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How's Flu Season Treating You?

3 days ago by Gabrielle_Admin

How's Flu Season Treating You?

If you’ve ever had the flu, you know very well that it’s no laughing matter. In fact, you will most likely do whatever is necessary to not experience that kind of sickness again. For many this entails getting a flu jab each year, but for others this means taking other measures, including avoiding the jab each year. Why should we get the jab? Why should we avoid it? 

 

 

As we are currently in the peak of a typical flu season, it can be important to remind ourselves of ways in which we can stay healthy and safe. Many of us get a yearly flu jab, as the predictions about which strains will hit the hardest change each year. This predictions process tied into flu jabs seems all too risky to quite a few people, especially when dealing with something as seemingly unreliable as a disease.

 

Our members seem to have their doubts about the jab, with nearly 62% not getting the jab this year. For many in this group, the issue appears not to be whether or not the jab is effective, but whether or not it is safe. Quite a few members tell us their reasons for abstaining, which largely surround their trusting in past experience or the experiences of others getting sick after a flu jab. Stephen65620 tells us, “[I] would never let someone knowingly inject some form of disease into my body. Especially as I have seen too many people get really ill after a flu jab. They can only give what's gone not what's coming.”

 

So, how does the flu jab work? In either nasal spray or jab form, the vaccine triggers your body’s natural immune response to fight a foreign invader by producing antibodies against it. This way, the next time your body comes into contact with a flu virus, your immune system will recognise it and be ready to fight it quickly. To do this, each year scientists around the world collect samples of flu viruses and select the three that they think will be the most prevalent in the following year. These three strains are then put into the vaccine as inactive, or dead, viruses. This means that the jab cannot give you the actual flu virus itself.

 

Regardless of whether or not you will get a flu jab this year, there are many things we can all do to stay healthy and keep those around us healthy as well!

 

The Basics:

 

We’ve all heard these before, but let’s actually do them this year!

 

1.  Take precautions against commonly touched spaces, such as doorknobs, counter surfaces, phones, and keyboards.

2. Get enough sleep. This is the time your body repairs the damage done during the day- especially the potential damage you don’t yet know about. That includes the viruses and bacteria you encountered!

3. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water every chance you get.

4. Take additional winter supplements, as necessary! In the colder months, we tend to not get enough vitamin A, D, C, E or Zinc, which help keep our immune systems strong! Check in with what you may need a little bit more of if you’re not getting it in your diet.

5. Diet: make sure you are eating more than enough in fruits and veg! These are your best friends in the winter months, though they are more difficult to find as it gets colder. Go with the darker, leafier greens and those with more colour. Kale, chard, beetroot, carrots, purple cauliflower, oranges, grapefruit- make sure your plate looks more like a rainbow than shades of brown. 

6. Natural remedies: take echinacea, eat extra garlic and raw honey, get a massage, drink more herbal tea! Do what works best for your body, listen to what you need, and experiment with what makes you feel best.

7.  Laugh as much as possible! Immune cells are produced by laughter and a positive attitude can take us much farther than any medication can!

 

For more natural ways to keep yourself healthy this flu season, take a look at 19 Ways To Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu and 4 Secrets to Never Getting Sick

 

Let us know your tricks to staying healthy in the comments!

 

Stay well,

 

~Sam

 

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Friday the 13th!

6 days ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Friday the 13th!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today is supposed to be one of the unluckiest days of the year. Many of us know that this coincidence of date and day has been deemed as “unlucky,” some of us are even familiar with the notorious films about it, but not many of us know exactly why today is a big deal. Should we even bother thinking about it at all?

 

 

 

Depending upon where you come from, your beliefs about luck and potential superstitious harm will vary. Superstitions have a great history in many, if not all, cultures and communities. Before we relied upon scientific discovery (and even long after we did) to explain our surroundings, we used folklore and superstition to keep one another safe. Many of these superstitions were culturally relevant in predicting danger: a good example is walking under a leaning ladder. This belief seems to have its roots in ancient Egypt, where triangles were regarded as a holy shape and it was offensive to break one, which then transferred to the followers of Jesus, who described the ladder leaning against a crucifix as a symbol of wickedness, and finally to England in the 1600s, when criminals were made to walk under a ladder on their way to the gallows.

