Friday, 31 October 2008
Tomorrow we begin our Buy Nothing Month (BNM), an extension of Buy Nothing Day, which takes place on 29th November. We will not spend any money for a whole month. We had a BNM last year and it was rather successful - a chance for us to explore our relationship with money and really assess our needs and wants. Last year we experienced more time together as a family and a greater sense of resourcefulness, especially in the kitchen. Given that my biggest financial indulgence is good quality organic food I am hoping to be able to take this resourcefulness a step further this year. So what are we going to do without?
• No food purchases apart from our standard family-sized box of vegetables and fruit that is delivered every week. We will use the last harvest from the veggie garden and clear our storecupboard items. I will get more creative with food that we have foraged for and will probably spend a good proportion of my time in the kitchen!
• No newspapers, books, magazines, or similar items. We will make our own family news for a month, concentrate on reading our accumulated library rather than buying more and spend time trusting innate knowledge rather than looking to books, etc for answers.
• No clothes purchases - easy one really since we only shop in charity shops and with ethical clothing brands periodically. However, I will make more of an effort this month to repair clothes rather than giving them away or textile recycling them. These will become last resort options.
• No trips out that cost money - this will be quite tricky as part of our home education schedule is a day out every couple of weeks or so, either up to London to the museums or to local historic sites. I expect to use the bikes to explore deeper into our local area instead.
• No gift purchases - there are a couple of friends' and family members' birthdays coming up in November. We will be making presents and cards for all the lucky gift recipients!
There are probably other areas too - I shall cover those as they come up during our month of freedom! Hope you enjoy reading about our experiences during the coming weeks... And if you fancy joining us, I'd be delighted to hear from you.
It's Samhain, the ancient pagan festival and the eve of the new year according to the Celts. So, what are we up to in the office? Well, we are having a big sort out and making sure that all loose ends are tied up before we enter the next phase of the yearly cycle. This will hopefully create space for lots of new exciting developments to come into fruition, like our sparkling new website, which will be launched in the New Year. In the meantime, we have just finished a beautiful edition, which is published in a couple of weeks. It's our craft special and is stuffed with projects to get stuck into during the winter months. You can order a subscription to make sure you don't miss out!
Time for fun
As well as finishing off the latest edition of The Green Parent magazine we have also been having fun, we spent a frosty night in a yurt set in the middle of a beech wood and held a pumpkin party last night attended by a coven of small witches, cats, ghosts and even a fox! We played murder in the dark, went on a treasure hunt in the woods, carved pumpkins and bobbed for apples. Lots of fun was had by all.
Full of energy
We also have a new companion in the office for a few days - a Bedlington terrier puppy called Jasper, who was rescued by a friend a couple of weeks ago - we are looking after him whilst she is away. His puppy energy is very engaging and he is full of joy, leaping about like a lamb in the fallen leaves. I am feeling slightly less energetic myself, having been woken for a walk at 5:30 this morning. Yawn! The sunrise was exceptionally beautiful though and it feels great to get outside when all the rest of the world is silent. At the moment he is sleeping by my feet in a box, between walks. Bless him!
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
October 21st is officially Apple Day and although many events have already taken place there is still lots to get your teeth stuck into this weekend. And plenty to get the juices flowing!
Make your own cider
At the Cider Museum in Hereford, visitors on Sat and Sun can roll up to make their very own cider. Learn about the history of cider making, how the apples were milled and pressed and the resulting juice fermented to produce cider.
Enjoy some beautiful orchards
Home to the UK's largest collection of fruit trees, Brogdale Trust in Kent is hosting an Apple Festival this weekend with lots to do for all the family. Visitors can wander in the orchards, taste different varieties, buy Kentish crafts and watch cookery demos.
View an A to Z of apples and squash
At Luton Hoo walled garden in Bedfordshire there will be stallholders, an exciting array of alphabetical produce (?!), storytelling, apple printing and pumpkin decorating.
Play Apple Games
Take your children along to Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire on Sunday and they can plant their own apple tree to take home, try apple printing, help dress the apple tree and hunt for giant alphabet apples. Adults can take part in a course on pruning and training fruit trees.
