Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lock Up Your Daughters...or social services will have them!

They used to say 'lock up your daughters' when there was a silver tongued, handsome youth around but now it is the social services that want your children and they won't want to give them back.
Dear Minister,
Thank you very much for your letter in regard to animal sentience.
The concern I am raising today is the removal of children from their parents. It would gladden many hearts this Christmas if these cases were to be reviewed and the children returned. Unfortunately it has become big business for social services to place children with fosterers. There is even an advert up in Abingdon and probably elsewhere saying ‘Have you got what it takes to foster a child?’ and promoting the whole process along with some sort of tough love.
Of the three friends I have reconnected with in Oxfordshire this autumn, an unbelievable two of them have lost their children in to care. That is an extremely high percentage. Neither mother has any addiction problem, excessive financial or housing problems, nor have they abused or neglected their children. In fact they are the most dedicated, warm and pro-active people you could meet. Any attempt to keep in touch with their children is met with threats to reduce their access time or to move the child again. They are not allowed to write letters or cards and support their child or maintain their relationship that way either.
In the Oxford Times this week, I see that Oxfordshire County Council have voted unanimously to ask the government to give them greater powers and funding to access children who are home-schooled, even if there is no reason to suspect neglect or abuse. The fifteen or so children I know who were home schooled are confident, well adjusted, able to participate conscientiously and effectively in 3rd level education and work environments, with very little mental illness or low self esteem issues that many children are dealing with.
Next it will be people who raise their children on a different diet or who do not want to enter a blanket vaccination programme. It has been suggested by some who understand politics that the government plan to have all children in the care of the State eventually. At very least, you will see the risk of abuse of power and random discrimination by social services. A decision to take a child into care is followed swiftly by justification of their actions. It is clearly this that keeps situations entrenched (as in children still in foster care 3 and 5 years later) as inspectors won’t back down and or take the responsibility of saying that the situation is now safe and children can be returned.
The reason you do not hear directly from the parents affected is that if they question anyone in authority, they will literally never see their children again. Can you imagine that happening to someone in your family? What the parents are doing instead is attempting to take their cases to court outside Oxfordshire. No doubt, during that process, they will face the whole defensive legal weight of the state that will tell their lawyers that they must not, at any cost, be found to be wrong. They will not want a parent to win their child back and have to pay court fees, possibly damages and have to review all the cases that will then arise.
Therefore the costs will be carried by the parents. If they were just about financially secure enough to care for a child before such a case, they certainly won’t be afterwards.
The only thing that will help is a directive from government, saying that all cases of children in care can be reviewed independently, on request or annually. Also certain criteria should be decided, upon the fulfilling of which, children can go home. At the moment, the fosterers have a say – one mother’s access to her child was instantly cut in half, on the request of the foster family. Also opinions of relations and social workers are all being taken into consideration but the parents and the children are not being heard.
Please make sure the extra powers and funding are not given to county councils and that the good parents that want their children back and have sorted out their difficulties, can get them back.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"They said there'd be snow at Christmas and Peace On Earth"

"They said there'd be snow at Christmas, they said there'd be peace on earth" Spare a thought for the 60 million war- and environmental refugees there are in the world at the moment.
What are environmental refugees? Whole populations displaced and on the move as there is no longer water available for hundreds of miles and coastal countries that are now under water during their growing season and have nothing to eat.
The unfair fact is that it is western excessive consumption and fuel-heavy habits and habitats that have caused a lot of it, so I'm thinking I want to support them in some way? Does anyone know of a charity theu know to be doing great work?
Overall, I am hacked off to focus on the fact that all society's necessities and problems are addressed by non-governmental organizations and public money just circulates in an economy of trade deals, massive building and meat and other unethical contractors and of courses weapons testing and building (in Ireland and England, respectively). I thought government was for governance. But maybe it is like that amusing consideration, 'if kings rule kingdoms, just speculate on who rules countries' ?! Makes me laugh whenever I think of that! I went to a talk a couple of weeks ago from a historian Symon Hill on World War 2. He showed that because that war was considered justified against Hitler, somehow every other war since has been considered justified and necessary, by most people. Why complacently accept that when we know that agendas have always been greedy more than protective of democracy? I will attach my transcript of the talk.

Simon Hill, Talk about how we took the wrong lesson from WW2


Pope Francis, opposes all nuclear weapons
False sense of security, mental support of fear.
The real priorities, poverty, peace, health and rights are relegated. Nuclear bombs would have a catastrophic effect for humanitarian and environmental solidarity – 122 nations signed on 7/7/2017 an agreement that in addition to nuclear weapons being immoral, they should be made illegal. 

Historian Symon Hill Explores How Britain’s Collective Memory of World War Two has become a justification for all wars since

Symon Hill is a pacifist from the Peace Pledge Union and Fellowship of Reconciliation He also teaches WEA – Workers Educational Association - courses. With a focus on the resistance in the 1st world war, he has only recently started his exploration of WW2. History is always an interpretation of the past. A particular motivation to study WW2 were the arguments he had met (and he found that we had all met) as people working for peace.
These included:
Pro-nuclear: “It was the bomb that ended the war” (WW2).
“If there had been no guns, Hitler would have won”
“People like you were responsible for the appeasement of Hitler in the ‘30s”
“You only have the freedom to say that because of brave men who fought for you.” (in WW2).

The overall difficulty is that people, in one way or another, hold WW2 in their memory as a ‘just’ war, a ‘necessary’ war and that there had been ‘no other choice’ but to go to war.

Symon realized therefore the importance of being able to say something convincing about WW2. Without tackling this collective memory, there is a grave risk and indeed evidence that people have come to see all wars in the same light.

We were reminded of all the references, like Allo Allo and Dad’s Army. He noticed that different ages said different things to him about WW2 and that they revealed subtle differences in reasoning.  Older people, who were actually here during the war remember that England was on the brink of invasion and that is why they had to fight. It was described how membership of the PPE (…) went down during the war, not at the beginning of the war. This showed that it was only when England was in imminent danger of being invaded, did people decide it might be necessary to fight.

Younger people describe how we fought fascism and the holocaust.

We are dealing with living memory and collective memory but they all reinforce a narrative that associates war with the defeat of an oppressive and racist regime. Rather than WW2 being understood as an exception, it is seen as representative of war, in general, making it somehow okay.

Interestingly, both anti war and pro war people have used WW2 as justification of war.

Fascists and fundamentalists are different. The British Armed Forces are also different from the British Armed Forces who fought in WW2.

Whatever view of WW2, it doesn’t make the assumption right that all wars are justified.  There is a conflation of all, even though there is no resemblance and no surviving members.

