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2007 was the warmest year on record, second to 2005. 8 of the hottest years ever recorded were in the last decade. Theories abound as to whether this is due to human activity or not. Al Gore’s docu-film “An Inconvenient Truth” centres around this. And although Gore has been slandered by some critics for his work, accused of falsehoods and hyping up something which is not proven, how can anyone criticize someone for caring about the environment and trying to get his message across?

So if earth is indeed getting warmer, and leading to the dire consequences we have recently seen - hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, melting of the ice caps, and so on - how difficult would it be for us to try to combat this?

Global warming is a result of increased greenhouse gases, formed by the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels include oil, coal, and gasoline. Burning these fuels increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to global warming.

Steps we can all take are simply to reduce our demand for fossil fuels. Thinking that there is no point because what difference does it make if one person does this when there are hundreds of thousands of industries who don’t care only produces a knock-on affect of apathy. We as the consumer have a very loud voice. So why not start by doing something ourselves.

 Now I’m not telling you all to sell your cars and ride a bike (though that would be good). There are so many easy steps we can all take to do our bit to help lessen the carbon footprint we are leaving for future generations.

We have all heard this before but recyling is a huge benefit. By recycling half of your household waste in a year, you are saving 2400 pounds of carbon dioxide. It really is easy. Put your newspapers in a pile, and put them in the recyling bin. Sort your cans, and glass, and plastics.

Another very simple step is to turn down your heating just two degrees in winter, and up two degrees in summer. An extra rug and you wouldn’t even notice the difference! This saves around 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Make your carbon footprint a tiptoe.  

These days there is no excuse to say that you couldn’t live without burgers, sausagses, chicken, bacon or fish. The selection of vegetarian options available in supermarkets within the UK will show you just how delicious these meat replacements can be.

Take Christmas lunch, for example. Quorns family roast is not only low fat, but also contains fibre and protein. With gravy and roasted vegetables my carnivorous guests declared it to be the best Christmas meal they have ever had.

But why do we become vegetarian in the first place? Is it because we don’t like to eat animals that have been reared only to be killed to feed us? It is because they are pumped full or hormones and and live in torturous conditions to fatten them up as quickly as possible for a faster route to our plates? Or is it because we care about the environment and the havoc that is wreaked by clearing the land for livestock.

All these reasons plus many more are factors in choosing the life of a vegetarian.  Next time you go to the supermarket, stop by the vegetarian fridge. Whether you choose to try the huge selection of vegetarian burgers, sausages, or even the smokey bacon, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

A very merry Christmas to all green followers. Remember, keep all your wrapping paper on Christmas day, don’t waste any food, and if you are cold, snuggle up with a rug, and turn that heater off!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as the next person. Unwrapping presents, all the food, cards, and happiness. Now imagine a Christmas with all of this plus more! A Christmas where you can at the end of it know that you have helped the planet, instead of adding to its destruction.

Over 80,000 tonnes of wrapping paper is used each year - equating to chopping down over 50,000 trees. The vast majority of Christmas wrapping paper sold is not recycled, and the trees which are cut down to produce it are very often ancient rainforests. Every day, more and more species of trees become extinct due to deforestation.

Is this necessary? Can’t we find a better way to do this? The answer is yes - and very easily! I suggest buying organic cotton bags and putting the present inside. This has a two-fold benefit - there is no paper used, and the bag can be used in the future for groceries at the supermarket!

If this isnt appropriate to the present you are giving, then using newspapers is a great idea. Tie it up with a reusable ribbon, and the newspaper and ribbon can be recycled and used again.

Over 800 million Christmas cards are sent each year. A few years ago I stopped with sending cards out at all. Imagine - 50 friends, 50 cards, 50 envelopes, 50 stamps, 50 more letters to be delivered to my place - meaning 50 more carbon footprints getting there. These days, I barely ever receive post at all. Almost everything is emailed to me, including pay slips, bills, and, yes, that’s right, even my birthday cards are ecards!

Most Christmas cards end up in the bin anyway - but if you must send cards - then at least buy cards where part proceeds go to charity and use recycled envelopes. 

