A Not So Distant Threat

Image source: http://www.ipsnews.net.au/
Image source: http://www.newslocker.com/
LOS ANGELES – SEPTEMBER 11: Although air quality in Los Angeles has improved in recent decades, smog levels remain among the nation’s worst.(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Image Source: www.salvos.org.au

Climate change often seems a far-off problem, but with threats to how we live every day, it’s about to get personal.

Very few people doubt that climate change exists. There’s a difference, though, between acknowledging a problem and doing something about it. It can be difficult to get our heads around the idea that the effects of something as global as climate change can threaten our everyday living standards, but threaten it does.

It may not seem it, but the planet rising by a few degrees in temperature does immediately affect how we live. Rising temperatures causes thermal expansion and melting sea ice. The sea is rising about 3.2mm per year because of it, but it could rise up to one metre by 2100. We’ve all seen the dramatic shots of icebergs falling into the sea, but these shots don’t exactly say ‘this will happen to you’. The problem is, the effects are right at your front door. 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast, so when the sea level rises, 85% of the population will see themselves living underwater.

Australians love summer, but there is a limit of how hot a day can become before it’s not fun. Have you noticed how early summer came this year, and how warm winter remained? Between 1951 and 1980, only 2% of months were classed as “very warm”, but in the past 15 years, that figure has shot up to 10%. Just the other day, Adelaide threatened to reach 54 degrees. Luckily it was a false alarm, but the prediction that one in six days in Western Australia this summer will be over 40 degrees is still going strong. This is not the future; this is happening right now.

In the past few years, weather events have already become more extreme than we’ve seen in the past. The Queensland floods over the past few years, once called ‘once in a century’ events, have been happening every couple of years, but it’s set to get a lot worse. An Australian study found that for a mid-range sea level rise of 50cm, the extreme weather events we see now happening every few years will happen every few days by 2100.

If you have allergies and asthma, life is about to get worse. Dirtier air increases atmospheric ozone (which is responsible for decreased lung function) up to 10 parts per billion, which means asthma is set to rise 10%. With the pollen count also set to double from 2000 rates, we can expect more air-based allergies, too.

Most worrying for myself is the effect this extreme rising has on foods like coffee, tea, and chocolate. All the beans and leaves that go into making these gems only grow in tiny areas where the temperature is just right, and any minuscule change can decimate an entire crop.

Cocoa is grown only within 300km of coastal areas, which are set to shrink considerably. They already have; a couple of years ago there was a cocoa shortage, which is only now recovering.

Tea is susceptible to both drought and flooding, events that are set to get more common in the near future. It’s because of these events that tea yields are expected to fall 40% by 2050. Coffee bean yields have already fallen 30% between 2002 and 2011 in India. Even half a degree affects how coffee beans grow. If that’s not bad enough, warming temperatures expand the habitat of the coffee berry borer, a notorious coffee predator, and coffee fungus.

The scale of the main effects climate change are so immense, it’s no surprise people don’t pay as much attention and take as much action as we know we should. But when we think about what climate change does to our everyday lives, making a change to stop it becomes a lot more important, and I for one do not want to live in a world devoid of chocolate.

By Kate Oatley


Summer Scorchers: The Best Trends To Follow This Season

Bohemian look from www.loveculture.com
European Whitewash from Pintrest
Image 3
Bold/70’s chic look from www.mamiskincare.com

With the summer months beginning early this year, we have a perfect opportunity to stock up the wardrobe! Summer is the perfect time to try something new, and with a firm focus on prints over structure, you can look great and stay comfy.

The Bohemian Staple

This floaty and feminine style, with light fabrics perfectly suited for summer is fast becoming a staple in Australian fashion. One of the styles best features is its ability to adapt to suit different wardrobes. Go full throttle with loose drop crotch pants and a flowing singlet, or pair a batwing top with a pair of structured jeans to give the look some edge.

One particularly good piece is the Boho dress: wear them on their own in summer or layer up as it gets colder. It’s worth remembering that Boho dresses form the focal point of an outfit, so keeping the rest of the look neutral and sticking to one or two key accessories is a good way to go to really make these dresses sing – think a tie in belt, or that perfect pair of sunnies.

70’s Chic

If there was a decade of fashion made for Australia, it’s the 70’s. The style is sleek, bold, and structured – arguably the polar opposite to Boho, but impressively pairable with the summer staple.

Wearing elements of the style rather than the full Monty can be a clever way to go with such a visual style. Luckily, there are plenty of options – maxi dresses are perfect for laid back days, and bold, structured looks are great for work. Shoes are looking great with this style: think wedges, chunky heels, and platforms.

70s chic dresses are great for being both comfortable and flattering. Go neutral with a range of lace and crochet options, or try out prints like paisley and floral to bring a refreshing burst of pattern to your outfit.

Bold Print

Every season needs a showstopper. Working with a range of structured or flowing designs, the metallic features, bold geometric prints, and amazing bursts of colour of this style bring a much-needed pop to the season’s range.