Another area where this happens is in the production of arms. A good example is the BAE who have built tanks during WW2. Employees still see their work as a proud role, even though their tanks are now used to drive into peaceful protests in Bahrain.

These are the inconvenient truths and they create problems for militants and problems for pacifists.

Some people accuse pacifists of being the ones to appease Hitler in the 1930s. Appeasement was an international policy that involved cooperation between countries as a way to avoid another war.  Appeasement was actually driven, though, by the far right.. They had thought that fascism was a good antedote to communism.

There were many atrocities commited by our side too. The bombing of Horishima and Dresden, where many civilians were killed. The UK were still arming Musillini until 1939 and the US were still selling planes to Japan until 1940.

George Paxton wrote a book ‘Non Violent Resistance to The Nazis. One example was Norwegian Teachers who refused to teach Nazi science. They said it was teaching racism as science.

It is hard to say that the UK atrocities were on a similar level to the fascists. Some peace activists were naïve but were also infiltrated by fascists.

1937 there was the white poppies demonstration, to say no war , outside the House of Commons. Chamberlain had sympathy with Hitler. The British Ambassador to Germany stated that the UK would support Germany as long as she promised not to attack the British Empire.

All through the decade of the 1930s, military spending had been increasing.
 Responses we can use: WW2 had nothing to do with war and the armed forces now.
WW2 would not have happened without fascism being actively wanted in place of communism – The UK was not fighting for democracy.
Accept that pacifists make (and made in the past) some mistakes.
 Show respect for those who felt that they had to fight
Non-violent resistance to fascism.

We have our rights due to centuries of activism, NOT because of wars.

Point out the nationalistic narrative, the way we say ‘we’ did this and ‘they’ did that to us. This is an artificial construct of a country. It builds a historical collective memory to justify war.

When shall we ever learn?

Friday, November 24, 2017

MPs Who Voted Animal Sentience Out of Law...and a letter to cut and paste to them

My take on what it means to lose animal sentience from UK Law

THESE ARE THE MPs who voted the sentient beings part of the bill out and declared that animals have no feelings or emotions and so are incapable of suffering.
Is your MP on this list?
Contact them and tell them what you think!
Adams, Nigel
Afolami, Bim
Afriyie, Adam
Aldous, Peter
Allan, Lucy
Allen, Heidi
Andrew, Stuart
Argar, Edward
Atkins, Victoria
Bacon, Mr Richard
Badenoch, Mrs Kemi
Baker, Mr Steve
Baldwin, Harriett
Barclay, Stephen
Baron, Mr John
Bebb, Guto
Bellingham, Sir Henry
Benyon, rh Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Jake
Blackman, Bob
Blunt, Crispin
Boles, Nick
Bone, Mr Peter
Bottomley, Sir Peter
Bowie, Andrew
Bradley, Ben
Bradley, rh Karen
Brady, Mr Graham
Brereton, Jack
Bridgen, Andrew
Brine, Steve
Brokenshire, rh James
Bruce, Fiona
Buckland, Robert
Burghart, Alex
Burns, Conor
Burt, rh Alistair
Cairns, rh Alun
Cartlidge, James
Cash, Sir William
Caulfield, Maria
Chalk, Alex
Chishti, Rehman
Chope, Mr Christopher
Churchill, Jo
Clark, Colin
Clark, rh Greg
Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth
Clarke, Mr Simon
Cleverly, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coffey, Dr Thérèse
Collins, Damian
Costa, Alberto
Courts, Robert
Cox, Mr Geoffrey
Crabb, rh Stephen
Crouch, Tracey
Davies, Chris
Davies, David T. C.
Davies, Glyn
Davies, Mims
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh Mr David
Dinenage, Caroline
Djanogly, Mr Jonathan
Docherty, Leo
Dodds, rh Nigel
Donaldson, rh Sir Jeffrey M.
Donelan, Michelle
Dorries, Ms Nadine
Double, Steve
Dowden, Oliver
Doyle-Price, Jackie
Drax, Richard
Duddridge, James
Duguid, David
Duncan, rh Sir Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain
Dunne, Mr Philip
Ellis, Michael
Ellwood, rh Mr Tobias
Eustice, George
Evans, Mr Nigel
Evennett, rh David
Fabricant, Michael
Fernandes, Suella
Field, rh Mark
Ford, Vicky
Foster, Kevin
Fox, rh Dr Liam
Francois, rh Mr Mark
Frazer, Lucy
Freeman, George
Freer, Mike
Fysh, Mr Marcus
Gale, Sir Roger
Garnier, Mark
Gauke, rh Mr David
Ghani, Ms Nusrat
Gibb, rh Nick
Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl
Girvan, Paul
Glen, John
Goldsmith, Zac
Goodwill, Mr Robert
Gove, rh Michael
Graham, Luke
Graham, Richard
Grant, Bill
Grant, Mrs Helen
Gray, James
Grayling, rh Chris
Green, Chris
Green, rh Damian
Greening, rh Justine
Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
Griffiths, Andrew
Gyimah, Mr Sam
Hair, Kirstene
Halfon, rh Robert
Hall, Luke
Hammond, rh Mr Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, rh Matt
Hands, rh Greg
Harper, rh Mr Mark
Harrington, Richard
Harris, Rebecca
Harrison, Trudy
Hart, Simon
Hayes, rh Mr John
Heald, rh Sir Oliver
Heappey, James
Heaton-Harris, Chris
Heaton-Jones, Peter
Henderson, Gordon
Hinds, Damian
Hoare, Simon
Hollingbery, George
Hollinrake, Kevin
Hollobone, Mr Philip
Holloway, Adam
Howell, John
Huddleston, Nigel
Hughes, Eddie
Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy
Hurd, Mr Nick
Jack, Mr Alister
James, Margot
Javid, rh Sajid
Jayawardena, Mr Ranil
Jenkin, Mr Bernard
Jenrick, Robert
Johnson, rh Boris
Johnson, Dr Caroline
Johnson, Gareth
Johnson, Joseph
Jones, Andrew
Jones, rh Mr David
Jones, Mr Marcus
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keegan, Gillian
Kennedy, Seema
Kerr, Stephen
Knight, rh Sir Greg
Knight, Julian
Kwarteng, Kwasi
Lamont, John
Lancaster, Mark
Latham, Mrs Pauline
Leadsom, rh Andrea
Lee, Dr Phillip
Lefroy, Jeremy
Leigh, Sir Edward
Letwin, rh Sir Oliver
Lewer, Andrew
Lewis, rh Brandon
Lewis, rh Dr Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian
Lidington, rh Mr David
Little Pengelly, Emma
Lopez, Julia
Lopresti, Jack
Lord, Mr Jonathan
Loughton, Tim
Mackinlay, Craig
Maclean, Rachel
Main, Mrs Anne
Mak, Alan
Malthouse, Kit
Mann, Scott
Masterton, Paul
Maynard, Paul
McLoughlin, rh Sir Patrick
McPartland, Stephen
McVey, rh Ms Esther
Menzies, Mark
Mercer, Johnny
Merriman, Huw
Metcalfe, Stephen
Miller, rh Mrs Maria
Milling, Amanda
Mills, Nigel
Milton, rh Anne
Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew
Moore, Damien
Mordaunt, Penny
Morgan, rh Nicky
Morris, Anne Marie
Morris, David
Morris, James
Morton, Wendy
Mundell, rh David
Murray, Mrs Sheryll
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newton, Sarah
Nokes, Caroline
Norman, Jesse
O'Brien, Neil
Offord, Dr Matthew
Opperman, Guy
Paisley, Ian
Parish, Neil
Patel, rh Priti
Paterson, rh Mr Owen
Pawsey, Mark
Penning, rh Sir Mike
Penrose, John
Percy, Andrew
Perry, Claire
Philp, Chris
Pincher, Christopher
Pow, Rebecca
Prentis, Victoria
Prisk, Mr Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pursglove, Tom
Quin, Jeremy
Quince, Will
Raab, Dominic
Redwood, rh John
Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob
Robertson, Mr Laurence
Robinson, Gavin
Robinson, Mary
Rosindell, Andrew
Ross, Douglas
Rowley, Lee
Rudd, rh Amber
Rutley, David
Sandbach, Antoinette
Scully, Paul
Seely, Mr Bob
Selous, Andrew
Shannon, Jim
Shapps, rh Grant
Sharma, Alok
Shelbrooke, Alec
Simpson, David
Simpson, rh Mr Keith
Skidmore, Chris
Smith, Chloe
Smith, Henry
Smith, rh Julian
Smith, Royston
Soames, rh Sir Nicholas
Soubry, rh Anna
Spelman, rh Dame Caroline
Spencer, Mark
Stephenson, Andrew
Stevenson, John
Stewart, Bob
Stewart, Iain
Stewart, Rory
Stride, rh Mel
Stuart, Graham
Sturdy, Julian
Sunak, Rishi
Swayne, rh Sir Desmond
Swire, rh Sir Hugo
Syms, Sir Robert
Thomas, Derek
Thomson, Ross
Throup, Maggie
Tolhurst, Kelly
Tomlinson, Justin
Tomlinson, Michael
Tracey, Craig
Tredinnick, David
Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie
Truss, rh Elizabeth
Tugendhat, Tom
Vaizey, rh Mr Edward
Vara, Mr Shailesh
Vickers, Martin
Villiers, rh Theresa
Walker, Mr Charles
Walker, Mr Robin
Wallace, rh Mr Ben
Warburton, David
Warman, Matt
Watling, Giles
Whately, Helen
Whittingdale, rh Mr John
Williamson, rh Gavin
Wilson, Sammy
Wood, Mike
Wragg, Mr William
Wright, rh Jeremy
Zahawi, Nadhim

