Monday, 25 June 2007

B’Nice Ice cream for vegans

As I look out of the window at a typical English summer day, the rain streaming down the wet glass, I let my mind drift to sunnier memories, of childhood days out and vanilla ice-cream cones by the sea. Since I became vegan many years ago, ice-cream has become nothing more than a long forgotten taste. That is why I want to mention B’Nice Rice Cream, a vegan ice cream made from rice as an alternative to soya based vegan ice creams. While there are plenty of soya based ice-creams available, this is the first rice based one I have found. For me, and perhaps for others, soya can cause an allergic reaction, and the natural oestrogen found in soya can be a bit off putting for us men. At last I can enjoy ice-cream with my meat-eating friends this year, though not too much as the sugar tends to make me hyperactive!

B’Nice is made in Belgium by the Roefs family, not that I expect you to know the Roefs family. They have been making ice cream products for over 50 years now. They have recently started to produce rice based vegan ice-creams to compliment their soya products. The rice used in the manufacture of B’Nice products is herbicide free and the ice-creams themselves do not contain any artificial colours or genetically modified ingredients. With less than 5% fat, you can enjoy these gorgeous treats without the guilt or the extra inches.

Just how bleak is our future?

Well, if you read the report by six leading scientists from the USA you may very well come to the conclusion that our future on earth is incredibly bleak. The scientists behind the 29-page paper (Climate Change and Trace Gases) are among the world’s leading climate change experts. Led by James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the team included three of Hansen’s colleagues, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha and Gary Russell, David Lea of the University of California and Mark Siddall of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

Fundamentally, the message from the paper is that the Earth is approaching a point of no return with climate change. Forget George Bush’s ‘war on terror’ what we need right now is a ‘war on CO2 emissions’.

They argue that unless effective measures are put in place to control CO2 emissions over the next ten years, the rise in the Earth’s temperature could trigger uncontrollable climate change. The mechanism for this they argue is the ‘albedo flip’ as ice melts the sunlight normally reflected by the ice is absorbed by the sea, causing rising temperatures, which causes more ice to melt, which causes rising temperatures. The phrase from the paper that I find most worrying is “If we have not already passed the dangerous level, the energy infrastructure in place ensures that we will pass it within several decades” so we are either already too late or we will be in the near future. Does the political will exist to take the necessary steps to save the planet? From what is being said and done at the moment, I would have to say no. Maybe one day our political leaders will find the strength and integrity to act on our behalf to save our planet, but I really think this will only happen after it is too late.

[Via The Independent]

10 ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint (part 1)

The first thing you can do is probably the easiest and cheapest, and will save you lots of money over the year. Simply replace your normal incandescent light bulbs with low energy ones. They are available in large or small and caps and in both bayonet and screw type. Their energy use is dramatically less, for example a 60w bulb can be replaced with an 11w low energy one and still give the same light output. Now multiply that by all the bulbs in your house and you can see how much energy you will save, which translates to money saved on electricity bills. Not only are these bulbs more efficient, they last much longer too, around 12 times longer in fact. The cost of low energy bulbs has fallen dramatically recently. I bought some high quality Philips low energy bulbs for my house a couple of years ago and they cost less than a pound each.
Part 2 coming soon…

Carbon calculator for mobile phones

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is launching a carbon calculator climate:mobile for mobile phones. The climate calculator is being given away at the moment to festival goers at Glastonbury. The team of staff and volunteers from CAT is giving away free copies of the software using Bluetooth to as many people as possible at Glastonbury. If you’re not at Glastonbury and you want a copy of climate:mobile you can text ‘climate’ to 80010 to download it straight onto your mobile phone. The software was developed for the C-Change Project and is funded by PEET. You can get more info at

Carbon Footprint Calculator

The government has launched a rather nifty online carbon footprint calculator on its website. I have tried it and it is really easy to use and gives you a good idea of the amount of CO2 you are producing from your home. There are tips and advice on the website too, so you can make changes to your lifestyle and your home to reduce the amount of CO2 you generate. The online calculator will even create and action plan for you too. I think it’s a great idea and is something we should all take a look at. Reducing CO2 in the atmosphere is something we all need to be doing, we cannot afford to leave it in the hands of governments or corporations. This is our planet and our future and our responsibility.

Blokes Bar for blokes

I know it sounds like a bar for ‘real’ men to meet up and get drunk, but it is actually a bar of soap for men! It’s about time we men got our own soap. Thank you Simply Soaps, at long last I can shower with my own manly bar of soap. I no longer have to smell of roses or peaches or apricots or lilacs or lavender or anything else flowery scented. Not that there is anything wrong in a man smelling of flowers, it’s just nice to not have to if you don’t want to. This particular soap is made with tea tree oil, comfrey and cedarwood, so you end up smelling like you stepped out of a forest when you get out of the shower. From a florist to a lumberjack in one easy bar of soap. Made by Simply Soaps in their little workshop in East Norfolk with all natural ingredients makes this bar of soap even better. There are no harmful chemicals or animal products so it’s kind to your body and vegan friendly too. You can buy blokes Bar directly from Simply Soaps for £2.50. If you’re out of ideas for Father’s Day, you could always order a couple of bars of Blokes Bar for your dad.