 

Though most folklorists have said there is no written documentation of the Friday 13th superstition before the 19th century, the date has great significance in Biblical belief. This is the date when the crucifixion of Jesus was said to take place and the number 13 refers to the apostles, including Judas, who has come to mean betrayal and bad luck in many Western societies. This is also the day The Great Flood is said to have started, as well as the day Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. While you may not be religious yourself, we find ourselves in a culture that has been rooted in such beliefs, having lasting effects that we can often overlook without realising that we have done so.

 

This belief has become ingrained into today’s world so deeply it warrants its own psychological terminology for individuals with paraskavedekatriaphobia, or a strong fear of Friday the 13th. So does it have any real life applications? In many Westernized cities, tall buildings are often missing a 13th floor and many houses skip being numbered 13. Many people even go so far as not to dine in groups of 13, including the US President Roosevelt. In some areas of the UK, calling a doctor for the first time on a Friday is considered to be a bad omen.

 

Many have suggested that it may be a self fulfilling prophecy, in that if you are fearful of Friday the 13th, you will be more anxious and distracted, potentially causing more harm to yourself throughout the day. So today, let’s all do our best to take responsibility for our actions and the things that happen in our lives, while also opening up, creating space for some positive magic and even a little luck!

 

Whatever your beliefs, this day seems to be a reminder to each of us to be careful with ourselves and with one another, to care for our wellbeing and to be vigilant of our surroundings. So have fun with a little superstition if you feel so inclined! Throw a little spilt salt over your shoulder, look for some four-leaf clovers and rainbows! Live your life to the full today and try to look for a little magic, wherever you can find it. I know we could all use a little bit more in our daily lives.

 

Let us know your experiences with this day and any other superstitions in the comments below!

 

Hoping you find some magic,

 

~Sam

 

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Women's Marches In The UK

1 week ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Women's Marches In The UK

I know, I know. We’re all tired of hearing about Donald Trump, I couldn’t agree more, but this instance provides a chance for each of us to become more involved in how we will allow one another to be treated and to determine what we want our future to look like as a society.

 

 

While many in the UK (and most places, both in and outside of the US) are feeling exhausted and aggravated by the constant attention that events in the United States seem to demand from a global stage, this event has had a ripple effect for many of us surrounding gender equality in our own lives, no matter where we live. 

 

In an initial response to Donald Trump’s numerous comments, actions and potential policies regarding women, people around the world have come together to hold women’s marches in various cities, including London, Edinburgh, and Shipley. These marches will be on January 21st, the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated into the presidential office of the United States.

 

If you’re finding yourself on the fence or feeling completely against supporting this march for political reasons, it is important to note that this march is not meant to be anti-Trump. Instead, it is about being proactive about protecting and enhancing women’s rights.

 

Whether you will be at this march or not, supporting these ideals is a choice that we can make throughout each of our daily lives.

 

There are multiple ways to go about creating change. Many of them simply involve awareness of who and what we are supporting. Look around you and take notice of how many women are in your workplace, how many women of colour are in positions of power, how many women own businesses in your neighbourhood, how the women around you are treated and how women feel about themselves.

 

We need to listen to one another and do our best to support and uplift our communities as best we can. This starts in our homes, our jobs and our everyday choices. We all make a difference in the lives of others every single day.

 

If you’re interested in marching, look for one near you! The largest march outside of the US will be held in London from 12 until 15:30, beginning in Grosvenor Square.

 

If you want to learn more about women’s rights, here are just a few places to check out!

 

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

~Sam

 

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Events To Get Excited About In 2017

1 week ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Events To Get Excited About In 2017

 

Many of us are currently using the new year to learn more and bring about positive change in our lives. A great way to do this is to become more involved and more aware of the events and collaborative spaces that occur around us, both close to home and around the world. If you’re looking to learn something new, share some of your own knowledge, meet new people, build community, or learn about the next big thing of 2017, here are a few places to start! 

 

 

Business

 

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or insight, there are many events coming this year to bring people and solutions together that are worth a look!

 

The World Business Forum in New York this May/June is one of the largest, most innovative spaces to catch entrepreneurs sharing their knowledge and experiences.

 

The Forbes Women’s Summit, Navigating a New Tomorrow, ‘will bring together 300 multigenerational innovators, entrepreneurs, and influencers for a dynamic exchange around the most important issues of our time…’ If you’re looking to be on the ground, understanding ways we can bring about positive change, this event is one to look out for, focusing on bringing ideas into action for a better future.

