Why I Refuse to Travel to “Insta” Destinations

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Not just because I want to be more environmentally aware / active, but hype for no reason other than a few thousand Retweets and a couple comments suggesting it is “goals” is repelling. For those who know me personally, they will know I have a habit of commenting on most popular trends which have no explanation as to why they have become so widespread. Today, my chosen topic for scrutiny is viral travel destinations.

The admiration social media users have of travel hotspots has actually caused some issues. These problems are not Tweeted about so much…

Swamped Santorini

The prime example of a “Twitter Holiday” (not an official term, but one which fits the point) is Santorini. I was sick of seeing:

“Omg 😍 NEED to go”

“Me + my boo + this sunset = GOALS”

“I guess Heaven does exist…”

Well, something along those lines anyway. Over the past couple years, my timeline has been bombarded by ‘influencers’ who know how to provide a pretty aesthetic. The volume of content which contained videos of the, I must say beautiful, Santorini sunset over the distinct whitewashed buildings was surprisingly high. I say surprising because I found it to be slightly random. Why was everyone obsessing with Santorini all of a sudden?

Overwhelmed

Whatever caused the viral yearn for a week in Santorini, it has caused a huge spike in visitors to the island. From their perspective, it may have been seen as an opportunity to boost the economy. However, is the weight of pros heavier than its binary opposite? It does not seem so.

The small island has not been able to deal with this unexpected surge of tourism. Although it was already one of the most popular destinations in Greece, the number of tourists that visited in 2018 and 2019 was much higher than usual. According to Greek Travel Pages, Santorini saw more than 2 million visitors by the month of November. The island saw 1.7 million after the entirety of 2017. We are talking nearly half a million more visitors than the previous year. As a result of this, the island has put a cap on visitors to the island. Greek City Times picked up a remarkable statistic which tells you all you need to know. They mentioned that on some days, there were up to 18,000 visitors descending from cruise ships alone. There are approximately 15,000 people who live on the island…

Nikos Chrysogelos, a Greek politician and environmentalist, fears that Santorni (and the entirety of Greece) do not have the infrastructure for the fast-growing tourism in the country. No European country has seen this growth of tourism in the past decade (Telegraph, 2018).

Think Before Travelling

It is all well and good seeing the world. We all want to do it. Our planet is a wonderful place with many memorable sights and experiences to be had. Don’t be selfish. ‘Overtourism’ will damage the ecology of our most admired destinations. Are you really serious about the environment if you contribute to the issue? Are you really the caring, rational, considerate millennial you shape your social media to reflect? Are the aesthetics for a good Instagram photo more important than the livelihood of those who live in these exhausted destinations?

Where to Now?

Like most trends, people got over it. I no longer see the views of Santorini every third tweet. Influencers have moved onto the next place…

…Kyoto, Dubrovnik and Venice just to name a few.

Overtourism is an issue not enough people are aware of. It’s not an easy one to get across because travelling is something which the majority wish to do in their lifetime. There is a whole world out there and it’s almost crazy to not want to explore it. But, is it worth damaging the environment and ecology of admired lands for the sake of “living your best life”?

Think about the actual destination before you think about your Instagram.

Kids Would Rather Eat an Apple from Tesco than the Apple Tree

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I had an interesting discussion of recent. It revolved around the power of branding – in particular, high street branding. It was around the idea of trusting the products you purchase. Consumers tend to trust products with a particular label on it. In fact, they are more likely to trust a product with any label on it. Let us delve deeper…

Washing the Brain

Capitalism has allowed for there to be a face on every single item you purchase in your weekly shopping. In other words, when you are shopping for groceries, whatever product you are buying there is already a brand that you go to without even thinking about it. For example, butter is next on the shopping list and, without even thinking about it, the Flora packaging is what your brain is telling you to look for (or whatever butter is your preference…maybe even margarine).

Brands have unlocked a door in the human brain which allows them to control how you percept them and almost implant their image into your mind. David Eagleman, a well-known neuroscientist, offered the idea (in his fantastic book ‘Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain’) that you do not remember such actions of the day because your brain is so accustomed performing that action, it does not require your conscious mind to be aware of it taking place. Actions such as opening the front door when you come home from work. Do you remember that action at any given time? Do you even think about it? The answer for the majority is ‘no’. It’s embedded into your brain that this is just something you do.

This trust in branding has a major impact on pricing, and the worst part is people would still pay ludicrous money for something which has many cheaper alternatives. For example, I recently went to Homebase looking for a few things I could use to clean my car. The brand Karcher popped up many places. However, when looking at the specifications of alternative products, they were exactly the same, if not better, than what Kaucher offered. Yet, Kaucher products are significantly more expensive. In fact, there was a man looking for the exact same product as I was and he picked up Kaucher without thinking twice about it. It’s amazing how our trust in brands has us spending our money oh-so illogically.

