Ursus maritimus Day – International Polar Bear Day

February 27th is International Polar Bear day, and if you’ve been reading the news, 2015 was the hottest year ever on record, in our world history.

Polar Bear

What does it all mean?

Warmer summers, wetter winters and more dry spells? Yes, that, and also more hurricanes, more storms, and more droughts. So regardless of where you live, one way or another, you’ll feel the effects of global warming, and so will our furry friends up north.

Global warming affects all of us on Earth, and climate change is a major killer for biodiversity, as well as other important items on our Humanity Survival checklist if we’re to make it past the next thousand years. Sustainable agriculture, arable land, habitable land, as well as global sea surface temperatures all affect our food supply and general health adn well-being.

How did climate change caused by global warming even happen? The simple answer is due to our extremely high carbon output.

You’ve probably heard about global warming. I’ll not babysit you and explain the process in excessive detail, as it’s simple – mass industrialization and transport using fossil fuels has caused an excess of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to be released in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide for example.

What these greenhouse gases do is that they trap more heat, or UV radiation as it is scientifically termed in our atmosphere, or air, preventing it from going back into space, causing global warming.

Which of course, in turn – melts the polar icecaps, leading to less and less space each year for our furry friends to live and hunt.

How can you help?

Simply put – You can practice the 4 R’s.

The 4 R’s are : Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

All of these don’t require you to live like a hermit in the wilds of Colorado or Algonquin, but just need you to take conscious action and responsibility in your part to save the earth.

The basic underlying principle in all of these tenets is to consume less, and thus, waste less and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a whole.

Refuse – Simply put, this concept is to refuse using more wasteful items, to refuse excessive wastage, and to refuse excessive consumption.

Don’t take more than you need, don’t take more than you can eat, don’t waste anything.

Refuse to use single use items and highly polluting items and substances. For example, when catering for an office function, or for a party – use reusable cutlery, and plates. Refuse the usage of Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils that can be only used once and then thrown away after.

Use instead – either environmentally friendly materials that are certified to decompose without releasing harmful pollutants such as plates made from plant fibre without the usage of chemical glues. Better still – use reusable plates.

Refuse to buy mass farmed and unsustainably grown agricultural products because they use chemical fertilizers that are less effective and detrimental to soil quality for future generations. on top of that, intensive animal husbandry to produce meat products also cause the release of the greenhouse gas Methane, which is much more potent at trapping heat compared to carbon dioxide by 25 times over a 100 year period.

Yes – 25 times. So make sure you refuse that excessive platter of meats, especially beef.

Reduce – If you can’t completely change your habits for lifestyle or health reasons, we respect that. To each their own, but you can still reduce the amount you consume, as well as the amount of waste and greenhouse gases you produce or help to produce, directly or indirectly.

Take the bus, ride a bike, or walk. by reducing your reliance on individual transportation, you cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Why? Let us explain – when oil is extracted through fracking, methane gets released directly into the atmosphere.

When crude oil is refined, it needs to be heated using natural gas to refine it into its various products like diesel, kerosene, and then petrol. Also, plastic is a derived from oil.

Before and after refining, oil has to be shipped from the oil well, to the oil refinery, and from the oil refinery, to your local petrol depot, and then to your petrol station. In between all these trips, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated for their transport is tremendous.

Of course – you can’t cycle all the time, everytime, but when you can, you should.

Or you could also try these.

A reduction in junk mail. Really, spend 2 hours maximum unsubscribing to all that wasted print that you never read anyway. Save on subscription fees, save paper, and save yourself the stress of sorting through all the magazines to find your latest overdue bill while trying to also handle the groceries.

Speaking of bills! Get an energy audit. Now, I hate the word audit too, but in this case, this audit will tell you exactly what’s taking up so much power in your home, as well as how you can reduce your power usage, and bills.

Re-use – Reusing things is simple, as well as economical. It’s good for your wallet, it’s good for the earth, and good for your health and the future. I think I don’t need to explain further since I’ve already covered why before.