 

 

Tech

 

The tech world is constantly evolving, changing, and expanding, so conferences and large events are great opportunities to catch up on all that may have slipped by you, while also getting a sneak peek at what is to come.

 

The Consumer Electronics Show of 2017 has already begun! If you haven’t made it to Las Vegas this year and want to keep up with one of this year’s biggest technology conferences, you can livestream many of the biggest events here!

 

Tech Open Air 2017 will be held in Berlin this July. This event is an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by innovators and changemakers in the technology community and beyond, focusing on integrating music, art, and science into tech as well. 

 

 

Science

 

TED2017 will be held in Vancouver, BC this April. TED events flawlessly mix knowledge sharing, field advances, and best practices with the deeply personal, day-to-day experiences of all involved, allowing each of us to feel invested and inspired by topics that we might otherwise find dull and inaccessible.

 

TED events usually involve a multitude of topics, personalities, and sharing methods, “The Future You” is no different. This event is one week dedicated to “exploring the deepest scientific and psychological insights, the latest medical advances, the neatest inventions, all mixed with a dose of ancient wisdom, to ask the questions about ourselves that we don’t often have the time for.”

 

 

Personal Development

 

There are numerous ways to become more deeply involved and inspired within our own personal growth. Here are just a few examples of upcoming events focused on helping us all get there.

 

Inspiring Stories is a more casual evening of sharing and networking with a panel of successful entrepreneurs, with a primary goal of encouraging creative thought. These events are always free of charge and only require a sign-up!

 

Yes Stories- a Night of Inspiration focuses on ‘inspiring the Tribe to action,’ by sharing tales of success, adventure, daring to dream, and overcoming adversity. These events inspire us to say yes to things we want in our lives, what better way to start of a new year?

 

 

Nonprofit/Charity

 

While there are many conferences and events that largely involve philanthropic outcomes, there are many events that focus specifically on making these organisations more effective and more sustainable. Regardless of whether or not you are directly involved in the charity sector, these events can help us all to understand how this field works and how we can best support its goals.

 

Do Good Data 2017 is an annual conference that brings together individuals and organisations using data as a catalyst to revolutionise the social sector.

 

 

Other Event Resources To Look At!

 

Inspirational Speaker Events in London

 

Events for Women in 2017

 

7 ‘Can’t Miss’ Events for Entrepreneurs in 2017

 

Where Tech Meets: Conferences and Summits 2017

 

The 2016/2017 Best Nonprofit Conferences Calendar

 

Upcoming Festivals in England 2017

 

Best Events in Europe

 

 

If you don’t see your favourite events here, please comment below and share what you’re most excited to see in 2017!

 

 

Happy connecting!

 

~Sam

 

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We're Three Days In!

2 weeks ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

We're Three Days In!

Wow, we are already three days into 2017! So how is everyone feeling about this new year? After what felt like a long and intense 2016 for many of us, we are now coming into 2017 with a mindset based on the present, reminding ourselves that we’re all along for the ride and that we will deal with whatever comes next as best we can.

 

 

Our Viewsbankers mirror these sentiments, feeling the strain of 2016 and being cautiously optimistic for what comes next. Before the new year, members shared their thoughts on a poll asking about 2017 excitement, with nearly 50% answering “it’s coming anyway, so no point in worrying about it.”

 

Some of us are feeling tired and fearful for what this new year holds after the many political and social shifts of the past year, while others are energised and ready for changes to take place. No matter how you are feeling, even if you feel disconnected and uninvolved, in this year more than ever it is important that we all look to one another. Presence is key, as we are reminded by our member, nitsalambrou who tells us,“I always look forward to the new year but trouble is I'm wishing my life away.”

 

In this year of such large changes, we must be active in listening to and appreciating one another for support, experience, and knowledge sharing. Leaving a year that has felt and grown great ‘othering,’ we can all do our best to dive into understanding ourselves and one another more deeply.

 

So, how can we make 2017 better?

 

As always, self care comes first. Focusing on yourself is important, but remember that self care is done as much for you as it is for others. We can only meet others as deeply as we’ve met ourselves, so if we are acting from places of exhaustion, frustration, or fear, we prove to be of little use to those around us and the work that we do will suffer.

 

How to thrive in 2017

 

If we’re looking to truly be our best selves, to grow and even thrive in this new year, we need to look at our entire selves. This means looking at our health mentally, emotionally, physically, professionally, and communally.

