Enviromental Issue, no. 181, January 2021
cover illustration by: Shubhangi Dua @thepaperphantasm photography by: @ranurte design by: Elly Savva
2020 was a tumultuous year for more reasons than one. In January alone the world watched Australia’s bushfires grow worse, a former NPS employee revealed that the Trump administration was deliberately destroying US National Parks and climate activist Greta Thunberg was defended by the German Prime Minister, Angela Merkel after exchanging tweets with Donald Trump. In the midst of a global health crisis, the looming climate emergency has been pushed out of the spotlight. To prevent the spread of the pandemic, we turned our lives upside down overnight. Firstly by wearing face masks, then by social distancing, and eventually by simply staying home. Whilst these were alien concepts to us a year ago, we quickly adopted these practices and made sacrifices to prevent catastrophe. Should we not be taking the same urgent course of action for the future of the planet we live on? For this reason, the theme of Issue 181 is environmentalism. To start this issue, Indi Scott-Whitehouse looks at the forgotten climate crisis on pages 9-10 and how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated aspects of it. Over in our Clebar section, Sian Jones contemplates whether we should reconsider what constitutes nature on pages 65-66 to encompass solar and wind farms that will prevent the use of fossil fuels. Elsewhere, has the emergence of the environmental antagonist in films had you secretly rooting for the bad guy? Turn to pages 27-28 for Caitlin Parr’s exploration of the trope.
Aside from our environmental focus, Issue 181 contains articles that continue our focus on introspection and self-reflection - an unavoidable consequence of isolation. In Isabel Brewster’s column on pages 19-20, she contemplates the comforts of cooking and the warmth brought by friendship throughout the bleakness of winter in lockdown. In our Features section, multiple contributors write about their sense of self and how it has changed over the years on pages 13-14. In our editorial on pages 15-16, you can read about a few things that have been getting us two through our darkest days, with some recommendations of things to read, watch, and do. When you’re stuck in the middle you can feel bogged down and a little lost. We are bang in the middle of a lot of very pressing issues right now, COVID-19, the environmental crisis, and political change. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We hope this issue brings you new, refreshing perspectives and some newfound positivity. With this in mind, we welcome Summer Griffin to the Spotlight Section and say goodbye to our dearest Indigo Jones. As always, a big thank you to our team and a happy new year to our readers.
Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor
Meet The Team
Editor-in-Chief: Jasmine Snow
Deputy Editor: Elly Savva
Columnist: Craig Strachan and Isabel Brewster
Second Deputy Editor: Josh Ong
Features: Caitlin Parr, Indi Scott Whitehouse and Rhianna Hurren Myers
Culture: Amy King, Megan Evans and Sarah Griffiths
Music: Alex Payne, Daisy Gaunt amd Emily Jade Ricalton
Film & TV: Borte Tsogbadrah and Pui Kuah Cheah
Literature: Nicole Rees-Williams, Ona Ojo and Neus Forner
Fashion: Henry Bell and Rachel Citron Download: Lewis Empson and Marcus Yeatman-Crouch
Travel: Katherine Mallet and Alice Clifford
Clebar: Dafydd Wyn Orritt and Sian Jones
Food: Indigo Jones, Hannah Penwright and Sasha Nugara
Spotlight: Laura Dazon, Kate Waldock and Summer Griffin
Social Media Team: Maja Metera, Manon Jones and Ebony Clent
Copy Editors: Sarah Belger and Rowan Davies
Head of Design: Madeline Howell
Deputy Head of Design: May Collins
Photographer: Sahina Sherchan
Illustrator: Shafia Motaleb
Illustrator: Amelia Field
Illustrator: Sian Hopkins
Illustrator: Prity Chatterjee
Illustrator: Shubhangi Dua
Page Designer: Alessio Grain
Page Designer: Kacey Keane
Page Designer: Priyansha Kamdar
Page Designer: Sebastian Jose
Page Designer: Sandra Mbula Nzioki
Page Designer: Anna Kerslake
Page Designer: Ersila Bushi
Events Manager: Shaniece Oâ€™Keefe
09-10 The Forgotten Climate Crisis 11-12 The Death of Alt-Milk 13-14 Sense of Self
15-16 We’re Loving...
17-18 Welcome to the Jungle: The Rise of the Houseplant 19-20 Small Joys and Where to Find Them
21-22 How Arts and Culture can Save the Environment 23-24 Sustainable Student Party Lifestyles 25-26 Living Green Photography Series
film & tv
27-28 The Rise of the Environmental Antagonist 29-30 Environmental Kids Films 31-32 Disability On Screen: Why It Needs to Improve
33-34 How Hardcore Got Punks to Care About the Environment 35-36 The Uprising of Low Carbon Concerts 37-38 Spotify Wrapped: Genres, Data and Musical-Identity
39-40 Dying Earth Literature: Prediction or Preachy? 41-42 The ‘Cool Girl’ in Literature and Film
43-44 Innovation at the Cost of Obsolescence 45-46 Apple and E-Waste: Profit, Performance or Progress? 47-48 Gaming Worlds: Assassin’s Creed, Minecraft and More
49-50 Student Fashion Profile 51-52 Cruelty Free Beauty Brands 53-54 To Buy or Not to Buy
55-56 Top Travel Eco Essentials 57-58 The Harsh Truth Behind Tourism
59-60 Quench Food Festival 61-62 Hot or Not? Food Delivery Services 63-64 Do’s and Don’ts of Kitchen Sustainability
65-66 Dylen ni ail-ystyried beth yw diffiniad ‘natur’? 67-68 Amodau Ffermio ym Mhrydain: Cyfweliad efo Ffermwr o Sir Benfro
69-70 How to Look Out for Safe, EcoFriendly Sex Toys in an Unregulated Industry 71-72 Playlist of the Issue
THE FORGOTTEN CLIMATE CRISIS For almost an entire year now, the coronavirus pandemic has dominated our news headlines and taken priority above other aspects of life. The pandemic and lockdown sent the world into a situation like no other, quickly forgetting the other social and environmental issues society had begun making positive progress with. Since the foundation of Extinction Rebellion in 2018 (and more subtly in years before), a social focus and wave of activism against the climate crisis took a forefront position in the media and everyday life in general. Reusable coffee cups, bags, and reduced plastic packaging on food were slowly becoming the norm, and for a time it seemed as though small personal changes were an easy and effective move towards a safer and greener future. Unfortunately, since the start of the lockdown period, we have seen the return of single-use plastic cutlery, food packaging, coffee cups, and of course the introduction of compulsory facemasks. This new rule, and an increase in PPE requirements, means that an estimated 194 billion face masks and plastic gloves are being used every month. Not only is the return of increased single-use plastic going to impact pollution levels, but there is now a new addition to the already growing plethora of plastic killing our planet. Masks: Masks are now compulsory in all indoor spaces in the UK and have been scientifically proven to reduce the spread of the virus. The problem is not the masks themselves, but the conscious decision individuals are making about the masks they purchase. Understandably, not everyone is in a position of privilege to make this choice, with the cases of hospitals and close-contact medical care meaning that the disposing of a likely infected mask takes priority. However, members of the general public and those who work in offices or industries such as retail can choose the option of buying a reusable mask. These can cost as little as £1, which actually works out cheaper for the individual in the long run
compared to the number of disposable masks they would require. This is also a great way to support smaller and more local businesses. Coffee Cups: Before the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, it was more common to see a reusable or bamboo cup in hand than a paper or plastic one. There were discounts on your coffees when ordered with your own cup, and an ever-growing range of cups and flasks lining shop shelves. However, many coffee shops have now stopped accepting reusable coffee cups due to a fear of increasing the spread of the virus. In June, over 100 experts signed an open letter declaring that reusable coffee cups were safe for café use as long as they had been cleaned in between use. Big chains such as Starbucks and Costa are now accepting customers’ own cups again. However, at the time of writing, Greggs, Pret, and Café Nero have not yet said if they will accept them again. If you needed another reason to support local, Big Moose Coffee Co., 200 Degrees, Corner Coffee, and Uncommon Ground in Cardiff are all accepting cups brought in from home. Carbon Emissions: Despite the decrease in road travel and flying causing a belief that the virus would have a positive impact on global carbon emissions, professional research and a look at carbon emission levels throughout the 21st century suggests that this is not the case. Corinne Le Quéré, Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia, stated that “as soon as the restrictions are released, we go right back to where we started”. There is a great chance that carbon output could surge higher than it was before the pandemic. A similar pattern was seen in the 2007-2008 financial crisis, as emissions initially dropped but then significantly rose again afterwards. The excitement of returning to holidays abroad and an increase in road travel to revisit family and friends could mean that lower carbon levels are only a temporary positive of the pandemic.
â€˜Out of the pandemic and into the global fireâ€™ would not be a positive end to this global crisis. It is necessary to take COVID-19 precautions for people to survive, but it is also important that those who can, adapt their precautions to be kinder to the earth. We must do everything we can to ensure there is still a planet left to survive on. words by: Indi Scott Whitehouse design by: May Collins
words by: Hope Docherty design by: Ersila Bushi In the midst of a climate crisis and a global pandemic, you’d think that the European Court of Justice would have more important topics to debate than the advertisement of dairy alternatives. However, as dairy is the second largest agricultural sector in the EU, maybe the lengths they have gone to protect the industry is unsurprising. Amendment 171 came into place in October 2020, making it illegal for plant-based foods and drinks (such as milk, cheese, etc) to be advertised with dairy descriptive terms. The Swedish brand Oatly has described the new legislation as “wacko”, as what we now know as oat milk can no longer include the word “milk”. Plant-based brands now face the issue of re-branding away from dairy substitute labels, saddled with the significant financial burden of rebranding, or the consequences of legal costs if they refuse to do so. With this reasoning, if peanut butter isn’t technically butter, can it now still receive the label of “butter”? The basis of the decision was the technicality advertising these products and if they could be deemed as misleading to the consumer. A consumer could be, of course, severely disappointed if they mistakenly bought almond milk, labelled as “milk”, instead of one of the many cartons of cow’s milk. The concrete legislation was only put into place in October, but this landmark decision isn’t new. From as far back as December 2013, EU regulations meant that milk, butter, etc
could only be used for marketing if derived from cow’s milk. Coconut and almond milk were exempt from this, although soya products were not. The EU also evaluated dairy-style names for soya in 2017 after an incident in Germany. The German association Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb (Association for Social Competition), whose responsibilities include combating unfair competition, brought action against the brand TofuTown for ‘prohibitory injunction’. TofuTown was brought to regional court in 2017 for advertising products such as “tofu butter” and “rice spray cream”, which breaches EU regulations preventing soya products from using animal descriptive terms. The case concluded in TofuTown being told the case would have to return to court and that it was up to the national courts to enforce EU law. With the new 2020 regulations, it is uncertain how separate countries will respond if it is up to local courts to apply the law. With its departure from the EU, will the UK continue to use these regulations? Examples of similar lawsuits over the advertisement of dairy alternatives can be found outside of the EU. For example, the Californian brand Miyoko’s Kitchen was sued for using the term “vegan butter” in 2018. The vegan brand was ordered to pay a whopping $5 million in compensation for misleading packaging. Back in 2017, the European Vegetarian Union stated that new legislation was “motivated by economic concern”. It’s no secret that plant-based products are a threat to the dairy industry; in fact, it’s not unusual for consumers to pay nearly twice as much for plant-based milk. It’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to switch to meat and dairy alternatives for both health and ethical reasons.
Dairy is full of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and weight gain. Aside from health benefits, reducing dairy and meat consumption can combat negative environmental impacts such as water usage, land usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Amendment 171 could, however, actually contradict EU climate goals set by the European Commission. As a part of plans to move to a low carbon economy by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions created by the agricultural sector were supposed to be reduced by 20% by the year 2025. This reduction is crucial, as the dairy sector alone produces the same greenhouse gas emissions as the whole of the UK. It feels bizarre that the EU would implement legislation that could cause an increase in dairy consumption, adding to environmental issues. If the legislation is down to economic concerns rather than environmental ones, why allow plantbased meat to still use animal descriptive terms? In an Instagram post responding to Amendment 171, Oatly stated that if they need to rebrand, then dairy companies should “state the climate impact of their products on their cartons” so consumers can make their own decisions about the ethics of their purchase. For further information on the health and environmental impact of dairy, vegan documentaries What The Health and Cowspiracy are both available to watch on Netflix.
We asked Cardiff students what a ‘sense of self’ meant to them, and how they felt about recognising and establishing their own...
words by: Scarlet Charles I only realised my own sense of self a few months ago. I wasn’t always so confident in myself, in my own skin. For years I was struggling with body dysmorphia and other mental illnesses that hindered self-acceptance. But over lockdown, I started doing more research into selflove and body acceptance and I found a goldmine. I started following influencers that are confident in themselves, who know who they are, and who preach body acceptance. People like Megan Crabbe (@ bodyposipanda), Sierra Schultzzie (@schultzzie), Nyome Nicholas-Williams (@curvynyome), or Carys Whittaker (@busybee.carys) have helped me to realise my self-worth, and have helped me to accept who I am both inside and out. I stopped following accounts that advertised ‘skinny’ as the norm and promoted unhealthy diet culture. It was hard, but so, so worth it. Wearing something I never thought of wearing a year ago, that shows more skin than I used to, just because I know it makes me look amazing. Being more vocal in group assignments because I know my opinion is worth just as much as anyone else’s. Standing my ground to someone in a position of authority because I know I’ve been wronged and I want to set the record straight. To me, a strong sense of self is believing I am worth loving myself. I’m not 100% there yet, but I am working on it every day.
words by: Abi Edwards
words by: Lucy Palin
A strong sense of self can be defined as being aware of your personality traits, morals, likes, dislikes, and your perception of the world around you- which all contribute to your own unique identity. For some people, finding your sense of self can be challenging in many aspects. With the influences of social media, different cultures and trends, it can be a struggle to identify your own styles and interests as there are so many different paths you can take.
For me, your sense of self is knowing who you are. That means knowing what you like, what you want, and what matters to you. To have a strong sense of self means being governed less by the fear of what others think of you and more by your innate feelings. However, it is a difficult journey that I am definitely still on to recognise and be satisfied with who I am.
My sense of self never used to be very strong until I started studying for my university course. I would definitely say that studying journalism has given me a lot more confidence as, without it, I never would have had the self-esteem that I do now, and I would not have had the courage to engage in other endeavours such as contributing to Quench. Journalism lets me express myself through the medium of writing and allows me to be creative, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a future career until I started studying it. Deciding at the age of 18 what you want to do for the rest of your life is an incredibly difficult decision for many young people, and it’s OK to take time to grow and gain experience. Now at the age of 21, I have the strongest sense of self I’ve ever had. A strong sense of self does not always come naturally - sometimes it takes time to develop your own beliefs, values, and decision-making capacity, as it is these aspects that will affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Everyone is unique, and our sense of self defines that. It’s important to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to experiment and learn from experiences and mistakes. Support from friends and family can also have a positive impact.
Often, we would rather be anyone but ourselves. I think this is especially apparent at university when you’re surrounded by so many new people. While this can be inspiring, it can also feel like a never-ending chase to emulate the styles and interests of those around you. I know I personally have spent an embarrassing amount of my student loan on clothes I don’t even like, but that I thought I should own. It’s also hard to feel like you have a good sense of self when you don’t believe that who you are right now is yourself. Since I started suffering from depression and anxiety when I was sixteen, my road to recovery has always involved trying to get back to how I used to be rather than moving forward. While I don’t want to let mental illness hold me back, I can’t deny that it has fundamentally changed me. I am quieter, more cautious, and I worry much more than I ever did before. I don’t think that’s going to change. I’ve used the words ‘‘I’m just not myself anymore’’ so much that I’ve convinced myself I won’t be happy until I revert back to how I used to be. As cliché as it sounds, I think that finding my sense of self will involve accepting that I’m not going to change and working with who I already am instead.
design by: Elly Savva
What We’re Loving
Jasmine Snail Mail
This is Us
I love mail, especially snail mail. Snail mail, for those of you who don’t know, is not only an awesome singer (check her out) but also a slang term for really beautiful mail. If you’re sending snail mail, you don’t just write a letter, seal and stamp it. You decorate the envelope with vintage paper, washi tape, ink stamps, stickers and anything else you can think of. As an Etsy shop owner (@snowdropdesignsshop) I get to send a lot of mail, which I love and get a little crazy with. I think the whole concept of mail is really beautiful, it’s so personal and heart-warming. Nothing beats waking up in the morning, with a coffee in hand and tearing through a new letter.
