Categories
Culture

UK’s most generous city has been revealed

Manchester has been named the UK’s most generous city two years on the trot.

Amazing! What makes Manchester so generous?

The rating comes from GoFundMe, a platform where people can raise money for various causes. Data collected over the last year shows that, across the UK, the people of Manchester donated the most to causes on the website.

What sort of things did they raise money for?

The war in Ukraine was the main focus of GoFundMe in 2022, with the top three campaigns focusing on supporting those who have been displaced by the war. The UK’s largest appeal was the Association of Ukrainians, to which Brits donated more than £2.8m.

In fact, the UK was the third most generous country overall, with Ireland being the first and the US the second.

“The UK going up in the ranks for most generous countries was in part due to the huge response on our platform to the crisis in Ukraine, which was led by generous British donors,” said John Coventry from GoFundMe.

“What we’ve seen in 2022 is that, at times of crisis, kind-hearted people always want to help each other.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Categories
Planet

The skincare company that will save the world

It’s that time of the week when we feature businesses that are giving back – whether that’s to the planet or their community, we’re excited to share it all!

UPCIRCLE BEAUTY.

UpCircle Beauty is a company that takes by-products from other industries and turns them into skincare products! They are based on the idea of the circular economy and have worked hard to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly range of care products that uses up what would otherwise be wasted.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly gift for the skincare enthusiast in your life, or just looking to add step 11 to your Korean skincare routine, this is the brand for you!

THE MAIDSTONE DISTILLERY.

The Maidstone Distillery is not only known for its gin, but its huge efforts to be sustainable. From running on 100% green energy and responsibly foraging ingredients to their plastic-free packaging and bottle refill service, you can certainly drink this gin guilt-free.

Not only that, but 2.5% from the sales of Ranscombe Wild Small Batch Gin are donated to Plantlife, a UK-based conservation charity. We love to see it!

NUMI TEA.

If you thought tea was good enough on its own, think again. Numi Tea is the beautiful brainchild of a brother and sister team who are fighting climate change, poverty and inequality through the power of organic teas.

From providing education and clean drinking water to those in need, to fair trade and their five-step climate action plan, Numi doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk – and what’s more delicious than that?

Categories
Culture

From rescue dog to service dog

Six clever pups have graduated from rescue pooch to lifesaving assistance dog!

So cute!! Tell me more!

The six good boys and girls were rescued by Dogs Trust UK, who have developed a partnership with Service Dogs UK. After living at Dogs Trust centres in Salisbury and Newbury, the six super-pups then lived temporarily with experienced foster fur-parents, before going into training.

So what exactly does a service dog do?

These service pups have gone through a whole year of training with Service Dogs UK. They trained with their soon-to-be owners, to help create a bond between them, and teach them all they need to know.

These six service pooches were all matched with veterans suffering from PTSD, so they can assist them in daily life. From fetching medication, helping with nightmares and panic attacks, and providing a lifeline in stressful situations, these dogs will change the lives of their owners for the better.

That’s amazing!

And the quotes from their new owners are really something beautiful. You keep reading, and we’ll provide the tissues!

Speaking about Barkley, his Labrador cross, Lee said: “He’s changed my life because I don’t feel I can die now, I’ve got to be here to look after him.  The work of Service Dogs UK is incredible, without the charity I don’t know where I would be.  They have given me my life back.” 

Speaking about Rio, Lee said: “I’m much more confident going out and about now like going to the shops or a cafe with less panic attacks.  Rio and I are a team, neither of us is going to give up on the other.  He’s got my back, I’ve got his, and Service Dogs UK are there for both of us.”  

Martin, from Sussex, is an Army Veteran who served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment. He has been partnered with cocker spaniel Ollie who was handed into the care of Dogs Trust Salisbury by a member of the public.  Martin said: “My assistance dog Ollie has helped transform my life, no doubt about it.” 

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities, Good Health and Wellbeing.

Categories
Planet

Introducing ‘Solar Punk’ activism

Two artists are unveiling an ingenious way to save on energy costs in London.

Tell me more!

Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell, artists known for their impactful art installations, have come up with a brilliant way to help families in London with energy costs; by creating a power station out of an ordinary street in East London.

But aren’t power stations bad?

Traditional ones certainly aren’t good for the environment – but this is not a fossil fuel-based station. Dan and Hillary are creating a solar power station out of a row of terraced houses by installing rooftop solar panels on dozens of homes in Walthamstow, London.