Meet the Apple Lady
Hilary Wilson holds court at Beetham Nurseries, in Cumberland on Sun. Her interest in apples began as a child and led her to research varieties suited to the climate in her area. She enjoys helping people identify their apples and is available for advice. Other activities include tastings, and competitions.
Take part in the longest peel competition
Join competitors at Eggesford Gardens in Devon to pit your peeling skills against some of the county's finest on Sat and Sun. Afterwards, check out the tasting tables, home made cakes and preserves or get your own apples pressed into juice.
Enjoy morris dancing displays
On Sat and Sun morris dancers will be entertaining the folk at Thames Chase Community Forest in Upminster, Essex. There will be 20 varieties of apple on offer, a wildlife treasure hunt in the forest and bee keeping demos.
Find out how to decrease your carbon footprint
Spitalfields City Farm, London, wants to encourage visitors to buy local at their Apple Day event this year on Sunday. Also try your hand at apple bobbing, the longest peel competition, apple crafts and lots more besides.
Visit the Pip Inn and camp out
On Sat and Sun, Middle Farm, nr. Lewes, East Sussex will play host to thousands of folk coming to enjoy the special brand of magic that makes their apple festival so memorable. You can camp overnight, watch morris dancers, indulge in local ciders at the Pip Inn, taste a whole cornucopia of apple varieties and much more. Last year there was even a mouse circus. Might see you there!
There are about a gazillion other events going the length and breadth of the country and it seems that everyone must have an apple celebration nearby. Check out all the other events on offer and if you are free do explore one. This festival is an important celebration of our food heritage and an important step in relocalising food production, therefore reducing environmental impact.
Earlier in the year I watched an amazing movie made by a young guy called Rob Stewart about sharks. Sharkwater began as an underwater documentary but quickly became a shocking expose into the horrific and illegal global finning trade when Stewart found that finning was taking place in protected waters in The Galapagos and Costa Rica.
This week sees the start of European Shark Week, which aims to highlight the dramatic decline in European shark populations and the role that Europeans play in the global shark trade. Sharks are among the oceans most threatened species - tens of millions are killed every year, intentionally or as 'bycatch'. Despite evidence of overfishing and depletion, few countries restrict shark fishing. Stewart works with Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to raise awareness of these issues through his film. And it's certainly well worth a watch.
Interesting Shark Facts
Sharks have roamed the oceans for more than 400 million years, making them 200 years older than dinosaurs.
The threat of sharks is not as dangerous as we think. Crocodiles kill more people in one year than sharks will in 100 years.
Sharks play a crucial role in the ocean ecosystem as they are the predators at the pinnacle of the marine food pyramid. Populations decline and the ecosystem is thrown out of balance.
I love yoga - my practice has helped me through so many challenging patches and has made me much more in tune and aware of my body and it's strengths and limitations. In preparation for an article in The Green Parent magazine at some point I wanted to round up some of the great eco yoga products out there.
Of course, you don't need any of these products to practice yoga but if you are thinking of getting a mat, for example, it's worth looking for one with minimal environmental impact. Same goes for clothing - look for organic items and you can be sure that they are less damaging to the environment, and your health, than conventional garments. It's a good idea to consume as little as possible but when we do purchase things to shop ethically and look for durability in the items we choose.
Eco Yoga Mat
This mat is completly PVC free. It is made from natural jute fibre with a pure rubber backing to prevent sliding. It uses plant based materials in its construction and is also biodegrable although manufacturers admit that composting trials are still in operation. Eco Yoga beleive that practicing on a plastic mat made cheaply for maximum profit is the antithesis of yoga and that this jute mat brings you to be closer to nature. It costs £31.50 from Yoga Matters.
Bamboo Yoga Block
Bamboo is light, strong and sustainable. This yoga brick is hollow and is made from laminated bamboo using FDA approved adhesives. Use in numerous standing and seated postures to provide lift or grounding. With three distinctly different dimensions to vary the height, the yoga brick offers firm support and is available from Yoga Studio for £8.99
Natural Rubber Tree Mat
This is made from natural rubber from the Havea Brasiliensis tree, on a 100% cotton mesh. Natural rubber and cotton are biodegradable making this an ecologically sound yoga mat. It's available for £29.95 from Yoga Studio.
