Beef the most costly to the environment

Image source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Beef has the largest environmental foorprint

Image source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Beef has the largest environmental footprint


The newest research from PNAS concludes that raising cattle for beef uses 10 times more resources than any other livestock in the United States. Producing beef requires:

• 28 times more land and
• 11 times more irrigation water

than producing pork, poultry, eggs or dairy.

So if you’d like to reduce your environmental impact:
• swap your steak for an omelette or chicken,
• become a weekday vegetarian
• or switch to a plant-based diet.

Posted in Climate Change, Economics, Green living, News, Research, Sustainability | Leave a comment

3 easy uses for stinging nettle

Image source: John Tann
Stinging nettles are abundant in the countryside

If you’d like to eat more nutritious and environmentally-friendly food, but you find organic produce too expensive, wild food could be the way to go. Wild edibles are the perfect food: free and packed with nutrients, often far exceeding the nutrient content of their domesticated variety.

Foraging can look intimidating, but most of us can identify at least one edible plant. Stinging nettles are a great first plant to try on your wild food journey. They’re incredibly nutritious: just one cup provides almost a half of your daily intake of calcium!

What makes the stinging nettles so great is that they are:

  • abundant in the countryside
  • very easy to identify
  • full of nutrients
  • simple to prepare
  • free!

Here are the most common uses for stinging nettles:

Nettle tea
Nettle tea is considered to help cure problems of the urinary system, decrease blood sugar levels and reduce bacterial infections. Nettle is a laxative, so start by drinking only 1 cup per day, then slowly build it up to no more than 3.
To make the tea, steep fresh or dried leaves in hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. Use roughly a cup of water to a cup of leaves. The older the leaves the more bitter the taste.

Food
There are dozens of recipes using nettles as an ingredient, from simple nettle soup to more adventurous nettle gnoudi. You can also use it in green smoothies instead of your regular spinach as the nettle plant is extremely nutritious:

Compared to spinach, it has 29x the amount of calcium, 14x the amount of iron, 8x the amount of magnesium, and 4x the amount of potassium.

And don’t worry about being stung: blending or blanching the nettle just for a few seconds gets rid of the stinging.

Hair rinse or tonic
Stinging nettles are known for preventing hair loss and strengthening hair, and can also heal dry scalp and dandruff. For the hair tonic, you can just use nettle tea or add a few drops of essential oil of your choice (e.g. lavender) or other herbs, like rosemary, chamomile or sage. Pour the liquid into a bottle or a jar and store it in the fridge. To use, pour the mixture over your hair, massage it into the hair and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse.

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Video Recruitment Could Be Just The Job!

Image source: Startups

Image source: Startups
New technologies allow businesses to lower their impact on the environment

“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and still be in business tomorrow.” — Nelson Jackson

Businesses going green need to recognize every opportunity to stop waste and use resources effectively. New technologies and their application to business tasks are continually creating more ways for businesses to cut their impact on the environment. And video recruitment is one such application that is starting to be adopted by green companies.

Talk to many businesses large or small and one of their most difficult jobs is hiring new staff. It’s a nightmare and in the UK: it’s estimated that each new hire costs £5,000 on average. And that’s just within the business itself. A candidate can often spend hundreds of pounds travelling to an interview. Include that in the cost of seeing 20 candidates and you could be coming closer to £10,000.

But now a new use of internet technology – video recruitment – promises to significantly reduce the resources soaked up by the recruitment process. And it’s suitable for businesses of all sizes.

Recruitment hassle and waste

Image source: Life'd

Image source: Life’d
Cut down recruitment waste with video interviews

Just think of the hassle and waste of the recruitment process. Interviewing candidates means managers must cut out a whole swathe of time, book interview facilities, co-ordinate diaries if there’s a panel interview, send out interview and rejection letters and so on. No wonder the costs are so high.

For candidates, the recruitment process is onerous and often without reward. There is so much competition for any job now.

Candidates work, too

Image source: Job Initiative
Video recruitment is better for both employers and candidates

Candidates have a lot of work to do, particularly if they’re applying for multiple jobs:

  • application forms need to be filled in and posted back
  • if you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you have to invest more time or take time off your current job
  • you need to travel to the interview, sometimes involving an overnight stay.

That all hits the interviewee’s pocket hard and comes at a cost to the environment.

But video recruitment can get rid of much of that cost.

How does video recruitment work?

