Help Protect Marine Animals from Ghost Gear

This month World Animal Protection UK were out with volunteer environmental divers helping to remove lost fishing equipment (aka ghost gear) from the sea off the Pembrokeshire coast. Ghost gear is a massive issue for marine animals, with an eye-widening 640,000 tonnes of lost lobster pots, fishing nets and rope being lost in our oceans every single year. This equipment continues to catch marine animals, and is detrimentally affecting thousands of British species.

Ghost Gear

The Leatherback turtle, for example, is the most common species found in British waters, and its global status is critically endangered. When it migrates to British waters from July to October to feed on jellyfish, they often get caught in discarded rope. Young playful seals find themselves caught in fishing net with tragic consequences. Even whales can be entangled and killed by ghost gear. 

Ghost Gear

Thankfully these sterling humans are on the case. The diving group, brilliantly named the Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC), headed out in tempestuous waters as they have been doing for the past 11 years, to do the noble and necessary job of sub-aquatic litter-picking to protect species such as the yellow sponge crab, the bottlenose dolphin, the Ballan wrasse fish and the grey seal that live in the Pembrokeshire seas. Last year they recovered one tonne of ghost gear, and this year managed to collect 19 lobster pots as well as rope and angling gear. World Animal Protection’s Campaign Manager Christina Dixon joined the team for a day, and reported back: “It’s always an honour to be part of a gear removal mission and play a small role in helping this dedicated group of sea heroes.”

Ghost Gear

Luckily, thanks to the continued work of NARC and the World Animal Protection UK Sea Change campaign, this issue is being brought to the fore. This charity is working with the industry and with the UK government to develop initiatives to recover ghost gear from our waters and support partners working on hands-on animal rescue.

To support World Animal Protection UK’s Sea Change campaign, sign up to their mailing list to get the latest news, and read their summary of the ghost gear issue. For more information on spotting and reporting ghost gear, check out World Animal Protection’s guide. Plus, like them on Facebook and Twitter to keep in the loop with updates to the campaign.

Images courtesy of World Animal Protection UK.

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Votch Watches, Bethany Williams & Shampoo Bars: Ethical Brand News

On my vegan treasure hunts across the world wide web, every now and then a brand jumps out and bedazzles me. Here are my three best finds from the world of ethical and vegan fashion this week.

Votch

Ethical Brand News

It’s a very rare treat that you find beautiful high quality faux leather watches, so it was a total pleasure to find chic vegan watch brand Votch on my Instagram adventures. Founded by Laura Stageman in London, these stunning watches to prove that you can have downright gorgeous accessories without harming animals or humans. Every 3 months, Votch will partner with charities to support their inspiring work. Pre-order these watches pronto to be shipped in September to have a shiny gift arriving in the autumn. #InLove.

Bethany Williams

Ethical Brand News

Bethany Williams is nothing short of a sustainable fashion genius. Her “Breadline” collection has such a smart design that you might involuntarily break out into applause when you hear it. She explains to Dazed, “We devised an exchange of fresh fruit and vegetables from Tesco for waste items” to go to Vauxhall Food Bank, and then created fashion designs from the left over materials and cardboard from Tesco. She also “worked with local craftsmen to create hand crafted woven, printed, knitted and embroidered materials”. Each of her designs is totally sustainable and is either organic, recycled or produced in the UK. Music to our ears. Plus, 30% of profits go straight to Vauxhall Food Bank. And all of this in an edgy new artistic collection. Not just a pretty coat!

Shampoo Bars

Ethical Brand News

The latest trend in eco-circles that has been gaining traction in the mainstream press of late is solid shampoos, shunning plastic packaging by leaving out water. Skin and haircare brand Ethique has saved 60,000 plastic bottles, and saving roughly one litre of water per bar, by creating solid shampoo instead of liquid. Isn’t that jaw-dropping? It appeared in Huffington Post and was a total smash hit in the land of Facebook. Of course this idea has been around for a while, and our lovely helpful Facebook humans shared their hard earned research on solid shampoos, recommending Lush, Boobalou, Blue Earth, Living Naturally, and Friendly Soap (from I Choose What I Use).