Eco Smart Yoga Bag from Gaiam
Yoga bag made from recycled plastic bottles with a handy adjustable shoulder strap, breathable mesh to allow your mat to air dry after practice and a roomy main compartment.
Bamboo Yoga Pillow
This bamboo pillow offers the head & neck ideal support when lying down during meditation or relaxation. Available for £17.50 from Yoga Studio.
Fairly Traded Energy Wear Tunic top from Everyday Alchemist
Natalie Fee crated this range of clothing to help boost people's energy, help them feel more alive and chilled out, have better concentration and be happier. She recommends this for yoga bunnies as it helps keep the stomach and kidneys covered and warm. Each top carries aspecial symbol that has been charged by a chi-light resonator - an instrument that infuses chi (or energy) into various objects or substances. Available for £19.99 from Weaving Star.
Organic yoga trousers from Ethical Superstore
I really rate these fold-over yoga trousers for their comfort, softness and durability. Available for £35 from Ethical Superstore.
Organic Sports Bra
An organic cotton sports bra made from super soft organic jersey cotton so it's comfy to wear and great for yoga. It has adjustable shoulder straps and is made in Turkey from 95% organic cotton with 5% elastane. Available from Spirit of Nature for £19.95.
Fairly Traded Mohair Blanket
We are getting into luxury relaxation territory here but this sumptuous soft mohair blanket looks just the thing for aiding savasana. It is handmade in a weaving co-operative in Southern India and comes in raspberry, ocean blue and green. Available for £33 from Biome Lifestyle
Minds Eye Opera CD by Anahata
I received this CD for Christmas a couple of years ago from my mum and it is truly blissful - a journey from the deep rhythmic roots of the earth and ourselves, through the heart centre and up to the ethereal space of the crown chakra. Perfect for relaxation and deep connection after a yoga session. Recorded in Glastonbury and available from Red Temple Records.
And for small yoginis I love the concept behind Tattybumpkin - their philosophy and clothing is just so positive. They produce a Bendy, Giggly, Clever and Strong movement kit for £40 with a natural organic cotton mat, a CD and a bendy yoga doll.
Go to the show
And lastly, for all things yoga, under one roof - why not visit the Yoga Show, taking place in London from 31st Oct to 2nd Nov.
I have long been a fan of Gossypium's fabulous organic cotton clothes so when I spoke to Abi today and learned of their new store in Brighton I was very excited. Nestled in the Lanes, the shop has been kitted out with recycled cardboard shelving and carries all their fab organic basics such as babygrows and t-shirts for teens, yogawear and the new make-it-yourself dress kits. Gossypium aim to be completely transparent in every aspect of their business from cotton field to shop shelf and this commitment to ethical practice was recently recognised by Ethical Consumer magazine. Abi Petit has been a pioneering force in the textile industry and it is great to see her company thriving.
I have been alerted to the pleasing news that we are in the midst of Chocolate Week, which runs from 13th to 19th October. What a perfect time for a post on one of nature's superfoods - the marvellous cacao bean.
Pure and simple The purest form of chocolate is the cacao bean. Cacao is one of nature's superfoods, with a wide array of unique properties, many of which get destroyed during the cooking process. Standard chocolate bars get a bad press because of all the stuff that’s mixed in with it; sugar, hydrogenated fats, and dairy products, for example.
Chocolate - health benefits?
The raw cacao bean, on the other hand, has amazing health-giving properties; it is the number one dietary source of magnesium - one reason why many women crave it around the time of menstruation. It is also exceptionally high in sulphur, the 'beauty mineral'. Added to that, it is rich in antioxidants, it's a natural anti-depressant, and an aphrodisiac! In fact, it contains over 300 identifiable chemical compounds, making it one of the most complex foods known to man.
So not only does it taste divine, it makes you feel like a goddess too! And instead of feeling low in energy after eating raw chocolate, you actually feel an energy boost and some people report a cacao high. Although cacao does contain small amounts of caffeine, experiments conducted by homeopaths found that the effects of caffeine in cooked chocolate (raised blood blood pressure and excitement of the nervous system) differed greatly from those of caffeine in raw chocolate, where the effect was not noticeable. This led the experimenters to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting. So this is chocolate that you can enjoy at any time and positively revel in its health giving properties.