According to their research, installing solar panels on every house in the UK would provide 60.52% of our total domestic electricity consumption. 

The duo are calling this project a blueprint for ‘solar punk’ activism, hoping that others will take a leaf out of their book!

So where is the money coming from?

Dan and Hillary have launched a crowdfunder, which they publicised by sleeping on the roof of their own home, which will be involved in the power station. This means that many of the 30 residents whose homes are involved in the power station will be able to get their upgrade to solar for free at a time when everyone is needing to pinch pennies.

That’s what we like to see! 

This article aligns with the UN SDG Affordable and Clean Energy.

Categories
Planet

Meet ‘Plastic Man’: an environmental activist from Senegal

One man is raising awareness about just how badly plastic is affecting our world – in quite a unique way.

Go on then, what’s he doing?

Meet Modou Fall, also known as the ‘Plastic Man’, an environmental activist from Senegal. As for what he’s doing, well, they do say a picture speaks a thousand words…

An image of Modou Fall aka the ‘Plastic Man’ in his outfit made from plastic waste.

He makes outfits made from plastic waste and, well, shows it off.

Wow, now that’s commitment!

It sure is! Modou, a 49-year-old former soldier and father of three took on his alter-ego Plastic Man on World Environment Day in 2011 and has been travelling around cities in Senegal ever since. 

Amazing – what else?

He has also set up an environmental association named Clean Senegal that raises awareness of waste pollution through education and encourages reuse and recycling.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.

Categories
Planet

5 Earthshot winners who scooped £1m

The winners of the second ever Earthshot prize have been announced.

Great! But … what’s the Earthshot prize?

The Earthshot Prize is part of a global challenge to encourage innovative ideas to help repair, restore and protect our environment.

Five winners are selected, one for each category; Protect and Restore Nature, Clean Air, Revive our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix our Climate.

All receive £1m each in funding.

Sounds great! So who are the winners?

Mukuru Clean Stoves in Kenya has won the Clean our Air prize for designing and selling a type of stove that produces 90% less pollution than traditional ones.

Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef have won the Revive our Oceans prize for their work training the next generation of indigenous women as rangers to protect the ocean and the life within it.

44.01 has won the Fix our Climate prize. They have discovered a way to safely, quickly and cheaply remove carbon from the atmosphere forever by mineralising CO2 in peridotite. This is a permanent removal, rather than temporarily storing carbon in nature as trees and soil do.

Kheyti, based in India, has won the Protect and Restore Nature prize by creating a ‘Greenhouse-in-a-Box’ to help small-hold farmers to protect their crops and turn unpredictable farming into dependable income. The greenhouses grow 7 times more food with 90% less water, making it a more sustainable option.

London-based start-up Notpla have been awarded the Build a Waste-Free World award for creating a plastic alternative from seaweed. While it is grown for harvesting, the seaweed farms trap carbon, and create a healthy environment for under-water wildlife to thrive in.

Amazing! What do they get?

The Earthshot prize will be ongoing for a decade, meaning there will never be more than 50 winners. Each year for the next decade, five solutions will be awarded £1million to help support their quest to save our planet.

As of Monday December 5 2022 applications for the Earthshot prize 2023 are open.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action.

Categories
Culture

The Christmas gift guide that gives back

Struggling to pick those last-minute gifts for your loved ones? Well, you’re not the only one.

As we open our advent calendars and pull out those dusty Christmas decs, it’s time to start thinking about presents. But for many this year – as the planet and the people on it is becoming increasingly important to society to protect – you may want to give gifts with meaning. Ones that aren’t full of plastic, or do good in the process.

We’ve put together a list of gifts you can buy for family and friends without the guilt, all while spreading a little Christmas cheer.

THE CHARITY SHOP GIFTCARD.

We no doubt all know someone who would love this gift! For the vintage lovers and secondhand shoppers among us, The Charity Shop Giftcard is a fantastic gift. You purchase and load it up with cash, just like any other giftcard, but the contents are redeemable at a variety of different charity shops across the country.

Participating stores includes places like Shelter, YMCA and TRAID, but the list is growing every single day. This gift does triple the good – you’re making a donation to charities, enabling people to shop secondhand and preventing waste, and you’re bringing a smile to your loved ones faces. What could be better?