Parenting

I believe big brands have done the same thing…or at least similar. In particular, the names which have been around a long time, before our generation. The majority of our parents are not as actively aware of marketing tactics as we are. They easily trusted brands because there was a lot less competition. The internet wasn’t really a thing, it definitely was not as commonly used as it is now. That trust was passed on to us when we were younger. We shop at a lot of the same places or follow a lot of the same brands as we have grown up with them. For example, if I was to purchase some fish fingers, I would always go to BirdsEye without thinking twice about it. I’ve grown up with seeing BirdsEye in the freezer, therefore I’m accustomed to seeing that and lean towards them when looking for fish fingers.

Back to the Question…

…if a child saw an Apple fall from an Apple tree, would they pick it up, take it inside, wash it and then eat it? Or would they leave it because the Apple’s from Tesco come in a fresh clean packet, which is how they are used to receiving their Apple’s?

Is the reason kids prefer the Apple’s from the supermarket because of our parents? And their sub-conscious teachings of brand loyalty?

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Make Earth Cool Again…

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You see the wildest, craziest, almost unbelievable science and gadgets on the internet…and they really can be cool AF! You see them used for life hacks, fun in the name of science, even complete random nonsense. But, can fun science and engineering be put to better use? Can we use them to make Earth cool again?

In this article, we will take you through a few modern revolutionary items which could be used to create a much more sustainable environment.

This isn’t just an article as to why it could improve our planet, it’s the direction we must go. The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) was the biggest step we have taken so far into globally agreeing the actions we must all take to save our planet. There were many challenges discussed and many actions to defeat them, but the most significant agreement to have been made at COP21 is that we must not let the planet temperature rise another 2 degrees Celsius. By informing and engaging less-developed countries, as well as agreeing actions within individual nations (such as bans on petrol and diesel cars in many countries), the leaders, the businesses and the people of their respective nations will be doing their part in saving the planet.

As per my last blog article on the current state of our planet (Earth is Dead), I shifted a lot of blame on those in power; whether they be government or private companies; but COP21 will ensure everyone plays a part in providing and relying on more efficient energy sources.

While the plans and actions have been agreed, there’s only one place where we can exceed those expectations and really give ourselves a boost in the mission to save our planet… Science and Technology! And guess what, they’ve already started! Here are three revolutionary products, created by the art that is engineering, which can change the world and give us a MASSIVE boost!

OohoSkipping Rocks Lab

To be honest, I don’t know how this hasn’t taken over the majority of packaging materials. This is a game changer. I don’t understand how this isn’t talked about. I’ve told a lot of people about this and yet it seems to be the case that I am the only one who was actually aware of this.

Notpa – Ohoo Water Orb

If this is news to you, which I can guarantee it is for the majority reading this, Ohoo is an ‘alternative’ material for packaging. It’s not plastic. It’s not even paper or metal. It’s seaweed!

The product was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab and is sold by Notpla. Notpla plan to lease the machine used to produce Ooho’s to relevant stakeholders and customers. For example, if an events company wishes to use Ooho’s to create little sachet’s of sauce or food, then Notpla will provide this. Ooho’s are 100% biodegradable and take around 4 to 6 weeks to “disappear”. It’s been used to create little orbs of water, in an attempt to remove plastic bottles from shelves. A single orb can hold around 20ml to 150ml worth of product (primarily liquids). Head to Notpla’s website to find out more.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is amazing? If this can be developed further and produced on a mass scale, it wouldn’t just reduce the production of plastic and its use for packaging, it could completely replace it! Now you know what I mean when I say it’s a game changer. However, maybe Ooho’s are not so talked about generally because of how undeveloped they still are. They can only be used for very small packaging at the moment, but I am certain that they will become hugely significant in the near future. We would really be reaching our targets as a planet if we do have a strong focus on the use of packaging and Ooho’s will be a very strong start to that. Plastic is very harmful when being disposed of, but the production of plastic is where it really causes damage. If you think of where and how plastic is used, you’ll realise how dependant we currently are on plastic and how the need for Ooho is essential.

Tesla SolarTesla

Tesla Solar – Roof Tiles

So simple yet so clever. Many people are already aware of this product. It’s actually taken off amazingly well in America. To put it simply, Tesla have designed roof tiles which have incorporated invisible solar cells. The best part is that it’s actually a cheaper alternative to slate roof tiling. In fact, it offers different materials and slate is one of them!

Tesla’s batteries are already renowned for their efficiency and use of sustainable energy. The solar tiles are integrated with their Powerall home battery which means you are able to rely on your own produced energy and use it as and when you wish to.