 

Many of us take a new year as a challenge to change parts of ourselves, to be healthier, to do better in the upcoming year. If you are making resolutions, remember to do your best in being truthful and mindful of where these resolutions are coming from. Ask yourself if they are coming from within yourself or from others’ desires of you? Are you asking too much of yourself? Too little? Try to remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and that being gentle and caring for yourself is important.

 

Calling all women!

 

 2017 feels like a year for immense positive change, growth in awareness and connectivity. We’re sharing our experiences now more than ever and our voices are being heard. If you’re looking for your tribe in this upcoming year, here’s a start: Where to Find Your Sisterhood In 2017

 

We can all work on presence and mindfulness

 

This means taking each moment, each day as it comes, but also putting your best into the future. Mindfulness and presence are essential, particularly when we feel overwhelmed or are facing challenges. Working on living in the moment simultaneously protects us from acting out of stress or fear, while also building stable foundations for your future self.

 

As a rule, we tend to place a lot of pressure on ourselves and our growth for a new year and end up frustrated or disappointed. To avoid this, we can look to 5 Tips For A Mentally Healthy 2017, reminding us to meet ourselves where we are, not where we want to be. How?

 

1.    Be kind to yourself

2.    Commit to doing something you’re good at

3.    Take 5 - take a step back, take a break

4.    Talk about your feelings

5.    Keep in touch

 

Remember to be realistic, forgiving, kind, and loving towards yourself in this year. Start with a hopeful outlook. Put your best foot forward into this new year and towards those around you.

 

Let us know your thoughts on resolutions, hopes, worries, and any other feelings about this upcoming year in the comments below!

 

Take more care!

 

~Sam

 

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Viewsbank In 2016: The Highlights

2 weeks ago by Gabrielle_Admin

Viewsbank In 2016: The Highlights

 

We’ve changed a lot here at Viewsbank since the 1st January, and on this, the last working day of 2016, I thought I’d highlight some of Viewsbank’s changes and big moments for our community.

 

Towards The Beginning Of The Year, We Did A Whole Bunch Of Admin

 

We updated our FAQ’s, and our Terms and Conditions.

We also drafted a new set of poll rules, to make Viewsbank an even safer and more enjoyable website to use, and to help prevent duplicate polls.

 

Our Blog Saw Two New Authors Join The Team

 

In April, Gabrielle started writing three weekly blog posts: Chit Chat, Getting Technical and The Pulse, which have since been succeeded by the wonderful Samantha Mix’s twice weekly Monday and Friday Blog posts.

These are always chockfull of links to all sorts of useful resources, and are always inspired by you, our members.

 

We Started Four New Regular Competitions With Cash Prizes For Your Accounts

 

#ViewsbankFridays on our Twitter page started in November this year, and offers entrants the chance to win £100 or £25, with three winners being picked at random each month.

Three Viewsbank users have already won their share of the £150 we’re giving away to anyone who shares a poll from Viewsbank on the last Friday of the month before midnight, with “#ViewsbankFridays”.

(Heads up, there’s a #ViewsbankFridays competition live now!)

We also started #IntroduceYourself on our Facebook page in November – which is a competition we run once a week. Each week we give members a chance to win £10 in their account, just for ‘introducing’ themselves to us with their Viewsbank username. So far, seven lucky Viewsbank users have won that crucial £10 in their account to push them over the £12 payment threshold.

(And yep, #IntroduceYourself is live once more after 5pm today, comment to enter!) 

In October, we started a monthly prizedraw. You’ll find this short survey in your Assignments page and your Home feed every month. The winner gets £15 in their Viewsbank account, whilst two runners up get £5 each.

Congratulations to Viewsbank users Sandy11, Scotty2015 and Woo for winning this month!

Finally, in September we started our Pet Insurance Prizedraw: anyone who answers our Pet Insurance Survey is entered into the draw, and winners are chosen every three months.

There are a whopping six winners for the Pet Insurance Prizedraw: the winner gets £25, and five runners up get £5 each. Winners can choose whether they would like Amazon vouchers, Pet Planet vouchers, Viewsbank credit, or to turn their winnings into a charity donation.

Congratulations to this month's winners srezay, karenscakes, pattester, Jean12715, Jacg, and Loulou0510!