Image source: Glass door

Image source: Glass Door
Candidates can record their interviews any time

Here at HuddleRecruit.com we make the process as simple as possible. The recruitment process is managed entirely by our internet technology. It’s a typical ‘software as a service’ model. These are the steps involved:

  • A business signs up for an account with a free trial.
  • In their private area, they can record and manage video questions. Of course, they can practice as much as they want to make sure they come across well.
  • They provide candidates with a URL that takes them to the interview questions
  • The candidates can record their interviews at 24/7 and, of course, they too can practice and only submit a video when they’re happy.
  • The business can then review the videos from any computer or mobile connection, make notes and draw up a shortlist.

The next step might involve a live video interview with candidates on the shortlist. Just imagine the cost and environmental savings if the business was in London and the candidate in Glasgow.

The final step would be to invite only the best candidates for a personal interview. Then candidates get a chance to look around their potentially new place of work, chat to people face-to-face and get a feel for the place.

Employers save a lot of time and the candidates they end up interviewing personally are likely to be high quality and a good fit for the job.

The software now available does a fantastic job of streamlining the recruitment process. Employers who take the time to learn how to use it are not only going to save money, but are going to show themselves as tech savvy and forward thinking as well. What business wouldn’t give it a try?

This post was written by Andy Law, Chief Marketing Officer at HuddleRecruit.com who provide a swift, efficient and cheap video recruitment platform for both personal and business customers.

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Eco-Friendly Baby

cloth nappy bum
Modern cloth nappy

When parents are being bombarded with ads for must-have baby products like car bottle warmers, nappies that keep the bum dry for up to 12 hours and even baby bouncers with an iPad holder, it’s hard to keep a cool head and remember that we don’t need all that stuff to raise happy and healthy children.

Taking a greener approach to parenting can seem tricky and time-consuming at first. But since it takes around 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose, we owe it to our children to at least give the eco-friendly route a fair try. After all, we’re borrowing the Earth from our little ones.

Here are a few ways you can reduce your baby’s ecological footprint:

Reusable nappies
It’s a myth that cloth nappies consume as much energy as disposables. Modern reusable nappies don’t have to be soaked in solution and they can be washed on a cold cycle. You can also reuse them for several children. Choose hemp or bamboo nappies as both crops need less water to grow, which makes them more sustainable than cotton.

Reusable wipes
cloth wipes 101
DIY wipes solution board on Pinterest

You can cut up a towel or buy a set of terry or fleece wipes. If using plain water is not enough, make some cloth wipes solution. Combine castile soap, tea tree oil (for anti-bacterial properties) and water, or substitute water for chamomile tea to use on sensitive skin or to treat nappy rash. While on-the-go, put a few dry wipes in your changing bag and pour the solution into a small spray bottle to use as needed.

Elimination Communication (EC)
Many cultures throughout the world do not use any nappies and learn to read baby’s cues instead. Even newborn babies do not like to soil themselves, so they will often wee during a nappy change. You can spend some time learning to recognise your baby’s discomfort and catch her wee into a pot or a cup. Even part-time Elimination Communication will help you reduce the use of nappies.

Babywearing
babywearing
Babywearing friends

Carrying baby in a woven wrap or a modern buckled carrier does not only increase the parent-child bond, but also helps to keep your home clutter-free. No need for a pushchair, baby bouncer or baby rocker when baby can be transported on the parent’s back and soothed by the movement of her carer’s body. And less stuff is always better for the environment.

Less toys
Wooden toys are kinder on the environment than plastic ones, and they usually last longer, too, so you can pass them onto other children. But if you want to reduce your baby’s environmental impact even more, keep the amount of toys you buy to a minimum. Don’t worry, your baby won’t be bored! All babies are fascinated by pots, spoons, keys or sticks and they often ignore the colourful toys they’re supposed to play with. Plus, research shows that boredom is good for kids.

Not buying the latest baby gadget or not following the mainstream parenting trends will not deprive your child or make you a less capable parent. On the contrary, parenting in a more eco-friendly way can increase the connection to your children as you learn to read their cues, hold them close or spend time playing together in nature.

Posted in Culture, Green living, Recycling, Sustainability | Leave a comment

10 bittersweet memes for Earth Day

For this Earth Day we’ve rounded up a collection of memes reflecting on the burning environmental issues we’re facing today, from plastic carrier bags to fracking and overfishing.