We take our duties seriously here at The Green parent magazine and therefore when it fell to us to sample some of the raw chocolate available we rose to the challenge with not a whisper of complaint and here are some of our finds:
This bar has a grainy texture and is quite sweet, using mulberries to achieve the sweetness with not much bitterness. I love really dark high cocoa solid chocolate so this wasn't one of my favourites. However the same company produces (or certainly used to produce - I can't find it on their website now) a double bar pack for children with animals on and my kids love them. So different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Total Raw Food produce a range of bars that have a similar taste to those from the Raw Chocolate Company. They do a silver bar with maca and a red bear with goji berries for longevity. The mint one is pretty tasty and my kids love all of them! Total Raw Food also offer all the kit needed to make your own raw chocolate on their site too.
Oh my goodness, this is simply divine! I could have eaten this delectable morsel all by myself but testing meant sharing it. Shame! This also got the thumbs up from Jez, who is hard to please in the field of raw chocolate. Raw Intent also offer lots of other superfoods and luxury items like raw chocolate spread - yes indeedy!
Wowzer, now I have to admit I have a bit of a thing for coffee - I can wean myself off for months on end, then catch a whiff of a well brewed espresso and I'm off again, needing a daily fix. Well, this bar meets my needs in a much healthier and all round lovely way. This is my favourite raw bar! The kids didn't get a look in - but that's okay because they had their own bars of Nicely Nutty and Hint of Mint. I gave my last piece to Jez - true love eh?! They make a bar called Love Potion No 9 and any company that honours The Clovers musical masterpiece in such a sweet way gets my vote.
Enjoy the rest of chocolate week!
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Is anyone else out there feeling the effects of this full moon? I'm getting myself in a right old pickle and feel incredibly emotional to boot. At 3 minutes past eight tonight the glorious silver orb in the sky is at her fullest and boy, is she having fun this cycle in a fiery, vibrant Aries manner.
Rebirth and new beginnings
As Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, this moon is about rebirth and new beginnings, so it's a wonderful time to start new projects and to let go of old hurts, feelings and beliefs that no longer serve us. We can embrace the fire aspect by having a fire ritual to release the old and welcome in the new. I am going to write a list of things that I am ready to release and burn them in a candle later on tonight. I am also going to focus on my own inner fire during my yoga class tonight and then continue to kindle it through creative projects in the coming weeks. Of course, Aries also signifies playfulness, fun and joy so there is much to be said for enjoying and celebrating the lighter side of our nature around this time.
Perhaps the emotional turmoil that I recognise in myself and others right now is due in part to the Aries connection with our warrior spirit, the raw animal nature in each and every one of us. The warrior is a powerful force, who needs the balance of the playful child on his shoulders to temper the raw and almost blind strength and force.
Starweaver, who created the beautiful full moon image for this post, has a suggestion for a ritual that can be held tonight to honour each person's uniqueness, incorporating the following affirmations:
I am unique.I act from my own centre. My will is pure and strong. I stride forward toward my future.
Meanwhile, the lovely Mrs Green shares her insights on this full moon and a meditation over at Little Green Blog, focusing on healing and releasing blocked anger.
Bright blessings and a magical full moon to all, especially all you other lunar bunnies who are feeling a little shaky!
Monday, 13 October 2008
Is America starting to turn against GM food? The GM industry has managed to keep consumers in the dark about the GM food they are eating for more than a decade. However, some major new developments in the US market suggest that the tide may finally be turning against GM technology. The Soil Association has published a report on the launch of a major new non-GM labelling initiative in the US. It covers the US farmers rejection of new GM crops and the staggering collapse in the market for Monsanto's GM milk hormone. These are very significant developments that are being ignored in the current UK debate on GM. Read more here.