Dear    ,
Was it pressure or ignorance that allowed you to vote to remove the statement of animal sentience out of UK law? I would just like to remind you that your vote went 100% against public opinion and importantly, for your political future, against local opinion. Your constituency is thronging with rescued animals, dogs, cat and horses. Your vote this week went 100% for the main exploiters of animals; companies using animal research, intensive farmers and meat and dairy producers.   

I heard that the government means, one day, to put in even stronger welfare laws: A ban on live export and puppy farms was hinted at and a ban on the ivory trade. This is clearly selective, when the real quality of life problems, for which companies must be accountable, are those of animals in farms and in laboratories. Think for a moment about those lives. Dogs, pigs, sheep, rabbits allowed to live for around six months in total, denied all the 5 freedoms: To participate in behaviours natural to their kind, to have freedom to move around, warmth, food, water and contact with their own kind.

These animals are completely confined in crates being artificially inseminated to produce more meat and having their teeth, testicles and tails cut off without anaesthetic. Or, in the case of lab animals, completely confined in cages, again solitary, with 'scientific procedures'  of increasing severity and toxicity being done on them every day, until they die or are put down. We are aware that the pharmaceutical industry makes billions and some of that goes into the economy but that is all the more reason to protect the animals in their 'supply chains'.

You have robbed the animals of any remnants of legal rights they may have. Advocacy in court, following major breaches of welfare legislation, will be weak and no company or farm will be prosecuted or even fined for their practices. Without the legal statement of sentience there is no deterrent to cruelty and no incentive to improve practices.

May your days be haunted by the UKs 10million pigs, 980 million birds and 2.5million cows slaughtered here every year and your dreams be about the reality of the lives of the 4.2 million animals experimented on in labs every year.

Quality of life, for people or animals, should not be shrugged off to charities to address and the government just pander to the pharmaceutical, arms, chemicals and food trades. And no, people do not believe that the pharmaceutical and food industries are there to provide and care for the population.

Independence from Europe should mean sustainability, extrication from the corporations too and trade deals. Otherwise, corporations will be forming all our new policies and laws to protect their economic interests. As you well know and as they seem to be already doing.

As far as I know, you are a public representative and I urge you to push for the new 'better UK welfare legistlation' to be formulated soon and for it to explicitly recognize all animals as sentient creatures (as New Zealand's government has this week). This would better reflect the views of your constituents.

Yours sincerely, Frances Micklem

Sunday, November 19, 2017

3 part plan for successful activism

It was brilliant to be given the chance to do a talk at the Oxford Vegan Festival. I had said I would talk about animal issues that jointly affect Ireland and the UK. I would include animals in laboratories, puppy farms and live export. I started by giving credit to Oxford for being a leading light in animal-free research because of the Hadwen Trust that started there. It has now moved and is called Animal Free Research but I went on to outline the questions that I put to them:

Thank you for all the work you are doing. Please could you help with any of the following:
1. Is there any list or directory of a) existing medicines that have not been tested on animals b) the conditions that can be treated by them and c) their accessibility (to doctors or on request from patients).
2. Are there vaccines that do not use animal ingredients and are not tested on animals?
3. Are there dentistry alternatives?
4) Are there any common remedies available to the public, from chemists (parallels to say paracetemol) that have not been tested on animals?
5) How would you answer the argument that animal free research methods are 'too expensive'? Are there simulator computer programmes, machines or software that could/should be subsidized to encourage companies to switch?