For more vegan and ethical brands, check out our previous post on ethical brands like goodDYEyoung vegan hair dye by by Hayley Williams from Paramore, Willow Cup Vegan Milk and Kat Von D Beauty launching in the UK.

Images courtesy of Votch, Bethany Williams and Ethique.

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We’ve Got a Serious Case of Festival Fever

Festival season is in full swing, with more and more of my mates gleefully stacking up their wristbands and going into work on a Monday morning still lightly dusted in glitter, overflowing with tales of their weekends. Here’s our pick of the festivals and our recommended festival fashion pieces, all with an eye on the eco of course. Word on the street is that this season it’s all about that 70s vibe, so it’s all fringe trims, hot pants, flower headdresses, billowing shirts and suede boots (which is where we can help!).

Bestival

Festival Fashion

Bestival (8th – 11th September) have a killer star-studded line up this year, with The Cure headlining. It’s got the world’s biggest bouncy castle (taller than the Great Wall of China, no less!) and hot tubs, in case you dislike all the awesome music. Run on good vibes and bio-fuel, Bestival is also a green dream. All the food and drink stalls use 100% compostable cups, glasses, knives and forks, and all their office stationary and paper is recycled. Swoon.

Plus, every year after Bestival, the charity Challenge and Adventure collect left over tents and campaign equipment, take it to be washed and fixed by local prisoners as part of their rehabilitation, and then send them to where they are needed. In 2013, 1000 tents went to Uganda, and this year some are being sent to the refugees in Calais. It’s lovely to hear such a smart and resourceful way of reusing what would otherwise be waste after the festival to actually help people in need.

Green Man Festival

Festival Fashion

Another festival with a heart is the Green Man in Wales (18th – 24th August), boasting a sizzling line up with James Blake and Laura Marling. This festival provides work experience to local college students studying for their Film and TV Foundation Degree, plugging in wires and flicking the switches (I’m sure those are the correct technical terms). The Green Man Trust Cafe raises over £10,000 for local causes each and every year, and since 2010 they have raised £250,000 of donations for charities in total. All that and an awesome long weekend? It’s a win-win situation.

But that’s not all. In Einstein’s Garden, all three stages are powered by sustainable energy, which is no mean feat, no siree. Using solar power and hydrogen fuel cells they keep their impact to a minimum totally warrants the ‘Green’ in ‘Green Man’. Mad props to the folks behind the festival.

Viva! Vegan Festival

Festival Fashion

For something a little less musical and a little more delicious, head to Viva! Festival in Brighton on 3rd September. From chocolate to live cookery demos to ready-to-eat tasty vegan treats, this festival has everything your tastebuds desire. Also appearing will be cruelty-free make up brands, which we always love to discover. We’ll be there with our pens behind our ears and a flip notepad writing down all the fresh brands we find and reporting back in a blog to all those who can’t attend. Can. Not. Wait.

Festival-Ready Vegan Boots

Festival Fashion Misty Boots Beyond Skin

Festivals are our Misty boots’ spiritual home. The camel faux suede is denim’s best friend, and they are so gosh darn comfortable that they could easily withstand a day of emphatic dancing to Lovecats. We got a new delivery of Misty boots ready and waiting for you in their boxes, gearing themselves up to be your boot of choice for a wild weekend.

Festival Make Up

Festival Fashion

Barry M’s Dazzle Dust in Electric Blue is twinkletastic, ideally smudged across the eyelids in true camouflage style (or glamouflage, if you will). Their Glitterati nail polish in Starlet pink would bring a sparkle to your fingertips too, and both are totally vegan and cruelty-free.

To read more festival tips for ethical fashionistas, check out our 2015 Festival Survival Kit.

 Images courtesy of Barry M Cosmetics, Bestival, Green Man Festival and Viva! Festival.

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