Why is this huge? Because it means we wouldn’t have to rely on massive power plants to power our homes with more expensive and less sustainable energy. Tesla have already taken this international, but it’s about adapting this to the existing, rather than just new homes/buildings. It also begs the question of what new ways we are able to share energy.

Tesla Solar is the first major effort, that I have seen, to change the way homeowners/residents use and gain energy. I mean, obviously solar panels already exist and have done for a while, as well as other renewable energy sources, but Tesla Solar is the first time I’ve seen someone push for sustainable energy as a ‘norm’. It makes the current method of energy-use look somewhat ‘old’. It’s kind of like a “get with the programme” statement.

Bamboo

Bamboo is often used for architecture – Bali (shown here) are well-known for this

An overlooked resource. Bamboo is natural, grows quick and easy and can be used for tons of stuff inside and outside a home! It also absorbs greenhouse gases and grows anywhere and everywhere! I think people need to realise how incredibly useful Bamboo can be. It’s a tough material. It’s used for scaffolding in many parts of the world, in particular East Asia. But not only can Bamboo be used for beneficial tools, it can also be used for luxury items, such as decoration, ornaments, etc.

In all honesty, engineers should take this resource and let their imaginations run wild with it. If any professional region is going to turn this highly reliable, hugely sustainable material into something beneficial for everyday life, it’s them.

In Fact…

…It’s our engineers who have accelerated our journey to a sustainable planet as they are the ones who innovated such game-changing products and the ones who have put our natural resources to efficient use.

Our hopes of the future lie in our scientists and our engineers. Developing and growing such ideas like those in this article are what can help the planet achieve our mission from COP21 and can help us ‘Make Earth Cool Again’.

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Earth is Open to Suggestions

What innovative products/materials should be used at a higher volume, or should have higher funding and focus, to help develop a more sustainable environment? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Elon Musk: Hero or Villain?

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I first came across this idea back when I was a student. In one particular lecture, my professor asked the question “Is Elon Musk really trying to save the planet or is he exposing a hot topic for profit?” Those who thought he was a hero stood on one side of the room, the others on the opposite. It was 50/50. I thought (and still do) that Elon is the hero we’ve been looking for, but the result of that question genuinely had me surprised. In this article, let us explore both arguments.

Who the Hell is Elon Musk???

He’s the man of the hour. He might just be the man who saves us. He is his own franchise (not sure if that’s the right word here). He’s not only an entrepreneur, but he’s also an engineer, an investor and an all-around genius.

He’s the co-founder of PayPal, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Tesla as well as the founder of, my personal favourite adventure of his, SpaceX. These are not the only companies he has founded by the way, just the ones which are more commonly known amongst the general population. He’s the CEO of three of those companies. He has a net-worth of over $20 billion. He’s made it on to two of Forbes most prestigious lists: ‘21st in The World’s Most Powerful People (December 2016)’ and he is the ‘40th Richest Person in the World (April 2019)’. If you want a more detailed background on the man, check out his Wikipedia page.

In this article, we are going to look at his three most recognised successes: PayPal, Tesla and Space X. It will talk about why or why not they may be beneficial to the future of our home. It’s time to decide whether Elon Musk is our saviour or our super-villain.

PayPal

PayPal logo

Not a great amount can be said on PayPal in all honesty, aside the fact it is contributing to the whole ‘cashless society’ movement. It was an early move from Musk, more of a start-up to fund his more recent projects rather than going straight for the sole purpose he conveys.

The whole cashless society idea, which I believe is estimated to be lodged around 2030, is a movement which can really benefit the environment. The printing of cash will be a thing of the past and so intangible monies will significantly reduce the resourcing and use of paper.

However, PayPal incurs fees for commercial purposes for sellers. It’s a fair amount too but there’s many variations, dependant on geographical location, which you can see here (Finder, 2019).

Now, the question is here is: Is Elon Musk passionate about advancing towards intangible cash to reduce paper-use? Or is he using this reasoning to take advantage of the extra costs of using card-payments, whilst applying his own fees, for higher profit?

Tesla

Tesla are the automotive and energy company who are really on the come up. The quality of their vehicles is second-to-none. Although founded in 2003, it is only recently that Tesla are becoming quite the popular name.

Why are they popular? It’s because of the efficiency of their products. Tesla cars are entirely electric, yet they are still as powerful, beautiful and luxurious as your top-end car brands (such as JLR, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, etc). Only once have I sat in a Tesla car, but oh my is it quick! It’s easy for me to drift on a tangent here and talk about why it’s probably the best brand in the motor industry right now, but let me stick to the point here. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say Elon Musk has changed the industry by focusing on electric motors, as many other car manufacturers are also taking the route of electric (and even hybrid) vehicles, but he is certainly accelerating the rate of pace in which electricity-run motors are taking over our roads by producing the best quality product through the only well-known car manufacturer who do not rely on fossil-fuels.