One hundred women dressed as suffragettes will cram the Lobby Room of Parliament today as part of the 'Climate Rush,' 100 years after the historic parliamentary rush, demanding 100% cuts in the UK's carbon emissions by 2030. Dressed in Victorian bloomers and bright red sashes reading 'No new coal' and 'End airport expansion', the women will press their MPs to take tougher action on climate change - demanding the de-carbonisation of the UK power and transport sectors by 2030. Where the original Parliament Rush helped win women's rights to vote, today's event will mark an energetic protest for stronger action on climate change. Suffragette Diane Selway said: "I want my daughters to look back to 2008 and say that this was a turning point. We've done enough talking about climate change. Once it was politically unacceptable for women to have the vote. It will require the same courage and commitment to decarbonise our society as it took to gain women their basic rights. " The new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, has the opportunity to push for radical reform of the UK's energy and climate policy, to deliver on the kind of emissions cuts scientists now agree are necessary to prevent dangerous levels of global warming. Recent reports from researchers at University College London have shown how the UK can be powered using clean renewable technologies. In fact the UK has the largest renewable resource of any country in Europe, but has the second-smallest installed renewable capacity, after Malta. Sarah Bricknall, another woman attending the event, said: "The creation of the new Department for Energy and Climate Change is a powerful opportunity for Ed Miliband to step up to the challenge, be the visionary climate leader we need, and get on with decarbonising our country. 100% emissions cuts in the UK by 2030 would make us world leaders and create hundreds of thousands of jobs - but it will take action, not just words, from the Government."
Fancy joining them? Be there at 6:00pm - the rush takes place at 6:30 this evening.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Three billion nappies a year - that's eight million a day - are thrown away in the UK. 90% end up in landfill. Landfill space is running out and local authorities face tough targets to reduce waste. Real nappies can be reused time and time again so they don’t contribute to household waste. The Cornish Real Nappy Project are giving parents the chance to try washable nappies for free during Zero Waste Week from 20-26th October. CRNP are supporting the week long challenge by asking parents to sign up for a free real nappy trial, allowing them to try out washable nappies in their own home and on their baby, before spending any money on purchasing washables. Zero Waste is impossible for parents to achieve whilst using disposable nappies (which account for around 2.6% of all household rubbish). Washable nappies are an easy to use alternative which not only have environmental benefits but also look great, are made from soft fabrics and save parents hundreds of pounds.
Approximately 27% of Cornish parents already use washable nappies, which I think is a high percentage compared with other areas. The project has been running a county wide trial scheme which has proved popular with parents who are often overwhelmed by the amount of different types and brands that are available. Bec Thomas, who runs the scheme as well as looking after her three children said: “One of our volunteers delivers the kit, talks through the different types and how to use them and then leaves the kit with the family for a month. 83% of the parents who use a kit then go on to use real nappies which is a fantastic conversion rate.” She continues, “The service is great value at £10 as it helps parents make the right choice before investing any money. However we are pleased to be able to offer the service free to parents and expectant parents signing up during Zero Waste Week, as it will help parents address a huge source of their household waste.”
In addition to the trial kits, CRNP are able to offer parents access to interest free loans which help spread the costs of buying real nappies and allow families of all financial means to benefit from the overall savings that can be made. The loans are not dependent on credit checks and are paid back at as little as £5 per week.
It is one of my missions to get up to Bucks to meet the folk at the Low Impact Living Initiative at some point in the near future. I have just received a course list for 2009 and the breadth of workshops on offer is quite incredible. Fancy trying your hand at straw bale building or making your own natural beauty products? How about unearthing the secrets of tree bogs? Or discovering how to make your own pedal powered generator. It makes me feel so good to know that there are such passionate people out there busily actioning powerful positive change. Here are some ideas from LILI about how we can make a difference: First of all, take a deep breath - there are so many things you could do, but you can't do them all at once. Doing things slowly, one at a time until you get used to them will probably increase your chance of success, and help you stay sane. Energy: make sure your home is well insulated, and that you have energy-efficient appliances, and low-energy light bulbs. Then you can think about installing solar hot water, photovoltaics or even a wind turbine; or you can switch to a renewable energy supplier. Transport: walk or cycle to work or school; use public transport; work from home; car share; use biodiesel. Housing: use eco-paints, lime, linseed oil putty and other environmentally friendly materials; if thinking of self-build, consider natural materials like straw-bales, wood, rammed earth or cob; join a community/housing co-op. Food: grow your own; keep chickens or bees; eat less meat; buy organic; use farmers’ markets, veg boxes and local suppliers (reduce food miles). Water: install water-saving facilities such as rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, and a compost loo. Waste: start a compost heap; recycle; re-use or repair things instead of throwing them away. Consumerism: you have the ultimate power of deciding where or whether to spend your money. Don’t believe the hype. Research tends to show that populations with an average income of around $10,000 (eg Portugal) are happiest – basic needs are met, communities and traditions are intact, and there isn’t an emphasis on fulfilment through making more money and buying more consumer goods. Local/small-scale: join a LETS scheme; use your local farmers’ market and credit union; reduce the distance that the things you buy travel, and keep money in the local economy; DIY is of course the most local of all!
