myanmar. To date, the organization has planted an area of 750 hectares, about twice the size of Central Park.
Biocarbon’s tree planting drones operated by skilled pilots, fly more than 300 feet over the land and collect a range of data points such as soil quality and topography.
Using this data and with the help of an algorithm, the best locations to plant trees are chosen. Subsequently, another group of drones follows the algorithm created map and plants the seeds accordingly.
Irina Fedorenko, co-founder of BioCarbon Engineering said:
“We can modify what to plant, and where, so you have the highest chance of survival. If you do aerial spreading–you just spread seeds wherever–maybe they hit a rock, maybe they hit a swamp, and they’re not going to survive. But we can basically control for that.”
In 2008, when a hurricane hit Burma, around 138,000 people were killed. Deforestation added to this loss or overall damage.
Bremley Lyngdoh, a board member at Worldview International said at the time:
“We are now racing against time to rebuild the green shield in order to protect the most vulnerable people living in the coastal zones before another massive storm hits them again.”
The foundation will also provide an incentive for people to take care of trees. Fedorenko added:
“The foundation wants to guarantee that after the ecosystems are restored, people have the incentive to actually keep it and care about it.
It’s all about creating livelihoods. We have to create jobs that are long-term that can sustain the family, then they see the benefit of the project, and they get engaged in the long term.”
Also, without human effort, the whole process seems impossible as workers prepare seed pods for the drones.
Lyngdoh explained this:
“Drones can’t plant trees without people on the ground trained to collect seeds and convert them into seed pods. Pods are then loaded by hand and fired from the drones.
The process will take time as it has never before been tested in mangrove swamp soils–so we need to train local people in all our partnering villages and build their capacity first before the drones are deployed on the ground. There is also government regulations and clearance that needs to be done, and this process takes time, as it has never been implemented before in Myanmar.
We also train local people to be drone pilots, Fedorenko added.
“And they want that. They want to be in IT. They want to process data, they want to fly drones, they want to do agroforestry, they want to do regenerative agriculture, they want to create vertical farms . . . they want to do all this cool stuff. It’s not the ambition to be a seedling planter for $1 a day.”
This project will definitely expand in an order to achieve the goal of planting 1 billion trees. Fedorenko notes:
“If [it can be] financially sustainable…that will be huge for pretty much all the tropical areas around the world. Every country that has mangroves will be able to replicate the example, all around the equator.”
“We need to restore [forests to cover] basically the size of India by 2030. It’s mind-blowing. At the current speed, it’s impossible. That’s why we’re innovating. That’s what motivated us in the first place.”
NASA veteran Dr. Lauren Fletcher who is also the founder of BioCarbon Engineering said that he very well understood the reasons why forests were coming down so fast. But the question that puzzled him was, “why it’s very hard for people to plant trees?”
He answered his question:
“I realized very quickly that it’s because the state of the art [method] at the time was really hand planters, people with a bag of saplings on their shoulder going out, day after day, and bending over every 15 to 20 seconds and planting a tree, and it’s really hard grueling work.”
When asked about the origin of tree-planting drone idea and his partnership with Fedorenko, he said,
“I saw firing saplings from drones is a potential solution to the problem of reforestation. I and Fedorenko spent almost six months pitching early iterations of an idea at various competitions and accelerators.”
In 2015, their idea/concept was selected as a finalist for Drones for Good in a competition organized by the Emirate of Dubai.
The interesting part is, at that time they don’t have any drones.
After receiving funding from the Skoll Foundation and organizing committee, they made their first prototype.
In Paris, the prototype won the €100,000 top prize at the Hello Tomorrow conference. After that, they hired South African business school student Matthew Ritchie, an accountant who is now the company’s CFO and Susan Graham, an Australian biomedical engineer.
In 2017, they got their first break and restored a decommissioned open-cut mine in Australia. While concluding, Fedorenko said:
“We want to make the barrier to entry much lower [for companies]. Imagine you are Audi and you sit in Germany, and you think: Oh, let’s plant some mangroves in Myanmar. How do you even start? What do you do? Whom do you call? And here we come.”
The post Tree-Planting Drone Can Plant 100,000 Trees in One Day appeared first on TRVST.
