Health

Many environmentally sound ways of living are also healthier for individuals, as avoiding the use of fossil fuels is often synonymous with living a more active lifestyle. Sharing resources is also a good way to reduce harm to the environment.

The consumer marketing of pharmaceutical drugs has resulted in many people taking chemicals unnecessarily, often only treating the symptoms rather than the cause. An increase in awareness of your health and others could avoid un-necessary problems. Many issues with health require professional help but by using simple treatments (such as the one below) and living a healthier lifestyle you can boost your immune system and reduced your trips to the GP.

Reducing the need for drugs could also be significant to ecological life. Researchers have found an ever-increasing female and hermaphrodite population of fish in rivers and attribute it to oestrogen that is accumulating in effluents from sewage treatment works. The popularity of the contraceptive pill is a likely cause [[http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0275%2d7540&volume=8&issue=4&spage=275|Chemistry and Ecology]]
 

DIY health

There are many herbs with medicinal properties; after all aspirin came from willow tree bark. Try this simple flu ‘tea’: combine equal parts of elderberry, peppermint and yarrow and steep 2 teaspoons of the mixture in a cup of hot water. It induces a sweat and helps the body handle fever and reduce aches, congestion and inflammation.
For more information try www.pfaf.org

Tampons, sanitary towels and alternatives

Every day 2.5 million tampons are flushed down the toilet, along with 1.4 million sanitary towels and 700,000 panty liners. Almost 70% of all blockages in the sewerage system are attributed to "disposable" sanitary items.
 

So what’s the alternative?

The Mooncup: the Mooncup is a reusable menstrual cup made out of silicone rubber that is worn internally to collect the blood. It really isn’t as icky as it may sound and most people wonder why they never tried it before! Visit www.mooncup.co.uk for further information. You can buy these at cost price from the Green Action Co-op and from Boots. Or make your own instead of buying commercial brands,
community.livejournal.com/menstrual_lib/profile has plenty of links to information on how to.

Ecological brands of disposable tampons and sanitary towels: brands such as Natracare make biodegradable organic cotton tampons and towels.
 

West Yorkshire MedAct: speaks out for people whose health has been affected by famine, war, environmental damage Contact:
wymedact@phonecoop.coop

Ethical Shopping

As consumers, we need to be making intelligent, responsible and ethical choices in our daily lives. Companies depend entirely on their customers’ goodwill; if you and a few thousand other people let a company know that you think their attitude is rubbish then, if they have any sense, they’ll change it. The same goes for supporting companies that you believe are doing good- they’ll keep it up.

An increasing interest in ethical produce companies have begun to successfully capitalise on the green market by launching new product lines. Unfortunately, a few token ‘green’ gestures & ‘natural’ ingredients invariably mask their usual unsustainable practices & chemical cocktails.

Supermarkets

80% of the British grocery market is controlled by supermarkets. Supermarkets wield dis-proportionate buying power which they use to secure low prices and exclusive deals at the expense of producers & smaller retailers. By buying in small independent shops, co-ops, or in local markets you are helping the local economy and keeping money in the community rather than with big multinationals. Buying from local producers and shops is also often cheaper and is definitely more environmentally friendly.

Animal testing

This is a serious issue, with companies continually competing with each other to find new products, that aren’t really much different to all the others on the shelves. Check to see if it has been tested on animals & if alternatives exist. If not then maybe write to them and ask why.

Guides

Ethical consumers – www.ethicalconsumer.org –
comprehensive boycott list if you are interested in wrongdoers, and ethiscore’s – www.ethiscore.org – research comparing brands
LUU also has a list of goods/ organisations banned from the union and companies/ organisations not banned but frowned upon.

  1. Do you really need:
    those new shoes, that new mobile phone or yet another pair of jeans?
  2. Can you fix it?
    Repairing items can be cheap AND you get to use your imagination…
  3. Second-hand
    • Freecycle Leeds – a free, local version of e-bay (and virtual version of a swapshop) to subscribe freecycleleeds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Or www.groups.yahoo.com/group/freecycleleeds
    • Swapshops – bring what you don’t need and take what you do need. Browse the one in the Peanut Gallery SC in LUU or set up your own!
    • Charity shops and Jumble Sales You’d be shocked what students throw out after term finishes
  4. Buy items from a socially and environmentally responsible source.
    Choose local independent businesses and co-ops (see map on pg. 16) over supermarkets. And try to buy things that last.

Second-hand

Buying second-hand can help charities and you can even make friends with your neighbours by getting (or giving) useful things, see Flow-chart. There is no place for a bargain like a car boot sale

Some ethical brands:
Chocolate: Plamil and Traidcraft (Plamil specialising in tasty vegan & sugarfree chocolate!)
Tea and Coffee: Zapatista, Equal Exchange, Traidcraft, Clipper, Essentials
Make-up: Beauty Without Cruel
Clothing: Ptree, No Sweat Apparel, GossyPlum, Antiform, Shoes: Vegetarian Shoes

Fairtrade

Whilst Fairtrade certification is undoubtedly benefiting many growers and producers, it is important to still be aware of the issues. Traditionally Fairtrade was only ethical but it is not questioning if it should be ‘green’ also., see
www.newint.org/features/2006/11/01/fairtrade/

Fairtrade in Leeds

Leeds was awarded the status of Fairtrade City in March 2004 after an increasing number of shops and other outlets began to stock Fairtrade goods. For more information see www.fairtradeleeds.org. For more information about Fairtrade and the Foundation check out www.fairtrade.org.uk. Also look out for events and stalls around the University and Leeds during Fairtrade Fortnight which is the 1st-14th of March every year.