Whether you dabble with the odd accessory, or embrace the look top to toe, heads will turn. If you need to tone down the look, pairing bold prints with a more neutral base, like Boho, creates a unique look that is completely on trend.

Negative Space

Designers are experimenting with a new style of using negative space to create amazing looks this season. Fantastically paired with bold print, feature-gaps in clothing, such as crochet patterns around necklines and down seam lines, help to shape clothing without reverting to rigid structure.

Not all gaps are completely exposed, however; transparent materials allow you to experiment with higher hems and more daring cuts without the commitment. For obvious reasons, this trend works best when used subtly, bringing that extra touch of class to an outfit.

The Great European Whitewash

Australia has its own unique branding of style, but this trend sweeping Europe cannot be missed. One of the most striking fashions to hit the streets in years, the whitewash evokes both innocence and sassy style. Complete the look by pairing it with bold black accessories to get the ultimate metro style.

By Kate Oatley

5 Ethical Stores That We Love At The Moment

Fair Trade Organic Cotton Pyjamas from Thread Harvest
Image Source: Raven + Lily
Image Source: Elegantees
Image Source: We-Love

Here at Vashti, we love stores that have a strong focus on ethical fashion, in both manufacturing and materials. So in time for Christmas, we’re sharing some of our favourite ethical stores that we love for your gift shopping (either for family and friends, yourself or both)! Check them out:

Vege Threads

Vege Threads is an Australian eco fashion label that is run out of Adelaide in South Australia. Using 100% Global Organic Textile Standard certified cotton and knitted in Australia. Vege Threads focuses on Australian production, using local processes, dyes and fabrics and smaller freight runs. 

With all their online sales, they donate a percentage of their profits to their sponsor foundation in Northern Bali.

Favourite items: cuffed tshirt, organic longsleeve.

Price: ranges from $50 – $250.

Thread Harvest

Thread Harvest is a Australian online store that sources its fashion from around the world. Thread Harvest’s vision is one that tells a story of a social or environmental impact – be it pulling communities out of poverty, restoring our natural resources or freeing people from modern day slavery. Thread Harvest is a Fair Trade Certified company and uses Organic Cotton in some collections.

Favourite items: Socks to Educate Children, Neary Pacaya Dress, Arrow Necklace, Declo Black Maple Polarised.

Price: ranges from $19 to $350

Raven + Lily

Raven + Lily are an American based store that aims to reduce poverty amongst women through employing women at fair trade wages in Ethopia, India, Cambodia, USA, Kenya, Guatemala, Pakistan, Malaysia and Haiti.

As well as employing at risk, impoverished women, Raven + Lily aim to use eco-friendly practices in the sourcing of materials and our design processes – honouring traditional artisan crafts and techniques and donating back to their artisan communities for healthcare and educational needs.

Favourite items: Mahali Double Open Ring, Ravi Printed Cascade Tank, Vanna Collared Blouse and

Price: ranges from USD$41 to USD$264


What started as a dream developed into a fashion line in 2010, Elegantees provide hope those overcoming the impact of sex trafficking in Nepal through a positive source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self-image and confidence. With elegant designs, Elegantees is a good addition to your everyday and corporate fashion. The company is based in the US with all prices in USD.

Favourite items: ASHA in Charcoal Heather Grey, Samarthya in Indigo, LENA in black and Braided Infinity Scarf in Grape.

Price: ranges from USD$24 to USD$60

WE dash LOVE

WE dash LOVE is an Australian online store that sources items that are ethical and/or sustainable to support organisations that share their dreams for the future. Every month WE dash LOVE donates 5 percent of their sales to We Stand For Trees, War On Want and Charity Water.

With items ranging from fashion items to lifestyle items to skin care, WE dash LOVE might just be your new favourite online shop for small additions to your wardrobe, house and skin care routine.

Favourite items:  Rewind Designs Wine Bottle Tumblers, Handmade Concrete Pots, Island Fruits Coconut Candle and Casa Kuma Drop Crotch.

Price: ranges from $12 to $265

By Sophia van Gent

ZÖKITEE: A Tribal Wonderland

Refine. Repeat line: http://www.zokitee.com/#!refine-repeat/c3x7
Refine. Repeat line: http://www.zokitee.com/#!refine-repeat/c3x7
Refine. Repeat line: http://www.zokitee.com/#!refine-repeat/c3x7


ZÖKITEE is the creative collaboration between four sisters from Perth – Asha, Danika, Kiara, and Zoë Thomson. Their love and interest for creative design, arts and the environment sparked a new love for jewellery making. ZÖKITEE is still a relatively new jewellery label influenced by the mystery held in symbolism, adornment and rituals of the unfamiliar cultures of traditional tribes, while often challenging the common perceptions of romanticism. The root of the creative venture was derived from heartwarming memories as children, however the girls often play with the concept of: ‘The assumed sacred significance of unfamiliar symbolism’.

ZÖKITEE is a jewellery label that represents the tribal adornments of each individual, their identity and how their sense of community can strengthen and define who we are. The jewellery designs are a minimalist’s dream, with simple sterling silver shapes and forms which reflect a platform for expressing and exploring creative ideas – in whatever direction life may take us.