 

We’ve Been Emailing You More Often, And Creating More Regular Paid Content

 

 In addition to excerpts from Sam’s twice weekly blogs, we email you every Monday and Friday with an admin poll worth 10p, and and we post one of these standard admin polls every single working day.

Log in to Viewsbank from Monday to Friday, and you’ll find paid content.

Admin polls are a new system we introduced this year so that we could give you more paid mini surveys. They take less than 30 seconds, but they’re worth as much as a one minute survey. We try to keep them topical: we’re inspired by your discussions, Sam’s blogs, and current affairs. We’re always interested to hear what you have to say.

And there’s an Admin poll live now! 

 

In Fact, Your Views Have Even Made Front Page News 

 

It’s worth knowing that the data we get on Viewsbank from things that seem small, like admin polls, often end up influencing national news. You are literally affecting what’s written in the headlines, and we think that’s pretty cool.

 

 

Finally, Viewsbank Had A Makeover

 

You may or may not have noticed that we have a new look: new profile pictures on our social media accounts, new cover photos, a new homepage and new email designs.

Into all of these we’ve incorporated the Viewsbank Bee. The Viewsbank Bee (or VeeBee, as we like to call it) was inspired by the incredible hive of activity that Viewsbank has become.

This is a website that is buzzing with hard working people communicating with us and with each other about their opinions, and that communications leads to a cross-pollination of ideas that creates real change. Your views form the big picture for big companies, your thoughts have a real effect on how they do business with their customers.

 

 

This is just a selection of highlights: Viewsbank has changed, big time, behind the scenes and before them. Our team has been working hard all year to make Viewsbank bigger, better, faster, better-looking, more fun and easier to use. We’re going to keep doing that.

From myself, and all of the team here at Viewsbank, thank you for all of your hard work. It’s been awesome, and I’m looking forward to entering the new year with all of you.

The RAF has a motto: per ardua ad astra. It means “through hardship to the stars”.

 I’m not sure if bees can fly that high, but I do know that the stars are what we have our sights set on here at Viewsbank. We can always do better, be better, get bigger, more interesting and more enjoyable – and we can do that thanks not only to our hardworking team here in the office, but because of all of you. Thank you.

Happy New Year,

 

~ Gabrielle

 

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Is Holiday Music Good For Us?

3 weeks ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Is Holiday Music Good For Us?

 

Hi everyone,

I hope you enjoy this week's missive from Sam. Just to let you know, the Viewsbank team will be taking a short break over the Christmas period, which means you'll see a short pause in Admin Polls and blog posts. Our #IntroduceYourself and #ViewsbankFridays competitions are still running, but winners will be contacted and announced within a week instead of two days.

The whole team will be back next Friday, 31st December, to usher in the new year with all of you here at Viewsbank. Thank you so much for everything you've done this year to make our research possible: it really has been a fascinating conversation. I look forward to seeing what we can do together in future.

For now, enjoy Sam's blog and happy Viewsbanking!

With love,

Gabrielle and the Viewsbank Team 

 

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Our bodies knew the benefits of music long before scientific evidence was found. We feel it when the music we listen to helps shift our mood, ease our pain, calm us down, and recover, whether its after a tough time at the gym or just plain heartache.

 

Each of us connects with some form of music that brings us instantly to feelings of home, love, warmth, and celebration. This winter, no matter what or how you celebrate, take a moment to notice the music.

 

 

When we asked our members, “what’s your all-time favourite Christmas song?” we saw that music could be deeply personal and meaningful. It helps us to connect, grieve and remember.

 

Some members shared their experiences, chris47 tells us, “I have two favourites- Silent Night, Marys boy child and Away in a manger, which takes me back to my younger days.”

 

Music often transcends many of the boundaries we can feel between ourselves and other people. It provides a direct way for us to connect and share something that all of us can feel.

 

So this holiday season, lets all listen to a little more music that brings us closer together. Let us share with one another, be more open, listen more and speak less. Let us take care of one another this holiday season. We could all use a little bit more love and care now and again.

 

Speaking of care, here are some self-care reminders!

 

If you find yourself needing a little more calm during the upcoming week of family, food, lights, reminiscing, and celebration, remember that music can be a wonderful way to decrease your stress and increase your joy. Music helps to support our physical, mental, and emotional health, even if we don’t realise it at the time. Music can improve our immune system function, decrease physical pain, reduce stress and anxiety, and aid memory function. So, if you’re feeling a little tense, put on some music and breathe.

