May 1st, 2007

Saw a lovely documentary about rainforests last night, and thought that we’d pass on some information about what brilliantly splendid ecosystems they are… so check out how you can save them here.


April 24th, 2007

If you don’t currently cycle, you should. Here are all the reasons why it’s great…


April 23rd, 2007

After watching so many people dragging themselves 26.2 miles yesterday, we thought a couple of running tips might be appropriate:

  • To combat stress, reach for your running shoes instead of the TV remote or a chocolate bar. Regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day for most days of the week) and a healthy, balanced, low-fat diet will not only make you feel better but help you to better manage your stress.
  • Always start gently, with a warm up such as a 10 minute brisk walk and some gentle stretches.
  • Pace yourself. It is better to do small, regular amounts of exercise than a large amount all in one go.
  • If you find jogging or aerobic classes too challenging, try some gentler exercises. Swimming, beginner’s yoga, Tai Chi and walking are all good options.

Right Shopping

April 17th, 2007

Know your rights when you shop… here’s some pointers for you to get the most out of what you buy in the UK.

When you buy goods from a shop you are protected by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 which states the items purchased must comply with the following three tests:-

1.) They must be of satisfactory quality. Goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances.

The quality of the goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are aspects of quality:-

– fitness for all the purposes for which the goods of the kind are commonly supplied.

– appearance and finish and freedom from minor defects.

– safety and durability.

The quality of goods would not, however, necessarily be unsatisfactory:-

– where the alleged defect is specifically drawn to the buyer’s attention before the contract is made; or

– where the buyer examines the goods before the contract is made and such examination ought to have revealed the defect; or

– in the case of a contract of sale by sample where the defect would have been apparent on a reasonable examination of the sample.

2.) They must be fit for purpose. This means that they must do the job you have specified you want them for. For instance, if you ask for external masonry paint and are sold internal gloss paint, or upholstery fabric and were sold dress fabric, these would not be “fit for purpose”.

3.) They must be as described. If the packaging specifies double fitted sheet and it turns out to be a double flat sheet, or the packaging states the colour as “Green” and it turns out to be pink, this is not as described.

If your purchases are not satisfactory for any of the above reasons, and they have not been used, you are entitled to a replacement or your money back. You do not have to accept a Credit Note. You are not, however, entitled to a replacement or refund if you change your mind or it does not fit, unless the store in question has and exchange/money-back policy.

I have been asked to point out that “in the event that goods are not faulty or defective in any way or not misrepresented, the retailer is in no way obliged to give a cash refund, or indeed even credit (unless agreement to the contrary was made at time of purchase). As a good will policy many retailers will issue credit and a few will refund cash.”. (Thanks to Tom Burton for this addition)

It is worth pointing out that your contract is with the store from which you purchased the item, not with the manufacturer in question. It is up to the retailer to put the matter right for you and then, they in turn, can take it up with the manufacturer. Don’t be forced to take it up with the manufacturer yourself.

It is often assumed that if an item is wrongly priced the retailer is obligated to sell it at the price shown. This is not the case, the shopkeeper can sell it at the correct price and, of course, you can refuse to buy it. You are however entitled to report the incident to the Trading Standards Officer.

The above safeguards do not apply when buying items privately. It is often a good idea to take someone with you in order to witness the sale, in case of problems later.

Some traders pose as private individuals to evade the requirements of the Sale of Goods Act (secondhand cars for instance). If you suspect this to be the case report the personal to your local Trading Standards Officer.

When buying goods secondhand, all three basic requirements under the Sale of Goods Act apply. Although you cannot expect goods to be in perfect condition they should work, unless you have been told otherwise. If, for instance, you buy a washing machine then it does not work, you are entitled to your money back.

If you intend to buy something secondhand, it pays to do your homework first.

Check the approximate secondhand value of the type of item. This can be done by looking in local papers, Exchange & Mart, store noticeboards etc. It is also useful to know the current price of the same model if bought new.

Try to go to see the object during daylight so you can inspect it properly and get a demonstration if possible.

