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Biofuel Powered Flights

In the making of this Ever Conscious, our contributors have frequently cited flying as the single act they feel most guilty about. Since 2008’s Virgin Atlantic flight fuelled with five percent coconut and babassu palm oil, Air France have been flying from Toulouse to Paris-Orly on a 50/50 blend of refined cooking oil and conventional jet fuel supplied by the Dutch biofuels company SkyNRG, cutting in half the CO2 emitted compared to a conventional flight. SkyNRG has since supplied biofuels to KLM, Finnair and Thomson Airways for medium and long-haul flights. As more airlines adopt biofuels, the economies of scale shall result in the price of their production dramatically decreasing, and biofuels could become a commercially viable option for airlines to power their planes.

The carbon footprint of out of season food

On average, in the West, a fifth of a person’s carbon footprint comes from the food they eat. While transport emissions contribute a lot to the carbon footprint of food, other factors make it a little more complex to calculate than simply ignoring all imported fruit, vegetables and meat. If we zoom out to view the issue on a global perspective, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation recently calculated that 18 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are a result of raising livestock — with the industrial rearing of beef causing particular stresses to the environment. However, a locally produced steak will still have a smaller carbon footprint compared to one from Argentina [unless you are reading this in Argentina]. And the same applies to vegetables too. Simply put, the best way to cut down on your carbon footprint is to eat locally produced ingredients in season, preferably sourced from farmers markets or grocery stores than in supermarkets. Websites such as the U.K.’s help calculate your carbon footprint and gives suggestions on how to reduce it.


To remind consumers that their actions can have an environmental impact, the symbol was introduced by GINETEX, the International Association for Textile Care Labelling. Considering that 40 percent of the environmental impact of a garment occurs after purchase, when it’s in the owner’s hands, the symbol, found on the inside label of clothes, is an easy reminder of the ways you should look after your what’s in your wardrobe. By following clevercare’s tips of washing at lower temperatures, washing garments only when they are dirty, using eco-friendly detergents, cleaning lint filters in the dryer, drying laundry outdoors if the weather permits and to iron your clothes at a lower temperature, ensures the longest life for your garments with as little impact on the environment as possible.

Conscious Programming

While Fabiola is seeking to buy airtime from the television networks that broadcast her show, giving her the independence to create content without their interference and so she is not “at the mercy of a network who can shut it down if we don’t have enough viewers,” the revolution in media is an intrinsic catalyst for a revolution of consciousness. A great example is the independent Gaiam TV, a video subscription channel streaming the world’s largest collection of films, documentaries and original programming dedicated to personal growth and spirituality. Its Mind Shift chat show, hosted by Daniel Pinchbeck, was the platform Russell Brand chose to debut his revolutionary agenda late last year.

Deep Sea Wildlife

In deep water, a new creature is discovered every two weeks, and yet we have only explored one percent of the deep ocean. Below the photic layer where the sun doesn’t shine, 200 metres down, there are dazzling arrays of creatures that have developed a number of ways of surviving without photosynthesis. Some of these fish even produce their own light, like the giant Siphonophore which, at 100 metres long, is the largest animal in the world — and is one of the two life forms on Earth capable of emit a red biolumescence (the other being Chirostomias pliopterus, a species of barbeled dragonfish found in the Atlantic Ocean). The very bottom of the ocean bed is home to over 3,000 species of coral, some of which have been discovered to be 4,200 years old. All these magical creatures and the world they inhabit is destroyed daily by deep sea bottom trawling, a fishing technique that strips the ocean floor at a rate that would demolish Paris in a day and a half. For more information, have a look at Penelope Jolicoeur’s witty illustration of Claire’s TED talk on deep sea bottom trawling, and don’t forget to sign the petition!


As the world becomes more prosperous, and increasingly more digital, our appetites for electronics show no sign of abating. Metals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are a vital component for a vast array of electronic devices, especially mobile phones and laptops. They are increasingly the source of conflict in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which possesses 80 percent of the world’s supply. In response, earlier this year, Intel announced their microprocessor chips will be conflict mineral free and many other companies are following suit. Ever Manifesto is a fan of Fairphone, an Amsterdam-based startup that has developed a conflict-mineral-free smartphone running on Android’s operating system — perfect for taking that shameless #selfie.