CONCERN WORLDWIDE.

Sick of giving the gift of stuff every year? For your loved one who has, well, everything, consider purchasing a Concern Gift, through Concern Worldwide.

On their website, you can choose from a bunch of different gifts, all of which are tailored to improve the lives of families in some of the world’s poorest countries. You can spend as little as £9 on a mosquito net, or as much as £1,180 on a village well – or buy livestock like chickens and cows so that families can eat, and sell produce for money.

Each gift comes with a personalised card you can send to your loved one, so they know where the money is going, and can see the difference it is making in someones life.

SEA CHANGE WINE.

If you have a family member who loves a glass of wine at the end of a long week, then look no further. Sea Change Wine is a wine company dedicated to quality wine, and protecting our oceans.

The wines are eco friendly (meaning minimal packaging), and each 75cl bottle purchased results in a 25 euro cents donation to charity partners like the Olive Ridley Project and Sea-Changers. As an added bonus, all wines are suitable for vegetarians, and most are even vegan friendly.  

TOGETHERBAND ACCESSORIES.

#TOGETHERBAND is a fantastic store that prioritises sustainability above all else – but who says you can’t look good while saving the planet?

For the sustainable fashionista in your life, consider the carbon negative sunglasses made from recycled CDs – for every pair sold £1 is donated to Sightsavers to help prevent blindness. Or maybe take a look at the bracelets made from ocean plastic with clasps made from surrendered firearms.

Whoever you’re buying for, #TOGETHER has a gift they’ll love, that allows you to give back at the same time.

SOCIAL STORIES CLUB.

Have a foodie friend who wants to make an impact? Look no further than the Sustainable Foodie Gift Box, where each and every item has made a difference, in its own special way.

From the apple crisps made from wonky apples that would otherwise go to the landfill, helping reduce food waste to the honey spiced nut mix that helps girls in Africa through the Empowering Girls Education Programme, the Sustainable Foodie Gift Box is a great choice for making a difference. One thing is for sure, this gift box will keep your loved ones happy in their souls, and their stomachs, long after Christmas has been and gone.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Responsible Consumption and Production.

Categories
Equality

These businesses take Pride beyond Pride month

We all know the feeling – a brand you love goes all out for Pride month, with new social media graphics and a long, mushy Instagram post about how much they appreciate their LGBTQIA+ employees. Then, at 00:00 1 July, boom. It’s gone.

But never fear, there are businesses out there doing their bit to support the LGBTQIA+ community, whether it’s June or December.

We’ve scoured through Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list, which is compiled from the Workplace Equality Index – the UK’s leading benchmarking tool for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, to take our pick of businesses doing their bit.

Coca-Cola

You heard right – the fizzy-pop giant is one of the most inclusive employers in the world. With a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a way of measuring equality and inclusion of American businesses, Coca-Cola is doing their part.

Based in the USA, the business has a history of supporting local and national policies that benefit the LGBTQIA+ community and was one of the first corporations to publicly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. They have since launched the ‘Next Generation LGBTQ Leaders’ Initiative’ – a program designed to connect, educate and inspire young LGBTQ leaders.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Not what you were expecting, right? Yes, the Fire and Rescue Service in Cheshire specifically is hugely supportive of LGBTQIA+ employees, and members of the local community.

They have an online guide for employees on how to be better allies to their LGBTQIA+ colleagues and engage in Pride events across their local communities – complete with a rainbow fire engine.

Sky

The media giant is number nine on Stonewall’s top 100 employers of 2022, and for good reason.

The company has committed itself to engaging with minorities of all kinds and has invested in several programmes to encourage diversity in its workplace. This includes their Graduate Inclusion Week and the MAMA Youth Project, both of which take applications from young people who are from diverse backgrounds. They also mark and celebrate key LGBTQIA+ events throughout the year, and describe their policies as ‘fully inclusive’.

Tesco

Tesco is hugely supportive of their LGBTQIA+ employees, earning them Network Group of the Year 2022 from Stonewall UK.

They have a network available for their LGBTQIA+ employees, as well as year-round, confidential support. They also continuously encourage other employees to step up as allies with content like a video series, for LGBTQIA+ History Month, informative blogs for awareness days throughout the year, and events exploring the history of Pride, asexuality and ace spectrum identities, LGBTQIA+ people’s experiences of HIV/AIDS, and non-binary equality.

