City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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CityHippy has posted its last post now (I now work for EMP plc, run At Home magazine online and more and personally blog over at Why? Click here to find out. We might be back. Keep our RSS feeds, keep us bookmarked, sign up for the news alert on the right. You never know...

We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

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BOOKMARKS: Follow our web travels & explore our 1400+ links to a greener life across various categories i.e. baby, cosmetics, DIY, furniture, garden & shopping. Short, sharp and frequent updates. Located down to the right. Click here to see our latest three bookmarks.Subscribe:


Monday, July 31, 2006

NEWS: Carnival of the Green #38

Carnival of the GreenAnother monday and that means another Carnival of the Green.

This week's carnival is to be found at Treehugger and my pick this week is the Evangelical Ecologist post covering the Bishop of Londons claim that flying is a sin.

Plus I would be remiss for not mentioning the Christmas Lights campaign.

Next week: City Hippy hosts the 39th Carnival of the Green, unless Heston causes any more trouble.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into March 07) and posting available here.



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NEWS: Ecover on Group 4

Based on our recent Question asking whether Ecover are 'evil' because of their connection with Group 4 I just received an email from Ecover with an attached statement from the MD. It reads:
As you may learn from our website Ecover tries to be a pioneer in becoming a sustainable business where not only ecological but also social principles are high on our value list. Our methods of manufacturing, the development of products and the screening of our suppliers are straightforward examples of what a company can do.

It is true that in the past Group 4 has been involved as a 50% shareholder in the Ecover organisation. This situation goes back to 1992 when Ecover was in search of new capital and was rescued by J. Philip-Sørensen, and Group 4 Securitas. This was the case until the end of 1999 when Mr. J. Philip-Sørensen personally took over all Ecover shares. At no point in the period that Group 4 has been financially involved with Ecover as a shareholder has there been any steering from Group 4 over Ecover management principles or methods. Ecover has always been an independent company within the group. Earlier this year, Mr. Philip-Sørensen retired as Chairman of Group 4 Securicor.

Mr. Philip-Sørensen has a strong belief in Ecover’s mission to become a sustainable operation with a strong focus on the environmental quality of its products and operations.
Hmmm...thoughts? Are we being harsh? Are they (Group4) an unethical company buying their way into greenwashing or is Ecover a net and honest contributor to the greening of our planet? Personally I think Mr. Philip-Sørensen's ceased involvement with an unethical business shows , hopefully, that he is genuinely committed to ethical and sustainable principles. However I will committ to pursuing alternatives mostly due to the animal testing angle that appears to be emerging.

What do you think?



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NEWS: Fairtrade ice-cream hits UK

Ben & Jerry's have announced plans to launch the UKs first fairtrade ice-cream. Good news indeed and hopefully signifies another front opened on the march towards more sustainable consumerism.



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Sunday, July 30, 2006

FEATURE: Twin Bins in Daybrook

Ok, so you might think it a little sad to get excited about a wheelie bin and maybe I need to get out more but getting twin bins in Daybrook (where I live in Nottingham) was quite an event for me.

I’m not sure what its called in other parts of the country but the twin bin scheme in Nottingham means that you get a wheelie bin for general household waste, one for plastic, paper and cans and a box for glass. I don’t know why its not called ‘triplet bins’ but hey.

I had been enviously listening to friends and colleagues complain about how they had so many bins they couldn’t fit them on their drive or had to remember which day to put them out when I decided to ring the council and find out when we would get this pleasure. Helpfully they told me it would be about May / June time and sure enough, true to their word the bins arrived May / June-ish.

The system before the twin bins was a bit silly in my opinion. We used to have to put our paper, cans and glass out in plastic bags (plastic bags!?) and then take our plastic to the recycling centre. This means we had to make a car journey just for this.

I know that there are some households in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire which are lucky enough to have a garden waste wheelie bin so obviously that’s what I’m aspiring to next. However I also know that there are some parts of the city which have no collection scheme and no local recycling centres which makes it very difficult for people with no transport to recycle their household waste even though they really want to.

So, if you don’t have your twin (or triplet, or quadruple) bins why don’t you give your local council a call to find out when they’ll be sending them to you?

If you have a car, be a good neighbour and offer to take next door’s recycling for them and maybe set up a scheme where the drivers on the street can take turns to be the recycling collector. Doing it all in one go is better for the environment than 5 cars all making separate journeys.

If you’re not sure who to call in Nottingham and Notts about your twin bin or any environmental issues here are your local contacts:

Ashfield District Council Tel: 0800 9520196

Bassetlaw District Council Tel: 01909 533533

Broxtowe Borough Council Tel: 0115 917 7777

Gedling Borough Council Tel: 0115 901 3839

Mansfield District Council Tel: 01623 463 295

Newark and Sherwood District Council Tel: 01636 655 577

Nottingham City Council Tel: 0115 915 2000
Recycling Hotline: 0115 915 2126

Rushcliffe Borough Council Tel: 0115 981 9911

Go on, the twin bin could change your life!

Make Hay - Web design making a positive difference

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Friday, July 28, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

STORY OF THE WEEK: Sainsbury’s launches first ever supermarket organic box scheme
Could not find the article mentioning this so took this from the corporate site. Sainsbury's organic produce buyer, Russell Crowe (not that one) says:
"This is a huge push for the UK organic industry and supports Sainsbury's ongoing commitment to British farmers and producers. Its fantastic that we are able to draw together the best of British product in season by using our national network of growers."
A sign of things to come? I think so...well done to Sainsbury's for being the first supermarket in to the fray.

What else caught my little green eye?

Firms told to cut packaging waste
Oh goody...very positive step indeed. Look forward to seeing less plastic in my rubbish and even less bags in the bin. Pretty much the only thing we throw away now is plastic packaging.

The UK's first recycled kitchen
Saw an article about this but again cannot find the article yet. Found the site though. Awesome innovation here and if this is available when I need a new kitchen I would not hesitate to buy it if it is affordable of course.

Electrical goods makers face huge bill for recycling
Another great initiative from Europe being adopted by the UK government - and who says the EU is a waste of time. The effect will be that mannufacturers will have to weight the cost of recycling against lowering profits by making their products last longer. So the more expensive it is to recycle the longer the products will be built to last for.

To receive all the headlines that caught my eye this week make sure you sign up to my 100% spam-free weekly Newsletter (see top right to subscribe). PLUS subscribing also gets you:

  • Insider info and scoops / previews about CityHippy
The perfect email to get you through the week.

Cityhippy bookmark of the week:
Sweatshops - great vox pop etc from fashion.psfk
Watch this to find out why people disconnect from caring about people and planet. Ends with a great quote from Trip Hunter, Director, Renegagde Marketing: 'I assume everything is ok' - Folks the challenge is to make it easier for folks like Trip to care.

…and that's the way it is folks!



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Thursday, July 27, 2006

SPECIAL: Uhm, yeah, right. Hi!

[is this thing on?]


I'm Heston Wunderkrantz and I am a 'friend' of Al, the guy 'behind' CityHippy.

Truth be told he stole the idea off me a couple of years ago (you know you did Al) and now I have decided to take my revenge.

Basically I have 'convinced' Al to let me launch a comic via his blog (that he stole) and this is what it is about.


My green journey.

The real CityHippy.

The man behind the idea behind the blog.


Yeah...good ol' me, I'll show Al what this blogging business is about. He has been doing this for over a year now and where has it got him? Some green friends...the occasional perk, but generally, nowhere...just more stress and no glory! Pathetic.

So now it's my turn.

The comic about me launches next Sunday exclusively via Al's pathetic newsletter first and then to the rest of you folks (who clearly cannot be bothered to sign up to his measly newsletter - some friends you are) via the website a week later. The comic will be monthly after that and will always preview a week early to the newsletter folks...sign up, don't sign up, who gives a....

So there you go. Me blogging. Me in comic form. Me on your screen. Me in your inbox. Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!



Heston Wunderkrantz
The real CityHippy

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FEATURE: Skye green

I can't believe it's nearly two months since we returned from our little holiday in Skye, and the whole time I've been meaning to write about a couple of things we did whilst up there. We were extremely fortunate with the weather and my boyfriend had a rude awakening to the pleasures of midgies. Whilst not everything we did in Skye was 'green', here are a couple of things you might like to do:

If you have Freeview, you have UKTV Bright Ideas, full of gardening, cooking and home programmes. Every so often they show a series called Changing Lives, about people who have moved up to Skye, and it was here that we found out about Rubha Phoil. It's a lovely garden/woodland walk/shop/collection of eco-houses right by the pier in Armadale. The TV programme (a couple of years old) has a focus on the eco-house, as this is someone's home it's not open to look round but there are a fair few buildings you can see from the outside. Rubha Phoil had changed ownership recently, which may be why the website looks as though it hasn't been updated for ages. I was almost expecting it to be closed because of this.

We spent at least an hour wandering around the woodland walk, which has lots of surprises like sea views, a bird/seal watching hut, lots of recycled materials, a boat in the middle of the woods and a swing that we just had to have a shot on. There are lots of warnings that you should wear good sturdy shoes and keep a close eye on children at all times. I was fine in trainers, even if I did need to skip over a few muddy bits. Some of the pathways are a little perilously close to the edge for comfort, so definitely be careful with kids.

The shop wasn't open, but there was an honesty box for buying herbs. I was very tempted with the lemon verbena, but I would have had to carry it around all day, on the bus and then on the train home.

This was a great find. We stayed in Broadford, Skye's second biggest village, which isn't known for it's fine cuisine. I thought it was going to be a few days of vegetarian lasagne and chips (you can't expect all the choice of Edinburgh in a small village), when we had a look in the window of the Harbour Restaurant. It looked very unassuming from the outside but the menu sounded fantastic.

Returning the following night (it was only open a few evenings a week) we discovered that the food lived up to our expectations - and more. I had a delicious homemade spicy hummous and salad for starters. I could have just eaten a plate of the cherry tomatoes that came with it, the sweetness burst into your mouth. Next I had pasta with a creamy wild mushroom sauce, which again, was gorgeous. The restaurant is run by a couple who do all the cooking themselves (and the serving, although I expect at this time of year they have a bit of help). It's really lovely to be able to hear and smell your food being made, and knowing it's all fresh and not from a plastic container in the freezer.

You are charged £15 for three courses, it's a set menu with three options per course, keeping it simple. I wasn't sure I could manage pudding but as I was going to pay for it anyway I thought I'd give it a go, and I was glad I did. A scrummy cheesecake arrived, very cakey, and I still dream about it. My boyfriend enjoyed his food too, unfortunately he can't recall what he had but he thinks there was definitely some salmon involved (we rely on him for the non-veggie perspective). Fairtrade coffee and wine was available, as was local beer. All food was locally sourced and fairtrade where possible. The owners are lovely and we had a good chat with them after closing time (9pm, you're on Highland time now).

One of the things that struck me was the 'normality' of the restaurant. It was aiming to be fairtrade and organic yet didn't have a 'hippy' vibe about it. Then I realised that being fairtrade should be 'normal'. We adored this restaurant and recommend everyone visits. They also open for lunch at the end of the week/weekend.

Last time we came up we discovered the Isle of Skye Soap Company just off the main square in Portree, Skye's capital. It's a lovely wee gem of a shop, and this time we stocked up on goodies. The lavender scrubby soap is divine, and my boyfriend loves the sandalwood and cedar version. I've just been using rosemary and nettle and also have some geranium and rose waiting for me. You can also buy toiletries made using essential oils and a variety of gifts. They sell some great natural plant wax candles too, at very reasonable prices, by Amphora Aromatics. It's not always easy to find such candles but these are great. Isle of Skye soaps are available at other shops throughout Scotland, but for the biggest variety (and no mark-up) head for the home store.

SKYE is a great place for a holiday, and reasonably easy to get to and around on public transport (buses aren't frequent and don't run late but it's possible to see many places using them). There are loads more things to do than we could cover here, go and see for yourself!


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FEATURE: Christmas Lights Campaign

Gandhi once famously said that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. He also apparently commented that if we each bring light to one dark corner then the world will be full of light. Finally Gandhi tells us that we must Be the change.

The Christmas Lights campaign seeks to help you achieve all three things: make a positive change to our world, start putting any green guilt you carry around to rest and finally, but perhaps most importantly, this campaign will help all of us be the change one dark corner at a time.

Based on the Question I asked that Jen replied to we are delighted to announce the official launch of the Christmas Lights campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage as many people and businesses as possible to pledge that this 'Christmas / Chanukah / Kwanzaa / Holiday Season / Whatever' they will buy CFL bulbs for friends and family or employees thus increasing efficiency, lowering emissions and helping to gently educate people as to the benefits of CFL bulbs.

For each employee or person you buy gifts for over the holiday season, please pledge (via the comments below) to buy one compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb for them as well. Add it on as an extra or take it out the gift money you were gonna spend on them - whatever suits you.

In your pledge we want to know how many bulbs you pledge to gift.


Additionally, you can help us spread the word and tell others about the campaign via:

- your own blog using our WordofBlog campaign tile

- email using the PDF that will be here shortly or just direct them to this post

- or just good old fashioned word of mouth

We will keep a tally of how many people participate and how many bulbs are pledged.

Our target is to get pledges for 100,000 bulbs as this would reduce global CO2 emissions by approximately 50,000 to 62,500 tons – the equivalent of offsetting approximately 2000-2500 US citizens or 4000-5000 UK citizens entirely for a whole year. (Extrapolated from here)

For each incandescent bulb you replace with a CFL, you can save approximately 1000 to 1250 pounds of CO2 from being added to the atmosphere during the life of the bulb.

Each bulb can save you over $30 or £16 pounds over the life of the bulb in energy costs. That's because CFLs use 75% less energy and produce 90% less heat than incandescent bulbs.

CFLs are a gift that keeps on giving in money saved.

Do you have complicated or hard to reach light fixtures? CFLs can last 10,000 hours – 8 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, which means a lot less labor and time spent on ladders and chairs.

An added bonus is that CFLs are safer than incandescents – they're cool to the touch and are less likely to cause burns or fires – although make sure you buy high watt CFLs to ensure they provide enough light for the person you are buying for. Here are some wattage equivalents for you:

15W CFL = 60W regular bulb
20W CFL = 75W regular
29W CFL = 100W regular
40W CFL = 150W regular
55W CFL = 250-300W regular
(figures from GE Lighting website)

"To maximize savings, use CFLs in places where lights are on for long periods of time. Frequent switching on and off will shorten the CFL's life."

"CFLs contain four milligrams of mercury, approximately half the mercury found in a linear fluorescent lamp. Mercury vapour will only be released when the lamp is broken while operating. Most lamp manufacturers offer a "low mercury" or environmentally friendly lamp. The green socket or end cap identifies these lamps."

Taken from the Earth Day Network

We look forward to your participation and to a very Bright Holiday season thanks to all our Christmas Lights


Al (CityHippy) & Jenni (Green Jenni)

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INTERVIEW: Belinda Chapman of Light on Life

This is an interesting post for me (and for you too I hope!) because I get to wear my Ethical Weddings hat and my Brighton & Hove hat at the same time!

Celebrant Belinda Chapman of Light on Life works from Arka Eco-Funerals in Brighton and from nearby Lewes. She got in touch to see how Light on Life might be able to work with Ethical Weddings and I was keen to meet her, not least to find out exactly what being a celebrant involves...

EW: Nice to meet you Belinda. I'm really intrigued by what you do. We're meeting in an Eco-Funeral parlour but you're interested in Ethical Weddings. Can you tell me exactly what it is a celebrant does?

BC: My main job as a celebrant is to create ceremonies for all life events. Those occasions that mark beginnings, transitions and endings in our lives. Each ceremony is designed to meet the individual's needs.

EW: Is this the same idea as having a Humanist ceremony?

BC: It isn't, that is a common misconception actually. Humanism has a clear set of beliefs and a Humanist ceremony would not have any religious elements at all. As an independent celebrant, I can make the ceremony suit the people at the centre of it whether this involves no religious reference, a combination of different beliefs (if the couple getting married were from different religious backgrounds, for example) or an emphasis on the green and ethical issues which are more and more a part of our lives - as you have found with Ethical Weddings.

EW: And as a celebrant, are you able to perform the legal side of a wedding ceremony?

BC: Not at present - a Registrar would still need to contract the marriage or civil partnership - and I often work with one. However, I am in the process of setting up an association of independent celebrants (there are about 30 of us in the UK at the moment) so that as a body we can lobby for the right to legally contract a marriage or civil partnership - we had our first meeting in March.

EW: And why did you decide to be a celebrant - where did the idea come from?

BC: As your idea for Ethical Weddings was a result of your own wedding, sadly, for me the path to becoming a celebrant stemmed from my mother's funeral 3 years ago. I was not happy with the funeral, it did not seem to reflect her life, and I thought: if only there was someone to help with this when you were at your most vulnerable, to draw out all the good things and make it an occasion for celebrating and remembering. And it was after this that I began my research into becoming a celebrant.

EW: How did your previous experience qualify you for this role?

BC: I came from a performing background - theatre, TV, radio and community theatre - and was involved in Lanternhouse International [a theatre company started over 25 years ago to create 'poetic, daring, visually stunning, emotionally arresting works of participative and celebratory arts and performance']. I attended their 'Rites of Passage' course looking at ceremony and ritual with artists and performers, and now teach on these courses myself.

EW: And where do your clients come from - what are they looking for when they get in touch with you?

BC: The circumstances are different in each case - I have done ceremonies in a front room, on a beach, in a hotel - although more and more people are looking for the greener options such as the eco funeral we offer at Arka or a green wedding, such as one I did in Lewes recently in a field with all the food sourced locally.

At first, people came to me through word of mouth, friends of family and friends of friends. They wanted a ceremony that wasn't just about tradition or the way things had always been done, but that was about them, that reflected who they were and the lives they led. I talk everything through with the family or couple and find out what is important to them and from that I create the ceremony - through songs, poetry, literature, whatever they choose. Before the Civil Partnerships were introduced I created ceremonies for many same sex couples - although now many are opting to go via the Registrar only.

EW: And what do you find you do more of, weddings or funerals?

BC: In the last 12 months it has mostly been funerals - people are increasingly interested in the idea of the eco coffin and leaving as small a footprint as possible on the earth when we leave it.

But I am very keen to develop the wedding side and hope to get the word out through Ethical Weddings. The latest development is to open a ceremony shop in Lewes - and to make the service and products on offer as green as they can be!

EW: Best of luck with that, Belinda. And I'm looking forward to working with you through Ethical Weddings!

If you want to get in touch with Belinda about your ceremony or celebration, visit Light on Life or click here - she will be more than happy to hear from you.

Take care,


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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WEEKLY Q: Evil Ecover? Heatwave opportunity?

OK two questions for you this week:

1) Is Ecover evil?
Turns out that Ecover are owned by the same peeps behind Group 4 Securicor and that Group 4 Securicor are apparently connected to the folks with the security contract at Guantanamo Bay. Oddly enough (ahem) I am having trouble establishing this last fact via any reliable and widely accepted mainstream media source.

Will this stop you buying Ecover and prompt you to look for other alternatives instead? Is Ecover tainted in your eyes?

2) Is the UK Heatwave an energy opportunity we are failing to capitalise on?
The UK is in the grip of a major heatwave with temperatures soaring uncharacteristically into the 30s for many days and weeks. If we all had solar panels etc on our houses/offices etc could we not store the excess energy for later? How much heat energy would there be to convert and capture? One month's worth?




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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

FEATURE: Is Nottingham a Green City?

When Al first asked me to be involved with City Hippy as Nottingham Editor there was no question that I wanted to do it. However, after thinking about it I started wondering “Well what can I write about Nottingham? It's not a particularly green place”. Actually I think I had fallen into the trap of complaining that all of the innovative ideas were either ‘down south’ or ‘up north’ and that the Midlands had been left behind.

This view was based on what? Nothing. Had I started listening to all of those awful reports that Nottingham is just a place for gun crime and binge drinking? I felt instantly guilty and disloyal.

So, being Nottingham Editor is the perfect opportunity to prove that there are people here who care about the environment as well as lots of other ethical issues.

I’m really excited about the journey I’m about to take in finding out exactly what we’re doing here to help the environment and what more there is to be done. I’ve got the feeling I’m going to be very proud.

If anyone in Nottinghamshire or Nottingham wants to educate me about something green they’re doing then I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you City Hippy for this opportunity!

Make Hay - Web design making a positive difference

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Monday, July 24, 2006

NEWS: Carnival of the Green #37

Carnival of the GreenAnother monday and that means another Carnival of the Green.

This week's carnival is to be found at Myke's Weblog and my pick this week is the Top 10 ways to help the environment and save money by The Good Human. Love these kind of things that show how easy and cheap it is to go green. I particularly like #9: Participate in a town "clean-up" event.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into March 07) and posting available here.



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NEWS: Go green - Shop online

Today is 24/7 and the IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) have launched a campaign (which I saw in the London Metro) to celebrate the environmental benefits of online shopping and I support it.

I encourage you to shop online as often as possible. Especially with one of the many green stores listed in our bookmarks.

Whether it is buying your groceries or a pair of shoes clearly it is more convenient to shop online and as the campaign points out there are many green benefits as well including:

  • Less vehicle miles means less emissions
  • Less inventory means less physical storage required
  • Less printed materials means paper saved and chemicals not used
  • Less packaging means less plastic needed
  • Less waste means overall a more efficient way of shopping
I would also add that online shopping probably means less impulse buying.

The campaign has launched a green fund with to protect endangered rainforest in Paraguay. James Roper, CEO of IMRG commented that 'in a world of inaction on green issues and increasing concern amongst our customers our members felt the need for a brand new green vehicle for retailers to use. After campaign costs are covered all remaining funds will go to the Green Fund we have created with World Land Trust and whilst this kind of initiative is too fresh to make bold promises we see this is as a positive and long term first step. Consider this a stake in the ground'.

We will stay in touch with them to find out how it goes over the next few months.

More info @



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Saturday, July 22, 2006

NEWS: Recycling festival rubbish

Gosh, I don't seem to have posted for a while and I seem to have about 68 million things in my head that I want to post over here (not least the green things I found on holiday in Skye).

Anyway, my boyfriend alerted me to this news story about the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival near Beauly in Inverness-shire. The organisers are concerned about all the rubbish that will be generated so are going to try and turn it into a work of art. What this will be, we're not sure but it certainly beats sending 40 tonnes of rubbish into landfill, as happened last year.


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FEATURE: Turning Ecover a new leaf

Last night I went out shopping and intentended to re-stock my cupboards with nothing but green essentials.

Up until this point I have been introducing products into different areas in my day to day life - what I feed to my body - organic, sustainable and fair trade and now conservation grade foods and what I feed to my skin.

However due to poor finances I hadn't yet tackled other areas. As it was pay day - I hoped to replace everything, now without being overly self critical I had some successes in so much as I switched over to Ecover for my laundry needs. (I live on my own and manage to get away with doing one laundry load a fortnight! I'm small - my clothes are small - what more can I say - I am clean - honest!) So it had taken a while to get through my branded product.

Next on the list will be the household cleaners (I wouldn't be very green now - if I just chucked all the bad products out, unfinished now would I?)

The product and packaging for Ecover all looks good - I will have to let you know mid week next week as to performance!

I was not able to buy half of the items I needed in an eco version, so I am going to research my options for Eco Supermarkets - I am aware of one in SW London - but there certainly isn't one in my neighbourhood and I would not want to be the cause of more pollution to get there!

On a positive note those guys at Ecover provide a great product in good packaging - the consumer can 're-fill' the empty when it is done! Ingenious!

You may wonder (as I did) why this is not more widely promoted. Well it is due to the resources of the support of health food stores who provide the re-filling service. I could not find any near to where I live - but as I have to travel to SW London daily (on the tube) for work - I will get it filled there.

But I will be making a nuisance of myself at all my nearby health food shops and recommend that YOU do the same - to 'lobby' them to provide and promote this service!

Green hugs and sweet smelling laundry!


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Friday, July 21, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

This week saw the return to London of the British Motor Show and the green changes in the automotive industry are evident. Ford are investing £1bn in the UK to develop super clean cars capable of 70mpg over the next 6 years and Landrover are to charge a small green levy on all new cars to offset all emissions involved...a great start.

What else caught my little green eye?

Maplin reports 750% rise in solar panel sales

Organic bathtime

Serpentine solar boat to set sail

Cityhippy bookmark of the week: Warmlist - A complete list of things caused by global warming
A superb resource tracking various things being changed by global warming. Awesome to browse.

…and that's the way it is folks!



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Thursday, July 20, 2006

SPECIAL: Nottingham Editor

Delighted to annouce another Editor has joined the collective. Vicky is better known for her ethical web development business Make Hay Ethical Media that she runs with partner and web guru, Jez. As a resident of Nottingham (home of Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood) she hopes to represent her town and I am sure she will do it justice. She has two great posts already lined up.

Vicky tells me:
‘I’m so exited about becoming Nottingham editor for City Hippy! I really want to take away the image of Nottingham being a scary place riddled with gun crime and help people find out about a green place where people care about making a difference. There’s so much for me to learn about my fair City along the way, I can’t wait!’
Am excited myself Vicky ;) Let's throw the usual questions her way and find out a bit more:

CityHippy: Who are you, where do you come from and live?

Vicky: Originally I’m from a small town in Nottinghamshire called Mansfield, I then moved to Norwich to go to uni and then back to Nottingham city where I now live with my partner Jez. We run Make Hay Ethical E-media, our web design company from here.

CityHippy: What inspires you to be green?

Vicky: Looking back my parents lived in a green and resourceful way (not necessarily solely for environmental reasons) and some of that definitely rubbed off. I also used to work in a wholefoods shop and had the opportunity to learn more about green issues and eat organic food. The real turning point for me though has to be when I read Neil Crofts ‘Authentic’ which I would recommend to everyone. Over time I’ve tried to increase the number of green things I do at home and now at work and there’s still so much to learn. I don’t want to look back and wish I’d done more towards helping the environment – that’s my motivation now.

CityHippy: What is the one thing you do that you are proud of doing?

Vicky: Running Make Hay and feeling like we’re making a tangible difference. With Make Hay we’re aiming to be part of a movement which is having a real positive effect for people and the environment.

CityHippy: What is the one thing you wish you could do?

Vicky: Kick the supermarket habit. That is my real weakness. When I lived in Norwich I never went to the supermarket, partly because I didn’t have a car but mainly because I didn’t need to. At the bottom of my street were small shops that sold everything - greengrocers, fishmongers, a delicatessen, a wholefoods shop and a fantastic hardware store. Unfortunately there aren’t the same things where I live now and I really miss it. I am gradually relying on the supermarket less and less but its so convenient when you’re busy. I’m on the brink of ordering a home delivery veggie box so I’ll let you know how that goes.

CityHippy: What is the one thing you wish everyone in the world did differently?

Vicky: Work together a bit more, stop living in isolation and realise that our actions impact on each other. We all have a lot more in common than we might think, take care of each other.

Sorry, that wasn’t just one thing was it?

CityHippy: What is your dream job?

Vicky: Honestly my dream job would be to play with cute baby animals every day but unfortunately no-one’s ever going to pay me to do that are they?

Actually I’ve always wanted to do something which makes a difference in a positive way, however big or small. With Make Hay I now feel that we’re really doing that. There’s also the added bonus of meeting so many fantastic people (Al!) along the way.

CityHippy: [Blush] What is your favourite way to relax?

Vicky: I love to just lie in our garden on a warm day reading a good book. Early morning walks in the park are good too, when it’s nice and quiet.

CityHippy: Why is the world a mess? What can we do about it?

Vicky: I think apathy is the reason and we’re all guilty of it in varying degrees, I know I am. We have to stop thinking that what we could be doing won’t make any difference and just get on and do it anyway. If everyone did one positive thing – recycle, buy local, look after a neighbour, adopt an abandoned animal, support your local Wildlife Trust, switch to fair trade, join Amnesty, whatever – wow, what a massive difference we could all make!

CityHippy: Fantastic stuff Vicky. Pleasure to meet you too, look forward to finding out more about Nottingham...Ladies & Gentleman...Vicky!!!



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NEWS: Tuc Tuc Brighton!

Living in Brighton, I really should have told you about this one sooner but I'm afraid Treehugger got there first (the disgrace!).

The word (and wheels) on the street is that tuc tucs have come to Brighton & Hove!

They are out and about already and the great (and green) thing is the whole fleet is virtually zero-emission because they run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). They have even had their own filling station installed which will be available to the public too - so everyone can be green!

The tuc tucs come in a whole range of styles from the 'Brittania' to the 'Chavrolet'. Don't leave it to your imagination, check them out here - or better still, get down to Brighton and try one for yourself (by train of course - 3 or 4 adults can travel for the price of 2!).

And if you are a Brightonian or Hovian with a passion for tuc tucking, they are looking for drivers so why not email them for an application form?

Hey, they could be good for ethical weddings, couldn't they, with their (almost) zero emissions? Imagine, the whole fleet - the bride and groom leading the way with all the guests following buzzing along the seafront - what a picture!

Will report back once I've had the pleasure of riding in one...

Take care,


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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

WEEKLY Q: What is an ethical holiday?

Ethical holidays/vacations are a much-discussed topic with plenty of people all round the world offering great solutions for every taste and every budget.