 

At a loss for what to listen to? Try these Calm and Cozy Holiday Tunes.

 

For those of us who celebrate Christmas at this time of year, check out this page for more mood-boosting, calming, and healing music: Top 10 Benefits of Holiday Music.

 

If you’re looking for a non-denominational holiday playlist, visit Music Therapy Maven or Spotify for a wide variety of listening experiences.

 

Whilst I’m sitting here listening to Joy to The World, I am reminded that no matter how much conflict is occurring, how much pain exists, or how hopeless we may feel at times, there is also light. There is always more joy, love, and wonder that we can offer one another. We all want to love, and be loved. We are all capable of doing so.

 

Let us share our light and love-filled selves with those around us in the upcoming days, weeks, and months. Let us see the goodness in one another, and encourage this part of each other.

 

Let us share more love and listen to more music.

 

Tell us about your experiences with music, holiday or otherwise in the comments below!

 

Happy listening and happy sharing,

 

~ Sam

 

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Rubbish: Will You Take The Holiday Challenge?

1 month ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Rubbish: Will You Take The Holiday Challenge?

 

With the winter holidays in full swing, now is the time we are reminded of the value and joy that lies in generosity, selflessness, and caring for others. Traditionally this means we buy, share, and give gifts, host parties, visit friends, and splurge!

 

With ever-increasing knowledge of how urgent environmental issues and climate change have become, the meaning of caring for others translates into caring for the world we all inhabit more directly than ever. This holiday season, we all have the opportunity to put a little more thought into where our gifts, products, and food are coming from and how much waste is created as a result of these choices. Each of us being more mindful of the rubbish we are consuming has the power to create ripple-effects of change.

 

 

We may not all be on a direct path to a zero waste lifestyle, but by reducing even a portion of our rubbish, we can truly make a difference. This can lead us to making conscious, healthier decisions for ourselves and our environment.

 

Why is this so important during the holidays? Around 30% more rubbish is produced during the holiday season. We tend to be so focused on having the best gifts, sharing holiday spirit, and being with friends and family, that environmental efforts take a backseat. This year, why not make a few more sustainable choices?

 

Ok. We get it. We know these things are important, but they take time, money, and effort. Right?

 

Not always!

 

The Holiday Challenge Breakdown:

If we can all choose at least one section or item to focus on over the holidays, we could all make a massive dent in reducing our rubbish production, while also creating more awareness and mindfulness for ourselves and others that last long beyond the holidays.

 

Gifts:

 

Products

Buying local is wonderful for so many reasons (as I’m sure you’ve noticed me mention before.) This not only shows your investment in the community around you, it supports small businesses, and reduces the amount of packaging and fuel consumption your products require. (Especially food!) Buying local moves the flow of goods and resources from large corporations to sustainable communities. Take a look at Crafty Fox Market for some great local gifts!

 

Wrapping

Britain bins nearly 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year. How do we reduce this? First, wrap without plastic! Do your best to wrap without disposable wrapping paper. Instead, opt for reusable, sustainable, recycled or recyclable options. These could include glass jars, baskets, old boxes, cookie tins or even wrapping paper that you’ve made yourself out of comics, newspaper, or old gift wrap! This seemingly small decision makes a huge impact.

 

Household:

 

Decorations

Keep the long-term in mind. Look for a real tree you can replant after the holidays! Make decorations out of compostable material (pinecone decorations and popcorn and cranberry garlands!)

 

Tidying up

They key here is to look for sustainability. How long will it last you? How many chemicals does it contain? Longer is better and less is so much more. You may find these products are occasionally more expensive initially, but they will last you much longer and eventually save you money! For a list of personal and household cleaning alternatives, visit Trash Is For Tossers or 10 Tips for a Zero Waste Household if you’re looking to make large changes in your household waste!

 

Food:

 

Packaging matters

Recycling food containers can be tricky and rules change depending upon where you live. Many of our members were unsure are unsure: to rinse or not to rinse? alison35093 tells us about regulation, “Our local council say that nothing can be recycled unless it is clean. If there is the slightest bit of food residue on any container, it has to go to landfill.” Have just checked and in my area you can be liable to a fine of up to £1000 if you put contaminated containers in the recycling bin! While mazbev points out that “they are rinsed out with dirty, used washing up water thereby making best use of resources and getting as much for my money as possible!...”

Is this really a huge problem? Well, we eat around 175 million mince pies- and their foil cases can all be recycled! (Just remember to rinse the trays!) An extra 500 million aluminum drink cans are sold- each one can be recycled and save enough energy to run a set of Christmas tree lights for 2 hours.

 

Buy local!

 

With the average meal traveling around 1200 km from farm to table, transportation of food is a major contributor to climate change. It is estimated that meat contributes to over 18% of greenhouse gases, so if you can bear it, any reduction in buying and consuming meat reduces greenhouse gas production dramatically. For just one meal, one day, one week, try to choose the veggie option! Visit your local farmer’s market for delicious, fresh and sustainable food options!

 

For more info, take a look at 20 Tips to Reduce Waste During the Holiday Season.

 

If you’re looking for some extra inspiration, try this video I Tried Living Trash-Free For 30 Days.

 

Let us know your tips, tricks, and thoughts on using less rubbish in the comments below!

 

Happy, healthy holidays!

 

~Sam 

 

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Driving Tests: What Are They Good For?

1 month ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

Driving Tests: What Are They Good For?

 

Sports, hybrid, used, leased, new, antique, electric? No matter the type of car, I’m fairly certain we can all agree that we would like to see our streets safer, whether we are drivers or pedestrians. So how can we do this in our everyday lives?

 

 

First, we can begin to understand the situation in which we find ourselves, and this time it’s not all doom and gloom!

 

The UK already has some of the safest roads in the world and our rate of traffic-related fatalities have been dropping dramatically (around 45% from 2005 to 2014). This is incredible news worth appreciating.

 

As we all know, no matter how great our statistics are comparatively, our work on safety is never done, especially with legislation and technology constantly shifting and advancing. We must constantly update the ways in which we keep each other safe.

 

Who is involved in the incidents that we do have? Many look to either end of the driver spectrum: our newest or our most seasoned drivers, when discussing automobile risk. Differing opinions about what is actually happening within these demographics behind the wheel leave room for different slants on decoding the data. Regardless of demographic, it appears that there are consistent risks that we may all fall into. Many if not all of these risks are preventable.

 

The top 5 causes for road traffic accidents in the UK are also some of the most easily avoided

 

1. Failure to Look Properly

Paying proper attention is the number one way to reduce the highest rates of accident and death in the UK. Stay alert, avoid distractions (phones, music, food, passengers…)

2. Carelessness

Hurrying or driving recklessly drastically increases the chances of accident and danger. We can all slow down, be patient, and be courteous. Being late is much better than being hurt or hurting others.

3. Driver Fatigue

Most sleep related accidents occur between 11pm and 8am. If you are driving, be aware of your energy levels, and be much more aware of those driving around you. Pedestrians, be much more cautious and aware of drivers during these times! If you are sleepy: stop driving and take a break. Listen to your body.

4. Losing Control

This often occurs if you are driving too quickly or in adverse weather conditions. Combat this with slowing down and being more cautious. Never accelerate or brake too quickly, especially in dangerous weather.

5. Drink Driving

We all know this is dangerous, for ourselves and everyone around us. So why do we keep doing it? Why does this still cause over 10% of all road deaths? It may solely be down to the fact that we tend to overestimate our driving abilities and underestimate our consumption level. Whatever the reason, it is safer to have an all or nothing approach, especially around the holidays. If you drink: take a cab, spend the night, do whatever you need to do, but do not get behind the wheel. Putting your life and others in danger is not worth the risk.

 

What do we do about it?

The top reasons for traffic-related deaths in the UK are those we can avoid. They are not beyond our control, so what exactly do we do about it? We can spread the word, reminding those we know and love of how to be safe on the road. We can make changes in our own thinking and habits in order to protect ourselves and those around us, whether we are the driver, passenger, cyclist, biker or pedestrian. We can all be more aware and involved in shifting how responsible we are with our roads.

 

Regulation?

Should we make driving tests harder or should we change our approach to teaching driving? As we here in the UK have made our test more stringent over the years, there will come a tipping point where difficulty surpasses usefulness, as seen in South Africa, which has a much lower passing rate than the UK, and 20 times as many vehicle related deaths per year. The opposite is true as well. When driving tests are primarily focused on a test and less focused on applicability, like in the US, we can see a rate of traffic related death that is three times higher than in the UK. The balance between difficulty and practicality of driving tests must be considered in safety outcomes.