This is Us is an American television series which follows the lives of Jack and Rebecca Pearson, as well as their three children Kate, Kevin and Randall in several different timelines. In my opinion, no words could ever do this series justice, but I’ll do my best. I’ve watched a lot of films and television series (seriously, it’s a sad amount and that’s not even including rewatches), but this is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever seen. The way in which this series intricately interweaves the different timelines of this family is truly beautiful, one minute you’re watching the children have a glitter fight and the next you’re watching them pick up their own children thirty-some years later. The reoccurring glimmers of their past, present and future constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what decisions they made in order for their life to end up that way. This series conveys a beautiful message about life and how it starts long before you began and in a way never truly ends.
I’ve always adored animals, if it’s got fur, then it’s got my heart. Which is why, when we entered lockdown and I was feeling a little blue I decided to get my first pet. I know that pets shouldn’t be a spur of the moment decision, but I’d been ready for a little furry friend for a while and so I decided to get a dwarf hamster. Small, cheap and so cute; the perfect pet for students. One of the things I’ve loved most has been watching him run around during my online lectures, one time I turned around and he was in the midst of feng shui ing his home. By feng shui ing, I mean he had grabbed all of his bedding, dragged it through his tubes and then created a huge, comfy mound to sleep in; I was a little jealous in all honesty. I may be the biggest softie in the world, but experiencing all of his firsts with him was so special to me, even just giving him his first tiny block of cheese made me melt.
Elly A Daily Dose of Gratitude
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Maybe the practice of gratitude sounds farcical at this time. It is hard to stay positive when the world feels like a sinking ship with a captain absent from the wheel. However, gratitude is the plank I have clutched onto to stay afloat. The term originates from the Latin word gratia - which can either mean graciousness, gratefulness, or grace. To me, it is simply about being thankful. It can be practiced in many simple ways, like writing thank-you letters or reminding yourself not to take each day for granted. After our morning caffeine dose, my housemate and I have gotten into the routine of writing down three things we’re grateful for. Our choices have ranged from microwave meals and gas heating to the health of our families and friends. The practice of gratitude has helped us to count our stars in a sea of grey. It’s not about ignoring the darkness in the world; it is about choosing to hold onto the light. Now more than ever, counting your blessings will keep you grounded.
Is there ever a more fitting time to read a novel about escaping the world through chemically-induced hibernation? Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has imposed isolation on us, My Year of Rest and Relaxation explored it first. Published in 2018, the book is set against the backdrop of a pre-9/11 New York City, where an air of endless optimism was imbued by its narcissistic inhabitants. Although living alongside them, the protagonist exists separately from the mood of the city. Misanthropic and utterly miserable, she plans to dissociate from reality by spending a year of her life comatose. She is white, wealthy, well-educated, and beautiful - all factors that would normally point to a young woman’s success - yet she wishes for nothing but to escape her life. Through a concoction of pills that lead her into “a luxurious free fall into velvet blackness,” she manages to black herself out for days at a time. The prose is razor-sharp, embellished with black humour that reflects a relentlessly savage view of society. Whilst the book is endlessly bleak, it is an entrancing read that provides a sanctuary of escapism for anybody who wishes that they too could sleep until this nightmare is over.
Instant Noodles Virginia Woolf famously wrote that “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. Ms. Woolf clearly never ate Super Noodles. They certainly can’t be counted as eating “well”, but I’m not ashamed to admit they’ve become one of my cupboard staples. My understanding of the world as I knew it changed recently when a friend gave me a spoonful of theirs, and they weren’t terrible. Somehow, these noodles seemed revolutionary (they aren’t, I just realised I’d been cooking them wrong). For the times when you’re too tired, hungry, or stressed to cook, noodles are there for you. I usually add a few spices like cumin or chilli flakes to counteract the guilt and make it feel more like I’m cooking, but the noodles and I both know that’s a lie. design by: Jasmine Snow
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: THE RISE OF THE HOUSEPLANT Monstera. Peace Lily’s and Devils Ivy. Every assortment of Cacti, Succulent, and Aloe Vera you can imagine. Once, these words seemed like a foreign language, now I see an odd, green form of salvation. Of course, we’re talking about houseplants. Those heartening bundles of leaves scattered across all manners of rooms in different shapes and sizes. You could call it a fad, or an overplayed aesthetic used in Instagram stories by bored students living their lockdown lives through their phones, but I like to think that these are the thoughts of the cynics or the uninitiated. This sudden rise (a meteoric one at that), is a true reflection of the times we live in. In other words, if it is a fad, the emergence of widespread houseplant culture is a very 2020 fad. With its roots (I’m sorry) set firmly in the environmental and political context of the world as it is. In this, Coronavirus is the ever-present underlying factor. You could take photos of my first and second year university rooms and honestly would not be able to point out the differences between the two. They could literally be the same picture. Yet this year, a litter of green surrounds my desk and shelves. It’s almost as if years of compounded anxiety for our dying planet combined with months of forced captivity in a beige and characterless room has influenced my spending habits. Who’d have thought? I think that this trend is very revealing about the concerns of our generation. There’s a lot to unpack here; nature is something every one of the 25-and-under age group has been made to see as damaged and dying from day dot. It’s a narrative that we are all too aware of. Many of us may contribute to more impactful causes such as, the Extinction Rebellion protests of last year, or donate to specific charities that seek to combat Climate Change. However, the simple act of being surrounded by plants and therefore by life has a lot of psychological benefits. Climate anxiety is very common within people of our age group, thus being soothed by simply having a cactus on your desk seems very appropriate for this generation. Then you add Coronavirus on top of that. The pressures and stresses are truly astonishing for everyone at the moment. It’s safe to say, it has had numerous implications
upon our mental health. Many of us, myself included, have moved into university houses for this academic year knowing we were going to spend an awful, awful amount of time in those rooms. Locked in, without your family or other support networks. So, if you want to go out and spend ridiculous amounts of money on a small coffee plant from Ikea that proceeds to die on you horrifically in two months’ time (not to call myself out too much), then why shouldn’t you? Speaking of which though, it doesn’t mean this splurging has to be a solely selfish endeavour. Cardiff has a wonderful array of independent places, shops, and bars where you can pick up a little Bear’s Paw succulent here or a massive monkey leaf there. The Bute Park Plant shop offers great little varieties for people to purchase on a lovely walk through the park as you pass the café next to the footbridge over the river from Sophia Gardens. They put little notes of advice next to each plant as well, so you don’t end up murdering your purchases as I did. If you’re looking for flowers, maybe for a nice vase you might’ve picked up somewhere, then head into town and into the indoor market. They usually have a decent amount of choice and prices that are madly cheap. Also, it means that you get to experience the market. That place is a maze, but also a treasure trove of randomness. You’ll go in for some sunflowers and you’ll come out with three records, a rugby scarf, and half a dozen fresh Welsh cakes. My personal favourite is Eartha. This is in Cathays on City Road and doubles up as a brilliant vegan café/bar. I’ve been in many a time for some lunch and walked out with a new addition for the windowsill. An added benefit, all the staff there know their way around their plants so will offer you amazing advice on how to keep those guys alive and what they say must work because all three of the plants I bought from there this year are still surviving. All in all, don’t blame yourself for the circumstances we are all straddled with. If you want something green and leafy to make it all easier then do it. What’s an overdraft for anyway?
words by: Craig Strachan design by: Jasmine Snow
The cold begins to blow in, the sun sets earlier than it did the day before, and I have my third bowl of cereal. I watch the battery slowly run out on my laptop while the charger lies next to my bed. I walk past the university coronavirus test centre on my way to the park. I call my mum and miss the smell of our kitchen. For students all across the UK, this winter will be a long one. Lockdown in the spring feels like a distant memory, where uncertainty and anxiety were compensated by sunshine and the possibility that things would be better by autumn. Of course, things have not progressed in the way we had hoped for. It is cold, the internet in our student house has given up, and any plans for beyond the next few days must be written in pencil: erasable, forgettable. It is difficult to predict what will be possible as a new wave of restrictions washes over us. I watch as my housemates retreat into their bedrooms to tackle the mountain of work that was emailed to them at 11:30 pm the previous night. I think about my friends at home and when I might see them next. I worry about my grandparents who live alone. I’m not alone in these anxieties. Others feel it too, and although this often isn’t as reassuring as I’d like it to be, it remains true. The uneasiness I feel at the thought of darker days, colder weather, and an increasing workload all to be done from the confines of home seems to gather into worry lines on my forehead. It only takes leaving my bedroom and shuffling into my housemate’s room to be reminded that she feels the same. We consult our list of lockdown-and-weather-appropriate activities and the tension seems to dissipate. On this list, which I recommend for anyone who fears that the winter blues this year will hit harder than the last, are several ideas of how to spend the days. Some will take up whole Saturdays, like visiting the ice-skating rink or renting a bike and cycling around Bute Park. Others are books to be read, films to be watched, music to be listened to. Love Actually is on there, and, at my housemate’s insistence that it is ‘actually a really good film’, so is Life of Pi. We will go to the big Tesco’s and buy a box of quality streets.
Our most consistent source of happiness, however, is food. We have hollowed out a loaf of tiger bread and put camembert in the middle. We have made at least 12 roast dinners. We have had homemade pizza nights, curry nights, and taco nights. We have baked brownies and cookies and lemon cakes. Lockdown offers an opportunity to cook together and eat together which, between the usual university routine of long hours spent in the library and recovering from nights out, we might not have had otherwise. Cooking has become a way to differentiate the days and spend time together. It gives us a reason to stay inside, out of the cold, and away from the anxieties that coronavirus brings. When I look back at this time, the first thing that will come to mind won’t be the stresses and worries. It will be the warmth from the kitchen and the soft golden light emitted from the Ikea fairy lights, secured to the wall with Sellotape. The table has enough food to feed nine people, and enough for seconds too. The cheesecake doesn’t taste good and someone has probably smashed a glass, but it doesn’t matter. Despite how hidden they might feel right now, there are small joys to be found. We start a new TV series, and we watch cult classics. I watch a wedding over zoom and cry when I see my mum and brother in the top right-hand corner watching too. I have a newfound appreciation for my mattress topper. I enjoy my dinner and look forward to the next day. These things all feel like small victories because I have felt them. The world has not managed to numb me. The seasons will change, and things will get better.
words by: Isabel Brewster design by: Priyansha Kamdar
H O W A N D C A N E N V I
A R T S C U LT U R E S AV E T H E R O N M E N T
During the coronavirus pandemic, the world has descended into a state of pure anxiety, whilst our environment has also suffered. It was only in January when Australia experienced bushfires that devastated a population of nearly 33 million people. On top of that, roughly 11 million hectares of forest were burnt across Australia. This devastation to our planet was plastered all over social media before Covid-19, but now it has fallen on the back burner. However, with the new era of social media encompassing and investigating the issues that currently pose a threat to our environment - whether that is fast fashion, deforestation, food waste, agriculture, protection against oceans, pollution, or overpopulation increasing demand for unsustainable resources - we have gained a weapon in which we can use to improve the environment. However, technology has not been the only tool for inspiring change, because art and culture have also begun to be used to foreground the environmental crisis at hand. A prime example of this is through the 1975’s fourth studio album Notes on a Conditional Form. For example, the starting track called The 1975, features environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s empowering speech about climate change. In this speech, she calls for civil disobedience and direct action. Addressing her audience, she states “we all have a choice. We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations”. She urges people to wake up and make the changes required so that we can rebel against political corruption, avoiding irreversible damage to our climate, which older generations have failed to do.
Another few examples of how art and culture have aided environmental activism are ArtPlace America and Helicon. ArtPlace America is a ten-year collaboration that assists to position the arts and culture as a core sector to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric within communities. The projects they run use art to play an integral role within this development. Helicon also works to help people across sectors to engage with the potential to drive social change and make communities more sustainable through cultural equity to ensure that expression through creative outlets keeps running through society. Artists across the world have adapted to using environmental awareness subconsciously through drawings and paintings. By reflecting personally on the issues at hand, they are using their platforms to raise awareness and become more apt for a sustainable future. Some examples include Olafur Eliasson, whose work includes Earth Perspectives, which portrays man-made things from the perspective of animals and plants. Ice Watch includes transporting blocks of ice from free-floating icebergs and arranging them to indicate the passing of time. NilsUdo creates a beautiful, fairytale reminiscent sculpture that establishes the relationship between mankind and nature. Photographers have also utilised their talents to highlight environmental devastation and cultivate the changes that we need to implement. Eric Lafforge’s photography, taken from far-away travels and featured within the likes of the National Geographic magazine, highlights the disasters around the world, and the effects of climate change through stark imagery.
C A N A R T I S T S S AV E T H E W O R L D ? words by: Megan Evans design by: May Collins
Manchester is one major city that has demonstrated how arts and culture can be used to create change. The Manchester Arts Sustainability Team has become one of the UKâ€™s most successful examples of environmental collaborations, as a network of around 30 arts and cultural organisations from community art centres and cultural venues are facilitating these change strategies. They have set the target to become carbon neutral by 2038 and are developing a zero-carbon roadmap to implement this. They are also leading a fantastic network with five partner cities, including
former European Capitals of Culture, and four UNESCO World Heritage sites, which have seen the social benefits from nurturing the arts and culture scene. How we interact with the environment is hugely impacted by art and culture. We are constantly consuming new media, learning new things and youâ€™re more likely to be impacted by something if it is conveyed to you in a way that is meaningful to you - whether that be film, music, literature, art, or something else entirely.
keep creating art to convey this important message. We need to keep showing how the way in which weâ€™re living is profoundly affecting the world because it will continue to do so until we change our way of life. Art and culture have the power to make a difference, so we must utilise them.
The challenge we face and will continue to face until real change is made is to
Sustainable Student Party Lifestyles T hinking about all the parties you’ll hold when you’ve had that vaccine? Look no further for some tips about how to have them sustainably...
Living life as a student is stressful at the best of times; lectures, assignments, tutorials, seminars, cooking, cleaning, all while desperately trying to uphold a social life of some kind. One contributing factor to all of this existing pressure is the subtle yet persistent pressure for students to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle that considers long-term environmental impacts. Never fear! Quench is here to offer five simple tips and tricks on how to have a more sustainable pa rty, for those nights when you kick back and having a boozy night with your nearest and dearest.