As consumers, for decades we could shop and rely on plastic bags. Even when purchasing single items, we would happily walk out of the shop carrying them in a plastic bag. Many people then chose to use these plastic bags to collect rubbish around the home or re-use them for everything from carrying school lunches to keeping wet sportswear. Once they reached the end of their useful life these would then find their way to landfill or get consumed by the ocean. It is because our discarded...
As consumers, for decades we could shop and rely on plastic bags. Even when purchasing single items, we would happily walk out of the shop carrying them in a plastic bag. Many people then chose to use these plastic bags to collect rubbish around the home or re-use them for everything from carrying school lunches to keeping wet sportswear. Once they reached the end of their useful life these would then find their way to landfill or get consumed by the ocean. It is because our discarded single-use plastic bags pollute that we need to ban the bag. Researchers have even called it an ocean emergency as 80% of the waste that ends up on land, shores, on the ocean and the sea bed is plastic.
Single-use plastic bags are a huge problem for our environment. In fact, plastic pollution as a whole is an ever-increasing problem. It is one that we need to combat rapidly by implementing programmes and initiatives that get to the source of the problem. It is imperative that we become passionate, motivated and implement change to protect nature from any more of our man-made plastic.
Discarded single-use plastic bags are undoubtedly a nuisance for society. Unfortunately, once discarded, we cannot absolutely control or contain where our bags end up. Because plastic bags are lightweight they can prove difficult to recycle mechanically and can blow out of landfill into waterways or nature.
Once in the wild, they move with the weather and the flow of rivers and tides. What this means is that a bag washed into the Ocean in Europe can eventually end up on a beach halfway around the world in Asia.
Further, even when sent off to recycling, many developed countries ship their recycling offshore where the fate of the humble bags is less than certain. Researchers have shown that in the UK we only recycle a third of our own plastic waste, with the rest shipped elsewhere.
What we should also remember is that it is not just about how we dispose of single-use plastic bags. There is also the problem of how we manufacture them.
Manufacturing single-use plastic bags requires crude oil. This is a fossil fuel that is non-renewable and using it inevitably contributes to global warming. What’s more, we also need to transport them, all of which adds further CO2 emissions across the lifecycle of plastic
Single-use plastic bags are also a problem for animals and marine life. Commonly, they are mistaken for food causing animals to choke or become ill from the toxins. The problem does not stop there. Animals, and in particular marine animals can become tangled in them. This can cause them to become immobilised and even strangled.
Humans don’t get away from the problem either. Fish consume thousands of tons of plastic on an annual basis. Therefore, this also means that we are consuming fish that are poisoned by plastic. The facts are staggering and the MacArthur Foundation predicts that there will be more single-use plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
The problem of single-use plastic bags is widespread. They are a leech on our society and environment and they are a problem that has spiralled out of control.
There have been positive moves in the right direction when it comes to reducing single-use plastic bags. In 2002, the Bangladesh government was the first to impose a ban on single-use plastic bags. As of January 2020, a total of 74 countries have also followed suit. Along with this, 37 countries now charge consumers to use bags, such as the UK.
What’s more, the EU has implemented a sweeping ban on single-use plastic found in cotton buds, straws and stirrers. This will come into force in 2021.
The reality of the situation is that we all have to do our bit. Fortunately, plastic bag bans are making a difference.
Whether it is an outright ban or a charge, we are using fewer bags. Better still, bag bans are making consumers aware of the damage they can cause. When you consider that 87 billion single-use plastic bags are used in Europe, more still has to be done.
In the UK, legislation means that supermarkets are now being forced to charge consumers for bags but some are going further. Lidl has removed its 9p single-use bags from all of its stores in Wales. This completely removes the ability to purchase more, forcing consumers to think about what they are using.
This is a movement that is educating consumers. It is also a movement that is having a positive effect.
The first bag tax was passed in Denmark in 1993. As a result, residents use on average, around four plastic bags each year. In contrast to this, the USA has more work to do as residents use nearly one bag per person each day. There are solutions and improvements out there to be had, they just need to be more widely spread.
