Technology, use it wisely

Talking about the improvements in technology often raises controversial debates. Without it, we would still risk for our lives any time we catch a cold. Technology enabled us to reach a level of comfort that we are all familiar with. We now have access to an insane amount of information, we have switched most of the hard work to machines, and generally we made life somewhat easier than before. However, those advances also pushed for mindless production, an economic boom for some countries followed by a massive movement of consumerism. Most of the developing countries aspire to reach the same levels of “stability” and wealth, which is totally unsustainable. But, since the word sustainability has left the association with the hippy movement and is increasingly  starting be embedded in new and existing businesses, solutions are being found. Continue reading “Technology, use it wisely”

Why “should we all be feminists”?

I used to believe that the word “feminism” did not sound right. Is it not counterproductive to have manifestations and speeches about how differently are women treated? Men do not do that, why should women differentiate themselves doing so? But men don’t do that because they don’t need that. 

A feminst, by definition, is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of both sexes. Men can and should be feminists too. Addressing the topic with male friends, you get responses such as “I do not understand the feminist movement, we already achieved equality, what about men’s rights?”. The reality is that we still associate “feminist” with negative connotations, with hatred, when it should not be so. And, yes we achieved conditions that are better for women compared to 100 years ago, but there are still things to work on. Continue reading “Why “should we all be feminists”?”

You Are The Change

Suistainable Consumption, a term that we might have heard of or not. One of the UN sustainable development goals, it may sound like a paradox, how can consumption be sustainable, if I am still using resources?

Consumption is natural, whether is consuming water or energy in the form food. What is not natural or acceptable is the fact that our society has been pushed us to consume unquestionably, consume because we can, consume because it makes us feel good. It does not matter whether I really need what I am buying, it does not matter if I will forget about it in a month or less, I am still buying it. We are surrounded by things things we do not need, we have fridges so big that we forget what we stored inside and yet, we keep buying, because (who said it?) it releases stress. We throw away food, we throw away plastic, we throw away thingsWithout even thinking about it.

Continue reading “You Are The Change”

Leave that cup

What is happening with coffe cups at Jonköping University?

You should be aware that most of the coffee-addicted students at the University like to take two cups just for one coffee because they are scared by the hot content.

Another thing that they even like most is to take a plastic lid to put on their desks next to the coffee cups.

Which is the current problem? An enormous amount of waste, not recyclable!

Continue reading “Leave that cup”

Why Should I Care?

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“Why should I care about certain issues, you only live once so I should better make the best out of my time. There’s no need to be concerned about problems we do not have the power to solve”. WRONG

Making a change does not start from saving the world. It starts from the little everyday actions and decisions each of everyone of has deals with everyday. As some say, you cannot change people but you can change yourself.

“All this sounds good but why should I even change my habits if it would not have any impact?”

Many people still feel like everything that is happening is not “our business”, that is the governments and politicians that needs to be blamed, or even, that it is inevitable, since we are growing so much. We are the most intellectual species on planet, yet we do not understand, or do not want to, that we are ruining the place we all call home. And yes, there are many things that we cannot control, we cannot save the extreme poor countries now, on our own. But we can become aware of our impact on the planet, we can change our harmful habits, we can try to implement sustainability in our daily lives, thinking more about the consequences of our actions. We can try to implement sustainability at our workplace, and with our actions, we could inspire our friends and neighbours to do the same. And yes, it is as easy as it sounds. So, why not start now?

 

 

The future of food

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The development of science and food chemistry result in the ability of engineers to create not only food substitutes but actual copies of milk, wine and possibly meat with very important characteristics: these copies would not need any cows, wineyards or water and food to be sustained. They would be produced in specialised laboratories which definetely diminish the huge impact the food industry is having on our environment. What would the consequences be and is it really a positive news?