1. If you are hosting pre-drinks be sure to provide compostable cups I think we can all agree that one of the number one items we tend to have to clean up the morning after an eventful night is cups. They’ll be scattered any and every verywhere from the kitchen, the roof, the toilet all the way to your iconic Cathays concrete garden. Although compostable cups may cost you ever so slightly more than your typical, tacky plastic red cups, the negative impact the production of compostable cups has on the environment pales in comparison to that of regular plastic cups. Far less carbon is needed to produce these cups and there is no need to send these cups to the landfill as they will simply biodegrade with little to no release of toxins.
culture 2. What about cigarette butts? Far too many smokers end up having to throw the end of their cigarettes to the wind because there are no ashtrays around at gigs and parties. Eliminate stray cigarette butts from the streets of Cardiff by providing various containers that act as ashtrays that can easily be used to collect and throw away these pesky litter bits for good. 3. If you’re decorating your place for a party, be ecoconscious! You don’t need to go all out buying loads of plastic bits and pieces from Poundland. All you need is a few paper streamers and banners, homemade confetti made from the stray bits and pieces of paper from your bannermaking, and some creativity. Challenge yourselves and housemates to throw a party where a minimal amount of money is spent, the environmental impact of your big night is considered, and the most fun is had. 4. Glass, glass, glass. Spirit bottles, beer bottles, wine bottles… they’re all made of glass. Be sure to recycle or upcycle your glass efficiently. Instead of collecting all of the bottles strew across your house the next day, find a new use for them all. Start a collection of your fanciest bottles to go on display, use them as a stand for candles, or decorate them with paint and stickers. Whatever you choose to do, ensure the wider impact that your choices will have on the environment is at the forefront of your mind.
5. An eco-friendly costume party? Before whizzing off to Primark or a party shop for cheap white t-shirts and fake blood, consider saving yourself some time and effort by digging through your wardrobe to salvage an old dress or trousers to build your costume from. Better yet, go to a charity shop and go wild! You can buy and create an incredible customer for under £5, guaranteed. Finding a use for neglected clothing should always be your go-to when going to a themed party. Not only will this save you money but it is a small way in which you can avoid contributing to the ever-present issue of a fast-fashion. These five ideas are simple, yet effective, in breaking the vicious cycle of reckless student party culture and the detrimental impact it will have on the environment. It is still perfectly easy to have a great night with your friends and uphold a golden standard where your carbon footprint is kept at a minimum. words by: Sarah Griffiths design by: Shafia Motaleb
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photography by: Elly Savva design by: May Collins
photograph by: @allioshiw
THE RISE OF THE THE RISE OF THE ENVIRONMENTALIST ENVIRONMENTALIST ANTAGONIST ANTAGONIST film & tv
film & tv Since the start of the 2000s, cinema has seen a rise in the popularity of superhero films. Not only are these blockbusters usually comprised of the highest-paid and world’s most famous actors (Robert Downey Jr., Gal Gadot, Scarlett Johansson to name but a few); but they also usually outperform every other film at the box office of that season.
Aquaman (2018) Aquaman’s villain Orm Marius, also known as Ocean Master, has a vendetta against the surface world due to their actions that have led to extensive pollution in the oceans. The acts of vengeance that ensue involve Orm trying to rid the oceans of all human items and litter that have caused the pollution.
Less than 90 days after its release, Avengers: Endgame (2019) became the highest-grossing movie of all time. This Marvel masterpiece centred around a radical environmentalist’s war on resources, making history for viewers who recognised the eco-themes that spanned across a new era of film. It set out to challenge our current climate - quite literally.
In reality in 2018 when Aquaman was first released in cinemas, National Geographic predicted that 18 billion pounds of plastic waste were flowing into oceans annually from coastal regions around the world. So, it is understandable why Ocean Master was this enraged. Even Patrick Wilson who plays Orm Marius has said in an interview with Den of Geek that his character is “an antagonist, for sure, but he’s rooted in a very understandable dilemma. I mean, his oceans are being polluted and destroyed and he’s angry and he should be, and that’s completely justified”.
Not only does this recent Hollywood trend of the environmental antagonist make us sometimes secretly root for the ‘bad guy’, but it also gives us a few hours to question where our environmentally-impactful habits align with the overwhelming amount of pollution and fast approaching irreversible environmental damage that we as a human race are causing. Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Endgame (2019) The villain at the centre of the entire Marvel Universe, Thanos, has one main goal - to free the universe of suffering. To achieve this gargantuan task, the franchise’s antagonist strives to end issues existing in our reality including hunger, poor access to shelter, and unequal distribution of wealth and resources. Convinced that the only way to wage the war on these inequalities is through the use of power unmatched in the Marvel Universe to date, Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to alter their reality forever and eliminate half of all life, promising that “when I’m done, half of humanity will still exist. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.” The logic behind Thanos’ decision to use the Infinity Stones’ power to obliterate half of all living beings as opposed to doubling the number of resources available to them has been questioned since the release of the final instalment, including criticism by Forbes who commented on how Josh Brolin’s Thanos got “sustainability so wrong.” Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) The philanthropic billionaire of an antagonist, Richmond Valentine, has very similar ideas to those of Thanos. Valentine dedicates his fortune to saving the world from very real concerns, such as global warming and overpopulation. Similar to Thanos, our villain devises a way to wipe out as much of the population he sees fit, leaving only those worthy of having the privilege to rebuild society more efficiently following his mass culling. Doesn’t sound like a very good guy, does he?
By the time Aquaman 2 is released in 2022, we will be well on our way to there being more plastic than fish in the oceans. So, maybe we could learn something (not anything quite as villainous perhaps) from this area of the DC Extended Universe. Overall: These storylines draw worldwide attention to the imminent dangers and consequences of the real-life threat of climate change and leads many viewers to secretly rooting for the villains - even if they do want to harm the human race as we know it - to save Mother Earth. With these compelling antagonists having just enough rationality to their actions for some viewers to justify their intentions, I can’t help but wonder why characters depicted as wanting to save our planet are the bad guys. The answer is because these intentions more often than not seem to come from ulterior-motives or a place of selfishness. Does Thanos really want to start a resourceprotecting revolution, or does he just need half of the criticism wiped out? Only he knows the answers to this, but surely it is the role of the superhero to protect the planet if they truly want to protect the people that inhabit it? In the real world, dominating issues such as climate change will ruin our home if we don’t do something - so maybe anything is acceptable in these circumstances. We just have to hope that real-life environmental extremists don’t get any virus spreading, Infinity Stones-wielding ideas from these guys because I’m not too convinced it would solve any more problems than it would cause. words by: Caitlin Parr design by: May Collins
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FernGully One that came slightly before our time, but wrangles with environmentalism, nonetheless, is FernGully: The Lost Rainforest. A 1992 release whose plot closely resembles that of James Cameron’s Avatar, it follows a group of fairies, headed by Crysta (Samantha Mathis), as loggers tear apart the rainforest that they have spent millennia protecting. When the unwitting human Zak (Jonathan Ward) shrinks to fairy size and discovers the land, he sees the problem with humanity’s destructive attitude towards nature – but with the sinister Hexxus (a spritely Tim Curry) intent on destroying the forest, it becomes a race against time to save nature from human annihilation. The environmentalist message at the core of FernGully is clear: by chopping down rainforests with reckless abandon, we are not only ruining the world for ourselves, but setting the vast array of natural beauty in our ecosystem on an unstoppable path to extinction. The fairies are not only an example of the purity that human greed destroys but act as a metaphor for the illustrious wildlife that lose their homes when forests are cut down. Director Bill Kroyer clearly shows how menacing the logging industry is, with machines billowing smoke and pincer-like buzzsaws laying waste to nature’s beauty.
Wall-E Wall-E (2008) tackles environmentalism through the narrative of an adorable robot love story, with a message that is still as relevant today as it was then, and it is perhaps one of my favourite childhood films. The story begins in a desolate wasteland of post-apocalyptic Earth; through the industrial smog we see it covered in rubbish with the only identifying features being the densely packed buildings and the branding of Buy ‘n’ Large outlets. We’re then introduced to Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) listening to post-war classic Hello Dolly as he compacts the trash into cubes to build skyscrapers. With a cockroach for a best friend, he has gained autonomy and has beautifully animated facial quirks and the sentience to repair himself with other broken machine parts. His anthropomorphism is one of the many reasons I love the film. Additionally, we learn that Buy ‘n’ Large fully consolidated the consumer landscape and political sphere, placing the film as a cautionary tale considering the current environmental and political climate. I find it ironic that Buy ‘n’ Large declared the film’s global emergency as we are currently seeing a rise in companies equally declaring the same climate crisis, considering they’re one of the biggest causes for it.
Yet, despite showing how carelessly we as a species have treated nature through deforestation, FernGully also proves it isn’t too late for us to change. Zak’s character development – from logger to saviour – proves we all can do something to improve our environmental footprint, no matter how big or small. While, unlike Zak, we can’t shrink down to fairy size and stop a monster who feeds off toxic fumes from cutting down a forest, anyone can make a small change to help the planet a little bit.
Furthermore, the film displays the dystopian reality of our wasteful consumer habits as the humans aboard the Axiom are baby-like obese blobs fully consumed and unaware of the space around them. It is only when two passengers are disrupted from their designated paths by Wall-E that they self-actualise about the world around them and begin to enjoy nonconsumption-based elements of the ship, such as splashing in the pool. The ending delivers the film’s hopeful message, with all the humans realising their destructive habits and displaying the innate human ability to strive to be better and repair the planet.
words by: Luke Hinton
words by: Chloe Chapman
film & tv design by: Alessio Philip Grain
Happy Feet When I was younger, I remember how angry the film Happy Feet made me feel about mankind’s treatment of sensitive and endangered habitats. Once you overlook the dancing, singing penguins, the core message of the film is that humans need to change their actions to protect species living in endangered environments. One thing I remember making me sad was how the character Lovelace suffered as a result of human carelessness. In one scene, Lovelace chokes as a result of the plastic rings which hold together beverages getting stuck around his neck. This was an eye-opening and distressing scene, which influenced me to be especially careful when discarding litter. As a child, I asked my parents to cut the plastic rings around cans up before discarding them. In fact, I still make an effort to pick up any of this litter if I find it lying in the street because I hate to think of any animals suffering in the same way. The primary focus of Happy Feet is addressing the problem of overfishing. As Mumble (the main character) undertakes his mission, we’re alerted to the unsustainability of human fishing practices. My younger self felt sympathetic towards the penguins in the film as they were struggling to find sufficient supplies of food. Consequently, I found myself asking questions about how entitled we are as humans to take supplies that other species also need. If there’s one message we should take away from watching Happy Feet, it’s that we should be aware of both the environmental consequences and the sustainability of our actions. We should remember that our actions can have detrimental effects upon food chains, which consequently damages sensitive ecosystems. If we act sooner rather than later, there’s a chance we can save animal populations from suffering at our expense.
words by: Nicole Rees-Williams
Over the Hedge Over the Hedge (2006) is centred around a group of animal friends who wake up from their hibernation, ready to start collecting food for winter only to find the vast majority of their forest has been overtaken by modern suburban villages. The modernisation of the area and lack of thought for the wildlife it destroyed has left these animals unable to forage enough food to survive. In swoops RJ, the duplicitous racoon who has the street smarts that the forest animals cannot survive without. He teaches them to forage through the suburbia to collect human leftovers. And though light-hearted in delivery, there is a much deeper issue displayed in Over the Hedge. Even a grizzly bear, an animal capable of killing and eating with ease has gotten so hooked on packaged, processed human food it refuses to eat anything else. As well as the complications the animals face to adapt to this new normal, it highlights our unnecessary obsession with consumerism. At the beginning of the film, the food the animals take are leftovers from bins, showing the extent of our consumerist habits only to not actually use a fair amount of what we purchase. When introduced to suburbia, the forest animals are fascinated by the ginormous cars and vehicles they see. Humans have a constant need to consume more than is necessary, the bigger the better. Over the Hedge is a kid’s film with a huge environmental undertone. It displays how human progress at the expense of the natural environment forces animals to adapt to unnatural methods of sustaining life and has normalised us too comfortably with the over purchasing of items we do not need.
words by: Ebony Clent
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G N I CALL
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DISABILITY ON SCREEN Disabled people are the largest minority group in the US - making up 20% of the population. Despite this, they are largely underrepresented and misrepresented in the entertainment industry. Often, the representation disability receives on-screen is framed in negative ways, such as the need to ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ somebody. Alternatively, the character is centered solely around their disability, reducing them to two-dimensional portrayals. Abled and neurotypical actors are too often cast in disabled and neurotypical roles. In an industry where disabled actors already struggle to get hired, roles that were made for them are being taken by actors who won’t accurately represent their community. In contrast, using disabled actors to play disabled roles helps to more accurately represent our society and dismantle ableist culture. Using able-bodied people to play disabled characters also encourages a view of disability in society as an abnormal state. For example, Hilary Swank appeared disabled and tragic in Million Dollar Baby, but turned up to the premiere transformed back to her ‘normal’ self. Abled actors gain status, capital, and awards for appearing in ‘inspirational’ roles as disabled characters, when in reality, marginalised groups face discrimination and prejudice simply for existing. Representations on-screen have a profound effect on culture, as stereotypical portrayals and the use of disability as a theme limit the exposure of real disability. For example, the wheelchair is often used as the singular icon of disability, reflecting a lack of education and
awareness surrounding the culture of disability. Producers may be wary of challenging the majority view of disability in an ableist society as to not make abled people uncomfortable. They are more likely to show disability in ways that promote a feel-good factor where disabled people are pitied. Often, characters are shown as depressed and isolated, but then are ‘helped’ by abled people and lifted out of their ‘oppressed’ state, rather than being shown to thrive regardless of their disability. It could be argued that disabled roles are given to abled actors because producers want leading names to star in their film, for example Bryan Cranston in The Upside or Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Whilst this is understandable, this shows the root of the problem, the pool of disabled actors is too small. There is no level playing field where disabled actors can be as successful in the industry as able-bodied actors. From inaccessible auditioning processes to the lack of budgeting to accommodate needs, the industry is impossible to penetrate at all levels. A recent example of misrepresentation can be seen in Sia’s new film Music. The lead was revealed as Dance Moms’ Maddie Ziegler. Ziegler is neurotypical, but has been cast as a young woman with autism. The film has received a huge backlash from the autism community online, who have deemed the portrayal to be inaccurate and offensive. Sia’s reaction has been far from respectful, tweeting that she is “so confused” by the negativity and that she “spent three f***ing years researching”. The singer also noted that she originally hired a girl who was on the autistic
spectrum, but due to time constraints and the nature of filming they found it “unpleasant and stressful”. This is another example of how the narrative around disability needs to change. If the disabled actor who was casted found it “unpleasant and stressful”, it is the environment that should be changed to accommodate their needs rather than the actor. Has the representation of disability in the media improved in recent years? Put it this way, if I were to list the disabled actors I know of in mainstream cinema, I could count them on one hand. Think Liz Carr, RJ Mitte, Peter Dinklage, Millicent Simmonds (all of whom are white) – and this is coming from someone who is disabled and more acutely aware of disabled actors. I believe there has been an increase in terms of positive representation, with disability not necessarily being used as a plot device or shown as a negative thing. However, the casting of actors in such roles has shown no signs of improvement. Although, thanks to social media, these casting decisions are more likely to be called out and producers held accountable – which is a step in the right direction. words by: Beth Mendleton design by: Jasmine Snow
How Hardcore Got Punks to Care About the Environment Punk encapsulated the socio-economic and political climate of the late 1970s through to the ‘80s, with lyrics that challenged both society itself and the prevailing orthodoxies of the music industry. Using the example of Thatcher’s Britain as a challenged society, British punks provided an alternative media source of information for the growing youth following the punk scene. Punk was, and is, ultimately anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist so an environmentalist approach is not exactly surprising, given classics such as Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen defacing the image of Elizabeth II. The Ramones and The Clash first come to mind when punk is mentioned, but hardcore punk differs from these household names. Hardcore punk originated in the late 1970s and was generally more aggressive than classical punk. It ironically arose against the hippy cultural climate of the time - mostly in southern California and San Francisco sprouting a global underground scene. Unlike The Clash or the Ramones, these hardcore punks were not signed to a label. They were given the “anti-parent” label even more so than their anarchy fuelled brother bands.