• [[http://www.leeds.ac.uk/about/environmental/fairtrade.ht|Leeds Fairtrade University]]
• [[http://www.maketradefair.com|Oxfam]]
• [[http://www.tjm.org.uk|The Trade Justice Movement]]
• [[http://www.newint.org/features/2006/11/01|Ethical shopping from the New Internationalist]]

Travel in the Leeds Area and Beyond

Whether getting to Uni in the morning or going on holiday: the way we get around has a direct impact on the planet. Consider alternative ways of travelling that create less negative impact, you might find them more fun.


Travel in the Leeds Area
 

Travel less

When choosing your house think about the distance to work/Uni/fun and try to shop locally. It isn’t always necessary to have to go far out of Leeds to enjoy some greenery: there are plenty of green spaces to explore in the City. But if you fancy a day trip out of Leeds there are an abundance of places that are accessible by bus, train and bike. Go explore and get back in time for dinner! The Leeds-Liverpool canal is a beautiful bike ride and not too strenuous as it’s flat and, with plenty of pubs to choose from, you can stop off wherever takes your fancy.

Change the way you get around

For most journeys you don’t really need a car and with fuel prices rising you probably won’t be able to afford it anyway. Everywhere is accessible by walking, cycling or Public Transport; all three are a lot cheaper (the former two being FREE), quicker, healthier, safer, more efficient, more environmentally-friendly AND sociable than driving a car. Another added benefit is that you can easily use all three within one journey. If you really need to use a car and feel like having some interesting conversations try a lift share scheme such as www.liftshare.org, or set up a sharing scheme amongst friends. Or if you are skint and car sharing ain’t and option, try hitching. Lots of myth surrounds hitching but if you’re sensible you’ll have great time:
Don’t go alone. Let a trusted friend know your route before you go. Try not to hitch at night
Getting a lift from petrol stations allows you to suss out the driver beforehand
 

Campaigns

Critical Mass – Bikeride, self-organised, celebration meet last Friday of the month, 5.30pm, Millenium Sq.
 

Links

To get a free Leeds Cycling Map try your bike shop or send a stamped, self-addressed A5 envelope to Travelwise, The Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington St., Leeds LS2 8HD- www.tinyurl.com/655red

Metro Journey Planner: www.wymetro.com

National Rail enquiries: www.nationalrail.co.uk / Tel: 08457 484 950

Leeds Cycling Action group: www.leedscyclists.org.uk

Bike User Group: www.leeds.ac.uk/leedsbug

Leeds Uni Transport website: www.tinyurl.com/37x42m

Beyond the Leeds Area
 

Travel less

 Consider staying in the UK: there are many diverse places to keep you interested and you can get to them by bus, train, bike or on foot.
Consider planning your trip together with a family or friend visit, or through WWOOFing make yourself useful in exchange for free food and a place to stay..
 

Changing the way you travel

Tempted by those cheap flights to Europe or even further? Please stop and think about the external environmental and social costs that aren’t included in the ticket price. The Tyndall Centre thinks that to meet government CO2 targets of 60% by 2050 would require manufacturing industries and private households to emit no carbon at all to compensate for the growth of the airline industries – even airline industries predict that global passenger numbers could triple by 2050. Therefore incremental increases in fuel efficiency such as those offered by the latest generation of planes probably won’t be of much use in the fight against climate change.
The alternative: trains, ferries, coaches, hitching…what’s the rush? The journey can be the best part of any adventure, plus you can meet people and see more of a country.
 

Links

National Express www.nationalexpress.com
For booking coaches. Also, cheapest place for train tickets. For cheap tickets: book in advance with a YP railcard.

Transport Direct www.transportdirect.info
Government route planner covering all UK public transport.

Megabus & Megatrain www.megabus.com www.megatrain.com
Offer cheap coach & train tickets, £1 Leeds to London!

WWOOF www.wwoof.org.uk
For £15 it lists of farms which provide food and board in exchange for labour (BTCV do something similar)

BTCV- British Trust of Conservation Volunteers www.btcv.org.uk

Couchsurfing www.couchsurfing.com
An alternative to hostels. You stay on a couch for free & meet a local, or provide a couch & meet an backpacker.

Sustrans www.sustrans.or.uk
UK charity looks after cycle paths & online maps of them.

Seat61:www.seat61.com
Explains how to get just about anywhere in Europe and Asia overland or sea. From a train enthusiast.

Tourism Concern www.tourismconcern.org.uk
Explains about some of the impacts of tourism.