For the good of our oceans and environment, we cannot continue to have countries that are on the opposite ends of the scale when it comes to the number of single-use bags we use. It is about collaboration. It is about understanding and educating which is why people calling for plastic reduction is a vital aspect of the process.
Of course, the best outcome is to completely remove single-use plastic bags from everyday life. At this moment in time, this still seems like a mountain to climb. Despite this, since strides have been made in the reduction of plastic bags, we have seen the introduction of ‘Bags for Life’ as a solution or an alternative.
The idea of a ‘Bag for Life’ is to give consumers a bag that they can use time and time again. It removes the need to use a new bag each time we head to the shop. However, it puts more responsibility on consumers to ensure they actually use them and requires an element of awareness.
Old habits die hard as they say and for too long we have been able to obtain new bags each time we head to the supermarket. To entirely remove single-use plastic bags this form of behaviour has to alter and consumers have to adapt.
As supermarkets and shops are adhering to new laws, consumers have become savvier plastic-free shoppers. They have to reuse their ‘Bags for Life’ and remember them each time they head out. Failing to reuse them will mean taking goods home without bags or having to purchase more ‘Bags for Life’ and this is where the solution might not be as good as it initially sounds. The truth is, ‘Bags for Life’ are still made from plastic. The plastic is heavier and once the bag is discarded it can still become a problem for the environment.
Removing single-use bags and replacing them with ‘Bags for Life’ is clearly a move forward. However, some studies have suggested that because the plastic is heavier and that we require more resources to manufacture bags for life they may not be as good as they first seem. The same study notes that in the UK supermarkets have sold consumers the equivalent of 54 bags for life per household.
Despite this, ‘Bags for Life’ can come in a number of different materials and are not always made of plastic. More and more consumers are now using bags made from natural fibres. These are sturdier, have a longer life and are easier to use. Clearly, when bags for life are not replaced regularly we have a better outcome, even better still avoiding bags made from plastic entirely is the aim.
So, whether a ‘Bag for Life’ is the answer all depends on the actions of consumers. Along with this, it also depends on the kind of bag that they choose to use. However, there is no doubt that a ‘Bag for Life’, when used in the correct way can help to reduce the impact of single-use plastic bags.
There are a number of knock-on effects when it comes to banning bags. While many will look at the negatives, there are some economic benefits that come with the decision to prohibit the use of bags.
So, while bag manufacturers will have to scale back production, it does not mean the end for the industry. As consumers use reusable bags, this will lead to employment opportunities in the manufacture of eco-friendly bags from natural materials.
Consumers might also benefit from a reduction in the price of goods. Through eliminating the cost of free plastic bags, stores may have the opportunity to lower their prices. How much these savings are passed on to consumers is debatable.
We are all aware of the problem of litter. Single-use plastic bags are one of the main culprits.
However, if we reduce the number of bags we use, it could also mean that less public money is spent on processing, recycling and removing plastic trash from our streets and public places.
It might be hard to believe but single-use plastic bags even cause problems for drainage systems. This can cost millions of pounds to rectify. Fewer bags means fewer problems and more savings. What’s more, it can also help to reduce flooding.
Therefore, the economy can benefit from savings. It will also mean that money can be redirected elsewhere.
It is a massive problem to solve but one that we can all take steps to help remedy. While we need to act fast, it is important that every government and country gets on board. It seems counter-intuitive to have one country banning bags when another is continuing to use them as normal, which seems to be the case when you compare the likes of Bangladesh to the USA.
We also have to be aware of the amount of plastic bags already floating around our environment both on land and in the sea. This is undoubtedly a problem that requires a two-pronged approach. We need to remove waste while also reducing waste and the latter begins by banning bags.
They say that prevention is better than cure and that could well be the case when it comes to plastic bags.
A change in your environment usually means a change in schedule and a change in schedule means a change in lifestyle, which results in all other kinds of change: food, sleep, language, experiences, people and relationships (including platonic). This has a tremendous knock-on effect on our behaviours and habits. So what is it about a new environment that helps us to create change? Here's 10 ways that travel can help create change and offer up new perspectives Read more 10 Ways Travel Can Help...
To explore this we need to go back a few million years and look at how we evolved to change. In basic terms we adapted to new surroundings and as the planet changed so did all the species within it, including us. Giraffes grew taller necks, birds grew different shaped beaks and we learnt to stand on two feet.
It’s quite simple really – you don’t change.
Now, if your happy with the way everything is, that’s completely fine and hats off to you. But unfortunately, there are a lot of people that aren’t and do want change in certain aspects of their lives, be it their jobs, their lifestyle, their diet, their health, their relationships, their thoughts or their behaviours. Now I can’t help you grow taller necks or change the shape of your beak but I can help you stand on your own two feet
We’ve all been there at some point:
Now doing that in the same environment, as we’ve already learnt is going to be extremely difficult. We adapt to our surroundings so if there is no change in these environmental factors it’s going to be very difficult to instigate change.
A change in your environment usually means a change in schedule and a change in schedule means a change in lifestyle, which results in all other kinds of change: food, sleep, language, experiences, people and relationships (including platonic). This has a tremendous knock-on effect on our behaviours and habits.
The problem is if we’re not prepared to change or embrace change it can cause even more problems as ‘the only constant in life is change’ (Heraclitus). We sure as hell better be ready for it if we don’t instigate it.
This is where new experiences, new challenges and new environments can you give you the skills and tools that you need to be ready for any unexpected changes. Like I mentioned previously going outside of our comfort zone pushes boundaries and whilst it may be scary its growth and we need to learn to ‘become comfortable with being uncomfortable’.
So why do I think travel helps create change:
Ultimately we can all create change but it’s having the courage and willpower to make it happen. We get comfortable in our usual patterns and environments and going outside of these comfort zones is scary. However, fear is an important part of that change as we’re going into the unknown but developing important skills and growing as a result of it.
The other issue with creating change is that we tend to be very goal-focused as opposed to journey focused. This means we constantly think about the big picture without breaking it down into smaller steps. This can become overwhelming and as a result, we fall back into those usual behaviours of making excuses, building barriers, procrastinating and feeling stuck.
Travel can help us create change as we begin to see things differently. We appreciate the smaller things, the simple things and this can help us break down those stages into much more manageable, bitesize chunks.
It’s great to have ambition and big goals but create realistic and achievable milestones to get there.
It takes a lot of willpower, determination, failure, tenacity and courage to create change but remember, it’s a personal journey and the challenges and obstacles are different for each and everyone one of us.
This is why Project Change was created, to help people transition through this change. The idea was to help people discover what it was they wanted to change (as quite often people aren’t sure of the root cause of the issue). The second phase is to help them realise and appreciate the skills and attributes that they have and most importantly enjoy. And, finally empower them with the tools and resources to transition:
As well as it being a psychological journey, we believe that the physical journey is just as important. Therefore by creating the right environmental conditions we can ensure that travel can be a huge facilitator to create change, whilst exploring new places with incredible people. Not to mention travelling sustainably with purpose and impact.
If you’re interested in travel and change come and join us for our first event on Wednesday 29th January at Essex House, 29-31 Essex Road, Angel, London, N1 2SA. The guys at Essex House have also kindly offered us a beer and pizza at just £10 – worth coming just for that
This post originally appeared on flogglebinder on the 13th January 2020 and is republished with the author’s kind permission.
Rana Balkiş is an architect and painter based in Istanbul. Here we ask her a few questions about her new series “Infinite Possibilities” which has recently been accepted to exhibit at the USA’s first climate museum in NYC. Read more “Infinite Possibilities” By Rana Balkis Raising Awareness of Climate Change Through Art › The post “Infinite Possibilities” By Rana Balkis <h4>Raising Awareness of Climate Change Through Art</h4> appeared...
Rana Balkiş is an architect and painter based in Istanbul. Here we ask her a few questions about her new series “Infinite Possibilities” which has recently been accepted to exhibit at the USA’s first climate museum in NYC.
I am an architect and painter and I live in Istanbul, one of the oldest and most beautiful metropolises of our world inhabited by people as early as 3,000 BC, for over 5,000 years. Istanbul and its beauty has been depicted by European painters starting from the 18th century at the dawn of industrial revolution, with the West beginning to take a greater interest in the East.