If it is an expensive item take an expert along with you.


Having made a purchase it is as well to remember –

If you paid by credit card and the goods turn out to be faulty you have rights against the credit card company provided they cost more that £100 and less than £30,000.

If you bought them on hire purchase, they are not actually your property until the final payment has been made and, therefore, if you default with payments the item can be repossessed by the finance company.

If, however, you have paid more than one-third of the total price of the goods then they can only be repossessed with a court order. If the finance company repossesses them without a court order you are entitled to *all* your money back.

If you bought them on credit terms, the goods become your property immediately and, therefore, if you default with payment the finance company can take legal action but cannot repossess the goods.


April 16th, 2007

It’s remarkably warm here in London, which is perhaps why we’re thinking cool. Here are some tips for cooling your home/office, whether with air conditioning or naturally.

  • Use kitchen, bath, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 1 hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off as soon as they have done the job.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside. See also Tips for fans.
  • Don’t place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary – Alliance to Save Energy
  • Keeping the filter and cooling coil of an air-conditioner clean saves up to 10% of energy.

Slow travel

April 14th, 2007

Have a look at Seat 61 for more information about using trains to get around as opposed to flying. Or have a look at Strand Travel for information about travelling on cargo ships. 

Duvet Dancing

April 12th, 2007

Greenpeace has looked into one of humanity’s favourite pastimes and uncovered the passion that can make a difference for our environment. 

Please note that the jokes below are theirs not tiptheplanets… ours would’ve been significantly better.

  • Turn off the lights. We all have to do our part to stop climate change, energy reduction and energy efficiency are an important part of changing our energy culture. If you want to see your partner, or what you are doing, have sex during the day.
  • Passion for fruit? If you like to use produce to get the blood boiling, make sure it is GE-free. There have not been enough studies on genetically engineered foods to know what the effects on our diets will be, let alone the affects of using it for more intimate activities.
  • Oysters and other shellfish can be potent aphrodisiacs, but our oceans are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate – we need to stop plundering for pleasure. Instead you can support sustainable community-based operations in the Amazon rainforest choosing from two popular and plentiful herbal and fruit drinks, guaran and caju, for more than just a clean conscience.
  • Forget the fossil fuel based lubricants like petroleum jelly! Esso’s screwing the planet, but you don’t have to.
  • Role playing games can be fun as long as both partners are consenting and comfortable with the boundaries. So if you and your partner want to dress up and play “George Bush and Corporate America at the Earth Summit” or other S&M style games, agree on what’s permissible and what’s not up front. And remember that games – like fantasies – are not real life.
  • Use Vegan Approved Condoms.
  • Dispose of your various bits and bobs in a place where they won’t harm the planet.

Better late than never

April 11th, 2007

Darn, we meant to point you in the direction of these tips before easter, but failed, so here they are a little late, but still mostly applicable…


Old and smug

April 10th, 2007

Your pension may be buying more than you think. While growing a nest egg for your retirement, it could also be paying for environmental destruction, illegal arms sales or unfair labour practices.

Through our pensions we own over 16% of UK quoted companies. This adds up to £230 billion in stocks. That’s a powerful voice for change if we work together to use it.

Ethical and environmentally responsible pensions are now a real option. Several pension providers have recently launched ethical funds, and many more are expected as a result of new government regulations. Put pressure on your company to ensure their pension scheme is ethical and representative of your morals, not theirs!

To find out more go to: www.fairpensions.org.uk

Not one for the boys

April 7th, 2007

A way of avoiding the toxins related to tampons and sanitary pads is to use a menstrual cup. This has several benefits. Not only is it reusable, but you will be saving money every month by not buying all those disposable products. Furthermore, if you are not buying them then you won’t be needing to dispose of them, therefore sending less to landfill. A menstrual cup is convenient, cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment too. There are cups made from rubber and silicone, however it is thought that the silicone cups are better for those who might have sensitive skin or are allergy prone.

For more information on ladies hygine see Treehugger