Your Local Community

Thriving local communities are essential to creating a more sustainable world. Students can play a strong role in their community, generating a mutually enriching and sustainable living experience. For information on building community in LS6 see www.headingley.org.uk.


What’s the link with being green?

Being active in your local community is one area in which it is easy to make a big difference to many people. Consuming and producing on a local level, whether it’s food grown at a community allotment project or going to a gig at the community centre, massively reduces the need to transport people and goods long distances. In turn, this reduces burning of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases – and best of all, it makes a happier life for everyone!
 

What can I do?

Here are 5 suggestions of ways to get more involved in your local area.

Get to know your neighbours – knock on the door and introduce yourself, or say hello when you can!

Organise, or volunteer for, a "community clean-up", such as Green Streets.

Shop locally

Start a teaching session at your local community centre

Get involved with and an established group.

Groups with multiple projects

Action

LUU group with over 20 projects working in local community. www.luuonline.com/action

The Peanut Gallery

A student-run social centre in LUU includes meeting, cinema e.t.c.
peanutgallery.wetpaint.com/

Transition City Leeds

A grassroots action model for a smooth transition into a low carbon future. Aims to connect together all relevant activities & initiatives. transition-city-leeds.wikispaces.com/

The Common Place

An independent, collectively-run social centre in the city centre.. Free space for groups to meet, vegan cafe on Sundays and regular events. www.thecommonplace.org.uk

Oblong Resource Centre

Facilities for community use in Burley / Hyde Park area.
www.oblongleeds.org.uk

Swarthmore Centre

A community education centre. www.swarthmore.org.uk
 

Groups on single projects

Bandstand Community Gardens

Allotment project based in Woodhouse. [[http://bandstand-leeds.wikispaces.com/| Bandstand]]

Hyde Park Growers

Members of the group will be taught how to grow their own food. Any surplus is sold locally. Contact: unigreen@leeds.ac.uk

BTCV

A conservation charity working with community groups. Hollybush Conservation Centre, Kirkstall. www.btcv.org.uk

Hyde Park Source

Voluntary group working with young people beautifying urban space.
Email: hydeparksource@btconnect.com
Tel: 2458863

Woodhouse Ridge Action Group

Fortnightly clean-ups on The Ridge. www.woodhouseridge.org.uk
 

Venues

Want to hold an event but not sure where? Here are some suggestions:
The Peanut Gallery: Leeds Uni Student Union

The Common Place: See above.

Headingley Community Centre: North Lane 274 5727

Woodhouse Community Centre: On Woodhouse Lane 0113 2445259

Woodsley Road Community Centre: 64-67 Woodsley Road, serving Hyde Park / Burley area 0113 2435104

Wrangthorn Church Hall: Hyde Park corner
 

Waste… Sort it out!

Reduce, Repair/Reuse, Recycle (Compost)

In Leeds over 340,000 tonnes of waste is generated every year; that’s about enough to fill the Corn Exchange every half hour. A lot of this ‘waste’ could still be used.


Reduce
 

Reducing waste is the first important step. We, as consumers, can think about whether we really need those individually wrapped items. Try to buy products with minimal packaging and buy loose fruit and veg, you could always carry it home in a re-used carrier bag. Reusable bags are available in many stores in Leeds and the Union passed a motion to stop using them at Union shops. You can also stop the annoying junk mail you get though your door by registering at www.mpsonline.org.uk
 

Repair / Reuse

By repairing and reusing items, you are saving them from landfill as well as savings in your pocket. When repairing items such as bikes, clothes, mobiles, chairs, etc.. why not turn it into a skill-share? Skill-shares happen regularly at the Peanut Gallery and Common Place ([[Getting Involved]]). After all, many hands make light work. Spreading the knowledge will make people’s lives easier, reduce landfill, use people’s creativity and best of all can be lots of fun!

Any plastic bottle can be refilled at a tap and yoghurt pots/milk bottles make great seed trays for your seedlings.
Unwanted clothes and household items can be handed into charity shops, given away through [[http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/freecycleleeds|Freecycle]] or placed in the swap shop in the Peanut Gallery. They are sure to find better homes here than landfill will ever make.  [[http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/freecycleleeds|Freecycle]] is also great for getting this that you need like sofas, jam jars e.t.c.

Let’s make rechargeable batteries the norm – standard ones contain strong acids that poison the land around landfill sites.

Recycle

Leeds has a green bins that should be collected monthly, if you have problems then call them 0113 398 4760

Compost!

About one third of the rubbish in your bin can be composted to create a nutrient rich soil. The Uni has introduced compost bins all over so there is no excuse, be a rotter!
 

Why compost?

Well organic waste in landfill sites produces environmental pollutants including methane, a greenhouse gas responsible or global warming. If you can lay your hands on a bucket with a lid, put this in your kitchen, and you can throw in fruit and veg peelings, any garden bits (if you have one), tea bags an coffee grounds, eggshells, scrunched up paper and card + lots more. Cooked food and dairy products are best left out.

Where do I take it?

If you don’t have a garden to use it on, you could take your compost to one of the allotments in Leeds. The Green Action society has an allotment where you can take your compost; get in touch with them for more info: unigreen@leeds.ac.uk