The girl’s infatuation for treasured gifts and beads was sparked at an early age, when their aunt, who often travelled the world collecting one-of-a-kind beads would arrive upon her visit to Perth unveiling the pride of her newest finds; oldest and most sacred treasures, creating a small secret community among the girls. Each bead represented a valued token – each holding its own story and history, a little momento from a different time and place worlds away.

The sisters grew up in a very creative environment, each pursuing different paths later on in studies and design projects. Being surrounded by each other while pursuing their own creative interests, they naturally began supporting and working together; after several projects, they decided to create an umbrella name to label their collaborations. With each sister contributing their talents in the brand, from fashion and forming concept looks, to writing, photography and digital media handles – each sister offers an invaluable footprint to the brand itself.

The sisters believe that diversity makes for a stronger community and through that belief it has strengthened their designs and concepts. With high hopes of more opportunities in the future, ZÖKITEE is a brand that holds strong values and with each piece of jewellery hand made from ideas, research and inspiration gathered –  you are sure to get a one-of-a-kind story from it, or one you can make your own.

You’ll be able to find the sisters and their stunningly simple eco-friendly jewellery line at the upcoming ‘Summer Night Markets’ located in the Perth Cultural Centre every Friday evening. They are also stocked at Hillarys family run jewellery store, SunKissed.

For more information or to check out their stocklist, visit: http://www.zokitee.com/

By Shirley Yeung

Cruel and Corrupt Cosmetics

Stop Animal Abuse: http://www.closetsamples.com/animal-cruelty-must-stop/
Animal cruelty : http://carelikeido.com/page/2/
Animal cruelty: http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/animal_testing.htm
Stop animal testing: https://animalsfirst13.wordpress.com/

Cosmetics are a billion dollar industry which releases hundreds of consumer products per year. Of course these products need to be tested for quality and safety before humans can use them. Sadly many companies choose to test their products on innocent animals that are tortured and killed unnecessarily. We explore this unethical and unjust practice to uncover truths for the consumer to consider before their next purchase.

Most people love to buy new cosmetics to look and feel good. However do you ever look behind the label and think how that product got made? Were animals tested? We will explore the toxic link between animal cruelty and the cosmetic industry.

The Humane Society International estimates approximately 100,000-200,000 animals suffer and die just for cosmetics every year around the world (1), though the amount of animals that are tortured but not actually killed is expected to be in the millions. This is a significant and disturbing figure and disproportionately effects rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats and mice. Cats, dogs and primates are less effected but still cruelly tested on. Tests performed on the animals include skin and eye irritation tests, where chemicals are directly applied onto shaved skin or dripped into the eyes of animals and lethal dose tests in which animals are coerced to swallow massive amounts of a test chemical to determine the dose that can cause death. These tests cause significant pain and damage to the effected animals and they are often killed at the conclusion of a test (1).

One would think from such alarming rates of animal cruelty there must be numerous benefits from testing cosmetics on animals. Why else would companies put animals through such horrific regimes? Actually, the opposite has been proven to be true with the majority of scientists asserting that animal testing shows an ineffective or unproven correlation at ensuring products are safe for human use. It is assumed that animals will respond to tests like humans do, when in fact their mechanics and biochemistry is entirely different, species to species – so it is a pointless exercise (2).  Dr. Gerhard Zbinden, one of the world’s leading toxicologists, once described a standard in vivo test (which is a toxicity testing to see how fatal a product is for human use) as little more than “a ritual mass execution of animals.” (3).

The disparity over animal cruelty testing worldwide shows some countries are much more active in banning animal testing and being ethically responsible, i.e. Europe (Western Europe, Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe), Israel and India. In these locations the sale or import of new animal-tested beauty products is also banned and therefore these locations demonstrate excellent ethical practice and set a leading example.  Also some countries classify products such as toothpaste, sunscreen and hair dyes as ‘medicated’, which then require mandatory animal testing. Unfortunately this leaves 80% of the world unregulated, and countries such as China have horrific rates of animal testings of up to 300, 000 per year (4). One of the largest cosmetic testing markets, in the United States, uses animals for cosmetic testing is although not required by the Food and Drug Administration though its practice is accepted (5).

 ‘Dr. Gerhard Zbinden, one of the world’s leading toxicologists, once described a standard in vivo test (which is a toxicity testing to see how fatal a product is for human use) as little more than “a ritual mass execution of animals.” ’

What is the alternative to animal testing then? Surely there is a better, more ethical way of doing things?  There are proven non-animal testing methods by government regulators of cosmetics, which also have been shown to be scientifically superior and can be tested faster and cheaper (6). More than 500 beauty companies around the world are recognized as cruelty free as they don’t conduct or commission new animal testing, and only use new ingredients when human safety can be established without animal testing.  There are also more than 5,000 established and proven ingredients that can be used with no animal testing required (4). Consumers can also play their part by shopping ethically and not supporting companies that are cruel to animals.

See http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/cometic-brands-that-are-not-cruelty-free/ for more information and support ending this cruel trade for the welfare of our precious animals.

By Simon Chitre