I said that I had left a piece of paper for people to leave their email addresses if they wanted to hear the answers to these enquiries and I will obviously post them here as well.

I summed up the scale and intractability of the problem in 3 sentences. Ireland’s testing on animals has increased by 800% plus. In the UK, the pharmaceutical companies have an industry worth 16 billion annually. That worth is going to always be a lot more powerful than a wave of public opinion.

In Ireland, when research companies are caught breaching welfare legislation, they are not prosecuted and not even penalized: The cost and responsibility for rescuing the animals if a facility shuts down, goes to the ISPCA, the equivalent of the UK’s RSPCA.

In the UK there is no attempt at accountability at all. The pharmaceutical industry made a statement to the government that, if they did not criminalize animal advocacy actions (under a pretext of economical sabotage), and essentially get pressure groups off their backs, they would withdraw their multi-billion pound industry from the UK. They did not make even an empty promise of better working practice, or higher welfare standards…let alone make a commitment to explore less severe testing methods. Some of the people present did not know about toxicity tests that increase dosage of substances until 50% of the sample group are dead. Then they register that amount as the lethal concentration of the substance. Oh yes, then they put down the survivors as they are too sick to test another product on.

I didn’t elaborate on any gruesome details as everyone there was vegan and were probably aware of enough painful scenarios happening for animals, already. This led on to a suggested 3-part daily plan for activism.

3 part daily practice for activists.
1) Work on inner wellbeing and maintaining it
2) Do a dispassionate assessment of the external situation arising – this could be a local supermarket with factory farmed animal products or the threat of a badger cull mentioned in the newspaper. Or it could be something national or international, like a massive public subsidy going to a cruel industry/sport like bull fighting or greyhound racing.
3) Followed by taking action, with clarity but without accompanying anger.

I gave two examples. As the Brexit revision of UK policies has started, the clause stating that animals are ‘sentient’ has been omitted. This is a very important clause as, in animal cruelty legal cases, there will be no way to win protection for animals if the precedent is not there, that they can suffer.
I was anxious about this but let that anxiety go and contacted the Oxford Animal Ethics Centre where there are some very influential people and asked them to write and insist that the clause be returned to law. I also contacted Compassion In World Farming and found that they had been on the case for months trying to raise awareness that animals’ sentience was at risk of being lost.

This shows how each communication strengthens the network of awareness.

Then I suggested how to tackle the individual response. I suggested that in every shop you visit, you always look for the leaping rabbit on the things you buy. This symbol means cruelty free and not tested on animals. If you don’t see it, ask the shop assistants. Do you have any cruelty free products? Always ask in a relaxed fashion and be faintly surprised and shocked if they don’t have any but talk about it as if the assistant themselves is probably shocked too to find out there isn’t any!!! This conversation will get them looking for the rabbit symbol too and no doubt they will order one or two the following week.  

Looking for ethical sustainable products, writing letters, turning up to vegan information days and rescue fundraising events are all things that can be done a little every day. And then PUT IT ASIDE, live your life with enthusiasm and be satisfied because, once you are vegan, you are already doing a lot. You are making conscious choices all the time, what to eat, to buy, to wear, to visit and to support. You are already educating by your conversations, articulating why you are doing this and that and NOT doing this and that!

However, we are disempowered as activists by any anger or upset we are carrying around. Energetically speaking, we are creating more suffering by reliving it and paying attention to it. Unfortunately, those that might even deserve our resentment for their exploitation of animals don’t ever RECEIVE the resentment. It is only the person carrying the resentment that suffers. It is a big part of the demoralization of our humanity and we must not let ourselves fall for it. Equally, we must not justify, to ourselves even, any lingering upset and anger. We must keep ourselves well and happy. Only that way can we be powerful and purposeful at the same time. This is the greatest danger for vegans that we become de-energized by the magnitude of the problems

I had to rustle up some things to be grateful for and the first was that you can trust yourself once you’ve made that change in your life as you have proved to yourself that you can respond to new information and live according to it, rather than just continue with what you used to do out of bloody mindedness, laziness or fear of change. You have proved as well that you can live with compassion and still do well, without being too ‘go getting’ and risk someone else’s wellbeing.

So I went on to talk about puppy farms and the how and why of export and all the God forsaken creatures that are exported but I will try and remember more about that tomorrow. For today, I think that was the main vision. Be content inside and generate loving feelings amongst your nearest and dearest people and pets. Then trust your intuition that the particular causes you need to pay attention to will show up for you. Then take some action, a little every day. Sign petitions and put companies and ministers under pressure to disassociate from cruel revenue streams.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Two Years Of Pig house keeping... but more important, for more souls!

Aisling Hurley's photo of Becky and I - first visit!

I've had the pigs, Becky and Legend, for two years now and I can confidently recommend caring for animals above eating them. I have been vegan for about 16 years now, vegetarian before that and it is the only way to go for animal lovers who want to be consistent. Legend (the boar) says to me, every day, 'Do Something, Please' and that is what I intend to do.

I have an idea to create and take on a role of Minister for Animals in Europe. I have friends that might be better prepared, better speakers but they don't want the job. All I know is that it should not be the same people who govern the animal industries (food, pharmaceutical testing, animal agriculture, fashion, transport, bloodsports) that represent the animals in those industries. It is a massive CONFLICT OF INTERESTS. It is obvious to me, the animals need someone there at policy level that isn't benefiting from the sale of their flesh, fluids and hides. We can all do something; I probably don't need to spell out what that is!!

This is Becky, taken yesterday, after a few weeks of important work, preparing a whole area for 2018 crops

Romantic Lighting for them and plenty of straw at night

Photo by Selina Gittins, Eclectic Interiors

Photo Credit: Cody Buckalew Photography

Friday, October 27, 2017

If we don't clear the karma, we inevitably recreate the events

Karma = Owning the choices you make

I have remembered something else important about Karma and learnt something new about it too, since my last post. I learnt that it was the Buddha who came to a new understanding of karma. This conclusion was that every man and woman, rich or poor, had the daily opportunity to make moral choices and therefore could take responsibility for creating their own karma. Prior to this, karma was considered a ritual practice carried out by scholarly men with incredible knowledge (they could chant from the scriptures word for word for 3 or 4 hours!) who would be summoned to deal with all matters and transitions of spiritual importance - such as births, deaths and marriages!

Who Will Oversee The Profound Transitions We All Must Make?

