OK, a first one would of course be the Viagra Paradigm. Today is the 1st of May. A good day on which to reflect on alternatives, and maybe do more than sit around doing so at home in an armchair. If it’s a nice sunny day, why not go and do something actively and proactively about it? Might involve some singing too, and that’s very good for you.
Preamble and/or irreelevent digression over, back to folly-praising business and beauty products. Continue reading
2012-04-26: NOW WITH SHINY UPDATE AND EVEN MORE LOL!
A MakeupAlley Green Board LOL:
Mkay… Continue reading
In previous years, I’ve put together Green-ish Lists. Laboriously hand-crafted. By my own fair hand. Researched and all and all.
But here’s a thing. Or a couple of things, really.
Such lists might entice or incite
someone, somewhere people to buy stuff. Amongst that stuff there might be stuff they don’t need. And stuff of which they already have a version or equivalent, albeit maybe less green or green-ish.
So this year, in a break with tradition, there will be no list.
Earth Day should be every day damn it!
And part of normal everyday life for everybody!!!
I mean, this tosh about making a big ritual/~ised/~istic deal of planting one single tree in some random and probably irrelevant place? Fuck’s sake, if you’re that keen on planting trees, get thee to the Amazon and start beating up the bulldozers. Pillocks.
OK, there might be a list, at some point in the future. But there’s a sound practical reason for no list: cruelty-free-ness is up in the air.
Following the cosmetic-testing ban in the EU, it will be some time before every single product on the shelf and in warehouses is new cruelty-free stock. And even longer before we start seeing which companies put their money where their mouth is, on research & development. I.e., if you’ll allow me to belabour a grammatical point, I’m waiting to see a “cosmetic testing ban” become a “cosmetic-testing ban.”
For testing to be seriously well-funded non-animal alternative testing, of a sort that becomes not only acceptable worldwide (inc. places like the USA and its bizarre antiquated insistence on animal testing)—rather than freakish and marginal—but normal and standard.
Add to that the whole “who’s doing what in China” complications.
So: no list. Well, no list of “good” and “bad” companies. Just a rough list of Points To Ponder.
THE 2013 ALTERNATIVE GREEN LIST Continue reading
There may well be more serious comments to be made, and repercussions and implications. Along the lines of the classic statement: it’s not guns that shoot people and bombs that blow them up, it’s (usually, most often) men. Combined of course with the fear, ignorance, territorialism (on which, see this recent post), and idiocy, that result in individuals (again, usually men) acting in hunting packs with unthinking lunatic mob mentality.
Yes, I mean “men” in the specific not generic/species sense. And no, of course I don’t mean all men are psychotic bastards with delusions, or even just skewed perspective. That would not be logical.
It’s interesting that throughout intellectual history, in most traditions/cultures it’s men who have been associated with reason, reasoning, rationality; and rational, free, self-aware, conscious and conscientious, understanding and intelligent thought has been percevied as the central human attribute, distinguishing them from other sentient being (let alone any life-forms and other things in existence). With women occupying a, well, other place in such orders of things.
from online reading of the last while…
- Logical Harmony: “cruelty-free vegan brand list”
featuring clear and nice process/procedure, and comments, and other posts on issues about animal testing and the production and sale of cosmetic products (inc. skincare) in China. A different (and stricter) approach than my own, but that aside, this is a fine and valuable resource
- Skin Inc: “The Truth About Parabens”
re. parabens Chinese whispers… ah, the joys of urban mythbusting
- Realize Beauty: “The Trouble With Making Your Own Sunscreen“
or, why you can’t just mix some zinc oxide powder in with whatever and expect SPF 30 and PPD 10 …
- and a last, incendiary, item: Mark Lynas: lectue to the Oxford Farming Conference, 3 January 2013.
Here’s the start, I hope it incites you to continue reading…
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.
As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.
So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
When I first heard about Monsanto’s GM soya I knew exactly what I thought. Here was a big American corporation with a nasty track record, putting something new and experimental into our food without telling us. Mixing genes between species seemed to be about as unnatural as you can get – here was humankind acquiring too much technological power; something was bound to go horribly wrong. These genes would spread like some kind of living pollution. It was the stuff of nightmares.