Farmer’s market and food delivery

While Daniel’s admission that he only eat tomatoes in the summer months may come as a surprise to some — studies have shown that tomatoes grown in hothouses in the U.K. generate more emissions in terms of energy used than transporting a truckload of outdoor tomatoes over from Spain. For modern urban dwellers, the farmer’s market is the surest way to connect directly with the food they are buying, and tracking where it comes from. Whether they be large or small, farmers’ markets bring food direct from the producer to the consumer, cutting out the middle man and therefore many potential transport miles, and encourage the seasonal consumption of local produce. If you can’t find one near you, there are many companies who now deliver weekly organic vegetable boxes direct from the farms to your door, giving consumers the weekly challenge of cooking seasonal vegetables they may never have bought before. Either way, once you have tasted the freshness of a vegetable or fruit plucked from the earth that very morning, you won’t want to go back.

The Four Agreements

In his interview with Ever Manifesto, Andre J. told us that The Four Agreements by the Mexican author Don Miguel Ruiz changed his life when he discovered it in 2003. A bestseller since it was first published in 1997; The Four Agreements draws on the wis-dom of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Toltec culture in order for individuals to find free-dom, happiness, love and peace through accepting the limitations of others. Don Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

Gaia Theory

Much of Daniel Pinchbeck’s philosophy of the ecological crisis being an initiatory process for humanity — a rite of passage we must endure in order to “awaken our inherent solidarity as a species” — is based on James Lovelock and Lynn Margolis’ Gaia hypothesis. First posited in the late 1960s, the theory proposes that living organisms and their inorganic surroundings have evolved together as a single living system that greatly affects the chemistry and conditions of the Earth’s surface, ranging from global temperature and atmospheric content to ocean salinity, in a quasi-automatic, self-regulating manner as if the Earth were a living organism itself.

The Gift Economy

The gift economy may sound like some kind of new fad, but it is in reality, older than the exchange economy that our world currently runs on. In gift economies, the wealthiest person is defined not by how much they have, but how much they give, and gift giving is based on the context of relationships rather than making transactions for profit or gain. The exchange economy in contrast is a barter economy — it relies on exchange of either goods or labour for money. The gift economy was ideal when humans lived in small, interrelated communities where there was no need for exchange. The exchange economy was more practical as humans expanded and travelled and encountered other societies. Yet, in recognition that all of life is connected, we have recently seen forms of the gift economy re-emerge in skill-sharing, open-source coding, time banks and WikiLeaks. Lily’s website provides a forum for people to post their wishes and connect those who can help them. Equally rewarding are the posts that thank others who have helped ­— cooperation and gratitude are just two currencies in the gift economy.


In 2007, it was reported the I.T. industry produces two percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, an amount comparable to the aviation industry. As information technologies are set to ever more rule our world, these huge banks of servers use tonnes of energy to keep them running, so finding a sustainable way to meet our online needs shall become increasingly important. Iceland’s GreenQloud servers, powered by 100% renewable energy sources— hydropower and geothermal energy — cooled naturally because of their location in volcanic Reykjavik offers a glimpse of a fully sustainable I.T. industry. For a small data solution, trying switching to Blackle for your internet browsing needs. Offering the same search functionalities as Google, except against a less energy hungry black background, set Blackle as your homepage to save that little bit extra.

Higg Index

Taking its name from that of the elusive particle present in all of life — the Higgs boson — the Higg Index is an open-source tool for the clothing and footwear industry to measure sustainability across international and often very complex supply chains. Launched in 2012 by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a non-profit organisation founded by a group of fashion companies, academic experts, non-governmental organisations and the American government’s Environmental Protection Agency, the Higg Index not only provides a standard for companies to assess the environmental and social impact of their products, in the future, it will also be used to communicate a product’s sustainability and impact on consumers. So far, the index has enabled more than 100 companies — over a third of the global apparel and footwear market — to identify opportunities to reduce environmental and ethical harm, and improve long-term sustainability throughout their supply chains.


To promote sustainable consumption, I:CO provides the infrastructure for consumers to easily give back the clothes, shoes and accessories they purchased — valuable resources that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Customers can go to any I:CO retail partner such as H&M, Puma, The North Face and Foot Locker, and find a machine that collects discarded garments, weighs them and prints a voucher to be spent in store. Once your old clothes are collected, they’re reprocessed and repurposed into shiny new toys, clothes or insulating down in a cycle that uses only five to ten percent of the water used and CO2 emitted during conventional manufacturing. By rethinking, recycling and rewarding consumers for returning materials back into the natural cycle, I:CO hopes to avoid the rubbish heap.