So, re-use bottles for water, it saves you money from buying overpriced mineral water anyway. reuse grocery bags, bring your own to reduce the amount of plastic bags used. Re-use boxes that you can, and repurpose old furniture by refurbishing it.

Recycle –  Recycling is pretty straightforward. Resources have already been used, but some resources can be reused again but need some processing. Items made of or having components of metal and glass(non-degradable) are available to be recycled into new items again, while items made of degradable material may vary, such as wood pulp, paper, fabrics may need to be composted.

Recycling basically reduces or eliminates the need for more resources to be extracted and go through the entire process of manufacturing again, cutting short the manufacturing and refining process from raw material to finished product.

Of course, this also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted as the amount of power needed to recycle items is substantially lesser than needed to produce the same item from raw resources.

With all these in mind – you can help slow climate change and global warming, and give the polar bears a fighting chance to see the next hundred years in existence!

Just think of the children, ours and bears!



The Value of Generosity

Very often, we find ourselves at the short end of the stick in a deal, bargain, or enterprise, or even simple transactions in our daily lives.

Sometimes, we feel cheated of our rightful estates, possessions, holdings, or value in a transaction.

That’s not a very pleasant feeling is it? Sometimes, it feels like we get less than what we deserve, and what little we have should be kept, guarded well, and hoarded if it seems, and only shared sparingly.

Is there someone to blame for this mindset and culture? Some people argue that it is only human nature to seek an advantage to gain it over others. Some even go so far to say that selfishness, is a trait that is common in the well to do, the rich, the disciplined, and the fiscally prudent. Some also call it fiscal discipline.

Well, it may be one of these things, and it may be all of these things, but let’s not forget that correlation does not mean causation. In essence, just because you’re rich, means you’re selfish, and just because you’re selfish, means you’re more likely to be rich.

Good news? Hardly. But let’s take a look at the other camp shall we.

Giving and generosity have been equated (mostly) with being a good person or individual, and is usually associated with charity, is it not? But what if I told you – it’s not always the case, and that perhaps, giving and generosity is not just good for character building and the soul, but also for your own gain too?

The sharing economy, the barter economy, and communities who actively promote trust and generosity amongst its members are active members and examples of this hypothesis.

In barter economies, goods are exchanged for each other. However, in many transactions, you can’t exactly rely on the exact value of goods exchanged to form a fair transaction, as you can’t split the goods to give out the remaining amount of value. For example, you need 3 pots and you have a cow to trade it for, and it’s a milk cow so slaughtering it to split its meat up is not fiscally prudent.


Your neighbour has three pots. Now, you want to trade the cow for the three pots, but the cow is worth at least twenty times the pots. You have nothing else to trade with, so you can either record the transaction as a loss, or a debt owed to you by your neighbour in the form of pots.

That would be odd, especially if everyone kept a tally in different forms measuring values indebted via various commodities like pots, which is also the reason money was invented, but we’ll get to that later.

So, what you could do, is be generous and take the pots, give the cow to your neighbour, who then feels indebted to you with gratitude, making it easier for the both of you to work together and help each other in other business or industrial activities anyway.

Generosity – in itself, is also a sign that the giver is able and wealthy enough to give. Basically, the giver becomes a patron. But practiced within a community, it encourages trust.

If there is a doubt that generosity itself is not a natural trait, here’s proof that it is.

In evolutionary survival – the best and most robust methods are the ones which involve generosity and co-operation.

Researchers Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B. Plotkin from Pennsylvania’s Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, examined the outcome of the Prisoner’s Dilemma when played repeatedly by a large, evolving group of players.

While other researchers have previously suggested that being cooperative can be successful, Stewart and Plotkin offer ‘mathematical proof’ that the only strategies that succeed in the long term are generous ones.

In this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, only successful players would be allowed to proceed on to the next round, but with one caveat! The players who won would get to have more “offspring”, meaning that they would be able to have more players representing them in the next game.

It should also be noted that they were able to communicate and teach their “offspring” on their strategies.

Over the course of the experiment, the only strategies that survived were the ones that not only relied on co-operation alone, but also involved generosity and forgiveness on the part of the players involved.

