5 Ways You Can Make a Difference on World Environment Day 2021

Celebrated annually on June 5, the United Nations hosts World Environment Day to help raise awareness about the environment and invite people around the world to take action to protect our planet and its natural resources. Since its inception in 1974, a different country has hosted the event with a specific theme. This year’s theme is ‘ecosystem restoration’ and focuses on resetting our relationship with nature. 

As host of World Environment Day, Pakistan will highlight environmental issues and showcase its initiatives and their role in global efforts. Led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Government of Pakistan – in one of the world’s most ambitious afforestation efforts – plans to expand and restore the country’s forests through a 10 Billion Tree Tsunami spread over five years. 

The campaign includes restoring mangroves and forest and planting trees in urban settings, including schools, colleges, public parks and green belts. Pakistan has launched an Ecosystem Restoration Fund to support nature-based solutions to climate change and facilitate the transition towards environmentally resilient, ecologically targeted initiatives covering afforestation and biodiversity conservation. 

However, anyone worldwide can participate in the celebration to raise awareness about our impact on nature and how we can reset our relationship with the planet. You can sign up on the WED site for updates on official events in your local area, or you can come up with ways that you and your family can celebrate right in your neighbourhood. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Plant native Australian flora for the bees

Bee populations are dwindling worldwide. Ensuring that native Australian bee species have plenty of their favourite flowers and plants on which to feed goes a long way towards helping those populations build back up. These plants include abelias, bottlebrushes, honey myrtle and other native Aussie flowers which you can plant in your backyard. You could also organise a group of keen gardeners to grow native plants in your community or children’s school.

Compost your food waste

Composting is one of the most effective ways that you can help the environment. Food waste makes up almost 40% of the typical domestic rubbish bin, including spoiled fruit and vegetables, the peels, the skins, the outer leaves, the cores, the husks, the seeds—the ‘inedible’ bits. By sending food waste to landfill, Australians generate methane equal to around 6.8 million tonnes of carbonic acid gas. Methane is 30x more potent than your average Co2.

Avoid single-use plastics

Can you go a whole day without buying anything in plastic? It’s a big ask but give yourself a challenge, you might be surprised at how easy you find it! Today could be a great day to check out your local bulk store or farmers market.

Adjust your thermostat

Greenhouse gas emissions occur anytime non-renewable energy is used to heat our houses. One of the top tips for saving CO2 is to turn your thermostat down by 2 degrees C in the winter and up by 2 degrees in the summer. These are temperatures that you won’t even notice but make a massive difference to energy saving.

Try to think about when you will really need the house heating and only turn the heating on when you are in the house. For example, if you’re heading for a trip away for the weekend and it’s the summertime, you could probably knock the heating off while you are away. Likewise, when it comes to your air conditioner, open up your house when the cool change comes in the evening and sleep with a light cotton sheet.

Take part in a beach clean-up.

At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. There are various ways that this plastic ends up in our oceans, but one way we can help stop quickly is the amount of plastic that the tide sweeps up from the beach and coastlines. 

You can make a difference by joining a beach clean-up organisation in your area or hosting your own! Simply get a group of like-minded eco-enthusiasts together and pick up any rubbish you see on your local beach to make it a safer and more pleasant place to be. 

Do you celebrate World Environment Day? How do you mark the occasion? Let us know in the comments below.

Travelling more sustainably – our top tips!

As countries start to open up again post-Coronavirus, you may be starting to think about getting that Wanderlust fix you’ve been dreaming about for the best part of the last year. In Australia, overseas travel is resuming to New Zealand, and Singapore may not be far behind, so many are rushing to book a trip as soon as they can. 

This is a great opportunity to create the new ‘normal’ that you want to live by. A clean slate almost to live a life that you are more fulfilled by. You’ve started to transform your home into a more planet-friendly and human-kind friendly environment so you may be wondering how you can bring these new practices into the way you travel. 

So, we want to show you how to travel sustainably, so that you can be a little bit friendlier to the planet when you travel in the future.

The impact that tourism has had on many countries is massively damaging. Many destinations which once had thriving communities have seen people pushed out from their homes in order to make way for huge, corporate-owned hotels. Local businesses have been crushed by American-owned restaurants and coffee shops taking their customers. Areas of beauty have also been destroyed by the sheer footfall of tourists visiting popular and well-published areas. 

One example is Maya Bay, on Ko Phi Phi Leh island in Thailand. You would recognise it from the movie The Beach with Leo DiCaprio (yep, that one!) which has been closed indefinitely to tourists thanks to an overwhelming amount of pollution on the island. At its peak, the island was receiving almost 5,000 tourists and 200 boats a day, who brought litter, boats and sun cream caused. It is estimated that more than 80% of the coral around Maya Bay has now been destroyed.

Travelling sustainably doesn’t mean that you need to stop flying altogether, or leave the life you know and take to the road for 6 months. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to your mindset and your actions that can make a huge difference. Here’s how:

1. Think carefully about your destination 

Obviously, the distance you are travelling will impact the environment but it’s good to check how eco-friendly the actual city you are visiting is. One of our favourites, Ljubljana in Slovenia, has been voted one of the greenest in Europe⁣⁣.