 

Our members are right on target for the larger UK population when it comes to driving test scores, with only around 40% passing the first time around. While some members note its difficulty and change over time, “7th time lucky. Glad I did it 20 years back.” ~ ayesha52315, many members feel the test is not an indicator of skill, as pointed out by darren60515, “you only learn how to pass your test not how to drive so the driving test is still pointless as there is still plenty of people on the road that can't drive.”

 

So, are lessons and experience more important? Our members seem to think so. “[I] passed after 10 lessons. Very proud to pass the first time. More than passing I think practise is more important.” ~madhaviavula

 

Yes, we can always pass stricter laws, implement more stringent driving tests, which will likely reduce the number or drivers and therefore, the rate of accident and injury. However in doing so we must also consider the spin-off effects of these laws, and provide realistic alternatives to people who may be pushed out of driving.

 

Public transportation is a wonderful option for many reasons, such as helping to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening communities. It’s even good for your health! But it is only as good as its ability to reach the people who need it. Increasing accessibility is key, whether it is for ability/disability purposes, financial means, age-related access, or any number of other barriers that keep people from either using public transit or getting around at all.

 

What do we do in our daily lives?

We get involved, have more conversations, try to think more critically about how and why we’re getting around. There are no perfect answers and yes, we must do what fits best within our own lives, but we can all do our best to make decisions that support us, our communities, our earth, and our future.

 

For more green transportation tips and info, check out these links!

 

Driving Advice: Energy Saving Trust

 

10 Ways To Ensure Future Transport Projects are Sustainable

 

Transport for London: Environment

 

Mayor of London: Green Transport

 

Stay safe and mindful :)

 

-Sam

 

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How Safe Do We Feel In Our Communities?

1 month ago by SamanthaMix_Admin

How Safe Do We Feel In Our Communities?

To feel safe within our homes and bodies is necessary and a human right. How safe we feel has a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. So how do we actually feel about our safety, and what are we doing about it?

 

 

Perception of Local vs National Crime Matters

 

Data from the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) tells us that we tend to think that crime rates are higher in our country at large than they are within our own communities. Our perceptions of national crime are largely determined by news and social media, whilst our views on local crime are determined by word of mouth. Many of our members have based their feelings of safety in their own communities on an experience, or one about which they heard by word of mouth. “A couple in our town were watching TV when someone came in their back door,stole a handbag and they didn't know until they went into the kitchen, so yes I lock my door when I am in.” -patny

 

On the opposite side of the safety spectrum, there are many people who continue to hold trust in their communities, and would not change that for anything. This includes around 20% of our members, who either do not lock their door when they’re at home or do not lock their doors at all. Members like phoebe comment, “maybe I should, but [I] don’t.”  Who Still Leaves Their Door Unlocked?

 

While over 80% of our members do lock their doors when at home, many of these members seem to want to be able to keep their doors unlocked. Justjayne01 tells us, “Always... If I had one of those electronic warning bleeps I wouldn't, but you never know who's about these days. I do have two Jack Russells mind you, who bark at the slightest noise, so maybe I should just leave it unlocked…”

 

So, we want to feel trust in those around us, but for many of us, this is not a practical reality right now. What do we do about it and how do we change this for our futures?

 

Short-term:

 

Should we use home security?

 

What about home insurance?

 

Community Building?  (Short term and long-term solutions!)

 

Shopping Locally

 

Becoming Active Community Members

 

Looking to those around us for inspiration

 

Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch Group (cheesy, I know, but also quite useful!)

 

Using local, community banks

 

 

Long-term:

 

What is the best means of protection?

 

We can look to one of the simplest lessons that many of us have been taught since childhood: taking care of our neighbours. If we would like to feel trust in our communities, we need to show that these spaces can be trusted, that we will put our best foot forward to help lift others up. It has been shown that “...burglary is driven by a lack of resources,” that in reducing poverty rates, we effectively reduce the need for crimes such as burglary. This is an opportunity for each of us to show that a feeling of community is of value to us. 

 

Reducing poverty and making our world a better, safer place is a massive, overwhelming, and ongoing goal for all of society, however, each seemingly tiny decision we make has an impact. There are infinite community building and community action pathways that each of us can involve ourselves in!

 

Start where you are, with what you can do. Be patient and have faith that every small act done in goodness changes the whole world, tiny bit by tiny bit.

 

 

Share your experiences and feelings on safety and community in the comments below!

 

~ Sam