I had a lovely day today at Mansion Market in Forest Row. It's a monthly market held at the local Steiner school, Michael Hall. And yet, it's so much more than a market; there was this fab biodynamic café where we tucked into tomato and lentil soup, a therapy area where you could indulge in trial sessions with local therapists, from reiki to massage and a magical puppet show, telling a Native American Indian tale, complete with a harp or maybe a lyre(?). My eldest and I were having a girl's day out and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, stocking up on Conscious Chocolate (my very favourite raw chocolate - although apparently Shazzie's is also very good, but different - I haven't tried it), listening to two young buskers and availing ourselves of all edible delights. We started reading Little Women together on the bus, which was good and found some wool children's slippers and a guy making lovely wooden things from wood reclaimed from skips. You don't pay for the wood but every item is priced according to how many hours it took to make. How refreshing and real. Although we are planning a Buy Nothing Month for November, I might go back next month to soak up the ambiance, and hang out with lovely people doing great things.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Mast Sanity is a campaign group in the UK working towards raising awareness of the health hazards caused by mobile phone masts and the safe siting of masts. We have chosen not to have a mobile phone in The Green Parent office because we are unsure what effect the radiation could have on the human body and also for reasons of peace! There are times when no-one can reach us because we are deep in the woods or out with the kids and that feels pretty wonderful. Very occasionally I imagine that our lives might be easier or smoother if we had mobile phones but that thought soon passes. I don't meet many other phone-less folk these days.
Growing in number There are now over 50,000 mobile phones masts in the UK and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. So how to spot them? Well, they can look like big towers that seem similar to pylons but don't have wires attached. Or they can be tall poles that look like lamp posts but don't have a light on top. Confusingly masts can also be what look like sticks or long grey or white boxes put at the top of buildings such as schools, hospitals, colleges, flats and offices. And they can even just be small boxes the size of burglar alarms, placed on the sides of shops. Unfortunately avoiding masts is almost impossible. What's wrong with masts? According to Mast Sanity "cancer clusters" have been found around mobile phone masts, up to 400 metres from a mast. People living near each other and close to a mast have ended up with rare cancers at nearly the same time as each other. These people live where they are getting the strongest signal from the nearby mast(s). This has been the case in Devon, Lincolnshire and Staffordshire. Other people living in these areas find they get many common symptoms including heart palpitations (flutters), lots of headaches, nose bleeds, problems sleeping, itchy burning skin and feel really depressed.
Mobile phone masts give out the same sort of microwave radiation in their signals as microwave ovens use to cook food but the signals also carry data sent along in packets or 'pulses'.
Other problems noticed by European doctors, particularly in Germany where petitions have been launched to halt the use of some mobile technology, are: • Learning problems • Trouble concentrating • Behavioural disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) • Extremely high and extremely low Blood Pressure - and swapping between the 2 • Medicines stop working as well, so prescriptions have to increase • Heart Rhythms get upset • Sudden Heart Attacks and Strokes happening in younger and younger people • More Brain diseases such as Alzheimer‘s, Parkinson's, Motor Neurone Disease and Epilepsy • More Cancers, Leukaemia and Brain Tumours • More and worse Headaches and Migraines • Constantly being tired, getting sleepless and being sleepy during the day • People feeling anxious all the time • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) • People more likely to get infections, colds, allergies and viruses • People feeling pains in their nerves and bodies for no apparent cause Medical tests When doctors in a town in Germany (West Kempten) decided to prove that it was the mobile phone mast that was causing these problems they took blood samples from people before and after a new mast was put up and turned on. The people also stopped using their mobiles, cordless phones, wireless internet and other wireless/mobile gadgets too. The results were very clear. The levels of two vital chemicals serotonin and melatonin found in the blood were found to be seriously altered once the mast was turned on.