Network Rail

Network Rail also has an LGBTQIA+ network for their employees to access, called Archway. Archway is run entirely by volunteers, provides confidential support to colleagues, reviews policies and practices with an LGBTQIA+ lens, and runs awareness-raising events throughout the year.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Archway made sure to reach out to members of their community and encourage them to attend ‘InclusiviTea’ virtual coffee events to provide support and connection.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.

Categories
Planet

How the world is future-proofing fashion

From luxury threads to the cheap and cheerful, fast fashion has taken the world by storm, becoming a billion-dollar industry that stretches across the globe. Full of cheap, trendy clothing with a quick turnover, fast fashion makes once expensive styles affordable for everyone.

But fashion isn’t all exciting sales and affordable prices. The industry generates more CO2 than the aviation and shipping industries put together, contributing to 10% of global pollution per year. Not only that, more than $500 billion of clothing is lost every year due to a lack of recycling and clothing being thrown away.

Let’s be honest; Elle Woods would not approve. And like the blonde bombshell we all love so much, there are those who have decided enough is enough – something has to change. These people, organisations, and businesses are putting planet before profit to focus on what the world actually needs.

So, who’s doing their bit?

Loanhood is a clothing rental app that allows consumers to rent out clothing from their own wardrobe. Set up by three friends determined to make an impact on the world, it hopes to end the overconsumption of clothing, and the prevalence of fast fashion in our world. 

Renting clothing is becoming more popular as an alternative, not only to making purchases at a high price point but to over-consuming clothing. By renting clothes instead of purchasing new ones, you’re preventing the need for new fashion pieces to be created, and all the environmental pitfalls that come along with that.

“For so many people, [fashion] is their form of creativity and self-expression,” explains Loanhood founder, Jen Charon. “It helps them feel that they belong with their friends. It helps them express who they are in society… it’s a big ask say ‘stop’.

“I think fashion rental is a great alternative for fashion lovers, who still care about the environment. And I think it’s going to change all of our experiences of fashion. It opens up your options, and not just the high street or the big e-commerce retailers; you get to access individuals like making really cool clothes. I think that’s super exciting.”

What about pre-loved?

A tried and tested alternative to fast fashion, which is increasing in popularity, is buying second-hand – or thrifting, whether it’s charity shops or using online stores like Vinted and Depop.

“Wearing secondhand is a joyful way to express individual style and wear unique items that no one else has,” says Traid Chief Executive, Maria Chenoweth. “From Alexander McQueen to Oscar De La Renta and Selfridges, at last secondhand has become socially acceptable, with everybody wanting a piece of that preloved action.”

A 2022 survey found that four in 10 consumers purchased secondhand goods, while one-third said that they sold their own items on the secondhand market. Buying secondhand clothing is just one piece of the puzzle – there is so much more that goes into being more sustainable with your clothing.

“It’s really important to keep clothes in circulation, so buy good quality, only buy what you know you will wear, repair and if you have clothes that you no longer wear and someone else could, then donate them to charity,” explains Maria. 

Giulia Alvarez-Katz, a self-described ‘Zilennial’, almost exclusively buys secondhand – from kitting out her wardrobe to furnishing her apartment, it’s all pre-loved.

“The more globally-minded importance of buying secondhand only became clear to me in adulthood as I learned about the waste involved in fast fashion; how much fabric is disposed of and never used again,” explains Giulia.

“Some people are disillusioned by fast fashion or actively want to boycott it. I’ve noticed there’s a growing sense among fashionistas that older garments are made with more care and attention to detail.”

So that’s the tea. The fashion industry still needs to undergo some major changes to make it sustainable, but there is hope – and there are people out there making changes.

There are so many people out there fighting to make a difference and to make sustainable fashion the norm.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Responsible Consumption and Production.

Categories
Equality

How to get accessible Letters from Santa

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is running its Letters from Santa campaign again this Christmas.

Sounds festive!

It is! Every year at Christmas the RNIB allows children the chance to get a letter from Father Christmas, but in a format that is accessible to them. 

Amazing! What kind of adjustments do they provide?

The letters are delivered to children who are blind or visually impaired and can be sent as an audio letter, or in large print or braille. For these children, it’s gives the opportunity to experience the Christmas spirit in a way that is adapted to them and their needs!

If you would like to sign a child up for a Letter from Santa, you can do so on the RNIB website.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities.