Getting fit and keeping your commitments!

Okay, so you want to get fitter or start exercise and have no idea how and when you will fit it in your life?! I can definitely understand with so many pressures cast upon us young people these days: study, work, relationships, socialising, errands and of course some time to relax! Well it is possible to all these things and still find time to exercise if you are smart about it.

The first thing to do is be smart about it and write down exactly what you want, the more specific you are here the better! Do you want to lose 5kg? Or get more toned? Be specific like aiming to reduce body fat from 13% to 11%. Look at what you want regularly, set reminders in your phone, and put them on the fridge / at your desk as a reminder to motivate yourself. The more you see the reminder you trigger your subconscious to realise this goal is important amongst the thousands of other thoughts your brain is processing. This means you will prioritise your health and fitness even when you are busy as you will keep reminding yourself through looking at your goal and visualising it how much it means to you.

Secondly, write down when you are going to work out that week. If you go to uni in the afternoons and work evenings, mark a few mornings down in your diary and allocate this like an appointment, you wouldn’t not show up to an appointment right? You need to be committed and may have to sacrifice a bit of personal time if you are serious about fitness. That means setting the alarm for 7am not 8am and jumping out of bed at 7am, not going back to sleep at 8am complaining you are tired! Further on this point if you have allocated to exercise three mornings a week at 7am to 8am make sure you commit. Let work or anyone important going to contact you that you are unavailable during this time, put your phone away and do not feel guilty, this is your time!! Getting up early and being organised means you still have time to work, socialise and fulfil all your other commitments.

Joining a 24 hour gym is a great idea, and for many young people who may not have the 9-5 lifestyle, this allows you to train at any time you like around your schedule, such as 2am after work if you wish!  Reward yourself for your fitness session buying a healthy treat like a post workout protein shake or maybe a really healthy meal (e.g. chicken and quinoa salad) that congratulates yourself and reinforces the positive moves your doing to your health by participating in fitness.

There are ways to get fit too even if you are busy and don’t like gyms so much. Most uni’s and community council run centres have fitness classes to offer at random times of the day, and include fun activities like yoga, zumba, spin, crossfit and dance! If you are working full time what about working out at lunch time at your local gym or if there is a park nearby go for a quick run? A lot of offices these days have shower and changing facilities.

Speaking of such combining your fitness and commute is an amazing time saving idea and saves you money! Consider walking to work, okay maybe not possible if you live super far away, but cycling is becoming increasingly popular and your only investment really is your bike and helmet. With the government increasingly recognising the importance of cycling and improving the associated infrastructure, it is easier than ever! A final fun way to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle is instead of meeting friends for drinks or dinner how about you exercise instead! Go for a walk or job, rollerblade, bike ride or bush walk. Even smash a gym session together! Good luck with your fitness goals in 2016!

By Simon Chitre

Dolphin Safe Fishing

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Firstly what is dolphin safe fishing? Well back in 1990 an organisation called Earth Island Institute (a non-profit, non-governmental conservation organization based in the U.S) and several large tuna companies in the U.S agreed to define dolphin safe tuna as ‘tuna caught without setting nets on or near dolphins.’ This standard was incorporated into the Marine Mammal Protection Act later in 1990 and in 1997 was expanded by the United States Congress with the statement that no dolphins were killed or seriously injured in a net set to qualify as tuna for a Dolphin Safe label.

These standards were implemented in response to decades of tuna fishermen intentionally chasing dolphins and catching the tuna swimming underneath. This horrific practice has largely now being wiped out with approximately 90% of the world’s tuna companies committed to dolphin safe practices and dolphin deaths in tuna nets declining by 99%.

The problem is not over though with many South American tuna fleets chasing, netting and drowning thousands of dolphins annually. Countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and El Salvador are petitioning authorities to change the dolphin safe tuna laws to have them weakened. Their proposed definition would allow the chasing and netting of dolphins as long as the required on board observer does not witness the event or seriously maiming of the dolphin. It is hoped this deceitful endeavour does not go ahead.

However the term ‘dolphin safe’ is controversial, in the United States it only defines dolphins within the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP), so the thousands of dolphins killed outside these waters are not reported. In 2012 the World Trade Organisation reviewed the scientific evidence and concluded that the standards implemented in 1990, whilst effectively at halting the mass slaughter of dolphins beforehand, were outdated and misleading. Many of the thousands of dolphins killed outside the ETP are still sold under ‘dolphin safe’ labels under current labelling standards, this is extremely concerning as the United States is one of the largest consumer  markets in the world for tuna as well as a major exporter.

Further what is also discounted is the enormous amount of ‘by catch’ (the surrounding marine life besides the dolphins) killed and often left for dead in the ocean, by the ‘dolphin safe’ fishing technique including sharks, turtles, sea birds, billfish and countless juvenile tunas. So ironically whilst more dolphins are being saved in certain oceans, many other marine life species are being killed instead and left for dead due to their lack of economic value (as tuna can be canned, sold and made for profit).

Consumers in Australia can play a part by trying to avoid illegal fishing activities, buying fish caught within the Western and Central Pacific Ocean Region (WCPO), as purse seine caught skipjack tuna has illegal fishing rates of less than 5%. Skipjack tuna is one of the most ethical tunas to purchase. Independent observers monitor and observe illegal practices to authorities and operate throughout the WCPO. Vessel blacklists, i.e. vessels which have been reported for illegal activities are maintained by the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and Greenpeace, an independent organisation supporting environmental justice.

By Simon Chitre 

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Circular Economy – The Next Big Thing?

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 20: Greenshowroom/Ethical Fashion Show, at Postbahnhof Berlin, 20.01.2016: General view at the Ethical Fashion Show.
BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 20: Greenshowroom/Ethical Fashion Show, at Postbahnhof Berlin, 20.01.2016: General view at the Ethical Fashion Show.

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A circular economy might just change our economic structure and provide practical solutions to our resource problems. The idea behind circular economy, or also known as a closed-loop economy, is to produce no waste and pollution, either by design or intention. It’s a restorative industrial economy where the aim is to rely on renewable energy, to minimise, track and eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and eradicate waste. Advocates, including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, and Susan Sarandon, are behind the movement calling on a deeper shift in our current economy. Some are saying that the future of economic growth lies in recycling, repurposing and reusing goods and resources. It’s not like the circular economy (or cradle-to-cradle economy as it’s also known) is a new concept – it’s philosophy echoes back to the great depression.

“We’ve always had a linear model. We dig it out of the ground, turn it into something, consume it and stick it back in the ground [as landfill]. The idea of a circular model is that once it’s out of the ground, it keeps circulating,” says James Moody, a panellist on the ABC’s The New Inventors show.

Economically speaking, a circular economy has its merits. The World Economic Forum estimates the economy could be worth $1 trillion worldwide and $26 billion in Australia by 2025. It’s been argued that the circular economy has the potential in stabilising issues of the growing tensions around geopolitical risk and supply risk (which contributes to volatile commodity prices) in the way it decouples economic growth from resource consumption.

Yet for UTS Institute for Sustainable Future’s (ISF) Damien Giurco, it is important that the economy is not branded as under the “green umbrella” for fear of alienating businesses.

“We’re careful not to brand it under a green umbrella. We need to engage businesses to say this is an economic opportunity [instead of thinking that] environment equals cost and regulation,” said Giurco in a Sydney Morning Herald article.

“To be sustainable, you must make money. The reason we can do it … is that waste is a resource,” said Rob Pascoe, Managing Director of Closed Loop Australia. Closed Loop Australia works with companies, including Qantas and KFC, on ways to reduce their waste.

But for many households, it’s not yet profitable and that needs to change. Part of this is because Australia’s economy is too focused upon the short-term benefits of the extractive economy rather than longer-term benefits through other industries. Another reason is that we, as a society, are culturally programmed to own and consume goods in a rather linear fashion. Renting products is not appealing to the mainstream and when it does appeal to individuals, it is appealing to a very narrow segment of the economy. One of the possible ways to drive the circular economy is changing the concept of renting where we ‘rent’ products on a ‘pay per use’ basis. This basis, currently popular for services like movie and music streaming services, could be extended to standard goods, such as washing machines, clothes and DIY equipment. The ‘products as services’ model allows companies to retain product ownership, which makes it easier for repairs, reuse and remanufacturing but would see responsibility extend to users as part of the purchase agreement. Companies, such as Philips, Kingfisher Group and Mud Jeans are already currently piloting the ‘products-as-services’ model.

The idea of ‘closed loop’ economy is already one that is making waves within the fashion industry. Within the fashion industry, we are seeing pioneers, start-ups and big players working on new concepts that see the production of yarns, materials and products in a continuous circle.

“We see potential when it comes to chemical recycling. But we need more innovation and more capacity in chemical recycling to provide for the possibility of cellulose and different synthetic fibres being reused,” said Henrik Lampa, H&M’s Environmental Sustainability Manager at Accenture’s Sustainability 24.

Circularity was recently one of the main themes of the recent Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin where labels such as Bleed, Navarpluma (Neokdun), Paramo, Patagonia, Primaloft and Pyua, exhibited some of their products produced within the circular economy.

Circularity is already being implemented within fashion label’s production line. Levi Strauss has programs that allow you to return your old clothes and shoes to any Levi’s store in the US, where they’ll be reused, repurposed or recycled.

“The opportunity [to do this] is tremendous. We’re aiming to establish an infrastructure that supports closed loop products by 2020. Our vision is to recycle your old Levi’s into new ones. And by doing this, we’ll reduce the impact of cotton agriculture by harvesting the denim from people’s closets that would otherwise end up as landfill,” wrote Michael Kobori, Levi Strauss’ Vice President of Social and Environmental Sustainability in a blog post.

A circular economy has the potential of radically changing the way we consume goods and services but it will need innovation and technology to find the answers to the questions posed by a growing a population.

By Sophia van Gent