Suggestions and advices - a guest poses questions

by firmm Team

Hello my name is Daniela. Due to the film “last giants” amongst others I became aware of your organisation. I would like to contribute my small part against this injustice that is happening. I am a young woman, a consumer, I never really seriously thought about where products that I buy are coming from – be it groceries, cosmetics or clothing - and much less how they are being transported to their destination. I have to admit that I own much more than necessary. As I became more concerned with this topic, by reading articles and watching documentations my attitude and way of thinking fundamentally changed.

I, as a consumer can contribute to change by turning to alternatives, rejecting certain brands, by simply going without and also by informing myself about the way of transportation and production. To find out these information exactly is what I have difficulties with. My question to you is this: Can you recommend anything like books, documentations, websites…no matter what, where detailed information on origin and way of transportation of products can be found? Which manufacturers supply what and how? Maybe some who support your purposes? I do not want to be part of the problem I want to be part of the solution.

I believe that with our buying behaviour we can induce change. We have to finally understand that humans and machines are able to mass produce and to haul goods everywhere within days regardless of the consequences. We destroy, harm and exploit nature wrongfully. The true meaning is being robbed. We are not entitled to claim all of earth’s resources for ourselves and to wipe out life on this planet just for goods and luxury we do not even need. Sadly we are used to it and grew up in a world which is entirely defined by us.

I am looking forward to your reply and hope you can provide me with some more information.

Best regards Daniela

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Text : Brigitte , member of staff firmm

Dear Daniela,

first of all thank you for caring about the welfare of our planet and that you contacted us with your question. We would like to take the opportunity to give you impulses and suggestions and also to invite our readers to share their opinions and ideas that may result in consuming in a more considerate, sustainable manner, respecting the environment and the animals sharing this planet with us. Therefore you, the readers, are also invited to send us recommendations of books, documentaries and websites so that as many people as possible can benefit from these informations and therefore we can help each other to find our way in this “consumerism”.

Nowadays difficulties already start with the backtracking of the groceries on the shelf of our supermarkets. While fruits, vegetables, meat and eggs are being labeled with their country of origin, with processed foods this looks completely different. There is no obligation to label products which are made of several primary products with the country of origin of these different products. Therefore the first step to protect our environment is to responsible shop for food. Ideally shopping for plant-based groceries which are being produced locally and organic. It is very important to further pay attention to which fruits or vegetables are in season.

Several websites provide country-specific season calendars where you can see which products are grown during which time of the year. This also applies to buying meat. It is necessary to pay attention and to buy meat of animals from adequate animal welfare and housing. In industrial livestock farming even the basic requirements of the animals are being ignored and their living space is limited to an absolute minimum. In order to maintain the animal’s efficiency despite the inapt housing, the use of antibiotics became inevitable. This also poses a danger to human health. Cattles are being fed with an unnatural diet composed of soya, crop and other so called concentrated feed in order to produce a lot of milk as well as to put on weight very fast. During transportation these animals suffer from anxiety, injuries, extreme temperatures and insufficient food and water availability. The male calves of the milk cows suffer a particular bad fate: They are raised for the production of veal. Therefore they are being separated from their mothers just a few days after their birth which is very traumatic for these social and sensible animals. Plentiful information on cruel animal farming can be found on peta`s website:

-> www.peta.org/issues/

Even if the total kilometers of transportation of purchased products were reduced to zero, it would still relieve the climate less than if a meat eater would switch to plant products once a week. Or even much more as our meat consumption massively contributes to the pollution of the environment. The production of meat and milk products is accompanied by very high CO² emission as cattle and milk cows have a low feed conversion ratio and therefore huge amounts of feed needs to be provided for their breeding. Our meat consumption and thereby the use of soya for feeding is crucial for the size of our carbon footprint, the emission of greenhouse gases and the worldwide land consumption. Actually our food harms the climate more than traffic. Conclusion: A reduced meat consumption aids the environment since the emission of greenhouse gas is significantly reduced.

-> http://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/Publikationen-PDF/Meat_eats_land.pdf

-> http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150311-cow-agriculture-cattle-dairy-beef-health-food-ngbooktalk/

The subsequently following topic is the milk production: cows as all mammals only produce milk after they have given birth to their offspring. In our society dairy cows are not seen as living beings whose needs count nor are they seen as similar to those of us humans. They are solely treated as milk producers. At the age of two years for a dairy cow the state of permanent pregnancy starts. Every year they are being artificially inseminated and therefore are almost continuously pregnant so they constantly produce milk. This is why you should take into consideration to switch to plant based milk substitutes. Nowadays there are many tasty, even healthier alternatives to milk to choose from: almond-, hazelnut-, rice- or oat-milk.

When buying eggs it is important to check the imprinted code consisting of letters and numbers on the eggs. The first number is most important: 0= ecological production, 1= free range farming, 2= floor farming, 3= cage farming. The following two digit letter code informs you about the origin of the eggs: DE stands for Germany, AT stands for Austria, NL stands for the Netherlands, ES stands for Spain, etc. The number code that follows after that informs you about which farm the egg is from.

After seeing pictures or videos of caged egg production you will most certainly no longer go for eggs with the numbers 2 or 3 but rather for eggs numbered 0 or 1.

These eggs are more expensive but they guarantee that the animals are being treated better. Although it has to be admitted, that chickens in free-range farming only are allowed outside for a certain amount of time and inside their barn they face the same conditions as the ones in floor farming. But nevertheless this cannot be compared to the shockingly horrible conditions in caged farming. An informative summery on this topic can be found on the following website:

-> https://albertschweitzerfoundation.org/campaigns/ending-use-battery-cages

-> https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/egg-industry/

When buying sanitary articles the next issues arises if you are looking for products with little impact on the environment and without animal testing. Why should an animal suffer just because we want to make ourselves look prettier with lipstick and nail polish? There are some lists available on the internet that show what brands do animal testing.

> http://www.leapingbunny.org/guide/brands

It is important to read accurately the exact ingredients of the cosmetic products. Unbelievable what can be found. Quite often mineral oil is used in lipsticks or oily creams and toothpastes or peelings often contain micro plastics or formaldehyde that can cause cancer.

For a foundation like us trying to protect the marine habitats micro plastic is one of the biggest concerns. Since these tiny particles are flushed through the drains directly into the oceans. That is why it is inevitable to be mindful of the ingredients although this is not an easy task for a non-chemist. Here are some abbreviations of the most common ingredients:

Polyethylen                                   PE

Polypropylen                                 PP

Polyethylenterephthalat                PET

Nylon-12                                       Nylon-12

Nylon-6                                         Nylon-6

Polyurethan                                  PUR

Acrylates Copolymer                    AC

Acrylates Crosspolymer               ACS

Polyacrylat                                    PA

Polymethylmethacrylat                 PMMA

Polystyren                                    PS

Here another interesting campaign regarding this subject that is also available as an easy accessible app:

-> http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/

-> https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/

Generally it is always advisable to opt for natural cosmetics without animal testing. This information article on responsible and sustainable buying behaviour could be much longer. We hope to have inspired Daniela and we are looking forward to any feedback.

Original sources:

-> http://www.swissveg.ch/transport

-> http://www.sagneinzumilch.de/produktion.php

-> https://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/klimakiller-fleischesser-ia.html

 

 

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