UN International Mother Earth Day (sometimes called World Earth Day) is on the 22nd April. This day celebrates planet earth and its many interdependent ecosystems. The day reminds us each that we have a collective responsibility to live in harmony with nature and achieve sustainable balance.
The UN have developed a series of Sustainable Development Goals. These range from ensuring there is no poverty and zero hunger to protecting the seas and supporting clean water and sanitation. Following these will mean that everyone can enjoy and prosper in the world.
You can support International Mother Earth Day by making a few simple changes or doing some good deeds.
1. ABC = Always be carrying, whether it’s a reusable water bottle, a keep cup for take away coffee, or an extra bag for those last minute shopping trips. Don’t use single use plastic. It will end up in the ocean even if you bin it after use.
This is an opportunity to celebrate the great work which Fairtrade does around the world to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love: chocolate, coffee, wine, bananas, gold.
How does Fairtrade work?
Fairtrade change the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.
The Fairtrade Premium is a small increase in the cost of some goods which goes directly to the farmers and farming co-ops. This allows them to invest in their communities.
Women produce more than half of the world’s food, yet control of the means of production is still dominated by men. The majority of women farmers and hired workers work in producing coffee and tea.
Currently around a quarter of all Fairtrade farmers and hired workers are women.
Kuapa Kokoo, the Ghanaian cocoa co-operative which owns 45% of Divine Chocolate, has formed district level gender committees and has ensured that almost half of its National Executive Council members, including the current President, are women.
Yuyun Sri Wahyuni, a member of the first all-female cooperative in South East Asia, says of her experience with Fairtrade: “I want to prove that we can achieve business success with our will and determination”. The cooperative has given the members a voice and an ability to use their collective knowledge and expertise.
You may have seen the increased media attention around the damage plastics are doing to our planet, in particular our oceans. But did you know there are simple steps you could take to reduce your plastic use:
1. Rather than buying bottled water, make use of the water fountains around campus. We have one on Level 3 of Northampton Square Library.
2. Purchase a reusable cup and get a discount on hot drinks on campus and at many high street stores.
3. Say no to plastic straws and disposable cutlery. It is possible to buy sets of travel or camping cutlery that you can store in a small case that easily fits into the pocket of a bag.
4. Take a bag with you when you go shopping. This will not only reduce your plastic use but also save you paying 5p for a new one. If you regularly buy loose fruit and vegetables, you could cut the waste even further by reusing plastic bags for your fruit and vegetables!
5. Avoid excessive food packaging. Record how much plastic you use over the course of a week and consider whether there are alternatives. If you are unable to avoid excessive food packaging when shopping and are feeling brave, then take it off and leave it at the till. This becomes feedback to the supermarket that excessive packaging is not welcome.
This winter Library Services raised money to donate sanitary products to Hackney Foodbank.
Currently homeless shelters are not provided with money for tampons and towels. With limited or no access to sanitary products, homeless women are often forced to go without. Homeless Period believes that tampons and towels should be made available through homeless shelters, the same way the government provides condoms. This charity encourages individuals to donate sanitary products to local homeless charities or food shelters.
For homeless women, it really is that dreaded time of the month.
Donations from staff
Staff from Library Services organised a series of events to raise money. They set up a festive bake off, a drop-in Christmas decorations making event, quizzes and donated money that would have been spent on Christmas cards across all four library locations. Over £100 was raised for sanitary products and other items which Hackney Foodbank needed.
Today as part of Sustainable City Week 2017 Library Services will be handing out exclusive water bottles to City students and staff from 11:30 am in the Northampton Square Library.
Britain consumes 3 billion litres of bottled water per year.
Typically bottled water retails at up to 500 times more than the price of tap water
The average student will spend £25,000 on bottled water and associated soft drinks in their lifetime.
The majority of bottled water is sold in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. All PET bottles can be recycled. Yet it is estimated that only 3 billion of the 13 billion plastic bottles of water sold in the UK in 2007 were recycled.
Plastic waste, including bottles often end up in the oceans. The Eastern Garbage Patch is an area 6 times the size of England, where plastic outweighs plankton by 6:1. It is the world’s largest waste dump.
Together we can stop this happening. Join us today to get a free reusable bottle, whilst stocks last and let’s end plastic waste in the oceans.
Help us improve the Library’s environmental impact.
In a recent waste audit of library spaces around 30% of our recycling bins were contaminated with items that could not be recycled. The main culprits were plastic bags, paper coffee cups and crisp packets. Contaminated recycling bins can mean that none of the goods in the bag get recycled.
What can get recycled at City
You can recycle of all these items in the dry recycle bins:
Paper and card (including paper towels)
Plastic bottles and containers
Food and drink cans
City recycles loads of stuff: everything from paper to old stationery and mobile phones. There are only a few things that you can’t recycle at City. General waste bins should only be used as a last resort and should include food-contaminated items, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, disposable coffee cups and expanded polystyrene.
During exam season we will be encouraging you to recycle or reuse items to help improve the sustainability in the Library. Our colleagues in the Sustainability Team at City will help us test the contamination rate of recycling points across the Library. We hope that our contamination rate falls to 0 – 20%. Keep watching the table below to see how we do.
If we recycle all the steel packaging we use in a year, it would save enough energy to make over 50,000 return train journeys between London and Edinburgh!
We currently save enough energy from recycling glass to chill 34 bottles of wine each day for every UK household!
Recycling one drinks can could save enough energy to power a TV for four hours.
Library Services and the planet
Library Services work hard to improve sustainability. Over the last year we have organised stalls for water bottles and Fairtrade chocolates, contributed to the City bookshare and raised over £250 for charity. That is why we were named Green Team of the Year 2016-17.
Congratulations to the Library Team (from all four libraries) who were awarded today for being the most sustainable team this year at City pic.twitter.com/2LhrZBFDAW