Society is now entering what is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is fueled by coal and fossil fuels with adverse environmental effects. In this era not only are we able to transmit our ideas quickly around the world but the pollution from the energy that fuels digital technologies as well. This triggered an urge in me to find a new way, through my art, to raise awareness for climate change and environmental consciousness.
In my series titled “Infinite Possibilities” working in the style of “collage”, I intend my oil paintings to expand our curiosity and imagination so we better connect, understand and adapt to our technologically changing world by expanding our perception in the context of our stagnant values, behaviour and norms.
I want my artwork to open people’s minds to new ideas that take into consideration the harmonious existence of all living beings and the man-made structures on earth.
The titles of my paintings are depictive of the messages I am trying to convey. For example, in my painting titled “Hope”, I paint a solarized future world that we can first dream and then create for the future generation.
In my individualistic style, through colours and forms, I am exploring human nature by building awareness between consumerism and a sustainable way of living for all beings. It’s all connected, pollution is borderless and boundless. How we live our lives, in each country, is closely related to the state of our earth. Mass consumption has created a world that threatens essential sensitive ecological systems and our emotional, mental health state. But there’s a lot of hope, we can make a difference – we can all contribute to change through our creativity and the choices we make.
‘’Impulsive cravings’’ Oil on canvas.
‘’Dürtüsel arzular’’ Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×126 cm. / 2018
‘’Climate change’’ Oil on canvas
‘’Küresel ısınma’’ / Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×126 cm. / 2018
‘’Entry to under World’’ Oil on canvas.
‘’Alt dünyaya giriş’’ / Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×126 / 2018
‘’Primal Passion’’ Oil on canvas
‘’İlksel tutku’’ / Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×126 cm. / 2019
‘’Moment of realisation’’ Oil on canvas.
‘’Şuurun geldiği an’’ / Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×90 cm. 2019
‘’Hope’’ Oil on canvas
‘’Umut’’ / Tuval üzerine yağlı boya / 90×90 cm. / 2019
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From manufacturing to how we dispose of our clothing the fashion industry is a serious polluter. From cheaper garments to keeping them for less time to throwing them away when they are no longer in fashion or useful, it all adds up. Therefore, we hope you enjoy our selection of TED talks on sustainable fashion. Each takes a view on the role that sustainable fashion, fashion that consumes fewer resources and ultimately causes less harm, can play in helping our environment. Read more 7 TED Talks...
While we are all coming together to fight global warming, it seems as though almost every aspect of our lives plays some role in the way in which mankind has contributed to our warming planet. Whether it is driving the car to work, disposing of waste or the number of flights we make each year, it all feeds into the problem we are facing. Similarly, fashion is no different. From manufacturing to how we dispose of our clothing the fashion industry is a serious polluter. From cheaper garments to keeping them for less time to throwing them away when they are no longer in fashion or useful, it all adds up. Therefore, we hope you enjoy our selection of TED talks on sustainable fashion. Each takes a view on the role that sustainable fashion, fashion that consumes fewer resources and ultimately causes less harm, can play in helping our environment.
Most of us follow fashion in one way or another. Whether we keep up with the trends of the fashion industry or we do our own thing, the vast majority of the clothes we wear have a detrimental impact on our environment.
The first problem we face is our throw-away society. As trends change, we often simply throw away clothing. Much of which will end up in landfill.
The other concern is what our clothes are made of. Many of us, unknowingly, will be wearing clothing that contains plastic. Even your wool jumper with 25% nylon contains synthetics derived from plastic. Staggeringly 65 million tonnes of plastic was used to manufacture our clothes in 2016. Plastic waste is a huge problem and clothing plays a part in this.
As environmental concerns grow, we must encourage thought as to what happens to our clothing once we discard of it. We have to actively think about recycling it or make sure we dispose of it correctly. Or even better make it last. As we get this right, then we are on our way to helping reduce fashions environmental footprint.
The second problem we face is the manufacturing process. As we throw away clothing and purchase more, supply has to keep up with demand. Therefore, the manufacturing process becomes quicker, we produce more and that causes us to use more resources and create more pollution. Fast fashion may provide us with cheap t-shirts and on-trend garments a week after they’ve been on tele, but it doesn’t work for the environment. This is why we need to think about ethical fashion.