The Little Sun

Another great example of a socially conscious business initiative is Olafur Eliasson’s The Little Sun. A work of art that works in life, Olafur’s attractive, high-quality solar-powered lamp in the shape of a hand-sized sun was launched at the Tate Modern — where the artist famously installed a giant 30 foot wide artificial sun in the middle of a typically gloomy British winter — in July 2012. Revenue from the €20 light is invested into the sustainable distribution of lamps to some of the 1.6 billion people that live without electricity in a business model that helps create off-grid jobs, support local entrepreneurs and generate local profits.

Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH levels of the Earth’s oceans caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Nearly half of the CO2 released by man into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans where it dissolves in seawater to form carbonic acid, which over time decreases the alkalinity of the oceans’ pH. The pH of the ocean has already decreased by 30 percent, and studies suggest that if we continue emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the same rate, ocean acidity will have increased by 150 percent by 2100. Such a monumental change in the ocean’s equilibrium, one that has not been experienced on Earth for 400,000 years, has potentially devastating consequences for all marine life — and is something to consider next time you leave a light on in a room you’re not using.

One Laptop Per Child

While clean water, food, shelter and clothing are fundamental needs, education is also a top priority for the developing world. With the understanding that knowledge is power, chief designer of One Laptop Per Child, Yves Béhar created a computer that is portable, rugged and inexpensive: the XO laptop. Over 3 million children and teachers around the world use an XO laptop today — exploring, creating, sharing and connecting to the world. Government and ministries of education are working together with One Laptop Per Child to give their future generations opportunities for growth that have not been previously imaginable. This year, the Rwandan government recognised the effort by putting XO laptops on the country’s 500 franc bill.

Rainforest Action Network

Founded in 1985, the Rainforest Action Network is an environmental organisation whose mission is to protect both rainforest ecosystems and the indigenous people who call these forests home. Through education, non-violent action and campaigning, the Rainforest Action Network hope to transform the consciousness of global consumers and businesses. Not afraid to challenge corporate power, some of the world’s largest companies — including the Bank of America, Citi and Home Depot —  have committed to the Rainforest Action Network’s efforts to save the forests from harm. The Rainforest Action Network brings together environmental and human rights groups in over 60 countries with whom they organise grassroots initiatives and education to respond directly to the issues that threaten the rainforests, such as the deforestation of Indonesia from Palm Oil plantations and logging for paper.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
and refuse

This year, the Plastic Pollution Coalition launched its campaign #resolve2refuse, urging consumers to stop using single-use disposable plastics like bottles, grocery bags, straws, cups and lids. By asking people to sign the Resolve to Refuse pledge and follow the 4 “Rs” of sustainable living — refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle — the goal is to create awareness of the amount of unnecessary and harmful plastics that end up in our ecosystem and food chain. For a start, replace certain daily products with their non-plastic alternatives — an easy one is to carry a reusable canvas bag like a tote. In one year, a single person’s dediction to this small act will keep between 400 and 600 plastic bags out of the landfill. Decide to only buy juice and milk in reusable glass bottles. Every little step makes a difference.


Urban Bee Hives

Cecilia Dean and David Selig have been keeping bees on the rooftop of their Red Hook apartment for the past six years. “They are amazing creatures to observe; especially when visiting them on New York rooftops that offer expansive views of the cityscape and its waterfront,” David tells Ever Manifesto. “The honey is a direct link to the terroir, though I did not start keeping them for that pleasure alone.” Through pollinating different plants in a search for nectar, bees play a key role in the inception of as much as 40 percent of the human food supply worldwide. Yet in recent years, a combination of pesticides, air pollution, habitat destruction and global warming has led to a dramatic reduction of bee colony numbers worldwide — a phenomenon that has led Harvard to create a colony of flying robotic bees as an artificial countermeasure. David’s approach is much more traditional; by breeding “generic, hardworking” American honey bees that have since “intermarried with some Italian Carniolans” and with “a wave of Russians [having] jumped into the genetic pool,” David’s ultimately created a “stronger queen bee for the environment.”

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