Christmas is a fantastic time of the year and tiny steps like these aren’t going to make a big difference to you. If we all thought this way, these tiny steps would make a big, big difference.  

Have you heard of Proctor and Gamble? I hope we can forget them! Producing more consumer goods than any other company in the world, Proctor and Gamble use often lethal tests on their products, when so many other alternatives exist today. This is a multi-billion dollar company that could use alternatives to testing on animals but does not.

 The products that Proctor and Gamble produce can easily be replaced with other products which don’t test on animals. The company knows this so uses some of their mammoth profits to lobby against laws to prevent animal testing and on their spin doctors. “New and improved” is great for sales, and if it means adding a new chemical, testing on animals, and increasing profits, its the latter which Proctor and Gamble choose to favour.

Fairy washing-up liquid can be easily replaced by the great brand Ecover, who are against animal testing. They produce a washing-up liquid that not only smells better, but works just as well as Fairy, and is made from biodgradable plastic.

 Changing your washing-up liquid might seem like it will make no difference to a huge company like Proctor and Gamble, but we as the consumers have the power to make the change.

There was a time when organic cotton, fake leather shoes, and charity shop clothes were the domain of new age hippies. Certainly not something that top fashion designers and celebrities wore! But thankfully this has changed, and more and more people are realizing the environmental impact of their purchases.

And environmentally friendly clothing doesn’t have to mean ugly! Stella McCartney - the daughter of a Beatle so it doesn’t get much cooler than this - is an avid vegetarian and uses no leather or fur in her designs. McCartney also has her own skincare line - CARE - made from entirely organic ingredients.

Katherine Hamnet is another great British designer who is proving that clothes can be fashionable as well are environmentally friendly. All her clothes are made using organic cotton and she has produced some amazing clothes which look nothing like the eco-warrier style that organic cotton brings to mind.

 Cotton is the worst polluter in the world as far as crops go - with almost a third of all pesticides use today used on the crops of cotton.  This wreaks havoc with the environment, and it is so easy to change this. Organic sheets are a great alternative, and can be found in many high street stores today, including Marks and Spencers.

 Fashion isn’t about following the trends - the true fashionistas set the trends. And having “green” clothes means you can wear the clothes and look good as well as feel good. They don’t have to be green to be green either!

Green symbolizes the environment, life and healthy living. Consumption includes all steps from production, transport, usage and recycling. Green Consumption indicates a way of living and consuming in an environmental friendly way.

 Green Consumption is often referred to together with the five R’s as in “Reduce, Reevaluate, Reuse, Recycle and Rescue”.

Green Consumption is with this in mind also related to choosing green products that are transported with minimum carbon dioxide emission, unpolluted and with people’s and Earth’s well being as a priority.

More and more people are finally becoming aware of how carbon dioxide emission contributes to the global warming. Companies now also give the opportunity to their customers to pay for the carbon dioxide emissions that are related to the products they buy.When customers take responsibility for their consumption by paying for the environmental waste the money is often donated to environmental causes. This could for instance be donations to research and sponsoring of ecological friendly farming.

Airline companies are often seen among the companies that provide this possibility. The reason for this is because they spread a very high amount of carbon dioxide waste. However, also other kind of companies like for instance electronic stores give this possibility, where one of them is electricshopping.com.

So remember; Pay for your carbon dioxide emissions you too! 

Every once in a while, along comes a food which everyone starts raving about. If you haven’t yet heard about Tibetan goji berries, then chances are you soon will. For gogi berries really are a “superfood”. Containing 18 kinds of amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B6, Vitamin E and 500 times the Vitamin C of oranges, the goji berry is now known as the anti-aging berry.

Goji berries grow high in the mountains in Tibet, and it is in this precise region where people eat goji berries every day that the average life expectancy is 1000% higher - with more people than anywhere else in the world living past 100 years.

It’s easy to eat goji berries, and they taste great too. Imagine a cross between a raisin, cherry and cranberry and this is the goji berry. Eat them by themselves as a snack, or add them to a smoothie. Available in health stores, and now most large supermarkets, the goji berry will supply you with more antioxidants than any other food in the world.

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