“This lifestyle taught punks to rebel through self-control, leading to more of a focus on personal responsibility than confronting systemic issues in society. Some youth crew bands expressed views against alcohol, drugs, sex, and began to focus on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.” Black Flag could be labelled as one of the Godfathers of hardcore punk. Formed in 1976, Black Flag were lyrically influenced by consumerism and the political failures of Ronald Reagan’s America. This aggressive feel can also be found within the music of the British band Crass,
formed in 1977, with their song How Does it Feel? (To Be the Mother of a Thousand Dead), about the deaths of British soldiers in The Falklands. These bands were long before the environmentalist agenda had come to the forefront of the leftist movement. Though environmentalist themes were not extremely prominent, Crass were staunchly anti-nuclear and foreshadowed the powerful 1980s CND movement in their music. Their second album, Stations of the Crass, discusses nuclear power as a form of militarization by those highest in power at the expense of humans and the environment. By the 1980s, Black Flag had been criticized for having gone heavy metal, leaving room for new bands to emerge. In the later 1980s, the straight edge movement influenced a new subculture of hardcore punk. This lifestyle taught punks to rebel through self-control, leading to more of a focus on personal responsibility than confronting systemic issues in society. Some youth crew bands expressed views against alcohol, drugs, sex, and began to focus on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Alongside this, hedonism became influential in its teachings to maximise pleasure and minimize pain. These kinds of philosophies can be seen in American bands like Earth Crisis and Fugazi, with Earth Crisis as vegans and Fugazi verbally challenging aggressive crowds showing a safer side to punk. Fugazi were direct their song Burning Too with repetitive lyrics - “we gotta put it out the sky is burning... we gotta put it out the Earth is burning”. With the safe environments of their crowds and Fugazi embedding its political stance in selling tickets consistently for under $10, how could they not be a great source of influence? With Earth Crisis, the name clearly indicates the band’s view about the environmental crisis. They heavily promoted radical environmental organisations like Earth First! and the Animal Liberation Front, and stood against past white supremacy within punk history. Their song To the Death talks about animals being mass-produced to be consumed. The lyrics don’t sugar coat - “days of agony are spent, caged,
music chained... I disengage the death machine... Species torn from nature”. The band were responsible for the increase in vegan straight edge militancy, where veganism had rarely been presented in mainstream media. In 1981, the Scottish punks Oi Polloi followed this lead, also encouraging members to become part of Earth First!. The band continued with a pragmatic approach in their lyrics, and instead of showing violence they showed their listeners how to become an ally. They took an ideological stance where humans were no longer the primary focus of ecological concern. With the 1980 ‘anarcho-primitivism’, pre industrial life was romanticized. The Scots closing song ‘World Park Antarctica’ on their album ‘In Defence of Our Earth’ examines how large corporations ‘rape. . .whatever they find. . .poisoned animals slowly die as they leave Antarctica dry’. The band further insists ‘mass action could stop them- but you have got to start it’, but on a lighter note, the band have ‘Anarcho-Pie’- a detailed vegan pie recipe for their listeners. Today, this 1980-1990 influence can be found in reformed Pittsburgh punks, Anti-Flag. In 2010, the band teamed up with charity UseLess creating recycled T-shirts with proceeds going towards clean water supplies. Big names such as ‘PETA’ and ‘Greenpeace’ also both sponsored the band’s ‘The Economy Sucks Lets Party’ tour. The band continues to bring social rights to the forefront with their song, ‘No Apology’ commenting on abortion rights in the US. words by: Hope Docherty design by: Sandra Mbula Nzioki
The Uprising of Low Carbon Concerts
“For example, your typical ‘businessman’ travelling for international business meetings is already condemned, so it may not be long before the focus shifts to musicians travelling excessively too.”
When it comes to tackling climate change, it may feel that one small decision you make in a day couldn’t possibly save the world. It may also feel like one night at your favourite band’s tour won’t do any harm either. Unfortunately, whether you turn up ready to dance in your best second-hand outfit or even attempt to smuggle a reusable plastic bottle past security guards, you are still contributing to the climate emergency. Standing in the crowded floor sections for a concert or event can be one of the best feelings in the world. Being so close to your favourite artist and making so many dreams come true in one night can lead to lifelong memories being made. The atmosphere that consumes you whilst in a huge arena or stadium can be overwhelming and wonderful. However, it can also be overwhelming trying to find your way back to the exit at the end of the night through a sea of plastic cups, food wrappers, and discarded, beer-soaked, merchandise that has now had its use. Is the touring industry ready to tackle these mounting issues? Can we hold artists accountable for the impact that their tour has on the environment, especially when touring is one of the only ways to survive the music industry in its current climate? The answers to both of these questions are still uncertain, and with complications created by the Coronavirus pandemic, we can only assume that an artist’s main focus in 2020/21 will be maintaining their appearance in the charts. However, the impact of touring is not a conversation we can postpone for much longer, especially as one recurring theme in the climate conversation is how excessive travelling around the world releases unnecessary harmful emissions. For example, your typical ‘businessman’ travelling for international business meetings is already condemned, so it may not be long before the focus shifts to musicians travelling excessively too.
To open conversations about the effects that travelling and touring have, artists across the music and entertainment industry have become extremely aware of the impact that their tours are having on the environment. Coldplay are one of the leading acts in this revolution, telling fans in 2019 that they wouldn’t be touring their newest release Everyday Life. Frontman Chris Martin spoke out about how the band was not only trying to find a solution to touring but took it one step further by saying that the band would not tour an album again unless it was “actively beneficial” to the environment. When Coldplay last took to the road, they visited five continents for 122 shows on their A Head Full of Dreams tour. It landed in Cardiff for two nights in July 2017 and I had the chance to attend. Though this tour was an incredible experience, I can’t help but reflect on the volume of litter that was left on the floor of the Principality Stadium afterwards. A sea of single-use plastic cups covered the standing area. Though this was no fault of Coldplay’s directly it did put into perspective how damaging that one night was for the local environment. This was before taking band member and equipment transport, stage construction, and fan transport into account too. However, there was the option to recycle your complimentary colourful ‘Xylobands’ responsibly at the end of the night, after they were handed out to all 5.39 million members of the audience across the world tour. Denver-based folk rock band, The Lumineers, are also headlining the music industry’s climate revolution. The band teamed up with the music environmentalist organisation REVERB for their 2019-2020 phenomenon, III: The World Tour, to ensure that this was “a tour dedicated to helping people and the planet.” A total impact report was produced after every leg, allowing The Lumineers to be more transparent than ever with fans about their climate impact whilst touring and to produce effective solutions to counteract these issues.
REVERB’s impact report following the world tour’s first leg around North America told us that 150% of the tour’s CO2 emissions were neutralised; $280,000+ was raised to fight climate change, combat homelessness, support people facing addiction, and donated to the COVID-19 Relief fund, and 10,000+ single-use plastic water bottles were eliminated at shows. This climate positive experience was not only the best tour I have ever attended, but it also left you feeling less guilty than other experiences have in the past. REVERB also used the tour to plug the #RockNRefill campaign where fans were offered reusable merchandise bottles as a swap for venue-provided single-use plastic cups. 100% of donations from this project went to support relief causes and non-profit organisations with similar ethics and values. The organisation also worked with The 1975 for their February 2020 tour, reporting that over £26,000+ was raised to support environmental efforts. One step in the right direction would be for all touring artists to release impact reports from their events. Or, at the very least, encourage venues to switch to environmentally friendly materials (as opposed to convenient and cost-effective plastic cups) in return for booking there. Continuing to explore the idea of virtual shows could also be a low-emissions experience while being a huge fan hit, as seen by the attendance at online concerts during the pandemic from artists such as Niall Horan and James Bay. An avenue already being explored by Coldplay in their journey towards carbon-neutral touring is the idea of guaranteeing a fan car-share or public transport system, though this is just one of the many ideas that will harm fan-attendance figures from more remote areas. Unfortunately, I think dilemmas like this will see artists deciding on what is more important to them, the environment or an audience, when touring is safe again. words by: Caitlin Parr design by: Sandra Mbula Nzioki
Spotify’s end-of-the year roundup is a yearly ritual for many. Combining global music trends and a personal summary of who and what you’ve listened to; Wrapped reveals your most played songs and insights such as how many hours you spent listening to your favourite artist. You will see which genre you’ve listened to the most, even if it’s something you’ve never heard of, and you most likely ended up looking at other people’s results (which may have resulted in judgement). It’s the access to unlimited music in the free version of Spotify that initially attracts music fans, but it’s the personalised approach that makes them commit to paying for Premium. The online streaming service uses innovative features to tailor your experience based on your listening patterns. The Daily Mixes, Discover Weekly, and Release Radar playlists are all updated on a regular basis to reflect your changing tastes. In the past few years, Spotify has also branched out into podcasts and other forms of speech, while the new Daily Drive playlist combines music and news reports, appealing to fans of conventional radio. On Spotify, you can search for a playlist that is perfectly suited to your taste, how you’re feeling, and what you’re doing using the browse function. They’re sorted into sections based on genres and moods, from mainstream styles like pop and classical to functional headings such as focus and workout. There are playlists named after well-established genres like dancehall and big band. As well as some with apparently made-up names like the mosaic playlist, described as “electronic music with Oriental and Mediterranean influences.” Whether you like Bollywood dance music, yacht rock, or Afro-psychedelia, when it comes to sub-genres it seems as though Spotify has thought of everything. The diversity and magnitude of these playlists is probably the service’s distinguishing feature, making it the leading streaming platform for music, ahead of both Apple and Amazon in terms of global subscribers.
Playlists can provide a soundtrack to your everyday life, for activities such as cooking or travelling. For those intimate moments, you can keep it classy with date night jazz or go full Netflix-and-chill with the spooning playlist. There is even a PMS playlist, which I personally think makes the topic of menstruation sound taboo and instead could be tailored more carefully to appreciate the fact that Spotify have created this specific playlist and to present the topic as a normal, everyday occurrence. This is just how I interpreted it, so feel free to disagree. However, a parallel can be drawn with the genres of early classical music, which were largely determined by their function in a social context. Defining a genre as ‘mass’ during the Renaissance is not so different from naming a Spotify playlist ‘Sunday stroll’. Simply put, functional music has been revamped, as music has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. So, who is curating these playlists and coming up with original names for them? The answer is people like Glenn McDonald, who works as a data alchemist for Spotify. It’s his job to search for patterns in what people are listening to and use algorithms to predict which artists you’d enjoy in a personalised playlist. In a 2018 article, McDonald noted that emerging styles can be found in particular cultures, and that all cultures have their own guilty pleasures. McDonald also created the website Every Noise at Once, which visually maps every genre he has come across from the mainstream to the obscure. They are sorted in terms of their psychoacoustic attributes and whether they sound organic or mechanical. McDonald admits to making up names for emerging styles and watches to see if they become a genre or fall by the wayside. It’s clear that genres are a useful tool for making sense of an enormous database of music and therefore a vital part of music streaming. Sorting artists by genre can make it easier to discover new music, but it can also prevent us from widening our horizons. Plus, there’s the argument
that the most interesting music breaks with convention and challenges our expectations of genres. Like many people, I consider myself to have a varied music taste. I’m not too concerned with labels and I like what I like— be it mainstream, niche, or hybrid. Nevertheless, people will ask from time to time “what kind of music are you into?” and it feels like a cop-out to respond with “a bit of everything.” An alternative is to reel off a vague list of genres. This helps us to narrow down our music taste, but genres also pigeonhole human beings into musical tribes: you’re a house head if you listen to a lot of EDM, an indie kid if you refuse to listen to mainstream pop. If we talk about the music we like in more detail, we inevitably mention the concerts we’ve been to, the embarrassing music we listened to as teenagers, and what music means to us. For those who class themselves as superfans, identity and music taste are almost inseparable. However, for many of us, our personalities and musical taste are entangled; that’s why we talk about musical identity. Therefore, your favourite genre on Spotify Wrapped is likely to be an impersonal placeholder that doesn’t do justice to your nuanced musical taste. If you’re a Spotify user, I’m afraid your fate has already been sealed. There’s no arguing with data. You can claim that your favourite genre is alternative rock, but the Wrapped feature will know if you’ve actually been listening to nothing but Disney hits all year. In their own words: “Read it. Share it. Wear it like a badge of honour.” However, keep in mind that even with all this personal data, what Spotify can’t know is how certain songs make you feel, the memories you associate with them, or why you like them in the first place.
Dying Earth Literature Dystopian literature is a genre ever-growing in popularity. With dystopian novels frequently receiving positive receptions, it is a wonder why as readers we are attracted to such stories. Maybe itâ€™s because the distant world of dystopia resonates with us for reasons more than fictional intrigue; perhaps we are aware that several aspects of dystopian novels resemble life as we know it today. The genre tends to explore social and political structures in what feels like the beginning after the end; characters trying to survive after a catastrophic finish to a world as they once knew it.
The Oxford Dictionary describes dystopia as â€œan imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or postapocalyptic.â€? Arguably the Oxford definition lacks in one key area - the idea that the novels portray an imagined state. In my opinion, the novels only but exaggerate or rather draw attention to already existing societal issues. Dystopian novels allow for relevant matters to be magnified in a way that focuses our attention on them because as a humanity, we can admittedly ignore the same issues in real-life settings. Dystopian novels generally include environmental destruction. Le Transperceneige created by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette is a French graphic novel that has since been translated to an English copy titled Snowpiercer and has also been developed into Netflix series by the same name. It is the epitome of environmental damage, following the story of a catastrophic ice age which results in humanity inhabiting a 1,001-long car train. The story portrays the real possibility of devastating climate change whilst also highlighting the options of humanity in this age of
literature The Oxford Dictionary describes dystopia as “an imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or postapocalyptic.”
incredible technological advancement. Similarly, Maze Runner by James Dashner, also adapted into a motion picture, demonstrates a similar climate disaster. Instead, the world has gone up in flames (a solar flare) leaving behind a deathly virus. What’s interesting to me is how dystopian novels commonly portray social injustice and government control today. In Snowpiercer, despite it being the end of the world, social class prevails; negative attitudes towards the lower class (those on the last carriage of the train) are predominant despite the unusual circumstances. It seems to me that authors of such literature are exploring how the ideas of greed and selfishness are innate and will persist through all civilisations no matter how different or dire things become within society. Michael Grant’s Gone series, for example, reveals clearly how self-interest and concern fuel teenagers in frightening and different situations.
society today, with stories that emphasize major societal problems. The Handmaid’s Tale tackles issues of gender conflict and the control of sexuality. The Day of the Triffids demonstrates the havoc humans can be capable of when put in an alien situation. The Drowned World can be a prediction of impending life if the majority of us maintain indifference to preserving the environment. I think the importance of dystopian fiction is the ability we as readers have to consider the themes within the stories and help prevent the real-life acceleration of these ideas by at the very least, looking at how we behave as individuals on a daily basis. words by: Hazel Ravu design by: Jasmine Snow
The same can be discussed in the childhood favourite: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Set in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, the story explores the seriousness of government control and oppression, whilst again addressing the current issues of social class, order, poverty and more. It’s fascinating to think about this in relation to the UK government’s early implementation of the coronavirus tier system. Whilst the cities closest to the capital were all tier 1 or 2, all tier 3 areas were reserved for the North of the country. Of course, this was for specific reasons, but it’s somewhat worrying how this strikingly resembles the districts in The Hunger Games, especially considering the accessibility each tier has. Nevertheless, this article is much easier to write now than it would have been when some thought that the coronavirus pandemic could bring the end of the world; it’s the closest our generation has been to an apocalypse. The months when the streets were empty, shops were closed, and the number of deaths were increasing daily undisputedly resembles the content of dying earth literature. Arguably, we even applied our own perceptions of how “the end of the world” should look like to fuel our initial panic. These ideas were likely collected through dystopian fiction. Hence, the brief scarcity of toilet paper and other household necessities. Stephen King's The Strand is debatably one of the many predictions of the coronavirus, with a plot that centred around a deadly superflu that attacks the whole nation. Whether it’s a prediction of the future or an overused narrative of a futuristic possibility, I can confidently say that dystopian fiction has an important role in our
The ‘Cool Girl’ in Literature and Film The Cool Girl trope has been repeatedly shown on our screens for years, but it was Gillian Flynn,
author of Gone Girl, who coined the term and deconstructed it through her protagonist’s infamous “cool girl” monologue: “Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers.” In essence, a Cool Girl is “one of the guys.” She is passionate about typically masculine interests such as sports, cars, and fast food, all the while remaining thin and conventionally attractive. It is important to note that men do not have a monopoly on these characteristics and these attributes are neither intrinsically feminine nor masculine. There should be a greater diversity of female characters on screen, such as those who do enjoy atypical interests, and this does not have to be a calculated act. As Flynn’s protagonist says “She likes what he likes. If he likes girls gone wild, she’s a mall bait who talks football and who endures buffalo wings at Hooters.”