I was at a funeral the other day and heard that the priest had visited the man and his family daily for a week before he died. I suddenly thought, who is going to do this for our generation? People signing up for the church and are very few and far between. Who will 'do the honours' next, I asked myself. Or will people just get a perfunctory send off, with no word about the meaning of life and the soul and where it goes? I know myself and one or two others who can hold a space for the soul journey, when incarnated and after death but I don't think there are many of us.

And we don't get paid like the church do, which means that not many people will take it up as a job. I have come to think that pomp work has very little going for it. In fact, in a film last night, the heroine said "the more you care, the more the world throws at you to make you suffer for it". I am hoping beyond hope that people will, like the buddhists, take up the reins on their own soul journey so that they are living on purpose, accruing good karma and dying with dignity and without fear when the time comes.

Energy Clearing, Like I do, To Clear the Karmic Burden

One reason why I have been so interested in everyone else's life and health is that I really believe we are all inextricably connected. Therefore, with so many subdued, mentally and unwell, physically, I decided fifteen years ago to help as many as possible and lighten the wider karmic load!

That is why this card starts with: What you heal for yourself, you heal for the whole world. There is a web of life (Yes, just as it says in the Lion King!) and I feel we need to keep the intentional actions, cultivated, creative thoughts and good vibrations going (Yes, just like the Beach Boys sing about). Compassionate behaviour, where you are sparing a thought for the impact of your actions, resonates out far and wide and benefits the whole planet and its atmosphere.

Has The World Got As Destructive As It Is Now, Before?

 At this point in history it looks like a very dark time. As Freya Lawton, of The Peace Intention pointed out; in the past it was incidents like 9/11 that seemed to happen like abhorrations in an otherwise benevolent society. Download a Free Copy of The Peace Intention Handbook that guides to healing through intention and compassion Now the attacks are the norm, the daily news and you have to look harder for the good. Some people believe we are reaching a crisis, similar to that when we lost ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians who built the pyramids and the Incas who built Macchu Pichu in Peru.

 Destruction Leaves A Residue of Karma

Although we do not know much about Atlantis, it is understood to have been lost under the ocean, following a time of great destructive violence. That far, there is a parallel in that we are facing another chaotic time where the sea levels are rising. This crisis too has been preceded by dark times of war and greed. Every part of history has repercussions and that time of the peaceful society of Atlantis being wiped out, left massive amounts of karma. There are however crystals that can help in clearing it. Why clear it? If we don't clear the karma, we inevitably recreate the events. And we don't want that, do we? Sometimes though, I wonder whether people think forwards to what sort of polluted, inhospitable land we might be leaving for children to manage later.

Can We Think Beyond Our Own Lives and Issues To Those Of Others?

People like to defend their own grievances. I noticed, growing up, that chat shows like Oprah, Gerry Springer and Kilroy were going on. I was always amazed that they never asked any guests, or audiences, to consider a subject other than their own. Parents debated heatedly about parenting, sick people about the health service and so on. They were never asked to apply themselves to anyone else's difficulty, display even basic empathy or brain storm for solutions.

Angel Cards by Healing by Franc - Hard to believe but this whole post is about just one card!

The message of this card is about searching around for guides and tools to help humanity in it's current predicament. Even if you don't know where to start, just reflecting on how others are doing - far and near - will lead to different choices, less anxiety and more generosity and empathy. And yes, you know that I mean not just other people but other animals and living things in total, like plants and fish and water and air particles. We have got to look after this place!

At the end of the card message,  it reads:

"As you laugh, as you cry, you are transmuting karma. It is like the sun and the rain, do not take it personally."

I believe that if you allow yourself to care you become a channel for energy and love...Yes a little anger and grief can trip you up sometimes but even then you are becoming an opening, a softening of the karmic chains, through which blips and other more significant shifts and changes can happen. Sure, we might even save the planet or expose those who would have us in those chains...or both!

If you would like to buy a pack of the Limited Edition Angel Cards, please see

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How Water Relates to World Conflict - Talk by Ellen Teague

What are the Causes of Water Stress

1. Reduced amount of water available

Of all the Earth's water, only 3% is fresh water. The other 97% is salt water and although there are some desalination plants, we do not have very effective methods of taking the salt out and making it suitable for drinking.
783 million people do not have access to fresh water.
750,000 new people entered Bangledesh in the last month, fleeing war. Bangledesh is a country that already has a great shortage.
10,000 people in Chad, in Africa, relied on Lake Chad for drinking water but now the lake has gone. There are parellel stories on every continent.  

2. Dirty Water - pollution

Fukashima nuclear power plant, in Japan, is still leaking radiation into the sea and has travelled as far as California and all around the world, contaminating and endangering life.
Water carrying bacteria. Over 60 million people are currently refugees in places with no infrastructure. This means there are water borne problems, like 500,000 with cholera in the Yemen.
Much of this human insecurity is caused by drought where people have had to move away from their homes for environmental reasons.

3. Disasters - flooding

Sometimes there is masses of water but it all arrives at once and is destructive in its force. Flooding in Fiji is one example of this.There was a heavy South West monsoon season in South Asia, causing flooding in Sri Lanka and 1200 killed in Mumbai flooding. There were floods and hailstorms in America and closer to home too.

4. Rights to Water

Peter Brabeck, Nestle's Chairman infamously stated that human beings don't have a right to water. They should buy it like everything else. Suggesting that water should be privatized would be the right approach to the water crisis!
In a tense region in Mexico, Coca Cola bought the water supply ... and made Coke with it. For their advertizing campaign, they made the Mexican people pose, in traditional dress, for the new Coca Cola billboards, looking happy and drinking Coke. Eventually the people won back their right to fresh water. It is thought that the 'water footprint' of a 2 litre bottle of Coke is 132 gallons of water needed. However, their factories have been known to pollute and reduce whole water sources. Ethical Consumer: 70% of fresh water is used in food production and this is how the food industry is managing the risks

5. Military Contamination

Wars and even the testing of weapons has caused land degredation. There are contaminated, toxic remnants.
In Iraq, our weapons have left depleted uranium that has poisoned everything.
We saw photos of a rally outside Downing Street. The posters said, It's A Mess, Clean It Up. In Iraq, birth defects are now commonplace as a result.
What can we do? We can be less tolerant of conflicts and weapons.  

6. Money

 A crisis of priorities - NHS versus TridentAs many have said: Climate not Trident.
The replacement nuclear submarine, Trident, has cost 100 billion pounds. It has been questioned as to whether it was good use of money. This is especially in contrast to the NHS or homes or the countless other social areas that need funding.It was questioned if it is a deterrent when the main threats are smaller less visible units.

