Year 2016 was an amazing one for us at UrbanMeisters.com as we turned 1.
Of course there was a lot of news that made us not so happy like the fact that 2016 will be the hottest year in the 137-year official record according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Then there were the US elections which shook pretty much the whole world. The newly elected President and his- let me call it- knowledge handicap concerning climate change is a matter of great green concern to all of us but we’re not going to be bogged down. Sooner or later he shall learn and if not Greenies from around the world shall flex some united muscles and teach him the green lesson!
There was much that happened that gave us great green hope. Year 2016 was also the one where the Paris agreement was ratified and is now legally binding to keep a global temperate rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Even more it was aligned to try to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is a tremendous milestone. And climate change and green engagement became the coolest topic in 2016 when Leonardo di Caprio gave it a fitting tribute in his Oscar speech. Not to forget his much touted and acclaimed documentary on climate change “Before the flood” also released in autumn 2016. And year 2017 is beginning on a happy green note with Pantone declaring ‘Greenery’ as the colour of the year drawing attention to it’s theme of rejuvenation, restoration and renewed energy!
So yes we see the future bright and green! We only need to keep taking small green steps in everyday life and motivate our friends and family to join in green living. That’s the surest recipe for a better greener world.
For the past year our green adventures at UrbanMeisters.com have led us to meet amazing Greenies from around the world: New York, London, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, Milan, New Delhi, Sydney! People from extremely different backgrounds united in their belief in a good green future. We got a chance to break words with eminent green personalities like fashion giant Dame Vivienne Westwood, German politician and environment activist Renate Künast, retired French Diplomat and blue diplomacy expert Jean-Francois and many inspiring green entrepreneurs! All of them shared their knowledge and experiences on UrbanMeisters.com and helped us create a wonderful green community of over 20,000 followers striving to make sustainable living MISSION POSSIBLE!
These inspiring people make us believe that a sustainable living has tremendous benefits for us- some you can feel immediately like those on your health and well being. Some make life more convenient while some just make us so much cooler! All in all we were inspired by all these people and by you UrbanMeisters to believe that sustainable living is easy to do, fun and quite achievable with small changes in everyday life.
And today in our last feature in 2016 we’re very excited to present one such Greenie we’ve met who inspired us so much that we declare him GREENIE OF THE YEAR- meet Pablo from London.
Why is Pablo Greenie of the year?
Team UrbanMeisters chose Pablo simply because he is an ‘ordinary’ urban like you or me going that extra mile to live sustainably. Pablo is a typical urban. 35+ years old, he is an extremely handsome Columbian who has travelled the world and lived in various metropolis like Bogota, Paris, and now for over a year in London in East village. He chose this neighbourhood because he wanted to live in a culturally vibrant, central, diverse and colourful neighbourhood as he calls it. ‘I have always been fan of the dynamism of Shoreditch and the further east you go towards Dalston, Hackney, Bethnal Green, you can see a sense of freedom and diversity and you have to live it to believe it. It’s not always easy getting to work, as many Londoners I have a long commute but I would not trade this for living anywhere else! When I get home I’m disconnected and free. »
He is a super creative guy who loves his job. He works hard and pushes himself through the day to enjoy all that life has to offer- work, friends, family, hobbies and good rest! He loves going to cultural events at The Barbican, The Tate Modern or to small galleries with his friends. By his own admission he is die hard party boy who loves to go pub crawling like most Londoners.
But unlike us, who take a hectic urban life and the lack of time thereof as an excuse to not live sustainably, Pablo privileges healthy and green living as much as he can. He uses green products and ethical solutions and does his best to contribute to a healthier and happier community. But if you think he is some super human who is out doing great things for humanity, hold those thoughts! Pablo is far from being perfect, after all he is like you and me! While he is big on public transport and truly believes more reliance on this mode of transport could substantially reduce the number of cars in an already traffic choked urban environment, he is not immune to taking an Uber ever so often while going out.
And this is exactly why he is the perfect choice for being the UrbanMeisters Greenie of the Year. Pablo is your guy next door being as much aware as us about the social and environmental issues but he has decided to contribute as much as he can in making things better by taking small green steps everyday. We spent one day with Pablo in London learning what this urban does everyday as part of sustainable living. So here is One Day in the Life of Greenie of the Year Pablo……
Sustainable Living Step 1: Pablo reduces plastic
Our day with Pablo started with a visit to a boutique in East Village to buy a new re-usable glass bottle. He explained that he had left his old bottle at work in a meeting room and could not find it any more. That set the tone for us from word go.
Pablo knows that plastic is one of the biggest environmental challenges for the planet and health. Plastic takes centuries to decompose and contaminates soil and water harming not only animals that ingest plastic fragments, but also humans as certain components like phthalates, BPA etc disturb our hormonal activities. There is so much of plastic out there that there is even a huge mass of plastic in the middle of the Pacific, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also called the “8th Continent”. Unfortunately the possibilities of recycling are not at the top yet, so the best is to reduce plastic.
This is why Pablo uses re-usable glass bottles, he loves to buy the Retap Bottle. It is an eco-friendly alternative to PET water bottles and Pablo has chosen this brand as they have cool clean designs, they are light and offer a lifetime warranty on breakage. There are different sizes and they are made out of Borosilicate glass.
You can find out here where to shop the bottles in your neighbourhood.
Here’s a special tip from Pablo on water purifying:
To purify his tap water he uses active charcoal. « When you buy active charcoal first you need to rinse off the excess ash » – he explains. « Then you put the charcoal in a pot of water and boils it for 10 minutes. You drain the water and allow the charcoal to cool. I then fill the bottle with water and simply put the cooled charcoal inside. After about 2-3 hours the charcoal has absorbed the impurities in the water and you can drink it. You can leave the charcoal in the water for 2 to 3 weeks, then it needs to be refreshed (you simply boil it again for 10 minutes). Overall after about 3 month you should replace the charcoal. »
Sustainable Living Step 2: Pablo privileges local and fresh food
Pablo knows that the meat industry is one of the most polluting industries world wide, consuming enormous amounts of energy, polluting water supplies and generating significant greenhouse gases. And then of course there is the gross unethical treatment of animals in this industry. Top it all, frequent meat consumption is not good for our health as it increases for example the risk of heart disease. Even poultry and eggs is not better as the hens are often vaccinated with various antibiotics – eventually ending up in our organism. Fruits and vegetables are tricky too as even the ones from organic farms are not guaranteed healthy as they could be grown in contaminated soil and water conditions.
This is why Pablo has reduced his meat consumption to 1x per month. Also every Saturday morning Pablo shops at the Broadway Market in the heart of Hackney in East London to procure fresh local produce as part of healthy green living.
–> Address: Broadway Market, E8 4PH, London, UK. Open: 9am-5pm Saturdays
It’s a specialist food market and provides an incredible richness and variety of food tastes and cultures offering fresh and organic produce and authentic street food. While there is Starbucks around the market, largely it is a franchisee-free area with a lot of independent shops and boutiques. It is smaller and more intimate than other London markets, so the advantage is that Pablo can smoothly talk to the farmers personally and get a completely transparent picture about where the food comes from and how it is produced. It is also the ‘IN’ market of London due to his vibrant atmosphere and melting of cultures and styles. Of course, plastic bags have been banned in this market for a long time already!
Sustainable Living Step 3: Pablo shops eco-fashion and accessories
So we covered avoiding plastic and shopping local fresh food produce, but another must do area for urban sustainable living beginners is reconsidering the way we shop clothes. Fashion industry the 3rd top polluter in the world. Not only are there clear issues all along the fashion supply chain as far as resource consumption and pollution is concerned, the industry dictates that we need to shop new clothes every week – starting the polluting production process over and over and over again. But while we’re all for sustainable living, we know how you love your fashion and Pablo is no exception. But he is smart about this too.
He is aware of this undying evil cycle of fast fashion consumption, so the next stop was a place where Pablo shops regularly for fashion. Pablo’s advice for fashion lovers who want to start green living: Buy smarter, so reduce the amount of clothing but go for quality clothes that he knows he will be able to wear for a long time. And then of course there are once in a while purchases that you need to stay hip and with the trend! So yes, he did buy a piece from the latest H&M special collaboration with Kenzo but he really liked the scarf and he does look super handsome with it! But when ever he can, he tries to go for eco fashion and that made us very happy. He brought us to a beautiful boutique A&A located on Columbia Road.
–> Address: 146 Columbia Rd, E2 7RG, London, UK
We chatted with the lovely co-owner and founder Bee Friedmann. A&A stands for Artisans and Adventurers. Bee and her partner Amy Fleuriot believe that every purchase can be made consciously to live a stylish sustainable lifestyle. In addition to their stunning in-house collections of jewellery and homeware, they feature other small brands and designers that they have carefully chosen to prove that sustainable and style is a match made in heaven! From beautiful jewellery pieces to pratical wooden kitchen utensils to cool woven baskets and even eco equipment for your pet, A&A is a green oasis for every stylish urban that lives in London or visits London.
Pablo gets almost all his gifts for friends and family from this boutique as he loves to offer something super stylish and at the same time super conscious. Can a gift be better?
You can take a tour of the boutique and shop here.
So with these three small lifestyle choices and solutions, Pablo shows us just how easy and fun it is to lead a green lifestyle. It’s almost 2017 & time for the new year resolutions, we invite all of you to get inspired by Greenie of the year Pablo and start a more ec0-friendly urban life just like him.
Team UrbanMeisters wishes you all a safe, healthy and greener 2017! Keep on reading our features in 2017 as we promise to help you identify more easy to do and simple green steps that perfectly fit your hectic lifestyle for better health and well-being as well as your personal contribution to a better world.