There are already several start-ups:

Ava Winery‘s founders describes the startup as “the future of  wine” and on their website (https://www.avawinery.com/about-us) they claim that food will be scanned and printed as easily as photographs today,  with the same nutritional values and flavors of the “actual” food. These lab-produced wines not only taste great and can reproduce aromas of sophisticated wines through the use of techniques such as cromatographies and mass spectrometry, but also drastically cut the production cost. Which means that the price is also reduced. Consequently it results in good wines being affordable for more people.

Perfect Day is an American company that from yeast and age-old fermentation techniques (the same used to brew beer and make pickles) are able to replicate milk without the need of any cow. The addition of a mix of a plant-based sugars, fats, and minerals result in an enriched diary milk without stabilizers, hormones or lactose. From that milk they are able to produce all the derivates such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream. So the result is not a milk-substitute but a real milk, without cows and without the ethical and environmental issues behind it. This would make the switch to a completely plant-based diet less drastic and without changes in terms of traditional food and dishes.

Memphis Meats  is another American company made by “meat lovers” for meat lovers but without the negative effects of conventional production. They produce meat from animal cells, therefore without slaughtering, feeding and breeding, this decreases emissions and consuption. Products have not been launched yet, since there are some problems with the serum needed that so far comes from unborn calves and chicks but which the CEOs are searching to substitute with some plant-based product (http://www.businessinsider.com/memphis-meats-chicken-lab-grown-2017-3?IR=T) .

The idea behind all these products is that given the world’s population increasing growth, the increase wealth and the demand for food (especially meat and diary, associated in many countries with higher social classes) expected to double, rather than try to convince everyone to change diet, it would be more efficient to provide the same products without the negative impacts. The hope is that these copies will be allowed to compete and success against the traditional “natural products”.  Despite the cuts in consumption, water and feeding, the costs in the making process are still very high for milk and meat, since they require attentive qualified specialists and high quality tools.

All these startups and ideas (and there are more) are the confirmation that there are not only bad news about the fight against global change and the main industries: there are many passionate people trying to find solutions suitable for everyone.

The Student Kitchen’s Stories

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The Student Kitchen: one idea, one vision,  a team of 5 first-year university girls to fight for it.

The project of having a sustainable student-run café started quite spontaneously,  given the majority of people’s passion for food after coming to the conclusion that if we want to make an impact in terms of sustainability, what we eat is where we should start from.
What began almost like a joke, soon became a serious matter which the more it grew the more we in the team felt committed to make it happen. The more difficulties we found, the more innovations we added to the original plan, and the more we learned. We went from having little to no knowledge on business planning to mastering one in less than a week.

But… who is “we”? That’s the amazing executive team members of this great, crazy and important project: Evelina, Indy, Camilla, Martina & Anastasia. All from different cultural backgrounds and experiences but with the same dream, the one of a better society which takes care of the planet we all live in and which promotes a healthy and sustainable way of living.

 

Food is something that everyone has an interest about (either when it comes to cooking, eating or both). It connects people, it literally makes us since is the source of our nutrients, vitamins and minerals. What we eat, not only affects us individually but it also is what affects the environment the most. Food production and waste are the major contributors to climate change. The major point we want to make is that plant-based food does not have to be something complicated with exotic and expensive ingredients. On the contrary, the healthiest food is the least processed, the one that you can have control on the ingredients. It can actually be very cheap, especially given the relatively high cost of meat compared to vegetables. We became so used to have every ingredient at our disposition regardless of the season, to have perfectly shaped and sized shiny fruits and vegetables, to have pre-made food that comes in cans, packages and that is full of chemicals and preservatives that do not even exist in nature and which, in the long run can harm our health. We forgot how exciting and fun eating can really be, we forgot about its benefits on us and on the planet.

If we can all learn how to eat good food that does not harm the enviroment and make us more efficient and healthy then, even if the path is long, at least one step (one of the biggest) has been done towards a sustainable society.

At the end, despite all the hard work we had put in the project, we did not win the bid, but we gained a lot of experience and we understood that there are several ways to be sustainable and to spread the message. Obviously we did not give up on our ideals, which are even stronger than before, but we did not take the outcome as a “loss”.