“However, the problem with this trope remains the repeated creation of female characters who simply reflect the male protagonist and his desires.” For example, let’s examine Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) in Miss Congeniality (2000). Gracie is a “tomboy” detective, who is made to infiltrate the Miss United States beauty pageant as a contestant after her department learns that the event is under threat from an anonymous bomber. At the beginning of the film, she has all of the characteristics of a Cool Girl, except for the sociallyaccepted standard of beauty. As a result, she is the butt of all the jokes in her workplace and isn’t given a great deal of responsibility despite her obvious capability. Only once she is placed onto the beauty pageant case, due purely to her gender, and receives a makeover to
go undercover is she finally respected. This solidifies the most problematic element of a Cool Girl, which is that she must be, in Flynn’s words, “above all hot”. A woman could have all of the same characteristics as a Cool Girl, but without the rocking bod and pretty face, she’s considered a joke. On top of this -
“The Cool Girl is only cool as long as she’s comforting and not challenging.” A perfect example of this is Bonnie in the TV series Friends (1994-2004), who is beloved for being free and laid back. However, once she expresses her alternative spirit in a way that doesn’t turn on her male protagonist (shaving her head), she is dumped. There were, of course, contextual factors at play- namely, Rachel, who was the love of Ross’ life. But it remains true that Bonnie was the ultimate Cool Girl until she was no longer desirable.
In light of the way our society looks down on ‘uncool’ girls, it is understandable why the Cool Girl persona is so tempting. However, whilst being a Cool Girl might be easier in the short-term, it sets back the long-term objective to put women on an equal footing to men. The Cool Girl isn’t a real girl; she’s a myth created by men and perpetuated by women trying to be her. Above all, the Cool Girl is just another impossible and exhausting standard that women are being held to, which is superbly demonstrated by Flynn’s protagonist. Nevertheless, the trope seems to be progressing. Newer iterations of the Cool Girl are seemingly departing from their submissive roots and what is most promising is that many of today’s examples seem to appeal to women as well as men. Even so, the total liberation of the Cool Girl will only come when she stops trying to get by in a man’s world and starts working towards a world in which anyone is free to be whoever they desire. words by: Jasmine Snow design by: Shafia Motaleb
There are also nonfictional examples of this such as the Gamergate controversy. This online harassment campaign, primarily conducted through the hashtag #GamerGate, centred on issues of sexism and antiprogressivism in video game culture. This demonstrates the fact that even though a woman interested in gaming is supposedly “hot” and desirable, backlash emerges once a female perspective is brought into a typically masculine domain. This highlights another negative aspect of the trope, which is that to be a desirable Cool Girl, you must also be passive; as Flynn’s protagonist aptly puts, “Go ahead, shit on me, I’m the cool girl.” The Cool Girl trope is often used to put down other types of women, namely the Girly Girl. This is demonstrated by Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) when she assumes typically feminine characteristics to write an article on how to lose a guy. The film makes a joke out of the Girly Girl’s behaviour, modelled after her unlucky-in-love friend Michele Rueben (Kathryn Hahn). However, Michele isn’t a bad or undesirable person. All she does is express herself through devotion, sensitivity and caring behaviour, typically feminine attributes, and yet she is presented as almost laughable throughout the film.
“Misogyny underlies this trope” Being “one of the guys” or “not like other girls” elevates typically masculine characteristics over feminine ones and implies a certain superiority.
In the wake of the current climate crisis, companies globally have been forced to reconsider their environmental impact and act accordingly. For gaming and tech companies, their innovative developments may reduce new techâ€™s energy usage. But what about how their old tech is discarded and deemed obsolete? With the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, advancements made with next-generation consoles propel gaming to be itâ€™s most advanced yet, but now more than ever, itâ€™s important that we assess and reduce the environmental damage caused.
Both Microsoft and Sony currently have climate pledges to reduce their environmental impact on an industrial and commercial level. For Microsoft, they have been carbon neutral since 2012 and commit to being carbon negative by 2030. Since 2009, Sony has used 100% renewable energy in its European sites and is committed to having a zero environmental footprint by 2050. Since 2015, their gaming divisions have been a part of the European Union Games Console Voluntary Agreement to improve their consoles’ energy and resource efficiencies through integrated elements such as automatic power down, power caps in certain modes, and a commitment to improving the recycling of consoles. Sony and Xbox are amongst the 21 gaming companies pledged into the 2019 United Nations Playing for Planet Alliance which influenced the PS5 suspended gameplay option to have a much lower power consumption of 0.5W to help reduce idle power consumption and inserting ‘green nudges’ into gameplay to educate consumers. This year also saw the launch of digital-only next-generation consoles, which can be great for reducing plastic game packaging and discs. They utilise cloud streaming or digital downloads of games that use large data centres to store and stream games. The arguments for and against cloud gaming and its environmental impacts are currently disputed. According to the Green Gaming study headed by Evan Mills at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, cloud-based gaming is the most energy-intensive form of internet gaming. However, PlayStation estimate that downloading has the lowest carbon emissions compared to discs, streaming at an average of 0.05kgC02e per hour. For this reason, it can be argued that the most accessible option for sustainable gaming is for all aspects to be powered by green renewable energy.
In addition to these corporate initiatives, it is important that as consumers, we take action on an individual level to enjoy the latest tech sustainably. Depending on your interests, this could mean opting for the new digital version of a console. If you prefer the disk drive, reselling or donating old games you don’t use increases their lifespan. The options for repurposing your old consoles have also become more accessible. As part of PlayStation and Xbox’s climate initiatives, they have also increased the viability of console recycling. Now, councils in the UK should offer some way of recycling electronics, but this may include the cost of taking it to a specialist centre. Other alternatives can be reselling your console at a reduced price on sites such as Facebook Marketplace to increase its lifespan. If there is one thing the Covid-19 lockdowns have taught me, it’s that there is still so much entertainment found in old consoles. The Nintendo Wii is a prime example, with timeless classics such as Mario Kart. Charities such as Get-Well-Gamers accept donations and distribute them across hospitals in the UK, providing entertainment to young people during long stays. Overall, making technology more environmental requires a dynamic balance between the consumer and the company. words by: Chloe Chapman design by: Ersila Bushi
Apple & E-Waste
Profit, Performance or Progress? Apple, the all-consuming tech conglomerate responsible for the phones, computers and even many of the watches we use, are surprisingly vocal when it comes to their environmental impact. Since 2018 they have been boasting about how they’ve made the shift to 100% recycled aluminium in the production of their Mac computers and claim that they are completely committed to renewable energy in their worldwide efforts. CEO Tim Cook has preached to the masses that they’re “committed to leaving the world better than we found it,” which has gone from manufacturing efforts to a consumer issue. Sure, everyone has to take their part in creating a greener future but let’s be honest, how dedicated are Apple and how much of this is pure performance. Apple’s most recent and controversial move has been to remove the USB wall adapter from its new iPhone 12 range in the name of saving the environment: the inspiration for this article. This was featured within the initial launch of the iPhone 12 and was practically marketed as a feature; it’s safe to say it was met with confusion and anger as it’s a necessary component to use your phone. This move was justified fairly well with plenty of stats and corporate buzzwords. It had me convinced at first, the whole idea is that no charger equates to a smaller box which in turn means more units for each transit from factory to retail and thus lowering carbon emissions. It was also justified with the fact that we all probably have a USB charger lying around, it’s 2020 and they are bundled in with literally every tech product we buy so surely, we should have on spare to charge our new device. Makes sense right, the smaller packaging is a pretty flawless idea as it
cuts down on carbon and cardboard; but this whole ethos falls apart quicker than you can say “corporate greed” when you begin putting some context behind it. The humble and boring phone charger becomes the undoing of this new direction for Apple for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, the included cable does not in fact work with your old iPhone chargers like Apple has suggested as it uses the newer USB Type C connector instead of a standard USB resulting in a lot of confused new customers left without a charging adaptor - even I only own one of these adapters and I would class myself as someone who stays pretty up to date with tech. To contextualise this even further, the only other iPhone to include an adapter for this cable was the most expensive previous model: the iPhone 11. This port is thankfully standard on a lot of newer laptops, most prevalently the newer model MacBook Airs and Pros - what a strange coincidence. It’s also worth considering that even if this charger was included with older iPhones, average consumers often sell their handset on when they get another one which includes the charger. Are we seeing how this is all starting to fall apart when put into context? Honestly, if Apple was actually serious about their chargers being the new face of sustainable tech then they would have scrapped their proprietary Lightning connector introduced with the iPhone 5 in favour of the industry standard UBC Type C found on almost all other mobile phones, tablets and laptops including their own MacBook’s and iPads. It all comes across as a corporate masquerade made to appease PR and to squeeze those
last few pounds from consumers’ wallets. What pushed me over the edge, as someone who thought at first “wow this is some great progress in reducing e-waste”, was the fact that Apple sold these practically proprietary charging adapters separately and advertised them alongside the iPhone 12 range. They are packaged separately and are sold for £19 - yeah, I also need a moment. So, the ethos of reducing packaging for the sake of saving precious resources and reducing space so more units can be taken in one transit journey now just means take the free included accessory, package it separately and ship it separately. So, what has actually been achieved? We are back to square one and an extra £19 out of pocket. Is now a good time to mention the included EarPods have also been removed? This is a move I can somewhat understand as many people already own a pair of earphones, although the option to buy the old included EarPods are buried far under Airpods and Beats earphones which come at a premium price point. Taking this all into account, Apple’s shallow attempt at appropriating the very real issue of tech’s environmental impact in the name of profits and positive press has left a sour taste in mine and many consumers’ mouths although it must be said that it’s sadly not unexpected.
words by: Lewis Empson design by: Anna Kerslake
In recent years, gaming has reached a point where developers are capable of rendering beautiful worlds, fictional or real, that are fully explorable by the player. Almost every game has a map, levels, or stages that are meticulously planned out and created piece-by-piece by passionate devs, filled with tiny details many of us wouldn’t even notice on a first playthrough. In the current climate, with a pandemic forcing us to stay in, exploration can be done in-game with a level of immersion previously unimaginable. There have been real locations, and even the entire Earth, recreated to scale in video games. As we can’t currently explore the real world, now seems like the best time to head out and visit them through the medium of games. Open world games, especially those of recent years, push the limits on exploration and map size. You could pick any title, from The Witcher 3 to The Outer Worlds, these big games have found the formula for crafting worlds that you can get truly lost in. But these are fantasy worlds, easily shaped and conforming to whatever designs they are subject to. Further challenge comes with recreating real world locations and putting unique touches on them. Ubisoft’s newest title, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, presents players with an extensive map of 9th century England to explore, including historical centres of power like Winchester and York. It would be impossible to recreate the England of a thousand years ago accurately, but given the developer’s experience with historical fiction, they did their very best. Players are presented with a faithfully restored, fully realised world containing well-known landmarks like Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall that can be visited and experienced in their splendour from the window of your screen.
Ubisoft has a bit of a history with recreations like Valhalla. Assassin’s Creed Unity is possibly their best job, where the developers sculpted Paris amid the 10 year French Revolution. With a database containing factual information about the locales you visit throughout the city, exploration yields in-game rewards as well as real knowledge about Paris and France, the credibility of which probably holds up better than a Wikipedia citation. The database is a crucial part of Assassin’s Creed as it provides so much extra detail for curious video game tourists and history buffs alike, and as it’s a fixture in almost every game in the franchise - you’ll soon find yourself an amateur scholar in the history and geography of Italy, the Caribbean, the Viking Age and more. Assassin’s Creed provides organic historical education interspersed amongst its more fantastical main plotlines, so if you feel inclined to pick up one of the numerous titles in the series you’re sure to be transported into an immersive, believable world that you can learn about even as you sneak and stab your way through the real gameplay. Ubisoft doesn’t just show their worldbuilding expertise through one franchise, however. Watch Dogs: Legion, another new title, has received praise for its incredible rendering of London. Complete with every landmark you’d expect - themed shops masquerading for their real-life counterparts, and even accurate side streets - Legion moulds London almost into a scale model, with unique touches of near-futuristic, worryingly V for Vendetta-esque additions. This allows the player to immerse themselves in what they know is London, but one they can see becoming a techno-Orwellian nightmare - we’ll let the story explain that part - before their eyes. Now, you can visit London almost as a tourist, getting to walk around and see Big Ben, the London Eye,
and Buckingham Palace from the ground in incredible graphics. The nature of Watch Dogs means you’ll be doing this while hacking half the city and rebelling against the police and private security firms, but that surely just adds to the atmosphere, right? It may seem like there’s a lot of Ubisoft praise going on, but it’s for good reason. They have consistently created games with detailed reconstructions of the real world, doing their most to immerse players in well-researched and historically accurate locations. In recent years, they have gone a step further than any other developer with a new feature in their Assassin’s Creed games called the Discovery Tours. These Tours are found in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey, and take place apart from the main game. In them, the player takes control of their character and is given the ability to take guided, walking tours through the games’ locations of Egypt and Greece; there are regular points of interest at which audio and visual guides explain the real history and meaning of landmarks, events, and environments you might just as easily blunder through if you were playing the game for real. Ubisoft has taken advantage of the locations of Assassin’s Creed and added an educational side, allowing you to take a break and wander through these worlds as an observer, discovering the reality of these maps in a way the main game can’t provide. Valhalla is also set to get a Discovery Tour mode - the biggest yet - that will allow players to explore every kingdom of England, as well as part of Norway. Discovery Tours are an engaging way of interactively teaching history in schools, and while we’re all remote learning these games give the option of learning while you play too.
as an educational tool, but the simple yet staggering map itself provides plenty of opportunities to explore, build, and mine to your heart’s content, in diverse environments that are still being updated. There’s also the matter of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The 2020 release opened a world unlike anything else in gaming: the entire Earth, rendered with Google Maps. The game uses artificial intelligence that allows for photorealistic, 3D models of buildings, trees, and other terrains, as well as satellite imagery that adjusts the height of the environment to suit its real life equivalent. It is a staggering technological achievement to be able to visualise the entire world like this. Of course, we all know what Google Maps looks like, so we’re not exactly able to fly around viewing Machu Picchu or the Pyramids in perfect graphics just yet, but the mere fact that the simulator can create literal scale models of landmarks across the Earth is no small feat. Add to this the upcoming VR support and you could find yourself being immersed in the most realistic depiction of Earth ever, while still sitting in your home. The possibilities for exploration in games are limitless. You can visit historically accurate recreations, nearfuture cities, and even simulate the entire world from a cockpit. It’s no substitute for getting outside and seeing the real world and its landmarks yourself, but while we’re all indoors and limited in our travel, maybe the next best thing is getting your air miles in virtually. words by: Marcus Yeatman-Crouch design by: Sebastian Jose
As much as Ubisoft deserve plaudits, we can’t skip out on the other games that have provided some excellent worlds to explore from home. There is of course the obvious, Minecraft, which has been providing one of the biggest sandbox maps since it was released over a decade ago. With the world of Minecraft changing each time you start a new game, the possibilities are endless, which is perhaps why the game has grown in popularity again since many of us have been in isolation and kept at home. The addition of building and crafting has already been noted
1. How would you describe your style / aesthetic? I would say that I don’t have a set style specifically. It changes due to the seasons or the moods I’m in. Sometimes it’s classy, sometimes more ‘edgy’ and sometimes it’s just basic. 2. Who is your biggest fashion icon? I find a lot of inspiration from Instagrammers and social media. At the moment @delaneychilds and @rachelward_e are my favourites for when I need some inspiration. I also love to mix street style with overtly feminine fashion, and I find both of these accounts achieve that style! 3. What is your relationship with fashion? I am a big fashion lover. As a journalism student, fashion journalism is my dream industry to work in, so I spend a lot of time reading about it and I enjoy using it to express how I’m feeling or try out new styles. 4. Where are your favourite places to shop?