In comparison, the other strategy that a player can employ is an extortion strategy, basically, to take short term gain, by using the current situation for personal gain at the expense of other players. Sounds familiar?

Well – employing this strategy allows for the best possible immediate outcome; but in the long run, affects the entire group, as the selfishness is reciprocated, and in the end, no one truly gains the most.

So, instead of a head-to-head competition, the researchers applied this to a group of people playing against one another(compared to a prisoner’s dilemma where it is 1-1), to realistically simulate communities and groups of people.

During the research, it was found that these extortion strategies don’t work well if played within a larger group of people who interact with each other, and not just between two people, because an extortion strategy doesn’t succeed when played against itself.

However. in generous strategies, players tend to cooperate with their opponents more, and are generous in their aid; and they also tend to forgive players who are selfish over time, as compared to excluding them completely. E.g, you help me, and I’ll help you, and we both win.

Using tests on how some generous strategies would work in a community of people, the researchers crafted a mathematical formula proving that, not only can generous strategies work best in this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, but also that these are the only strategies that resist individual selfish people in the test group and continue to endure.

These findings were reported in the PNAS journal.

In short – generosity is not a zero sum game.

Giving doesn’t mean you lose out – it only means you build relationships within group of people where all of you prosper more by working together, compared to your chances of prospering if you were to be selfish and look out only for yourself.

Isn’t it only natural that a sharing app like ours is an extension of human nature to share and be generous then instead of just looking out for yourself?


A Green Valentine: Love More, Waste Less


Green Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! What are your plans to show your love?

Before you take the credit card out to show your love with buying stuff, let us suggest something a little different. After all, whether you’ll be going with your regular lover, or someone new this valentines – a change of scenery and focus on love from just between you two will be appreciated, and you’ll definitely find out more things about your date too!

The plan – Helping out the homeless or newly arrived refugees. You’d think that giving out food and clothing would be quite far off from the idea of romance but you’d be wrong!

Why? Simply put, the generosity in you and your date shown and practiced by helping those in need by giving out clothing and food will make them associate you with kindness and generosity, and basically make the both of you view each other in a better light.

On top of that, giving out used clothes repurposed and food to feed those who need it will make your community a kinder and greener place – donations of money can surely buy new clothes, but used clothes in good condition will reduce pollution through wastage, as well as encourage a culture of recycling where you live.

Giving money to the homeless is good, and is needed for shelters as well as soup kitchens, but volunteering brings the concept of helping others in your vicinity into a much more personal space, and isn’t that what Valentine’s is about? Letting others into your personal space to get to know them better?

Spread the love this valentine’s day, and help the needy, for they need your love the most, and your help, as does the environment.

Perhaps you are fortunate to live in an area where the homeless are well taken care of, or you want to choose something else – what about a homely date at someone else’s place?

You could cook, or of you don’t know how to, you could ask a local chef or cook to make something with fair trade and locally sourced ingredients.

Of course, look for locally grown ingredients first, to support your local growers and farmers, since the reduced cost and need for transportation will leave you a lesser carbon footprint. However, it is highly suggested that you DO cook something for the day of the date itself.

Why? You could make one date, turn into two!

How you ask? Well, you need to go to the farmer’s market don’t you? Go with your date! Going to a fresh air market with just the both of you there and friendly farmers will make for good conversation topics, and be less direct and “confrontational” if you were sitting opposite of each other.

It gives you room and space to talk about yourselves, and find out more about each other, without actually having to ask about each other directly, which for some less socially inclined people, will be a much more comfortable situation.

On top of that – you can make a joint decision on what to buy, and engage each other in what to cook with the ingredients you’ve got! Now, just remember, some farmers markets don’t just sell organically grown root tubers and greens, they are also places for local beekeepers, artisans and craftsmen to showcase their locally made and environmentally friendly craft products!

Need an actual beeswax candle? Ask the beekeeper! Need soap? Ask the local soap maker! Or perhaps you need a bag to carry all the stuff you’ve bought? There’s someone spinning hemp and cotton together into large carry bags too!

Now, what will you do with all these? Surprise your date of course! Buy them a gift, or simply, buy things together and then set the table, and the house with those beeswax candles, and give them a body rub lotion of honey and lavender with soaps bought from the market!

So instead of going out of your way to spend a lot of money on flowers, only to be thrown away later, why not make your Valentine’s a more meaningful one, to include the things that matter?

Love is not about what you buy for your lover, it’s about how you make her/him feel. Love is not stored in a box of chocolate with pretty flowers. Love is imperfect, and has many facets. Love exists in this moment but will grow forever if in the right environment. Show your love by making this Valentine’s Day about learning more about your loved ones. Don’t just focus on now, remember the wider community and our earth and the future you want to build with your loved ones.

Love More, Waste Less!

Library of Things

As we head into the new future of consumerism and increased personal gain, are there any places in our communities, lives and homes that we can share? A place where one can lend, borrow, and trust in the goodwill of the neighbour and community to repay in kind with trust and goodwill too?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that places like these are more common than you think.

If you look closely, these places are not just publicly owned in name, but also in deed, meaning to say, some are community run and funded, while others are government funded, but the community usually decides on how to run the organization, what to lend and how.

You see, the key lynchpin to making a library of things, as we call them, is trust. Trust in the community you live in, as well as in the stewards of the library. let us share with you three delightful examples we have found.

ThingsThe public book libraries of Sacramento

The public book library of Sacramento, is a government funded library that actually functions as both a library for books, and a library for things.

The part of the Sacramento Public Library that loans out items is similar to how it loans out books. A member of the library needs to fill out a form to loan the ‘thing’ as they call it, and they can then be loaned out the lender for up to 3 weeks. If that period is not long enough – it can be borrowed up to 6 times, in which case, the need for the item should have passed.

This library chooses what items will be available to the public by how portable the item is, how valuable it is, as well as the number of votes from valid members as to the items that they want.

The items are then either donated, or bought using state money for this public programme to be available for loaning out, or to be used.

A small list of the items available : Board games, Video games, Sewing Machines, 3D printers, button maker, laminators, screen printers, musical instruments, GoPro cameras, a serger for professional stitching, and a bike repair station.

They have a full online catalogue of items available, some items can be used in the library only, such as the bike repair station, the 3D printer, as well as the Serger. For the reasons that they are higher in value and harder to operate and set up, these are kept at the library.

The Library of Things is located at Arcade Library at 2443 Marconi Ave. in Sacramento.

The Library of Things in Berlin

Berlin! Such a place with rich history, always breaking down barriers between people, and they’re doing it again, with the Laila Project, which is a library of things in the purest sense.

The Laila project is staffed by a volunteer who goes by Mr Nikolai Wolfert, who is a volunteer there.

If you ever wonder what the motivations were behind his store, he says “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it”.

That’s typical German efficiency for you! But apart from that, take a look at Leila on a deeper scale, and you’ll find that he’s actually a member of the Green party, and after they lost their local elections, he decided that he could do something for his community based off his political beliefs for the good of the community.

Thus, the Laila project was born. The Laila project is similar to other library of things – items get loaned out, and items are donated in, and to be part of the project to access items, you need to first donate something. The items range from useful, to quirky – drills to unicycles.

Mr Nikolai emphasises that it isn’t just about charity – it’s about efficiency, for more people, to use less. That’s the way to go isn’t it?

Library of Things in the UK

The Library of Things in the UK  started in West Norwood, South London in 2014, when friends Emma, James and Bex ran a pilot scheme in a library after visiting a borrowing shop in Berlin.

Similar to the project run by the Sacramento Public Library, the initial project by friends Emma, James and Bex met with success and an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, not just as a means of resource sharing and distribution, but also as a means of community bonding, interaction, and learning. Simply put – you can borrow a circular saw, but first you’ll have to learn how to use it from someone who does?

After that, they decided to pitch the idea to the general public online for funding via Kickstarter, and have raised £15,000 for this new library from 248 people.

They aim to set up a new library of things with these funds in South London, as well as making a toolkit to help others start their own library of things.

Do you know of other initiatives on Library of Things? Have you been thinking about starting one in your community? Comment below or contact us: hello{at}lendogram{dot}com.