2. Stay in one place for longer⁣

⁣If you can, base yourself in one city or area for long enough to soak up the culture, meet the locals and get a sense of your surroundings⁣. Book homestays or local apartments to stay in instead of big hotels. Spend time getting to know your hosts if you have the time, ask them for recommendations, take up offers of dinners and be more flexible with your travel plans.

3. Travel by road or train to your destination to save on carbon emissions

Choose a location that you can explore on foot or by bike. Take the road less travelled. Visit destinations and attractions that are a little bit less known, don’t just follow the guidebook’s recommendations or go to that clifftop on everyone’s Instagram. Avoid crowded areas so that you’re not contributing to the damage to the flora and fauna.

4. Seek out local guides to show you the area, rather than big tour companies⁣

Tip generously⁣. Ignore the guidebook and contribute to the local economy by shopping and eating in smaller, locally owned businesses⁣⁣. By support locals, instead of global corporations, you will be enabling the community to thrive and survive for years to come.

5. Pack smart! 

The most important thing is to pack light, especially if staying in homestays which won’t have a porter service. Try to think about which toxic products, like sunscreen, soaps, shampoos, you are taking with you and look for natural alternatives.

6. Share your stories with your friends and family afterwards⁣. 

Pass on contacts of what you enjoyed, encourage others to do the same! Lastly…leave the throw away little trinket souvenirs there and complimentary hotel toiletries alone. You’ve probably got plenty from pre-corona time travel still sitting in your bathroom. 

Do you think about how sustainable you travel? What are some of your favourite eco-friendly methods of travel? Let us know in the comments below.

6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month

April is Earth Month! While every day in our house is Earth Day, we are always trying to add more and more ways in our business and as individuals to help to fight climate change and save the planet. 

As we look forward to Earth Day on April 22, now is a great time to start planning how you might want to celebrate and what you can do to take part! Here, we share our top six favourite ways to celebrate Earth Month.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Adopt the 3 R of sustainability and help to save the planet! 

Reduce what you buy. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if you genuinely need it or if you can repurpose other items that you already have. Shopping for secondhand clothing and products helps contribute to less waste. Avoid products wrapped in plastic, and limit your food waste by only buying what you need.

Reuse plastic items as much as possible or take to a secondhand store where possible, so they don’t end up in landfill.

Recycle correctly, and choose to buy recycled products to close the loop. Focus on the proper disposal of the items which you don’t need or use any more. 

2. Ditch single-use plastics

Reduce the amount of plastic you use by switching from single-use plastic items. Think of anything you throw away after you use them, like razors, water bottles and coffee cups and instead buy a reusable water bottle that you can keep refilling and take your reusable bags with you when you next go shopping. The planet, and your wallet, will thank you!

3. Tune in to Earth Day Live

Join billions worldwide on April 22 to watch world leaders, youth activists, and social media influencers all come together to talk about ways in which we can #RestoreOurEarth

Most events are still online, as EARTHDAY.ORG will have its second Earth Day Live digital event. Workshops, panel discussions, and special performances will focus on Restore Our Earth™ — we’ll cover natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems. 

Some local communities are also holding in-person tree planting and beach clean-ups, where possible.

4. Be An Advocate For Our Planet!

Education is one of the best things you can do to start your journey in fighting climate change. You can do this in so many ways, like sharing facts about climate change & our ocean on your social media, sparking conversations with friends & family, and even organising regular clean-ups with your community. 

Ask your local cafes to ditch plastic straws (if they haven’t already) or supply plastic-free takeaway containers. Better yet, bring your own! Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to use their thermos’. Call out those rubbish tossers! Write an email to your local council and get involved in activities that can spread awareness among your community.

5. Get on your bike

Limit the number of unnecessary car journeys to reduce your carbon footprint. The fewer cars on the road, the fewer carbon emissions polluting the air and contributing to global warming. 

Riding your bike and just taking a walk are two of the best options available. Adding a basket or panniers to your bike instantly increases its versatility. And if you don’t have a bike or don’t know how to ride one, carpool or take public transportation.

6. Invest in Green Technology and Businesses

Support green advancements in technology and businesses striving for change by investing in them. Ultimately, businesses can significantly impact the climate, with only 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, so the obligation lies with businesses to make crucial changes that provide a positive impact on our planet. The big change comes when consumers demand it. 

If the threat of climate change has you questioning where your money is being invested, you may want to consider an ethical exchange-traded fund (ETF). An Ethical ETF is simply an ETF that excludes certain industries or companies from their investment holdings. Ethical ETFs can also require companies to meet certain sustainability targets in order to be eligible for inclusion. Always do your own research about which ETF is best for you and ensure you only invest what you can afford to lose. 

You can help hundreds of ways, but these are just a few easy ones to get you started. Make these a habit in April and continue them for the rest of the year. Each small effort we make to keep the Earth alive for our future generations adds up to a significant impact. 

How will you be celebrating Earth Month? 

6 Ways To Have A Plastic-Free Summer

We find the summer holidays one of the most challenging times to be plastic-free. The routine of the week and comforts of home make packing your own lunches in glass or metal containers, remembering your shopping bags and sipping from your water bottle easier. 