5. What is your favourite item of clothing? Coats! Every year I have to refrain from buying multiple coats, but they are my favourite piece and I think they can bring a whole outfit together. I recent bought a houndstooth longline coat from New Look and it’s my current obsession.
words by: Henry Bell design by: May Collins
ASOS is definitely my go-to shop. I am always able to find a range of items that I’m looking for, many of which are trending, but they also stock various different pieces that you might not find on the high street. They also carry a range of other brands which is helpful to shop in one place.
6. What is your favourite colour to wear? Black - it’s a cliché but I find black an easy colour to wear on any day, on any occasion. It’s a flattering colour, that is easy to make look good. Some might consider it boring, but it can always be jazzed up with accessories. 7. What is a fashion trend you love and a fashion trend you hate? A fashion trend I love is blazers, there have been so many in my magazines and on my social media lately that they’re quite hard to avoid. One fashion trend I hate would be denim on denim. Occasionally, I think people can pull it off but it’s so hard to do that I rarely find myself playing around with it. The closest thing to denim on denim I would consider is pair of black jeans, with a blue denim jacket. 8. What influences your style and the way you dress? Often, it’s my mood (or the music I listen to). Some days I’ll be in more of a country phase, so I will wear a hat and cowboy boots. Or if I was listening to pop-rock, for example, I might wear something a bit darker and grungier. It all depends on how I’m feeling and where I’m going. 9. What is your number one fashion tip? Just wear it. I used to not wear things like hats, or certain shoes because I thought people wouldn’t like them and think I was weird. However, sometimes we need to care less about what people think and more about what would make us happy. 10. Talk us through one of your outfits. (Outfit with green jumper and white skirt) This is a more spring-appropriate outfit in my opinion but it’s a style I’ve seen frequently in 2020. I’m wearing a matcha-green MissPap jumper, with a MissPap white shirt underneath and the ‘skirt’ is actually a dress from ISawItFirst. Afterwards, I paired it with my white high-top converse which are a staple item in my wardrobe, and I was good to go.
Unmissable Cruelty Free Discovering new beauty brands can be undeniably exciting, yet the challenges of finding your ideal product in the saturated beauty world are a genuine barrier to many of us. Unsurprisingly, many beauty lovers stick to their holy grail product. Even though, there is envy for the beauty lover who successfully scours the market in search for the perfect new product. Of course, most of us lie somewhere in the middle, we have our favourites, enjoy finding a new gem, and follow the trends with interest. Equally, desiring to engage with brands that have a strong ethical grounding has become a paramount factor. Cruelty free beauty has become increasingly important. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) website connotes the term “cruelty free” to companies that do not support animal testing. Current trends show that the billion-dollar beauty industry recognises the importance and need to create ethical products, and brands are now including amazing ingredients that are cruelty free. Nevertheless, consumers can often remain unaware of whether their favourite products are in fact cruelty free, as the information is frequently not easily accessible. As consumers, we want to place our trust in brands to be open and honest with their ethical testing methods and deserve our loyalty by giving them our continuous support. However, needless to say, it has been reported that lying beneath the cruelty free world of beauty are brands that are not open and honest about their ethical measures, falsely claiming that they are cruelty free, perhaps not testing on animals at the final stage but have not avoided this within earlier aspects of planning and research. Moreover, with so many alternative methods the option to avoid animal testing by beauty companies is highly desirable. Within the beauty world there are a plethora of cruelty free brands available, so let’s get straight to the list of amazing beauty brands from e.l.f cosmetics to none other than the one and only cult favourite Glossier. e.l.f. Cosmetics: e.l.f. cosmetics is an amazing choice when it comes to cruelty free beauty, whether it’s a full glam makeover or something subtler, e.l.f. beauty has everything covered. Perfect for holy grail products, from their amazing setting
powder and a hide-all concealer. Not only have they got incredible everyday neutral colours, but they also have a wonderful range of bright coloured makeup products, perfect to express your creativity. With an affordable price range from eyeliners under £5 e.l.f. is the perfect mix of vegan ingredients, and of course 100% cruelty free that will certainly not break the bank. Lush: Lush has become a cult brand popular for bath bombs, fragrances and face masks -as well as a host of other fresh beauty favourites. Lush also have an inspiring handmade cosmetics range. All products within this range remain cruelty free neither being tested on animals nor containing any animal derivatives. The formulas used are silky smooth so making it the perfect beauty destination. Their exclusive unique slap stick foundation is a beauty must, not forgetting their range of vegan beauty brushes which are the perfect option to apply makeup seamlessly. Their innovative plastic free “naked” package and affordable price range provides ethically sound purchasing when consumers want to consciously benefit the environment and make win-win purchases. Combining their promise of cruelty free beauty and their encouragement of beauty from within, Lush is an ideal beauty option. Fenty Beauty: Music sensation Rihanna’s makeup range is an absolute favourite, loved and adored by the beauty industry. The extensive range encourages beauty lovers to express themselves through their makeup and exude confidence. In addition to the sensational lip glosses, which will leave someone sparkling inside and out, Rhianna spotted a gap in the market for a more inclusive range. Therefore, Fenty’s makeup range includes a huge 50 shades of foundation, making this a hero product adored by beauty lovers. Rhianna has made it clear that her range would be cruelty free from the outset, receiving a DM from a Twitter follower asking whether she endorsed cruelty free, the award-winning singer replied “you callin me an animal?”. Evidently Fenty beauty combines remarkable products with a brilliant philosophy, making Fenty a flawless beauty choice. Juice Beauty: Recently launching in the beauty industry is award winning makeup and skincare brand Juice Beauty. This
Beauty Brands brand boasts fabulous beauty boosting results becoming the perfect destination for achieving a marvellous radiant glow. Not only are their products cruelty free, with only organic ingredients and sustainability practised throughout the brand, Juice Beauty is sure to provide users with impeccable results. Finding new brands to fall in love with in an already saturated market can be difficult, however Juice Beauty has made its mark with its popularity rapidly increasing. There is an extensive range of skincare products, from serums, hydrating mists and cleansing milks which all exude a sensational signature fragrance. This brand is not to be missed. Glossier: Last, but certainly not least, beauty brand Glossier which presents its inspiration from real life “skin first, makeup second” approach, has become a world phenomenon. Glossier prides itself through being cruelty free, meaning you can apply the world famous “boy brow” confidently knowing that none of their products are tested on animals. In fact, the boy brow’s evident popularity was clearly expressed last year, where a product was sold every 32 seconds. Glossier’s website emphasises its promise to always put the consumer first, creating products that consumers have always wished existed. From their dream-like cream blush “Cloud Paint” to “FutureDew,” Glossier is the true depiction of glow from the inside. Additionally, although their packaging has Generation Z perfectly hooked through the perfect pink bubble wrap pouches, as part of Glossier sustainability effort, customers can select a less packaging option when shopping their favourite products. Undeniably, Glossier has become a beauty sensation that continues to hook beauty lovers who adore, and champion their products wholeheartedly. words by: Rachel Citron design by: Kacey Keane
To Buy or Not to Buy: The Low-Down on How to Achieve a Sustainable Lifestyle within a Budget How to achieve a sustainable wardrobe and lifestyle without going broke. Sustainable shopping is quite the rage, however, few people understand its connotations and even fewer can afford the lifestyle. Quite a tough spot for the contemporary consumer to find themselves in. They do care for the environment and they are concerned for workersâ€™ wages in the developing world, but can they go to the other side of the continuum yet? It is quite a dilemma. While some can make the simple switch, others do not have the means of approaching this lifestyle as easily. What is deemed as â€˜sustainableâ€™ so often comes at a cost and the price tag is often much higher than what we are willing to pay. For this reason, most people choose to shop at easily accessible, affordable high street stores. However, cheap items often come at a high cost to the workers and environment. This is particularly true with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, who have factories in Bangladesh and have had allegations made against them concerning the use of child labour. Therefore, expensive does not essentially translate to sustainable per se. Moreover, we also cannot expect people to stop shopping altogether as this would have a huge impact on the economy. wAnd so, here are a few examples of what you can do in order to shop intentionally and without burning a hole in your pocket.
Buy Less This is always such a wet blanket on many people’s weekend plans. However, it is a staple element within the whole sustainability lifestyle that we’re aiming for. Let us put things into perspective - one pair of jeans uses 3781 litres of water in its manufacturing and emits about 33.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide. This figure is staggering and it is hurtful to know the truth. Nevertheless, it is vital to know, and the more people spend, this figure will increase. Therefore, make sure those jeans are the perfect pair for you and don’t feel guilty buying them as long as they have been well thought out. Flock to Thrift/ Charity Shops Even though, this tip consists of second-hand items, it is super easy to freshen up garms in the wash and you do not have to slow your shopping. On top of this, since you’re buying the item for a bargain, you could use the money you’ve saved to get it professionally cleaned if you feel so inclined. Although, a lot of second-hand items I have found are usually good as new. Go Vocal for Local This is the real deal. It cannot be stressed enough but shopping local is an easy way people can change their habits right now. A lot of local businesses are really sustainable and the best part is that they are reasonably priced. Budget sustainable brands exist and they may be right across the street. A popular saying at the moment is, “Every time you purchase from a small business, someone does a happy dance”, which emphasises the people behind the purchase. Who knows, your basket may be one that saves a small business this Christmas?
In addition to this, I have compiled some great, ethical shopping places (local and otherwise) which you might enjoy: Ethical Superstore Ethical Superstores are not exactly the eco-tailer, but has an affordable range of clothes, kitchenware, nappies and wipes, cleaning and laundry products, grocery items as well as ethical gifting choices. Additionally, once in a while, they donate their products to local food banks. Hive All those looking for non-Amazon alternative to buying books, this is the place to turn to. Moreover, it is not without benefits. Delivery across UK is free, and they pay off a part of the sales to local smaller bookstores so they can keep business booming, avoiding closure. Wearth London This is as local as it can get. Two people in their 20s started this place to take on the modern contemporary vibe. Fun fact: about 80% of their goods are created in the country. A small but fabulous place to pick up highquality and unique products. words by: Chahat Awasthi design by: Ersila Bushi
Great bargains with a touch of humanity. 54
The Best Travel Eco Essentials Exploring the globe, forging friendships and making unforgettable memories – what’s not to love about going travelling. Whether it be a gap year or just a long holiday, there are so many reasons to pack up your stuff and jet across the globe. However, when stuffing your rucksack or suitcase within an inch of its life, it is vital to remember your eco essentials. Afterall, its everyone’s responsibility to take care of our planet and leave it the way we found it. Shopping for holiday items is all part of the fun, and it is easy to get carried away by things we quite simply do not need. We’ve all got that ugly neck pillow that has not and never will get the love it deserves; they’re just not that comfy! But next time you’re adding items to your basket, try and look at what the items are made from and how they are made. An essential for any budding traveller is a bum bag/fanny pack/hip pack (whatever you want to call it) to store all your valuables safely. An eco-option is the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack; it’s made from 100% recycled nylon and is also waterproof. This is a sure way to keep your passport out of harm’s way, without harming the environment. Another way in which you can help the planet is by reducing your waste when overseas. A good way of doing this is by purchasing and taking a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. A great option is the Tree Tribe reusable water bottle which is completely plastic free and has a lifetime warranty; that’s how confident they are about its durability. Also, for every purchase a tree is planted, so you’re doing your bit by buying one. An alternative is the classic Chilly’s water bottle, which every girl on campus has owned or seen in a lecture theatre at some point. The bottle is made from stainless steel, and is therefore virtually bulletproof, so can be thrown around in your rucksack with no injuries. Also, it does a great job at keeping your water extra crisp and cold, whilst coming in so many different colours and patterns; it’s a win for you and for the planet. If you are a coffee (or tea) enthusiast, then a reusable travel mug is a travelling must-have. There’s nothing better than finding the best local coffee shops that a country or city has to offer, but why not do it sustainably in your very own reusable cup. This is such an easy way
to avoid unnecessary waste, whilst enjoying something you love. A good option if you’re a reusable newbie is a KeepCup. KeepCup’s ethics is to encourage positive change, promoting people to reuse instead of discard, attempting to reduce the “consequences of convenience culture”. Another couple of items that are worth adding to your shopping list are a bamboo toothbrush and a metal straw (or two). Billions of plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year and end up in landfill. Bamboo toothbrushes are a sustainable alternative, as bamboo is a fastgrowing crop that is also biodegradable. Similarly, metal straws are a great alternative to a plastic or even paper straw, as they can be re-used repeatedly. Once again, reducing our use of plastic straws stops landfill waste, as well as decreases the amount of plastic in the ocean. Finally, a recommendation for all the book worms among us is investing in a Kindle. Although there’s nothing quite like a physical book, unfortunately they are not so good for the environment as they often end up in landfill after they have been read and discarded. A book is always a necessity when travelling, whether it be at the airport or on the beach, a Kindle is a lightweight way of getting your reading in. When you next find yourself packing for a holiday or long trip (fingers crossed it’s soon) it’s important to try and opt for more eco-friendly options. From metal straws to reusable water bottles, there are so many small but effective ways that you can do your bit for the environment. So, go grab your eco-accessories and go forth out into the world (when it is safe to do so). words by: Katherine Mallett design by: Kacey Keane
The Harsh Truth Behind
travel During the pandemic environmentalists jumped in joy at the prospect of restrictions on travelling - it meant that, at least for the foreseeable future, there would be less CO2 being emitted from vehicles, as swarms of British people flock to the nearest sunny beach in a frenzy of traffic jams, cruises, and longhaul flights. But does global travel really impact the world negatively? Or is it outweighed by the positives that come from it, such as education and aiding economies? As travel has become increasingly more accessible over the years due to developing technologies, airline passengers have more than doubled since 2003, and scientific research has proven that carbon emissions are melting Arctic sea ice. Although aircraft are now two times more fuel-efficient than four decades ago, this significant increase in air-travel has made any advancement counterproductive. As flying has been in the spotlight when it comes to pollution, some people have turned to alternatives that are assumed to be more sustainable, such as cruises. However, researchers at the International Council on Clean Transportation have discovered that even the most efficient cruise ship emits 3 to 4 times more carbon dioxide per passenger mile than a jet. Overall, tourism contributes to more than 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions - with transport accounting for 90% of this. Transport isn’t the only cause of issues, for example, noise pollution caused by large numbers of tourists - especially in areas with lots of wildlife - littering, waste, and visual pollution caused by smog and waste can impact scenic areas that depend on their beauty for tourist attraction. Overall, when a tourist visits an area, they are contributing to the use of energy, water, and carbon emissions which cause the environment to suffer. Extremely popular areas will only continue to grow, usually with the aid of private investors who focus more on the potential for further profit and expansion. This contributes to local businesses and workers losing their jobs or ways of life, due to increasing economic and social inequality.