These fears spread like wildfire, and within a few years GM was essentially banned in Europe, and our worries were exported by NGOs like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to Africa, India and the rest of Asia, where GM is still banned today. This was the most successful campaign I have ever been involved with.
This was also explicitly an anti-science movement. We employed a lot of imagery about scientists in their labs cackling demonically as they tinkered with the very building blocks of life. Hence the Frankenstein food tag – this absolutely was about deep-seated fears of scientific powers being used secretly for unnatural ends. What we didn’t realise at the time was that the real Frankenstein’s monster was not GM technology, but our reaction against it.
For me this anti-science environmentalism became increasingly inconsistent with my pro-science environmentalism with regard to climate change. I published my first book on global warming in 2004, and I was determined to make it scientifically credible rather than just a collection of anecdotes.
So I had to back up the story of my trip to Alaska with satellite data on sea ice, and I had to justify my pictures of disappearing glaciers in the Andes with long-term records of mass balance of mountain glaciers. That meant I had to learn how to read scientific papers, understand basic statistics and become literate in very different fields from oceanography to paleoclimate, none of which my degree in politics and modern history helped me with a great deal.
I found myself arguing constantly with people who I considered to be incorrigibly anti-science, because they wouldn’t listen to the climatologists and denied the scientific reality of climate change. So I lectured them about the value of peer-review, about the importance of scientific consensus and how the only facts that mattered were the ones published in the most distinguished scholarly journals.
My second climate book, Six Degrees, was so sciency that it even won the Royal Society science books prize, and climate scientists I had become friendly with would joke that I knew more about the subject than them. And yet, incredibly, at this time in 2008 I was still penning screeds in the Guardian attacking the science of GM – even though I had done no academic research on the topic, and had a pretty limited personal understanding. I don’t think I’d ever read a peer-reviewed paper on biotechnology or plant science even at this late stage.
Obviously this contradiction was untenable. What really threw me were some of the comments underneath my final anti-GM Guardian article. In particular one critic said to me: so you’re opposed to GM on the basis that it is marketed by big corporations. Are you also opposed to the wheel because because it is marketed by the big auto companies?
So I did some reading. And I discovered that one by one my cherished beliefs about GM turned out to be little more than green urban myths.
If, say, you’ve already broken our resolutions, or forgot to make any?
My thanks to icaria for her response to this question:
What are some skincare affirmations that I can tape in my bathroom to help me improve myself?
(((hugs))) to the original poster, by the way.
For information, and so as to present both sides of things. My only additional comment is that we can also see here what happens when people don’t talk to each other, and when one adds in America-centric assumptions / prejudices. Be that in innocence or ignorance of other countries, regions, and legislation; or not caring (cultural imperialism); or not bothering to find out (ditto, plus laziness).
Something that bugs me, given the non-American historical origins of the campaign at hand here (= the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection). I’m a person of mixed origins and multiple nationalities, and I’m absolutely resolutely NOT a nationalist (I’m an internationalist, partly for sound Socialist reasons), but the British part of me bristles and rankles at a good and very old British institution and idea (plus the very British version of the 19th-century ideals behind it, of justice and fairness) being taken over, perverted, and banalized.
The worst being twisting international, global, and universal (all good things, for moving towards a cruelty-free world) to mean “American.” That’s the cultural imperialism we’re talking here; aggravated by an over-simplification of the issues at hand, led by simplistic pseudo-thinking, which results in serious flaws in the ideas. Folly.
Historical ignorance is actively dangerous. As well as being a thoroughly bad thing because it gets my goat.
But on a positive note: People: talk to each other: you have more in common than dividing you, especially the crucial factor here about caring about people, animals, planet, and ethics!
Take action: the tools are there at your finger-tips. Well, your tools are your finger-tips: get typing and emailing! See previous posts on this here blog for one instance of this, with Weleda… even though in that case they’re not going to go Leaping Bunny and I’m still going to buy their products, and consider myself to be still buying cruelty-free, because Leaping Bunny’s policy is flawed. Flaws notwithstanding, I still reckon Leaping Bunny to be good and useful. It’s better than nothing, and the world is a better place for it existing, compared to how it would be if The Bunny (or something like it) didn’t exist.