Water Use In Mining
Mining and other extractive Industries
To extract gold, mercury (2nd most poisonous substance in the world) is used and it runs off into the ground water.
To extract gas, millions of litres of fresh water and chemical solution are pumped down holes to flush the gas up. All nearby aquifers/ground water and coastal areas are contaminated.

The Greed of Corporations, Industries and Economies.
Virtual Water: This is the water that is used in the manufacture of other things; comparing
25l litres of water used to grow 300g potatoes
1440 litres for 300g of pork  

2,400 litres of water to make one beefburger.
Several hundred litres of water to make one litre of milk.
Several hundred litres of water to make one pint of beer.

7. Lack of Awareness or Mindful Use of Water by Individuals

We can notice how the media rarely links environmental problems with conflict and how rarely it links our consumption of animal products with water contamination and shortage.
We can get less ignorant of the water cycle. This detachment has happened as 50% of the world's population are urbanized.
Also priority is given to addressing short term issues/emergencies rather than taking a longer view or coming up with a strategy to protect access to and the quality of our water.

Integral Ecology - Connection between poverty, water etc.

8. Governments

UK: We need to be less complacent about the immorality of the Excel Arms Fair. Arms sales are immoral surely to Saudi Arabia, who are using them to bomb the helpless people of the Yemen. On the one hand the government announces cuts to social services, it mentions a further quarter of a billion to nuclear weapons.

Bolivia: Public water was taken over by a private company who improved access to water in shanti towns by increasing taps but they immediately put the price up, ten fold. There were demonstrations and unrest and the new contractors were forced out again.

Israel: The 20ft city walls that Israel has built cut off the water supply to the Palestinian areas of the city and divert water to Israel's irrigation.

In Korea, Pax Christi and others have maintained a presence at a site for a planned military base, in Korea, which held pristine water. The military base was built nonetheless but the demonstration is ongoing. They were concerned about the building but they are still concerned  as the base makes it a target for other countries to attack.
Syrian Conflict: The war in Syria was preceded by 10 years of drought. This led to youth unrest and then on to civil war.

From Ethiopa to Egypt They Rely on The Nile For Water
The president of Egypt made a statement "The Only matter that could ake Egypt to war again in water." What he referred to was Ethiopia threatening to make a dam and divert water to other areas rather than continue down towards Egypt.

Worldwide: Governments are offering military protection to environmentally damaging corporations. Conflict of the laying of the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) where the indigenous people of Standing Rock tried to block the pipeline, as it crosses waterways in more than 200 places and several areas sacred to their culture.  They argued both that the lands belonged to them and were preserved and that the risk of leaks and pollution to watercourses was too high. The policing of the site was heavy handed and there was much violence and injury to protestors, including loss of limbs. The US, Ireland (Shell) and Nigeria (Shell), England (Gas), the Congo and many other countries are totally militarized to give access to mineral wealth.

9. Desertification

There is a pattern of desertification: Land going from forested to desert. There is then the pattern of drought leading to conflict. We saw pictures of even as long ago as 1986 in Sudan, where there were  hundreds of people sitting in queues continually, for water and food. There were no shrubs or trees for shade, as far as the eyes could see.

11. Overpumping of Aquifers

Aquifers are so depleted in Bejing that the city has started to sink. It can be understood as
5% of the world's population live in East Asia but they have only 1% of the world's water.
In England, each person uses an average of 55 gallons.

 Ways to Confront the link between conflict and water

Support anti-nuclear Initiatives and support Non-Violence Initiatives, like Pax Christi's.

Although there were many differences for the Interfaith Conference to work through, including blasphemy, the problems of water that faced people of all faiths united them, by concerning them jointly.

Further Problems

Local Communities do not have control of their own resources
Environmental Activism is a very dangerous activity to be involved in.
There have been some heroines.
An activist, Berta Gicarris, defending Honduras from a dam that would have cut off water to thousands of people downstream was murdered in the last couple of years. There is a woman who has succeeded in starting the Greenbelt movement in Kenya and has instigated the planting of 10 million trees. This is a powerful way to correct the balance and bring back water to streams and aquifers. Trees attract rain. This shows another problem of the deforestation for crops and grazing. They all lead to desertification.
The failure to value water has been central to the problem as has the neglect of justice for Future Generations. 
Women, 2 million Palestinian and Israeli women, have been marching for peace and shared resources in the most unlikely and war-torn place - their border.

Other Signs of Hope

Two million people signed a petition to President Hollande supporting the need to reach an agreement at the Paris Climate Summit.
People are starting to be aware of their own use of water:
Saving Rainwater
Turning off water and not wasting it
Turning to a plant-based diet.
There are 'conserving water' awards
Churches and Schools are turning 'eco'
with some even calling for an 'Ecological Conversion'; for people to see the destruction of water and forests as 'evil'.
The Vatican is trying to work on an interfaith level and his most recent report was dedicated to the preservation of the environment and stopping climate change.
Universities and others are being asked to divest from fossil fuels.
There's a UN World Water Day, The Campain Against Arms Trade and Flobal Justic now, there's supportive educative media, appreciating the natural world. The new David Attenborough series Blue Planet 2 is coming out soon and he is likely to concentrate on 'looking thy last on all things lovely' rather than flag up too starkly that we are facing the largest amount of extinctions ever and the fact that there is already more plastic in the sea than there are fish. However, Attenborough was faced with a question in St paul's Cathedral that spoke volumes. He was asked 'Why do we need all these different species?' He was so irritated he shut it down but it just goes to show the ignorance of people in regard to biodiversity and the connection of all life on the planet. 

We are all invited to One World Week

Saturday, October 21, 2017

What is Karma? Alternative Health Cards by Frances Micklem


When you get the card with the painting of Abundancia the Goddess on it, it is time to explore karma. I could only fit a sentence or two on the back of the cards and I realized, later, that each one is a call to action that probably involves whole concepts that it took me years to get my head around. This one refers to concepts such as the multi-dimensional reality, the transmutation of karma, the development of your intuition and mental freedom from old patterns. 

The wisdom on this card offers a massive step in the direction of self mastery. If you put the work in and apply the following understandings your life will transform from a helpless unfolding of events to a conscious creation of a life of meaning, value and purpose. 

What is Karma?

Karma is experienced as recurring tests and problems in life. It exists and operates in your unconscious and keeps a person on a loop of inevitable repetition. 

What Causes Karma?

Karma is caused by ealier choices and actions, sometimes as far back as previous lifetimes. Some people see karma as a punishment but some will also have experienced 'good karma', where a good deed is quickly followed by some luck. 