awareness as travellers can share their experiences. Eco-tourism doesn’t have to be so direct, however, and can be as simple as participating in a house share, eating at local restaurants, or visiting nonprofit organizations in the area. The increased popularity of this type of tourism can be extremely beneficial to areas in the world where they depend heavily on tourism to make ends meet. It means they can benefit from the traditional economic rewards of tourism whilst not having to put their health or the health of their land at risk. The continuous stress on land, water, and air quality can mean that places that depend on tourism will eventually run out, leading to a loss of visitors, which will result in a catastrophic cycle. An example of a place suffering badly as a result of excessive tourism is Venice; the city is sinking due to rising sea-levels caused by global warming and the overall increase of people on the island, as well as suffering from the degradation of historic buildings with huge cultural significance. Venetians have had to fight to try and keep their home in-tact as masses of tourists visit each year, making structures crumble and lining the streets with litter. This has resulted in tariffs being put in place, such as at the beginning of 2019 where they introduced a charge of up to €10 on short-stay tourists entering the city. Many places similar to Venice have also had to charge, limit, or outright ban tourists from visiting, and if we don’t turn to more sustainable solutions in the way we enjoy our holidays, this might be the case for all destinations. At the moment, the main focus of tourism should be to make it more sustainable and ethical - both nationally and internationally. The urge to go on holiday will never go away, instead, it will probably continue growing. If tourism isn’t able to make a large shift to becoming more sustainable, then the future of tourism as a whole may be at risk. words by: Stephanie Cartledge design by: Priyansha Kamdar
The implications of tourism can be devastating, not just on the biodiversity of certain areas but also on human life, as things such as soil erosion, natural habitat loss, dirty water, and forest fires ultimately impact locals. However, tourism can have its positives too. Take for example the rise of sustainable tourism, in which travellers focus less on going for a swim in the pool and more on environmental protection and conservation. Not only does this help locals economically and environmentally, but it also raises
Quench Food Festival Mexico
Wa l e
a tna e i V
words by: Indigo Jones design by: Madeline Howell
food It’s a new year, and where better to start afresh than with new food suggestions from around the world to add to your recipe book. This issues Food Festival transports us to the Scandinavian world of Assassin’s Creed, with a Viking chicken stew recipe courtesy of Download Editor, Marcus Yeatman-Crouch. Sticking to the European theme, Travel Editor, Alice Clifford shines a light on her love of all things Spanish with a recipe for traditional croquetas.
Croquetas by Alice Clifford Spanish cinema is full of everything I love. Latin music, beautiful Spanish settings, whirlwind love affairs and, last but not least, food. Whether the scene involves a huge family dinner on a sun-soaked terrace, or tapas in a quaint bar surrounded by music and chatter, the food shown in these movies is more than enough reason to want to hop on a plane and visit Spain. However, while Coronavirus continues to stunt our travel plans, croquetas are an easy option to bring a bit of the Spanish sun to you. Ingredients · 750g floury potatoes, cut into chunks · 25g butter · 2 egg yolks plus 2 whole eggs · 50g strong hard cheese, such as Cheddar, Emmental or Gruyere · 50g plain flour · 100g panko breadcrumbs · Olive oil · Salt and freshly ground black pepper
baking tray and putting in the oven. - Alternatively, you could shallow fry them in a large frying pan, turning them regularly until they are golden brown. - Finally, you could also heat the oil to 180C in a large saucepan or deep fryer and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then drain well on kitchen paper. While these croquetas only have cheese and potatoes in them, feel free to get creative and put whatever you want in. Whether it be ham or spinach, carrots or bacon, they will be a perfect addition to a Spanish themed night, or just for a quick snack.
Viking Chicken Stew with Beer by Marcus Yeatman-Crouch Over the past few weeks, we’ve been immersing ourselves in 9th century England in the new game Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. It’s filled with Norse culture that really highlights the Viking lifestyle, and so we’ve found a simple recipe that can replicate what they might have historically eaten in their downtime from raiding the countryside. A hearty stew perfect for this winter, filling but quick and easy to make for a few people. Enjoy! Ingredients
1. Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender, then drain and mash thoroughly. 2. Beat in the butter, the 2 egg yolks, the cheese and finally the salt and pepper.
- 1 chicken, around 2lbs or 5-6 chicken thighs - 1 bottle dark beer - 3 brown onions - 3-4 carrots - 1 turnip - 6-8 whole allspice (if you can’t get any allspice, substitute with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg) - Thyme - 1 tsp salt - Black pepper to taste
3. Cover and leave until firm and cool enough to handle.
4. Shape the mixture into 14–16 croquettes, weighing around 50g each.
1. If you’re using a whole chicken, chop it into 8 pieces.
5. Put the flour, whole eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow bowls and beat the eggs. Dip each croquette in the flour, pat off any excess, then coat in the egg before dipping in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a baking tray, then leave to cool to room temperature. Now you are ready to cook them! 6. When it comes to cooking them, there are a few options available: - You could cook the croquettes for 20 minutes in the oven. To do this preheat the oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6 and drizzle the croquettes with oil before placing on a
2. Peel and cut the vegetables into small pieces. 3. Fry the chicken in some butter for about 5 minutes on either side. 4. Season with salt and pepper, then place in a pot. 5. Add all the other ingredients - beer, vegetables, and spice. 6. Finally, boil for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 7. Serve with bread rolls or flatbread.
Hot or Not? Food Hot, Hot, Hot words by: Megan Evans Food delivery within the comforts of our own home is extremely useful, particularly as the pandemic has stripped away the luxury of enjoying a sit-down dinner with loved ones. What a great idea it was to set up delivery services, where you can glance at a whole host of different brands and foods at the click of an app? Tracking your food from the moment you order it, to the moment it reaches the door. This is the sort of technology that I am glad exists in the twenty-first century. Working as a waitress, I see drivers almost every day from the likes of Deliveroo and UberEATS who are making trips all over Cardiff. Feeding students with restaurant-quality meals without having to trek outside on cold winter evenings. On average, UK households spend around five pounds a week on takeaways. The total food delivery market was worth around 8.5 billion British pounds in 2019, a staggeringly high amount. We need these services to provide an income for those in the hospitality and catering sector who have been one of the worst hit by the pandemic. A lot of big chains such as Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and Frankie & Benny’s have had to close a large chunk of their restaurants as a result.
The prices of a takeaway may come across as a lot, but when you contextualise it, you are paying for the chef to make your food, the restaurant staff to package it, and for it to be delivered. For the ease and simplicity it grants us, it’s definitely worth it. It’s also beneficial for people who don’t have enough time to prepare and cook food every week, especially with extra-curricular commitments and university schedules being up in the air. The delivery industry has continually proven to be successful, as the ease of access to a variety of food is so essential. It generates a lot more profit than you may think, as people can try out different foods with broader menu choices becoming available on these apps.
As we continue to embrace these innovative ideas of the twenty-first century, this popular way of enjoying food is vital and it is working wonders for businesses alike. Independent brands have especially suffered from covid-19 and I think that these services should not be slammed but instead should be applauded for their adaptability.
Mmm, Definitely Not words by: Hannah Penwright
Delivery services also help people to find niche places that you may not have heard of before. You may have stumbled past a pizzeria drunk and forgotten where you got that pizza you ate on the way home from. However, now you have an extensive list of places that you can choose from and you might just find that wonderful pepperoni pizza again.
When a school teacher of mine once asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, and I responded with “food critic”, I was shocked when they then asked me why. Wasn’t being paid to eat everybody’s dream? For me, eating out is about so much more than just the food. So, it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve never been a huge fan of food delivery services. I understand that there are many positives to them, and I agree with many of the points made by Megan. However, from the perspective of somebody who enjoys cooking and has the time to do it, I find the negatives of delivery services outweigh the positives.
Delivery Services Eating out (or in), I want food to be piping hot. This is firstly so I know that it’s been cooked properly, and secondly so that I can almost certainly burn my mouth and flap dramatically after the first mouthful. With delivery services, by the time the food has sat around at the restaurant and been delivered (and possibly got lost on the way), it’s often in need of either being reheated, or you just accept it and dig into the now slightly soggy fries. In a time where we’re all trying to reduce plastic, it’s quite depressing when every takeaway dish is packaged up in separate plastic containers. Yes, these can be reused (if you don’t mind the hint of curry they always seem to leave behind), but they aren’t designed to be used repeatedly, so often break quickly. Going out to eat is a treat, and there is nothing wrong with splashing out every so often on a fancy meal or treating yourself to a burger after a hard day’s work. Of course, food prepared by other people is going to cost more than cooking from scratch, because you’re paying for the time and service and not having to do piles of washing up the biggest bonus in my eyes. So, when delivery service meals are the same price, or even more than they are at restaurants, I’d much rather wait until restaurants are allowed to open again and have an experience that’s likely to be a lot more memorable than eating on my sofa.
Using delivery services are great in that they increase restaurants’ exposure, but at a cost- and not a small one. Well-known delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo charge around 30% commission on orders, as well as a signup fee. This is a huge cut, particulary for small businesses that have been hit hard by the covid-19 lockdowns. As an alternative, there’s a new delivery service on the horizon in Cardiff: Indie Eats. It’s more cost-efficient for small businesses to join and celebrates the amazing independent eateries we’ve got here in Cardiff. Pandemic permitting, I’ll still be eating out when I can. But if that is not possible, Indie Eats certainly looks far more appealing - and that’s before I’ve even tried the food.
design by: Madeline Howell
The Do’s and Dont’s of Kitchen Sustainability With hard-hitting programs such as David Attenborough’s recent A Life on Our Planet, climate change and its impending doom have been brought to the forefront of our minds. It’s hard to live a completely eco-friendly life when it would be easier to remain living unaware, but it’s important for our generation to lead the way and live sustainably. We need to pave the road for a sustainable way of living with the hopes of a brighter future so that the new generations can live the lives that they deserve. We don’t all have the means or the ability to make noticeable changes, but the little things can have long-lasting effects and lead to better mass awareness. It seems difficult and expensive to get started on sustainable living, so I’ve comprised a budget-friendly list of how to act in the kitchen to stay sustainable. As the saying goes, every little helps.
It seems like an obvious one, but it never fails to amaze me how little green recycling bags have been put out on bin day. If you are still feeling confused about what you’re supposed to recycle, have a look at the local council website and you will be provided with a full list of what is meant to go in those green bags. It might be worth putting a list on your fridge to remind those who you live with. You could also benefit from popping a recycling bin in your bathroom to avoid all those cardboard toilet rolls going in general waste. It’s important to remind your housemates to recycle, but it’s always best to ask kindly.
I am constantly buying a bag of potatoes that is way too big for my consumption and there is always one or two left that go rotten or mouldy. It’s the same for things such as bread and carrots. If you’re like me and don’t have a huge appetite, sharing these food items is much more economical and sustainable.
Far too often, people buy ingredients with no real plan for when they’re going to use them, so the sell-by date comes and goes and it ends up in the bin. One way to resolve this is to plan your meals at the beginning of the week and buy your ingredients accordingly. Equally, I often find that I buy an ingredient for a meal, and then what I don’t use ends up going off and being thrown away. By meal planning, you can work out what to do with the rest of the ingredients without them going off.
Swap Out Meat
Meat production is a massive strain on the environment for many reasons and the best thing we can do is reduce our consumption. You don’t need to go full vegan or vegetarian, just try and have meat free days 3-4 times a week. If everyone did this it would lower popular demand and reduce the need to farm and deforest massive chunks of land.
Forget your Bags
Think You Can’t Make a Difference
Anyone else guilty of that huge pile of plastic supermarket bags in their kitchen? You get to the supermarket after forgetting to bring a bag, you reluctantly buy a new one and bring it home, promising to remember next time. But do you ever remember it next time? The amount of plastic waste building up across the world and the ocean is something that needs to be stopped, so it’s important to pack those bags with you.
The steps that the ready meal takes from production to your kitchen table are horrific. Since it’s precooked, there’s no way of inspecting the quality of the meat or the vegetables. The meat is most likely mass-produced in an unethical environment and the vegetables are unlikely to be organic. Equally, it comes packaged in mountains of unnecessary plastic which just ends up being thrown into the ocean. By making your own meals, you can monitor how much plastic it’s packaged in and make sure the ingredients are ethically sourced.
Keeping along with the theme of plastic waste, cling film is among the worst of the single-use plastics to come out of the kitchen. With so many different options to replace cling film such as silicone stretch lids, beeswax wraps, and reusable sandwich bags, there is no excuse to stick with the single use option. Have a shop around and research your options before you succumb to societal norms and purchase your next roll of clingfilm.
Too many people fall into the trap of thinking that their kitchen habits won’t make a positive change. The important thing to remember is that if we all manage to stay sustainable, we can change the norm and encourage a new generation of sustainability. Unity in the masses is the only option. words by: Sasha Nugara design by: Anna Kerslake
words by: Sian Jones design by: Elly Savva Yn yr adeg dechnolegol a fodern presennol mae ein bywydau yn dechrau dibynnu ar dechnoleg mwy a mwy. Er enghraifft, dydyn ni ddim yn ystyried pa mor bwysig i ni yw ein ffonau symudol ar gyfer ein perthnasoedd efo ffrindiau. Yn eithaf eironig yw’r ffaith ein bod ni yn clymu i ein ffonau symudol er mwyn cadw lan efo popeth sydd yn digwydd yn y byd o’n cwmpas ni, ond mae’r ffonau symudol yn achosi ni i fod yn absennol o’n hamgylchedd. Ambell waith trwy dechnoleg yn unig ydyn ni yn gyfarwydd â’r byd o’n gwmpas, ac mae’n anodd lleihau’r angen i ddefnyddio technoleg a’r cyfryngau cymdeithasol trwy gydol y dydd, am oriau hir. Felly, wrth edrych ar yr effeithiau niweidiol o ddefnyddio ein ffonau symudol a’r nifer o oriau rydym yn gwario gyfryngau cymdeithasol, nid yw hi’n ddigon teg i ddweud ein bod ni wedi addasu ein natur ddynol er mwyn cynnwys technoleg? Ydy’r gair ‘natur’ yn ystyried y rôl sylweddol mae technoleg yn cael ar ein bywydau yn y 21ain ganrif?