Here’s a rapid digest of useful Leaping Bunny links, for you to the consumer to take action with “your” brands :
- You can contact any company and request that it open up its animal testing policy to scrutiny by joining the Leaping Bunny Program. Please feel free to use this downloadable Sample Letter as a guide http://www.leapingbunny.org/whatcani.php. It is important for companies to hear from consumers like you who want to buy products that are not tested on animals.
- Help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by Taking the Leap to go cruelty-free at www.leapingbunnypledge.org
Here’s some correspondence between Leaping Bunny and yours truly (with personally-identifying elements—names, email addresses, telephone numbers—disguised or removed): Continue reading
Shoes are great. They protect the soles of your feet from broken glass, gravel, mud, ice, hot melting tarmac, and water-dwelling parasites. And the whole of your feet from cold, wet, and in extreme cases, chemical spills and other industrial hazards. Steel-capped toes another plus.
Yes, they can look nice too. And maybe even make your feet look nicer.
And there’s ever-increasing quantities of good vegetarian and vegan ones around. Here’s a selection, and a few links to blogs that I’ve found to be helpful and informative (and in some cases drool-worthy).
NEXT UP after this post, in the next post, that is:
- Nice things to do to feet to make them happy…
Some are all-vegan, some are all-vegetarian, and some have some shoes that are vegetarian or vegan. Brands that are all vegetarian or vegan (check for specifics, depending on where you draw the line) are in bold. UPDATE: done some hyper-linkage-ing all round…
Some of the brands below may actually be vegetarian or vegan, but I haven’t checked because they’re not really my thing (ex. Crocs); do let me know which of the non-bold ones should properly be emboldened (and if you have no shame in, say, loving Crocs; each to their own…).
There are more. Many more. Ever more. And please do feel free to add more to the list c/o comments, I’ll update it as needed!
some vegan shoes, good if your workplace requires their sort of thing (not my thing)
many of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
- Beyond Skin:
- Big Buddha (c/o Steve Madden):
some serious funky joy; possibly perhaps now defunct
great waterproof insulated boots
- Bourgeois Boheme:
chic and gorgeous
- Brave Gentleman:
does what it says on the tin, elegantly
classic waterproof adjustable sandals
- Chinese Laundry:
never seen in person; flip-flops / thongs. Not my thing.
classic basketball-to-skat-to-street shoes, sneakers, etc. A design classic. Most are at least vegetarian, and there’s been a lot of vegan bloggers checking with the company re. glue and suchlike
- Cri de Cœur:
have a range of vegan clogs
- Doc Martens:
their vegan 8-eyelet boot went away for a while, been back for a while (but no longer made in England, and quality has gone down: see Veganline and Vegetarian Shoes for alternatives)
(now called Kalsø Earth Shoes, and most of the new designs are unfortunately minging):
still do some vegan shoes, the most interesting of which is probably the Elite and Pride boots, plus otherwise some kinda granny shoes (though my grannies were way to stylish to have been seen dead in them)
- Elizabeth Detroit
- Ethletic (UK):
vegan, eco-friendly, fair-trade; great Converse-style low-and high-tops
offer a lot of vegan shoes of the classic skate-shoe variety
have been doing more and more vegan shoes every year (go local Van!)
- Forever 21:
as with many another cheap & cheerful shop, most of the shoes aren’t leather (but check re. glue and manufacturing ethics)
- Form & Fauna
gorgeous glorious magnificent beautiful heart-breakingly desirable hand-made shoes, all of which are available in vegan or non-vegan versions. A very “equal opportunity” company.
- Hearts of Darkness (by Cri de Cœur):
- H & M:
same goes as for Forever 21
- Hunter boots:
paradoxically, vegan; a paradox and an irony given that their original purpose and main use (off the trendier streets of Vancouver and suchlike) is for hunting, shooting, fishing…
solid sandals, all the ones I’ve seen are vegan, but do check: we don’t have any B&M stores selling them here, or anywhere else I’ve been recently, so I’ve not tried them on in/on the flesh. Would be interesetd in more info on these…
same degree of classicitiy as Converse and Vans; mainly vegan I think, if not all?
a lot of vegan ones, inc. the classic waterproof sport sandas
only seen online, never in person; some good-looking shoes here, of the skate-to-street sort
good canvas stree/skate shoe type footwear, plus more
- Madden Girl (Steve Madden):
if you like heels, look here!