But what is an ethical holiday? What does it mean to you? My ideal ethical holiday?
  • Take my family to an organic crop farm ideally with rescue animals being cared for anywhere in England, Wales or Scotland. No flights for me for at least a year.
  • Stay actually on the farm itself.
  • Contribute 2-4 hours a day of work of varying types in part-exchange (plus cash of course) for the roof over my head and the food made available and then being free to relax and explore.
  • Learn about farming and animal husbandry - get involved!
  • Ideally transport to and from the location would be oil-free or offset.
  • Ideally energy at the farm would be renewable or offset.
  • Ideally all food available at the farm would be local, seasonal and organic.
Anyone know of such a place? What would be your ideal ethical holiday / vacation?



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FEATURE: Top 10 Green Movies

Now I'm no film buff but there are plenty of great green themed movies worth seeing to educate and inspire you towards a better world. Here are my top 10 green screens in no particular order:
  1. McLibel (click to buy) - One to see - two amazing people bring MickeyD's to its knees.
  2. Erin Brokovitch (click to buy) - Another true story of one courageous woman
  3. The Insider (click to buy) - Yet another true account of how one man's morals shone through
  4. Soylent Green (click to buy) - Charlton Heston stars in this superb rage against the machine
  5. The Corporation (click to buy) - The definitive answer to why we are in the mess we are in
  6. Syriana (click to buy) - One to see - the oil industry laid bare
  7. Roger & Me (click to buy) - A Mike Moore classic tale of one mans chase to hold the man at the top to account for his actions
  8. Supersize Me (click to buy) - Want proof McDonalds is not good for you? Morgan shows you why
  9. Constant Gardener (click to buy) - One to see - a political thriller focused on the drug development business
  10. Who killed the electric car? - One to see - Expose behind why we do not drive more electric vehicles
Coming soon...
And more are on the way thankfully with Sicko, Mike Moore's expose of the madness of US healthcare and the eagerly awaited and star-studded adaption of Fast Food Nation.

Have I missed any of your favourites? Feel free to add movies in the comments.



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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

NEWS: Running for Trees

Tree-athlon is organised by Trees For Cities and consists of a 5k run on September 23rd in either Battersea Park, London or Cannock Forest in the Midlands. At the end of the run you get to plant a tree from seed. Raise money. Get fit. Plant trees. Cool.

I'm putting aside a lifetime of minimal exercise and even a fear of running shoes - all in the name of trees!

If you want to find out more and maybe even join in go to Tree-athlon and if you would like to sponsor me then please click here.

Green hugs


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NEWS: Global Warming Humour

Just had to display and link to this from the San Francisco Chronicle's Culture Blog. Brilliant.



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Monday, July 17, 2006

EVENT: Eco-Brighton: Artists & the Environment

Apologies for the rather short notice on this one but I've just come across it in the wonderful Brighton 'Rocks Magazine' (a great place to spot anything green and friendly!).

Wednesday 19 July from 7-9.30pm sees an intriguing debate taking place on the links between art and ecology. The evening's discussion centres on the premise that: 'Human activity is having a negative impact on the global ecology.' and asks: 'What role should art take, in engaging with ecological debate and concerns?'

There will be speaker presentations from:

Ed Gillespie - Futerra Sustainability Communications Ltd
Chris Drury - Artist
Justin Carter - Artist
Hugh Knowles - Forum for The Future

The speakers will then be joined in the panel discussion by:

Sandra Drew - Director of Stour Valley Arts Project, Kent
Liz Whitehead - Co-Director, Fabrica, Brighton
Ivan Clarke - Eco-Brighton Programme Co-ordinator, Brighton & Hove City Council

For more information, venue details and bookings, contact: Lisa Maddigan Tel: 01273 778 646

Take care,


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NEWS: Carnival of the Green #36

Carnival of the GreenAnother monday and that means another Carnival of the Green.

This week's carnival is to be found at Powering Down and my pick this week is the Operation Bright Christmas post by Green Jenni. Great idea and will be speaking to her about this asap. Watch this space.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into Feb 07) and posting available here.



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Friday, July 14, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

The NICE car (No Internal Combustion Engine) hits the British International Motor Show this month and if I lived in an uber-urban environment I would pick this type of vehicle if I picked one at all.
Imagine a car built for the streets of London.

A car that does not pollute, runs silently, requires no car tax and is exempt from the congestion charge. Virtually free motoring and a clean conscience. That's nice.

NICE. The car designed for city life.
The car will be unveiled at the British International Motor Show at ExCel London from 20th-30th July 2006.

Apparently the car can range about 50 miles on one charge, claims to reach nearly 40mph and believes it is the cheapest electric car to own (about £8,000) and to run (1p a mile).

I also heard or read somewhere (and I think it was about NICE) that they are doing a tie-in with Streetcar (the UK version of Zipcar) to enable you to jump into one of their hybrids for that longer distance trip out of the city.

Nice ;)

What else caught my little green eye?

Hats off (or should that be speedos on?) to Lewis Gordon Pugh for attempting to swim the entire length (325km!!!) of the River Thames here in the UK to raise awareness of Climate Change.

Lewis has done this sort of thing before and recently 'broke long-distance swimming records in the icy waters of both the Arctic and Antarctic.'