Now the summer holidays are here, and you might be out of the house a little bit more, away from home visiting family or looking for ways to treat yourself to a coffee from your local cafe. It’s all too easy to fall back into your old plastic wasting habits.

Incorporate some plastic-free activities and practises into your summer holidays. Soon they will become second nature, meaning that you will be reducing your plastic without even thinking about it! Here are six of our favourite plastic-free activities to get you started.

Take your own picnic

If you’re lucky enough to be able to explore or even travel further afield, pack up a picnic and set off for your local park or beach. 

For the ultimate plastic-free picnic, wrap your goodies in muslin or wax and store items glass or metal containers. You can also bring your own water bottles or thermos’ to drink from and bamboo cutlery, if you need them. Then all you need to do is just sit back and relax.

Remember your water bottle

Plastic bottles are the quickest thing to sink to the bottom of the ocean, and they never biodegrade. Plastic particles from bottles are also slowly eroding into your water so on a whole they are bad for the environment, and bad for your health! Grab yourself a stainless steel water bottle instead and remember to keep these on hand when you’re out and about this summer.

Visit the local farmers market

Farmer’s markets are a great activity, and a great way to save on plastic wrapping, eat organic, support local and independent businesses and have an all-round more personal shopping experience. You can find these in your local town, and more and more are popping up in cities. Bulk food stores are also another way to save on packaging, just grab your favourite refillable container!

Buy from the deli or bakery

When it comes to buying the ingredients for family gatherings or summer BBQs, try to visit your local bakery, butchers or deli. Most small businesses are happy to wrap your products in your own containers, or wax wraps so just ask!

Start your own herb garden or veggie patch

Herbs and veggies often come with a considerable amount of plastic waste. From herb portions wrapped in plastic to fruit on plastic trays, there are so many ways that you can reduce your plastic waste and growing your own is one of the best. Even if you just have space for a few small pots of herbs or salad leaves on your window ledge growing your own is a perfect activity to keep the whole family busy all summer long.

Ditch the coffee runs

We know that grabbing a coffee from a cafe feels like a treat, but disposable coffee cups can no longer be recycled. It is estimated Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s approximately 2,700,000 paper coffee cups thrown out every day! Instead, invest in your own reusable coffee thermos or some quality, fair-trade coffee that lives up to your takeaway coffee standards and make your own at home.

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A Personal Note and Thank you From Us

Hi Friends, 

I wanted to write you a personal note to thank you for the ongoing support you have given us during these difficult times. 

As a family-owned small business, 2020 has been an interesting year! The nation-wide ban on music festivals and local markets in Australia saw our usual haunts disappear overnight and left us feeling a little bit lost. Suddenly we were left without our retail opportunities, our customers or opportunities to spread the Vesica mission. Small businesses and artisans alike are suffering greatly under these tight restrictions.

The 6 years since I opened Vesica have been a whirlwind. What started as a passion for all things eco-friendly, and a love for making natural leather products, grew as my family grew and quickly became my livelihood. I rely on the support of amazing people like you to keep Vesica thriving as a business.

That being said, you’ll notice a few changes popping up around here. The time to focus on our little home on the web has meant that we are finally launching our newsletter! We’ll be sharing bi-monthly updates, eco-living tips, new products launches as well as exclusive discounts and offers.

We will be sharing handy tips and actionable advice for navigating eco-friendly living more regularly on the Vesica blog. Don’t forget to keep checking in over there to keep up with our latest posts. We’d love to hear your ideas for future blogs or stories of adventures you’ve had with your beloved Vesica products, so feel free to get in touch with us! 

I’m so excited to give Vesica a voice and connect with the amazing friends I’ve met along the way, who I’ve missed greatly.

We’re also taking this opportunity to give a little back and reward all of you wonderful ambassadors, and passionate promotors leading the plastic-free revolution, with the Vesica affiliate program.

If you’ve ever been complimented on your water bottle and graciously shared our details with a new friend or internet pals and then thought, ‘I really should be getting a kick-back for every person that asks me about my bottle…or tea infuser.’

Well, now you can!

Simply, sign up here, share a short link or show them a QR code to scan. Then any purchases they make can be traced back to you and we’ll pay you a %.

My super supportive customer base and quality product offering have been the building blocks that have kept Vesica standing all these years. I can’t wait to grow the Vesica family even further through the affiliate program.

There are plenty of other ways you can show your support to small businesses during this time. Of course, investing in some new products for yourself or loved ones is amazing but there are plenty of ways that you can support us without spending any money at all. These include: 

  • Writing a review on the Vesica Facebook page.
  • Following us on Instagram and liking/commenting on/sharing our posts.
  • Posting pictures of your Vesica products, using our hashtag #MyVesica
  • ….Giving #MyVesica a search and connecting with other Vesica friends.
  • Sending us a message with your love, photographs and stories of your Vesica products.
  • Subscribing to our newsletter.
  • Telling your friends and family about us!

Thank you again for choosing Vesica and for continuing your eco-friendly journey with us. Keep in touch!

Love,

Shane x