So, these ted talks are aimed at highlighting sustainable fashion. They are thought-provoking and help us to identify the problems we face.
Both a designer and a sustainability educator, Clara Vuletich has worked with big fashion brands to implement better sustainable practices. As part of this talk, she explains the lifecycle of our clothing. She also touches on the issues within the fashion industry while providing tips on how to be more eco-conscious when it comes to fashion.
She inspires and informs. Her impressive understanding is effective at conveying her message clearly. It enables viewers to learn about how our clothes are made and what they contain. She also discusses important values that the fashion industry needs to think about too.
A British writer and someone who feels passionate about environmental issues, Lucy Siegle has one goal – to make environmental issues surrounding the fashion industry clear and accessible.
This TED talk will introduce you to her work. She set out to help us understand the impact that our wardrobe has on the environment. She supports her argument by introducing key numbers and statistics drawn from scientific research.
Lucy ably shares her belief that we can all become a part of ethical fashion, and also maintain a fashionable look. And how this can be achieved by gaining an understanding of what we wear and where our clothes are made.
In “The Wardrobe to Die For” she helps us to understand how our shopping, what we purchase and the fashion decisions we make impacts our environment. She follows this up with her ideas about how the fashion industry can make a change for the better.
Buy Lucy’s book on Amazon: To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? Lucy Siegle
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit is the largest event that focuses on sustainability and fashion. The driving force behind this is the Danish Fashion Institute of which Eva Kruse is the CEO and President.
In her TED Talk, she focuses on the way in which the fashion industry has the ability to tackle social, environmental and ethical issues worldwide. Further, she also indicates how consumers can play a role. As such, she states that consumers should not wait for sustainable options to come to them. Instead, they should take a proactive approach in order to alter the fashion industry and the way in which it approaches sustainability.
Dr Christina Dean’s work looks to enhance environmental sustainability within the fashion industry. As the founder and CEO of Redress, which is a not-for-profit organisation, she aims to promote and encourage a new way of thinking about fashion
In this talk, she relays her deep understanding of the impact of fast fashion on our environment. Through her travels, she has seen first-hand the impact that it has. As a result, she encourages consumers to consider what they buy, to look after their clothes and recycle where possible.
By educating her audience with facts and examples she provides people with the information they need to make more ethical fashion decisions.
Orsola de Castro is the founder of Fashion Revolution as well as the creative director. She is someone who believes in up-cycling and during her talk, she expresses the need to raise awareness of green fashion.
As a result, she discusses how we can use waste to create clothing. In doing so, she believes that this can provoke a circular approach to fashion’s manufacture. What’s more, she also believes that it will change attitudes when it comes to sustainability and fashion working together.
This talk differs slightly from the others as it is not based on sustainable fashion. However, it does discuss how our clothes are made and what they consist of.
Lauren Singer is the founder of the Package Free Store in New York, a zero-waste store. She is also a zero-waste blogger. As part of this talk, she discusses her journey to becoming a zero-waste supporter. She also provides her insight and experience in doing so, helping inspire others to become a part of the zero-waste movement.
This talk is simply aimed at provoking consumers to consider that they no longer have to purchase new outfits. Jessi Arringtonaims promotes our ability to reuse and recycle. She believes that none of us has to wear anything new. Therefore, we can repurpose what we already own and purchase used items from second-hand stores.
The reality is that most of us are guilty of purchasing new clothing when we don’t need to. We change our looks, we seek out new trends and try to stay en vogue. However, we don’t always need to and we certainly don’t have to conform to the ideas and thoughts of brands and designers, or the latest trends. In fact, arguably, one of the latest trends looks set to be keeping our clothes for longer and demonstrating our care for the environment.
Clothing has a real impact on our environment. However, the impact has taken a back seat because of other causes of greenhouse gases such as cars or industry.
The truth is, we are all a part of this because we all need clothing. While some of us might not drive cars and contribute to the problem in that way, we can all play a part in improving the status quo with our clothing choices. As such, incremental changes to our purchasing decisions will further help create a more sustainable fashion industry for the future of the planet.
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