- Marks & Spencer (UK):
many of their shoes are vegan; wide range of styles
(inc Vivienne Westwood collaboration)
most of their barefoot range is vegan, some of their sandals; most of their amazing warm winter boots aren’t, alas
lovely sandals, soles plus interchangeable ribbons to wrap round our feet andn/or ankles in various ways, providing you with a large number of pairs of sandals; see also their shop on Etsy
gO Canada! More aesthetically-pleasing than Crocs, and some neat short boots for the coming season
all vegan, much is work-appropriate for more conservative workplaces… but look carefully, there’s always a few nice pieces lurking there too
- New Balance:
many of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
- NOHARM: men’s
all-vegan, and some serious stylishness going on. Can usualy be relied on to provide some sex-on-legs boots (made for walking, etc.) for the fall to winter.
- Olsen Haus
think the Platonic form of the canvas laceup shoe, add a touch of Palladium or Keen to the styling (re. the toe-caps), and add in ethically proudly made in China for what to many consumers may be an unexpected twist…
classic canvas stree/skate shoe, those boots with the rubber toe-cap
some vegan ones; all have style
hippy hemp stuff, beach classics
most of their trainers/sneakers are vegan
- Schuh (UK):
many of their own-brand shoes are vegan, plus other stocked in the store
many are vegan
- Stella McCartney:
high vegan style, plus collaborations with other shoe-makers
another classic sport sandal, some less sporty but all with a minimalist simplicity of line; some are leather, but most aren’t and indeed classify as vegan. Also, they last forever (9 years on my current pair).
classic slip-on espadrillish shoes, some are leather and most have leather insoles, but there’s also a fair number of vegan ones
same goes as for Forever 21
***principal purveyors of jelly shoes to the masses!!!***: HUEY2, the classic “fisherman” jelly sandals; HELLO strappy jellies
most are vegan (and all the wellies / rain-boots / gumboots), better-made and cheaper than Hunter boots, many colours and patterns including a fabulous bright yellow; really good short boots
- Urban Outfitters:
same goes as for Forever 21
the classic canvas stree/skate shoe; a few now have leather, but not the old skool greats (some have been on the books for a good 20 years)
- Veganline (UK):
ethically-made as well as vegan; some are their own, some are made by others. Good source for classic shapes of shoe, ex. like DM boots, Palladium high-tops; plus workplace court shoes and suchlike
- Vegetarian Shoes (UK):
great shoes, plain and simple; mostly classic shapes and stles, like the 8-eyelet boot and other Air Sole sorts of things, plus shoes appropriate for a conservative workplace. Highly recommended.
And there’s also quite a lot of veg trainers / sneakers from Adidas, Airwalk, Nike, Reebok, Superga and a bunch of others I’ve not tried (or not recently), or not seen.
Caveat emptor: On many of the above, especially larger stores (but less so better places like M&S): watch out for the human rights side too, and how well-made shoes are. It’s a waste of money to buy something that’ll fall apart when you’ve worn it twice. It’s also an environmental waste, and a waste of labour, transport and warehousing costs, and everything else along the way.