Er fy mod i yn swnio fel petai technoleg yw’r peth gwaethaf yn y byd, mae’n glir fod yna fanteision. Yn yr oes glo, er enghraifft, roedd y defnydd o ffonau symudol, teledu, y we, a.y.b. yn cadw ni yn ymwybodol o’r sefyllfa genedlaethol a byd-eang. Fe wnaeth technoleg cadw ni mewn cyswllt efo’n teuluoedd, partneriaid a ffrindiau nid oeddem yn gallu ymweld ag yn ystod yr adeg hynny. Hefyd, o ran yr amgylchedd, mae technoleg yn angenrheidiol i sicrhau’r dyfodol o’r byd, mae tanwydd ffosil anadnewyddadwy yn hynod o niweidiol i’n hamgylchedd. Os fedrwn ni lleihau allyriadau trwy ddefnyddio ffynonellau adnewyddadwy, fe fedrwn leihau’r newid yn yr hinsawdd rhywfaint er mwyn ceisio arbed yr amgylchedd rhag dioddef o amodau anghildroadwy. Un o’r cwestiynau sydd yn dod lan yn aml mewn sgyrsiau ynglŷn â’r pwnc yma o ‘beth yw natur’ neu ‘sut i ddiffinio natur’ yw: dylen ni cynnwys tyrbinau gwynt fel rhan o’n tirwedd naturiol? Yn fy marn i, er bod hi’n swnio’n od, mae’r ateb yn glir. Fe ddylen niw ddatblygu efo’r oes dechnolegol er mwyn diogelu’r amgylchedd. Darllenais traethawd gan Timothy Morrison o’r enw ‘The Ecological Thought’ sydd yn dadlau bod: ‘some things appear ‘natural’ – rolling hills and greenery – as if the Industrial Revolution never occurred. […] What [the Scots] are saying in objecting to wind farms, isn’t “Save the environment!” but “Leave our dreams undisturbed!”’ Mae’r dyfyniad yma felly yn awgrymu ein bod ni ddim yn ystyried ffermydd gwynt neu solar fel tirweddau naturiol, ac maen nhw yn dinistrio ein golygfeydd godidog cefn wlad yn llwyr. Ond, yn gyntaf, fel dwedodd Morrison yn wreiddiol – doedd y tirwedd ddim yn ‘naturiol’ – fe ddaeth y bryniau gwyrdd golygfaol
o ganlyniad i’r chwyldro diwydiannol. Yn ail, nid yw hi’n well i addasu ein persbectif ar y tirwedd er mwyn diogelu’r dyfodol o’n byd? Yn ychwanegol, rydyn ni eisioes wedi addasu i dderbyn cerbyd, pontydd, a skyscrapers mewn dinasoedd ledled y byd – dydyn nhw ddim yn naturiol, maent yn gynhyrchion dynol yn yr un modd a thyrbinau gwynt. Mae gennym hyd yn oed fyd hollol wahanol tu fewn i sgrin ein ffonau symudol. Felly, os ydyn ni yn medru ymdopi a thechnoleg ddigidol pam na allwn ni ddod yn gyfarwydd ac yn dderbyniol efo technoleg sydd yn gweithredu i wellhau’r byd? Mae’n rhaid ystyried os yw’r hen ddiffyniad o natur yn dal yn berthnasol mewn oes dechnolegol, neu os rhaid i ni edrych at oes newydd o natur ddynol ac amgylcheddol sydd yn cynnwys technoleg, gan ei bod hi’n dylanwadu ar ein bywydau cymaint. Credaf ein bod ni wedi cymryd y cam cyntaf tuag at addasu ein meddylfryd at y berthynas rhwng natur a thechnoleg gan gysylltu technoleg a natur yn ieithyddol, er enghraifft: ‘solar farm’ neu ‘wind farm’. Gan ddefnyddio’r gair ‘farm’ rydyn ni yn cysylltu’r cyfarwydd â’r anghyfarwydd, yn cyflwyno modd arall o edrych ar ein tirweddau naturiol. Mae natur, yn debyg i dechnoleg yn newid a datblygu, os gofiwch beth ddwedodd Timothy Morrison: fe wnaeth tirweddau naturiol ddod o ganlyniad i’r chwyldro diwydiannol. Felly, mae pobl yn poeni am dirwedd ni wnaeth bodoli cyn y chwyldro diwydiannol. I grynhoi, rydw i’n teimlo ni fydd yr adeg o dechnoleg yn arafu na chwaith diflannu unrhyw bryd yn y blynyddoedd i ddod, ac fe fydd trawsnewidiad angenrheidiol yn digwydd er mwyn sicrhau a diogelu dyfodol i’r blaned. Felly, wrth ail-ystyried y diffiniad o’r gair ‘natur’ i gynnwys elfennau annaturiol fel ffermydd solar neu wynt, fe fyddwn fel cymdeithas yn gorfod dioddef o’r posibilrwydd o ddyfodol efo lleihad o danwydd ffosil a chynnydd o ffynonellau adnewyddadwy i gynhyrchu egni mewn modd cynaliadwy.
Amodau Ffermio ym Mhrydain :
Ar gyfer ein erthygl print diweddaraf, mae’r thema yn canolbwyntio ar yr amgylchedd. Gan gymryd mewn i ystyriaeth y thema yma, a’r ffaith fy mod i yn dod o ardal cefn gwlad sydd bron yn llawn o ffermydd a ffermwyr, cynhaliais gyfweliad efo ffarmwr o Sir Benfro. (Er mwyn parchu eu preifatrwydd, ni fydd eu henw na chwaith enw eu fferm yn cael ei ddefnyddio yn yr erthygl yma.). Ymysg ein sgwrs trafodwyd ei hamseroedd gweithio a sut mae’r rhain yn amrywio dros y tymhorau; y tymor wyna a’r tymor lloia; y prisoedd maent yn derbyn ar gyfer ei wartheg a’i oen; a’r profiad o oroesi amodau heriol yn ystod y cyfnod clo a’r pandemig yn gyffredinol. Yn gyntaf, buom yn siarad am ei oriau gweithio. Dywedodd o nid oes ganddyn nhw unrhyw oriau penodol yn ystod y dydd mae’n rhaid iddynt weithio. Yn hytrach, maent yn gweithio nes bod popeth wedi’i chwblhau. Er enghraifft, ar gyfer y tymor wyna (lambing season) sydd yn cychwyn ym mis Mawrth hyd at fis Mehefin, fe fydden nhw yn gweithio yn arferol o 8y.b. tan 2y.b. sef 18 awr. Mae’r ffigwr yma yn syndod yn sicr, yn enwedig gan gymharu ag oriau arferol o weithio mewn swyddfa! Ond, y rheswm ar gyfer yr oriau hir yma yw achos bod rhaid iddyn nhw edrych ar ôl yr anifeiliaid yn ystod yr adeg heriol er mwyn sicrhau nid ydyn nhw yn wynebu unrhyw gymhlethdodau. Ni fydden nhw yn medru gadael dafad ar ben ei hun os mae’n yng nghanol wyna ac maen
nhw’n medru wyna unrhyw amser yn ystod y dydd, gan gynnwys oriau anghymdeithasol fel 2y.b. Dyw’r oriau yma ddim yn benodedig, maent yn dibynnu ac yn newid yn ddyddiol, ond mae’n werth cydnabod yr egni a’r ymroddiad mae ffermwyr yn rhoi tuag at eu hanifeiliaid pryd bynnag mae angen. Ar ôl yr adeg wyna maent yn symud yn syth i’r tymor lloia (calving season). Golyga hyn mwy o oriau gweithio byth gan fod mwy o gymhlethdodau. Felly, mae’n glir i weld dydyn nhw ddim yn cael llawer o saib yn ystod y gwanwyn neu’r haf; mae’r llwyth o waith yn ddiddiwedd ac yn flinedig. Yn ystod ein sgwrs fe wnaeth y ffarmwr sôn yn aml yn yr adeg yma bu rhaid i’r teulu esgus ymddwyn fel yr anifeiliaid ar y fferm er mwyn dal sylw ei thad o ganlyniad i’w gor-alwedigaeth ar ofalu am yr anifeiliaid. Yn sicr dyma dystiolaeth i’r gofal a sylw maen nhw yn rhoi i’w hanifeiliaid 24/7! O ran prisoedd ar gyfer cig oen - maent yn galw’r oen yn ‘fat lambs’ pan maent yn barod ar gyfer y farchnad, yn pwyso tua 45kg – derbyniwyd tua £84. Wedi i’r oen gael ei werthu, bu rhaid iddyn nhw gael ei brosesu a’i becynnu ar gyfer y silffoedd yn yr archfarchnadoedd. Faith diddorol darganfyddai yn ystod ein cyfweliad oedd yr anghysondeb rhwng y pris bu’r ffermwyr yn ennill ar gyfer yr oen gan gymharu â’r prisoedd mae’r rhannau
Cyfweliad efo Ffermwr o Sir Benfro unigol o’r anifail yn cael ei werthu am yn yr archfarchnad. Dwedodd y ffarmwr bod y cyfanswm o bob darn o’r oen mewn archfarchnad i archebu yn gyfan gwbl yn costio yn agos at £300, ond mae’r ffermwyr yn gweld dim ond £84 am yr anifail. Yn amlwg, mae’n rhaid ystyried y gost o brosesu’r anifail a phecynnu o - paratoi’r cig fel yr ydych yn gweld ar y silffoedd mewn archfarchnad. Er hyn, mae’r gwahaniaeth ariannol yn sylweddol, ac yn golygu gwahaniaeth elw o £216 i ffermwyr.
Yn wreiddiol, fe werthoedd y ffermywr eu cig eidion i’r archfarchnad adnabyddus Waitrose. Ond, ar ôl sawl blynedd o weithio ochr yn ochr efo’r archfarchnad, sylweddolwyd ni fydd y perthynas proffesiynol yn fuddiol i’w busnes oherwydd nid oedd y galw am y cig yn gyson, yn amrywio o fis i fis. Fe fydden nhw yn gofyn am 16 ar gyfer un mis, ac wedyn 60 y mis nesaf. O ganlyniad i hyn, nid fedron nhw baratoi yn gyflawn, yn achosi gormod o straen ar y ffermwyr i gynnal a chadw lan a’r galw amrywiol o fis i fis. Yn ychwanegol, cawson nhw golled ariannol sylweddol tuag at gychwyn y flwyddyn o ganlyniad i’r coronafeirws a’r pandemig, gostyngwyd prisoedd cig eidion 20% - achosodd y gostyngiad yma effeithiau niweidiol ar nifer eang o ffermwyr Prydeinig. Darganfyddais bod y ffermwyr siaradais gydag wedi addasu ei dull o werthu wedi iddyn nhw derfynu eu contract efo Waitrose, ac yn gwerthu eu cig yn y farchnad, ble mae ffermwyr a masnachwyr arall sydd yn magu yn dda nes eu bod nhw yn cyrraedd oedran rhwng 24-30 mis addas i werthu nhw ymlaen at y lladd-dy. Yn y broses yma maent yn gwerthu ei ‘steer’ am tua £1,000 a’u heffrod am tua £900. Mae’r modd yma o werthu yn ffordd llawer mwy cyson a cynaliadwy gan gymharu â’r broses o weithio efo Waitrose. Yn ogystal, wedi i ryddfreiniau fel McDonalds, Burger King, a.y.b ail-agor ar ôl y cyfnod clo, cynyddodd y prisoedd unwaith eto; gwelodd y marchnadoedd lleol dros 800 o wartheg yn ddyddiol. I gloi, awgrymwyd bwyta cig Prydeinig/Cymraeg os ydych chi yn cynnwys cig yn eich diet personol gan fod y rheoliadau yn y Deyrnas Unedig yn sicrhau’r safon gorau, yn enwedig gan gymharu â’r Unol Daleithiau o America. Yn ychwanegol, credai nhw fod angen i’r cyhoedd cyffredinol addysgu eu hunain ym mhellach er mwyn datblygu dealltwriaeth ynglŷn â’r prosesau ffermio cyn i ni feirniadu’r ffermwyr am eu triniad o’r anifeiliaid. Maent yn rhoi 100% i ofal o’r anifeiliaid ac yn blaenoriaethu eu hanifeiliaid yn aml dros eu hamser hamddenol personol. Dydy ffermio ddim yn fywoliaeth yn unig i ffermwyr, ond eu bywydau cyfan. Hyd yn oed os dydych chi ddim yn cefnogi bwyta cig - rydw i’n llysieuwr yn bersonol – mae’n rhaid parchu’r oriau hir maent yn cysegru at ofal yr anifeiliaid a chynnal y ffarm. words by: Sian Jones design by: Madeline Howell
How to Look Out for Safe, Eco-Friendly Sex Toys in an Unregulated Industry There is no real regulation of sex toys and the materials used for them in the UK. This is quite daunting, particularly as it raises fears about newcomers to the sex toy world who may not know what to look out for. A trip to the dwindling number of ‘adult’ shops in Cardiff itself gave me all the proof I needed to know that the lack of regulation on sex toys is taken advantage of without shame. Dildos containing PVC (polyvinyl chloride) are sold as ‘novelty’ toys in order to avoid the legal issues that will obviously arise when customers use these toys created with dangerous materials. When I spoke to a shop owner who stocked these PVC toys, I was told that this material was perfectly fine, despite a plethora of articles only an internet search away that suggested the exact opposite.
PVC toys can often contain chemicals called phthalates, which are toxic. Phthalates are used in these items to soften the toy, but these chemicals are linked to cancer, as well as upsetting our bodies’ hormone balance and causing issues for our reproductive system. Basically, if a toy contains phthalates, don’t buy it. This doesn’t mean that sex toys claiming to have no phthalates in them are safe either. PVC and jelly toys are porous. This means that no matter how much you clean them, these toys will never be completely free of the bacteria they’ve absorbed during use. Not ideal. Don’t be fooled by the companies and shops that try to convince you otherwisethese materials are bad for your body. The best materials are the ones that don’t contain toxic chemicals and won’t retain bacteria inside them. Most big
brands you see on the internet will tell you the material that the toy is made of, so if it’s silicone, glass (and even steel or hardwood), it’s likely to be safe. I say ‘likely’ here with caution, as with all sex toys you are looking to buy, it’s so important to make sure you trust the brand. It’s always tempting to go for the cheapest options, especially as students with tight budgets, but your body’s health comes first, so purchasing a longer lasting and safer toy will benefit you in the long term. Whilst we are on the topic of body safe toys, check that your lube is water based, as these are the best type to use with toys (and condoms) because they won’t damage them. So the fears about the unregulated industry with such a large consumer base are incredibly valid. The best thing is to do your research before you buy a toy, and make sure you are completely aware of the materials used in that toy and its impact on you and your body. But the fact that this industry is largely unregulated by governing bodies also begs the question: what are sex toys’ environmental impact, and how can we have an eco-friendly sex life with toys? Potentially due to the fact that sex is still a ‘taboo’ topic for many (often older generations), the environmental impact of our sex lives is not so much on the radar of environmental activists. We now know that phthalates are bad for the body, but they aren’t great for the environment as well. The process of creating the sex toys with these materials in them is harmful, so if you need another reason to steer clear of those dodgy toys; this is it.
you can recycle them, or can’t be bothered to in the first place. Rechargeable toys are great for two reasons: your savings and the environment. By taking batteries out the equation, you no longer have to look for those specific and annoyingly rare N batteries in shops, which just costs time and money. There are also a growing number of ‘eco-friendly’ toys you can check out. More and more companies are creating dildos and vibrators that can be recycled. Glass and hardwood (don’t worry, they’re coated in a seal, you won’t get a splinter down there) are increasingly popular. A quick search on the internet can lead you to plenty of shops which stock these toys. As well as this, Lovehoney offers a scheme where you can recycle your electronic sex toys (even the ones you didn’t buy from the website). All you have to do is send the toys to an address provided on the ‘Lovehoney and the environment’ webpage. So, as it turns out, you can still use body-safe toys in your eco-friendly sex lives! words by: Kate Waldock design by: Ersila Bushi
Reading the article up until now you may be thinking; “Great! I can now go forth, armed with this knowledge, to give myself the safest pleasure!” But the truth is, the waste from the sex toy industry is huge. Bit of a turn off. Each toy is packaged in plastic. Many of these toys need batteries, and depending how much you use them, that might involve a lot of batteries. My first advice would be to check out the rechargeable toys. Batteries often end up in landfills, as plenty of people either don’t realise
Playlist 1. the 1975 by the 1975 2. willow by Taylor Swift 3. Garden Song by Phoebe Bridgers 4. Blues Run the Game by Jackson C. Frank 5. I am Woman by Helen Reddy 6. I Say a Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin 7. positions by Ariane Grande 8. Light Upon the Lake by Whitney
9. seasonal depression by mxmtoon 10. Wildflowers by Soccer Mommy 11. Northern Sky by Nick Drake 12. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead 13. Cranes in the Sky by Solange 14. Honeybee by The Head and the Heart 15. Flowers by bEEdEEgEE and Lovefoxxx design by: Jasmine Snow
Editor-in-Chief: Jasmine Snow Deputy Editor: Elly Savva Second Deputy Editor: Josh Ong