Happy hormone reduced Serotonin levels were halved. Serotonin controls your mood, anger, aggression, body temperature, sleep, sexuality, appetite and metabolism. Many of the people found themselves feeling moody, depressed, tired, and lethargic. Some also felt agitated and had lost their appetites. Nearly all felt really down.
Immune system affected The results showed melatonin levels that were too high during the day and much too low at night. Melatonin is a hormone that is important in boosting the immune system and fighting cancer. It protects DNA from damage. Since it also helps regulate sleep it's important to have high levels at night otherwise restlessness occurs. If the immune system isn't boosted people become ill easier, stay ill longer and can't fight cancer so well. The Doctors requested that the mobile phone mast be turned off again.
So what can we do? • Find out where your nearest mobile phone mast is.
• Cancel the mobile phone contract if you have one (If you are worried about emergencies swap to "pay as you go" until you are happy to do without.) • If you must keep your phone, use it as little as possible and just stick to talking and texting - ignore all other functions and activities. • Realise that every call or text needs a mast, and that more calls or texts mean more masts nearby. • Read up on the science, facts and shielding materials and tell others. • Write to your MP to tell them that you too are concerned about the health issues. • Take action by joining support groups such as Mast Sanity • If you already live near a mast you should consider shielding your home from the microwaves.
If you are interested in this from a personal perspective there's a piece on this in the next edition of The Green Parent, about the campaign launched by the people of Glastonbury to stop a WiFi mast being erected in their town.
I just received the latest catalogue from Cotton Comfort, the eczema clothing specialists and wanted to post on the great range of organics that they now offer for babies, children and adults. From underwear to pyjamas, tights and socks to school uniform, they've got it covered and the sizes go right up to 160cms. Another new addition to the catalogue is a set of natural beeswax face paints, as regular paints can be a real problem for children with sensitive skin. In fact, even the natural facepaints I use that are made by Lyra affect some children causing a rash and tightness. Not today though - today we had a wood full of home educated butterflies and one little mouse, climbing trees and playing sardines and there were no adverse reactions to the facepaints!
Back to clothes and for those suffering with severe eczema, Dorothy Clark (who designed the range in response to her daughter's eczema) has created Comfymitt items with mittens attached to stop scratching at night. Many products are made from 'silver soothe cotton', which uses silver in its colloidal form to ease itchiness. Well worth a look.
I can't believe a whole week has flown by without me getting a chance to post on the Green Parent blog. We are currently hard at work on our Christmas edition, which promises to be really special. It has a focus on crafts and is already stuffed with fabulous things to make and create. Mrs Green shares her ideas for a waste-free Christmas and we discover why singing is so good for the soul. It's all very exciting! Subscribers will get their copies in exactly a month so if you fancy a copy of this vibrant green magazine dropping onto your doormat every issue, simply sign up here. It's printed on recycled paper and comes with a free activity magazine for children, all about the environment. Oh, and you might still be in time to secure yourself some lovely goodies from Weleda as well, which is our current subscription gift.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Known as the Yarn of the Kings or Soft Gold, Cashmere is the world’s finest and most luxurious fibre; soft, warm, and hard wearing. The term comes from the Kashmiri goats of the Himalayas and the actual wool used is winter down, combed from the underbellies of the goats in early summer. Some of the finest cashmere comes from the high plateau of Mongolia, where the goats are well suited to the harsh dry conditions and sparse vegetation. Garments made with cashmere become softer with wearing, and it is up to 8 times warmer than sheep’s wool. So imagine my delight to find a pair of long magenta cashmere gloves inside this morning's post. But, these are more than beautiful, soft, cashmere gloves - they are from Mudra, an ethical clothing company who design colour conscious clothes. So the gloves, that when worn, feel as though someone is caressing your hand (no sniggering at the back, I'm serious!), are designed to affect physical and mental wellbeing. The magenta hue promises to nourish, soothe, soften and signify gentleness. Oh boy - this is so what I need right now! Rita Hraiz, clothing designer, goddess and entrepreneur creates clothes for women who love to be women, for those who want to embrace their feminine side and express how they feel within. I am planning an article in an edition of The Green Parent for early next year. Thank you to Katherine at the Queen Bee Partnership for introducing me to such luxury.