- Simple: hopefully just for the moment and not for ever
- Birkenstock, Birkis, Tatami, Papillio, etc.: are stopping or have stopped making vegan shoes; worth looking around to se if you can find some (or even just their compromise shoes, with Birkiflor synthetic uppers but leather footbeds) online
- Alternative Outfitters
- Bourgeois Boheme
- Fashion Conscience
- Greenshoes: make vegan versions of all their shoes. All are gorgeous, and handmade to order
- Karmavore (New Westminster, Vancouver)
- Moo Shoes
- Nice Shoes (Vancouver)
- Online Shoes: vegan shoes, quite a lot of them
- Planet Shoes: vegetarian shoes — vegan shoes (this latter is a more reliable category)
- Shoebuy have some vegan shoes
- Vegan Chic
- VeganEssentials “where compassion meets convenience”
- Veganline (UK)
- The Vegan Store
- Vegan Wares (Australia)
- Vegetarian Shoes (UK, good international shipping)
- Vshoen (Victoria, Vancouver Island)
- Zappos: I used to love them, but now no more as they won’t ship to Canada! See here for the shoes they list as vegan; many of their other shoes are actually vegetarian or vegan too, but you’ll need to check item by item, and in some cases contact the manufacturers (ex. to talk about glue)
SOME EXCELLENT SHOE-BLOGS
- Great Green Goods (about recycling): some posts here and here,
- Great Green Shoes
- My Non-Leather Life
- Shoeaholics Anonymous: Five vegan shoes brands (that won’t make you look like a hippie) and some useful comments there too
- Vegan Kicks: The Vegan Shoe Blog
- Vegan Kicks: An unintentionally amusing esponse from Adidas customer service
- Vegan Shoe Addict
WHAT I’M WEARING CURRENTLY: FALL—WINTER—EARLY SPRING
- Vegetarian Shoes Chelsea boot
- Vegetarian Shoes Boulder classic 8-eyelet boot; these and the Chelsea boot (and others in their Airseal lot) are made in England: think the quality and craftsmanship of vegan DMs of 20 years ago, and then up it a notch. Great shoes.
- Ilse Jacobsen boots, various pairs (vegetarian but not vegan)
- Earth Shoes Elite shiny zip-up knee-length boots (fab)
- Merrell Pace Glove barefoot running shoes, also for gym
- (not vegan) old Keen light hiking boots, mainly fabric but some leather: wearing these till they’re done
- Vegetarian Shoes Ally: “nice” more girly shoes, though still flat and functional i.e. I could walk several miles, say for an hour or so non-stop, and sprint 100 m in them
- and (somewhere???) an old pair of vegan Earth Solar mary-janes
SUMMER THROUGH EARLY FALL
- (not vegan) old Keen light hiking boots, mainly fabric but some leather: wearing these till they’re done
- Patagonia Advocate slip-ons: old, super thin and light
- (non-veggie) old Birkenstocks: vegan upper but leather footbed; I’ve had them for years and am wearing them until they die, resoling them every year or two
- Keen Whisper waterproof sandals
- antique indestructible Teva sandals
- for when I need to wear closed-toe shoes: Vegetarian Shoes Ally
OBJECTS OF LUST:
- Greenshoes: the Willow Shoe, and the Buckled , Oxeye, Peony, or Samphire sandals
- Jelly shoes!!!
- Mohop flat non-thong sandals
- Montrail light hiking ankle-height boots (but it may be years before I need new hikers)
- Also other chic shoes from Cri de Cœur, Olsen Haus, etc…
… will be another post. Maybe even two. Definitely one on SHOES. Everyone likes a good shoe: from objets d’art to long-term functional good solid working boots. So shoes it is.
Beauty connection? Feet can be beautiful too. And beautiful feet tend to be of the happy healthy variety. Links in next post will include some heels: heels, hells, no accounting for tastes and follies and the hell that some people put their feet through… so there’s your bonus folly connection too.
I’m not going near the usual shoe-folly business. Sure, we probably have too many shoes already. I know I do. Even if most of them have definite purposes for specific weather conditions and activities. And even though I donated a whole bunch of them to charity (luckily my feet aren’t crazy pongy, and most of the shoes I gave away had only been worn once or twice, or maybe three times over a few years).
While the shoe post will mainly be about vegetarian shoes, there’ll also be a few leather shoes I’ve had in the past that were from more ethical sources (I shudder now: it’s still hide of dead and previously-animated creature on my feet, eeps…) and ticked some environmentalist and economical boxes, as being well-made and thus longer-lasting so saving you money and reducing animal abuse and the ecological side-effects of the manufacturing process. Because not everyone is vegetarian, and there are ways to be ethical and environmentally protective whilst wearing leather. That should be respected: to quote the British supermarket chain, “every little helps.” And life’s a compromise, including the compromise that is living with other human beings, and the associated need for mutual respect and tolerance. Which are great, valuable, and praiseworthy social / societal virtues.
There will also be some beauty tips for feet. OK, thinking “beautification” in a larger sense, that’s probably more to do with comfort, peace, harmony, and a gentle joy. When feet don’t complain but sing. Or at least hum quietly to themselves unobtrusively in the background.
Meanwhile, respect to all your feet, and respect your feet!