Clean water
clean water
via Funny Pictures

Deforestation
Deforestation
via Cuipo

Plastic carrier bags
plastic carrier bags
via Create Meme

Food waste
food waste
via Meme generator

Overfishing
Overfishing
via Quick Meme

Renewable energy
renewable energy
via Wild & Free Project

Endangered species
endangered species
via Quick Meme

Fracking
fracking
via makeameme

GM Food
Gm Food
via Above Top Secret

Industrial farming
industrial farming
via Meme Generator

Posted in Climate Change, Culture, Ecological economics, Economics, Green Business, Green living, Nature, Recycling, Renewable Energy, Solar power, Sustainability | Leave a comment

10 facts about bees

10 facts about bees
Photo: Donald Windley

1. There are over 25 000 species of bee in the world

2. Honeybees can recognise human faces

3. They have an ability to reverse brain aging

4. To collect 1 kilo of honey, a hive will fly 90,000 miles

5. They see red as black

6. Male honeybees die right after mating

7. 70% of the crop species eaten by humans depend on pollination

8. Not all bees live in hives

9. Only honeybees die after stinging

10. Not all bees are yellow and black.

 

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Critically endangered species

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Critically endangered black rhino by René Mayorga

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

No one knows the origin of this saying, but it’s probably one of the most profound statements about the environment.

With the current state of the world , the comment is also quite depressing.

Currently, there’s an overwhelming number of 2129 animals and 1821 plants critically endangered worldwide, as classified by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

That’s almost 4000 animals and plants! Some of them may already be extinct.

Is this the kind of world we want to return to our children?

Posted in Climate Change, Culture, Nature, Sustainability | Leave a comment

5 super easy eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions

organic vegetable box
Weekly veg box

Happy New Year! What’s on your list of resolutions this year? If you’d like to contribute to a more environmentally-friendly way of living, but you think that keeping it up would be too hard to last past January, fear not. Here are 5 very easy New Year’s resolutions that anyone can follow:

1. Stop buying bottled water
2. Always carry a reusable bag
3. Order weekly organic vegetable and fruit boxes
4. Eat meet only on weekends
5. Use a travel mug for takeaway coffee

Posted in Green living, Sustainability | Leave a comment

Environmental wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi

Forest
Photo: Ben Britten

The great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi taught the practice of Nonviolence: ‘being harmless to self and others under every condition.’ His philosophy is not limited to people, but teaches us how to treat all of nature.

Here are Gandhi’s most famous quotes embodying the principle of non-violence towards the environment:

‘The good man is the friend of all living things.’

‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.’

‘What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.’

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Celebrating Earth Day

42 – according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. So given that last Sunday was the 42nd annual Earth Day, we must have finally solved the problems of climate change and sustainable living, right?

Well, sadly, no. But this year saw the campaign ‘Mobilize the Earth’ which, according to the World Earth Day website, aims “to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future”. Put us all together and we really do have a brain the size of a planet, and we can do a lot more with it than poor old Marvin.

Origins of Earth Day

The inspiration for the first Earth Day came in 1969 from two sources – a huge oil spill in California, and the Vietnam War. US Senator Gaylord Nelson saw the disastrous consequences of the Californian oil spill and decided to stage an environmental ‘teach-in’, modelled on the student anti-war protests of the time.

20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day. Decades later it has become a truly global event, with people from all over the world taking the time to celebrate the planet and campaign for environmental awareness.

Earth Day takes place every year on April 22nd, and Earth Week runs from April 16th to 22nd.

How the planet celebrated this year

Environmental marches may be the staple of Earth Day celebrations – with masks, costumes and face paint galore – but this year there were plenty of other unusual events staged in honour of the little blue planet.

  • In Budapest thousands of cyclists took to the streets for the Critical Mass bike ride. They rode to the city park, where they then held up their bicycles over their heads – a workout for the legs and the arms!
  • In New York City over 100 new trees were planted by volunteers.
  • The Nature Conservancy attempted to break the world record for the most people picnicking in 24 hours. There were hundreds of picnics held all over the world, commemorating the nourishment the earth gives 7 billion people every day.
  • Starbucks in Canada gave free coffee to people who turned up at their cafés with reusable travel mugs, instead of disposable paper cups.
  • The film ‘One Day On Earth’ was screened at locations all over the globe. The film was an enormous collaborative project, made from over 3000 hours of footage shot on 11/11/2011, and submitted by thousands of volunteers around the world.

Every day is Earth Day

Earth Day may be over for another year, but the message is enduring and there are still lots of things you can do.

Why not pledge an act of green? It can be anything from writing to your MP about the importance of green issues, to opting to cycle to work one day a week. Over a billion

pledges have already been made and it couldn’t be easier to make your own promise to the planet.

You can also sign the Earth Day Network petition demanding renewable energy for all, which will be presented at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The state of the economy currently dominates politics and the media, and this is one way you can remind world leaders that green issues are still of huge significance.

If you’re feeling inspired you can also check out other environmental campaigns online. Whether you want

to litter pick on a beach, or protest to save a conservation area near you, you can find plenty of information and resources by visiting websites such as Clean Up The World.

Try and make every day Earth Day, because when it comes to protecting the planet, every little helps. (Unless, of course, the Vogons really do want to build a new hyperspace bypass…)

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