Identification is When You Think That Something That Happens To You Is Who You Are

Karma is very powerful not least because it is an unconscious dynamic, driving you to walk into the same dangers over and over again. The first thing to do is to recognize and accept that you have these dynamics. Then you will become less identified with them. Identification with your karma can be seen in the statements. ‘I am just very unlucky’ ‘I have a weakness in my legs’  Any negative statement beginning with ‘I am’ ‘I have’ or ‘I always’ are indicators both of karma and that you have become identified with your karma.

Way To Deal With Karma

It is absolutely crucial to clear your karma and be systematic in recognizing its appearance. As karma is unconscious, consciousness is the means to clear it. Paying one’s karmic debt could take lifetimes. In some cultures, when they see someone suffering, they will not intervene as it is seen as the person’s opportunity to pay their debt. To transcend one’s karma requires a person to lead a completely spiritually–directed life. You have to rise above the mundane world, where the karma plays out, and achieve a relative safety by staying removed from the messy reality of relationships and other worldly participation. It can be done though, through meditation, ritual and chanting. For me, that has felt like a blocking out of information, as I was taught to always turn towards difficult information and face it directly, rather than get away from it. My method transmutes karma. 

Examples of Karmic Patterns

For one client, they had broken the same ankle/lower leg 3 times, nearly on a yearly basis. For me, I noticed karma around cars. I would think I was making a new choice but continually buy an old car that was slightly off-the-road and that no one else would touch with a barge pole! Furthermore, I would routinely have punctures and accidents involving the road-edge, rear wheel. This went as far as running over a beloved dog in very slow motion. Another time, the whole axel and wheel broke off in that quadrant. 

Using A Pendulum To Transmute Karma

When you have noticed a recurring pattern, you can hold a pendulum aloft and start it spinning gently in a clockwise direction. Out loud, or in your head, set the intention: Please clear the karmic relationship I have with...
When the pendulum slows, other aspects might have occurred to you and you can set the pendulum off again to clear those. You might also have a phsyical response like a yawn or partial yawn or a twinge in the part of your body where problems have often shown themselves.
If you have had one of those only partial yawns where you begin but don't get a full inhalation, or even if you get no sensations or thoughts as the pendulum swings and then slows to a standstill, still there is more work to do. Maybe frame the next question as: Please transmute any further karma. The intention to hold, when you set the pendulum off this time, is one of self forgiveness. You may find that you have a heavier conscience that you thought and this is a chance to acknowledge mistakes and let them go.  

It is when you are clearing using the pendulum that you are developing your intuition. You can see the karma as an intractable, painful entrapment but you are starting to see ways through it. These are little glimmers of light, thoughts like: Today I have acknowledged the past and realize that it does not need to define my future. It comes later that our intuition and awareness are actually at work: You find yourself facing a decision and you get a flash of perspective and you realize you have several choices not just the one you have made before.

I described karma as being 4th dimension. There is a fifth dimension and sixth and seventh. These are lighter and lighter than the density of the elements and our familiar 3D experience. 

The deal is that you can only make real change, fully heal, actually grow and come to love freely and welcome abundance comfortably, once you are cleared your karma. Before that, you are pinned under an invisible ceiling of habitual, defeated routine both mentally and physically.

That's okay if you always fall on your feet. But either way, it's always worth doing a focused clearing of your karma. It may well be why you came. By this I mean, why you incarnated. I slightly feel that we are here to make amends. 

Another way of looking at karma is the expression ‘What goes around comes around’ so it is also a way of looking at your participation in each scenario. Once you have moved from completely unconscious to completely conscious, it is empowering as you see what massive an impact you have. From helpless victim of circumstance to a life of conscious creator of reality.

The message came to me, for this card, in a certain tense though. It suggests that you are already on to this important mission. You have been breaking free of those unconscious patterns for some time and so I'm hoping this bit of elaboration and clarity will just enhance the process.

All in all, thanks! You are doing a good job!    

Full set of Angel Cards available on

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"We are eating our Plastic Waste and It is Toxic"

Talk on Reducing our Use of Plastic 

This information was taken from Becs Gill's talk for the Women's Institute, who made Reducing Plastic their Cause for 2017.
She undertook the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge
Her original degree was in Marine Biology and is also well known from the Gardening Club - Growing our own vegetables and fruit being a very good way to avoid the packaging of supermarkets!


She asked at the outset:
What does your MP or TD think about conservation? Is it on their priorities list?
She asked at the end:
What changes will we make, to reduce our use of plastic and support projects globally?

The Marine Conservation Society run 'The Plastic Challenge' which asks that you give up 'single use' plastic for a month. What does 'single use plastic' include? All packaging that can't be reused, for starters!

Litter Picking Abroad

A trip had turned into a litter picking holiday for all the famly, there was witnessed and photographed extensive littering on the beaches and in the lay-bys of Sardinia, Sicily, Jakata, Norway and also closer to home, at Didcot train station. It was pointed out that no one place is better than another. As we looked at a devastating picture of Norway, it was asked; Do you really think it was the Norwegians who left all that litter on their shores? Absolutely not. It is washed up after storms and completely covers the coast, not just occasional items. The UK and Ireland are not visibly a total disaster yet but that is only because we are lucky with the ocean's currents, around the islands.

The wide river and estuary, in Jakata, provides the drinking water for 14 million people. Water was not visible anywhere, in the picture, under the thick pile of rubbish (and remember that plastic is oil-based and once will have contained food, so the bacteria must be even more rife.

Ocean Plastic Pollution

The problem, then the challenge were looked at, in order to balance the horror of the extent of the problem and the challenge that we are presented with to reverse it. Litter has increased 135% since 1984. Plastic use has increased 180% since 1984.

 A photo was shown of the Great pacific 'Garbage Patch'. It is 6 times the size of the UK, possibly even the size of North America. It is so thick that a person can walk on it.

Drinking Water Plastic Pollution

83% of all tap water is polluted with plastic. 'We are eating our plastic waste and it is toxic'. 90% of us have plastic in our stomachs.

Biodegradable? Recyclable?

Worldwide, only about 7% of plastic is recycled.
Exposed to air, water, light and heat, plastic does break down but it never biodegrades. The very small particles are still plastic. Micro plastics are known as 'mermaid's tears'. It takes 450-1000 years for plastic to degrade. 8 million tons are dumped in the ocean each year.

The Affect On Marine Life

At least one in three marine species are affected. They mistake the plastic bags for jelly fish and eat them. Fish mistake plastics for food as they still smell like the food that was packaged in it.