Turns out that during his time in the Arctic 'he saw first-hand the effect that climate change is having on this region's fragile beauty - rapidly retreating glaciers and melting sea-ice threaten its existence and that of Lewis' namesake, the polar bear.'

His goal is to raise awareness as Climate Change affects 'not just the Arctic - the impacts of climate change will be felt globally including in regions such as the Thames and the south-east of England.'

Lewis wants to spur us all into immediate action to support the WWF in their efforts to combat this global concern. Bravo that man! Swimming cap anyone?

I must say I am loving what the folks at quintissential British retailer, Marks & Spencer, are upto. Fairtrade coffee in all their store cafes. Sustainable fish. Fixed milk price for British Farmers. First major UK retailer to offer Fairtrade clothing. Really pushing the boundaries. Prince Charles, on presenting them with the award commented that
M&S has had a hugely successful year on the high street and has not only reinvented itself, but in doing so has never sacrificed its commitment to responsible business practice, indeed it has continued to lead the way.
Well done M&S, keep up the good work.

The massively increased charge ordered by the London Mayor (expected in 2008 or 2009) will be based on a vehicles CO emissions so not just SUV drivers will be affected. Those driving other high emissions vehicles will also need to pay more.

Equally, low emission vehicles will suffer lower increases or even no increase at all.

I have discussed the dangers of SUV demonisation before and whilst this scattergun tax approach claims innocents and focuses on a small group of drivers only I do agree that dealing with the WHY we drive and WHEN we drive is the key. Therefore taxing us for our cars CO emissions is the only obvious way forward as it forces us to question why and when we drive and seek cheaper alternatives.

Overall I think this is the bigger picture developing here: we are moving to personal emissions permits (and trading) for cars and hopefully this will spread across our entire lifestyles. As far as I am concerned the sooner this happens the better.

Cityhippy bookmark of the week: New Green Mountain coffee cup uses liner made from sugar instead of plastic
Thanks to a tip from Living in Dupont I found out about the new developments in Coffee Cup land. Millions of these disposable cups are used daily so the news that a company has developed a variant that uses a biodegradable alternative is welcome news indeed. Sometimes I love the free market...when it is visible.

…and that's the way it is folks!



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REVIEW: Dr Karg 'Bread of Distinction'

In my quest for better health I have found some great meal alternatives and am currently addicted to Onken Wholegrain Yoghurts (not Organic though grrrr) & Dr Karg's Emmental Cheese & Pumpkin Seed Wholegrain Crisp Bread with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and linseeds - no added fats or oils.

Available from Waitrose (and others I am sure) and also via GoodnessDirect 10 slices costs £1.89 and I love 'em. Can't wait to try the roasted onion and original variations.



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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WEEKLY Q: Blair goes Nuclear

In honour of Tony Blair's grand vision of the UK energy future I have some questions and have emailed them to my MP (a Tory and so not in government) to put to the Blair government. I am sure I will get the usual unintelligible drivel in reply from the Government but will let you know what they cough up in my direction:
  1. Can the government confirm that Wind Farms will be given the same push-through planning powers as Nuclear power stations?
  2. Can the government outline their plan to compel companies to deal with waste (check out the sign on the wall in the pic above hahahaha) at no extra expense to the UK and using methods of disposal that are deemed legal in the eyes of UK law regardless of where it is desposited around the globe?
  3. Can the government assure UK citizens that the plants will be 100% secure from acts of terror?
  4. Can the government predict when the 200,000 sheep on 1986 Chernobyl-irradiated UK land will be allowed to move freely throughout the land?
  5. Can the government confirm that the Nuclear power companies cannot limit supply except for safety reasons?
Personally I believe that no new Nuclear would have forced us to grow up frankly and accept that our subsidised energy lifestyle based on the insanity of infinite resources must end.

We would have tightened our energy belts and got more efficient etc and to me that is way more preferable to more nuclear material and waste floating about.

Sadly Blair clearly did not think us capable of change. I feel the same about him.

Without new Nuclear we would have been compelled to act responsibly to collectively create less energy use and waste i.e. turn appliances off, conserve heat, use natural light etc.

Perhaps the government could have shifted daylight savings so it is lighter for longer in the Winter at 7am and 6pm when we need it instead of at 4am and 10pm in the summer when we do not.

Perhaps the government could have dropped VAT for any energy efficient products i.e. CFL bulbs etc to encourage mass conversion to more efficient mechanisms?

Oh for a government that believes more in its people that it does lobbyists.




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Monday, July 10, 2006

NEWS: Carnival of the Green #34 & 35

Carnival of the GreenThanks to you all for the wonderful and supportive comments and emails comforting me on the loss of my dad.

Am back with a vengeance now. Much to do.

To kick off my return then here are the links to the two recent Carnival of the Green posts.

#34 onJuly 3rd was located at HeadWay Youth and my pick of that carnival is the Lawn Care post from Guide to Green Living. In this time of water scarcity here in the UK this kind of post is valuable stuff.

Today's #35 was located at Ester Republic and my pick from that carnival is the review of an Eco resort in France that I might just have to visit...sounds divine.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into Feb 07) and posting available here.



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