The Plastic Challenge - Buy nothing wrapped in plastic for one month!

Do we just need to make better choices? No, it is more than that. Having explored alternatives to plastic-packaged items, it was found that you might have to abstain from some foods as it is impossible to find them without packaging; like berries for example.

Easy Wins - Easy changes To Make

There are certain things you can do, without too much hassle.
1. Use soap and not liquid soap
2. Grate the soap to make soap flakes for washing clothes
3. Buy glass bottles not plastic
4. Make your own bread
5. Use reusable bags, containers, mugs and bottles
And, brilliantly, toilet paper.
6. Wrapped in paper, like Andrex used to be, the company is called 'Who Gives A Crap'
and they will send you a box. Who Gives A Crap Website

7. Self Scan in supermarkets, rather than going to a scanned check out.
This provides times to
a) bring your own veg bags and weigh the veg - without feeling like a loon
b) choose not to have something- without feeling like an indecisive loon
c) leave your packaging behind after you've paid - to feel like an activist and push for the shop to sort out the plastic excess themselves, short term and...if we all did it...probably long term, they would deal with it.
The things you might choose not to have, on further consideration, might include convenience foods, magazines with lots of plastic tat on the cover. You might choose apples over berries and you might buy a longer-term razor rather than endless disposable ones.

Not so easy changes

Plastic-free Feminine Hygiene

(It's always uncomfortable to talk about femine hygiene products but I have been determined to, since I discovered that all the Always and Tampax (only two brands available in Ireland and UK supermarkets) use non organic cotton and therefore riddled with glyphosate. And... they are tested on animals. I mean really, where will it end...apart from in tears.
So Cheeky Wipes are the way to go, I gather. Sanitory towels are made from bamboo. I think the answer is to order some versions and try them. No big commitment to start with but a lifetime of savings, better health and much reduced waste.

Grow Your Own Food

If you grow your own food, you'll avoid plastic that way. (I would add to also really avoid bagged salad. They say that over a third of it is wasted every time, probably because it sweats. Bring back paper bags).

Make your own sweets and treats

So much nicer and actually nearly all sweets are now wrapped in plastic. Even kitkats that never were in the past!

Change some habits altogether

 For example, look around for new foods. A product called Ebly wheat had been found that comes in a cardboard box, like a cereal. Pasta was nearly impossible to find except sealed in plastic bags, so a change can be made to lasagne. Lasagne sheets are still sold in cardboard packets.

Make your own tofu, vegan cheese, yoghurts and icecream (I just veganized that suggestion as the last thing I want to do is promote dairy or any animal use).

Successes of The Undertaken Challenge

£300 was raised
Changed habits
Got people thinking
Replaced all chemical cleaning products
Litter Picking became a mild and beneficial obsession within the family!!

Current Situation

275,000 tonnes are used in the UK per year
45kg are thrown away per person, into the landfill.
Only one third is sent for recycling

8% of the world's oil is used to make plastic
That includes 4% in the plastic materials and 4% in the energy to manufacture the plastic.

The familiar recommendations are therefore reversed:

REDUCE, then reuse and only then recycle.

(This is even more pertinent now that China is trying to clean up it's air and has stopped the UK exporting 50% of its plastic)

Trying to round up the talk on a positive note, which was another challenge again:

Positive Actions Taken World-Wide To Stop The Plastic Pollution

1. Kenya has introduced the toughest laws to stop companies from producing and using plastic, including 4 years in jail or a 40,000 dollar fine. Ethiopa too.

2. France has banned plastic cups, cutlery  and plates. Some free trade groups have argued that this was against the law as presumably they want to sell whatever they want, however destructive.

3. Morocco banned plastic a year ago and 450 tons have been seized already.

4. Scotland has proposed a scheme for returning cans and bottles. It would be brilliant to see that in Ireland, England and Wales too.

Resources To Support A Reduction in Our Individual Use of Plastic

There are resources for making changes - The Joy Of Living Without Plastic - A practical guide - This is a blog spanning a heroic year done, plastic-free.

 Life Without Plastic is another site. Life Without Plastic - Blog and Store

Instead of toothpaste you can get an equivalent from Lush. Lush have loads of natural ingredient, unwrapped soaps and an ingenious range called Naked that exist without packaging at all.
Airmid are based in Ireland. Although both are ethically sourced and no animal testing, hardly any of each are vegan so serious research was necessary! I bought Airmid's shampoo bar and Lush's; 9 to 5 cleanser, their Charity Pot lotion (all profits go to charities), the lip tint, the solid perfume, a block of roll-on glitter of different shades (don't ask me why but I just liked the look of it), Aromaco Deodorant and Magical Moringa ... so all those are vegan (so no animal ingredients like even honey or beeswax, for definite!)

Airmid Shampoo Cardboard Packagin and Glitter Block

Request a Plastic Free Aisle and LEAVE YOUR PACKAGING AT THE SHOP!

We can also mention every time we go into a supermarket, that we would like to have a 'plastic-free aisle'. That sounds like a great plan!

Awareness, is it rising or isolated?

It was considered, at the end, whether we are on the edge of something? Like a real sea-change (pardon the pun).

Yes, there is greater awareness but it is down to where you put your attention; exploring plastic-free options, on line, was immediately met with countless ads and articles about plastic pollution. (My mother, on the other hand was sent ads and articles on embroidery. I, as another, am sent a multitude of information about the plight of animals. So, there is a risk that the information is not being presented in a general way. 

Artificial intelligence organizes it so that there is a 'preaching to the converted' and a complete disillusionment for some as they are sent the extent of the problem they have taken an interest in, while all their neighbours remain none the wiser...

We are each being sold and sent completely different information.

Plastic and Micro Plastic is Carcinogenic

And is plastic carcinogenic? Yes, most plastics are cancer-causing. We've all heard of BPAs. But they are in every level of the food chain. Now digested in plankton and...brace yourselves...tea bags are coated in plastic. Plastic-coated tea bags made with plastic-polluted drinking water. No wonder one in twenty people have cancer. Which plastics are most dangerous - Ty Bollinger

My own thoughts on the matter:

Start Your Challenge With A Proper Cup Of Tea

What to do first then? Get a serious water filter and get organic tea bags or loose leaved tea. Wait not a moment longer. One recommended to me was Nikken. The filter is £215 and shipping charge to Ireland is £16.50. This link might take you to their website!

I went to this talk as my first Women's Institute meeting and ON MY BIRTHDAY! Obviously, I had loads of invites to other parties and celebrations but I choose this! It was great and life-changing!!