Tesla Logo

Who knows where this might lead. It could come to the point where Tesla are the leading brand in the industry and so other car brands would have no choice but to accelerate their own pace of throwing out the oil-run motors and relying on electricity. It would lead to public transport relying on electricity too. It might even expand further than the roads. Our boats on the waters and our planes in the air could all follow in the footsteps of Tesla.

However, there is another side to this. Does Elon Musk want the others to follow Tesla?

A forum on Quroa suggests that Tesla does not supply their batteries to other cars. This is because Tesla’s technology is different. They’re ahead of the game. Their batteries/chargers wouldn’t be compatible with other cars, or even if they were, would not work as well. By offering better product which is more advanced tech than your competitors, and by keeping in-house and quiet, it will give you a distinct advantage in the industry and will definitely induce profit even though they are not selling it.

Does Tesla want to take over? Do they not want their competitors to succeed? Do they want to get so far ahead they kill them off? Do they want 100% of the market share? ALL the profit? Do they want to be just like Apple in their quest of world domination?
Or do they really want to create efficient motors and be the only ones to do so? Does Elon Musk think he’s the only one with the “right” vision and doesn’t trust the others in following that path?

What do you think Elon is trying to do with Tesla?

SpaceX

SpaceX Logo

SpaceX, supposedly, is here for space exploration, transportation and developing space technology. They’ve developed a rocket (Falcon 9) which is “re-usable”, and by that I mean it doesn’t just fall off into the sea it actually lands back on Earth and can be sent up again.

But you know what their mission statement is? Their “ultimate goal” is to enable people to “live on other planets” (SpaceX, 2019). In other words, even though Elon Musk is trying to save this planet, even he knows it’s f****d. In my eyes, SpaceX is a programme to get us the hell out of here before it’s too late. It’s his ‘Plan B’. Just watch this video and you’ll know what I mean:

Elon Musk’s vision for Mars

He wants to send people to Mars by 2024. You know why? Because once that step is done, and considering the pace Musk’s companies develop at, there won’t be many more steps before people can actually live there. Recent discoveries from NASA have suggested that there once may have been life on Mars, with some ice under the surface having been found.

How could Musk possibly be using this programme as a venture for profit rather than an escape plan? There’s not much against it, in all honesty. I might be saying that because I am, admittedly, slightly bias. I love his work. The only argument I could possibly think of is that he’s exposing an industry which only he is capable of being successful in. He has the finances to fund such a venture, as well as the advanced technology to actually have a massive presence there. The longer they stay there and develop their technology, and potentially exceeding NASA, it turns into a bit of a monopoly. NASA will have no choice but to buy from SpaceX (they’re already putting their astronauts on Falcon 9) because if they don’t, SpaceX will do it themselves. They have the knowledge, technology and, at some point, will definitely have the money. They’re either a threat or friend to NASA.

It’s difficult to suggest that SpaceX is some sort of “exploitation”. It’s nothing close to that in my eyes. Yes, it is guaranteed profit; if you factor Musk’s technological ability, his financial stability and his excellent entrepreneurial skills; but you need that if you are going achieve a mission which people don’t think is possible for DECADES! The big money is essential if he is going to achieve that goal. But I guess you could always ask ‘will he ever achieve it?’

YOU DECIDE

Is Elon Musk a hero or a villain? After reading this, it would be great to hear what you think of Musk and his projects!

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and give us a follow while you’re there):  

Earth is Dead.

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Regardless of our efforts, our planet is doomed. The only ‘green’ which is important to this world is money. The life of a business is more important than that of a breathing organism. This is something I have said for a while, to be honest. But recently, I’ve been thinking about the current state of the environment and I have realised more than what I had previously thought.

It’s not only what I have read, watched or heard; but things I have noticed in everyday life. The change in weather and exponential rise in concern are probably the most noticeable. However, one thing I have also realised is that, as consumers, it’s not so much our fault anymore. In fact, I’m not sure if it ever was.

Commercialism has killed us…

…Not just physically, but our minds too. Corporations are the biggest reason for our planet’s death. Who do you think makes all the plastic bottles? Who delivers them? How do you think they deliver them? They definitely do not use fuel burning big metal machines…right? I mean if they do, them machines definitely breathe pure clean air………right?!

But the worst part is we’re made to believe that we should be more responsible. Recycle your plastic, cans, paper and glass boys and girls. We’re not doing enough. Our grandkids are not going to see old age because this planet will be inhabitable and that’s our fault…apparently. Us consumers and workers are the reason for the death of our planet. WRONG. The polls don’t lie, as you can see here. We only buy the rubbish material or the thing with excessive packaging because that is what you give us. We can only use plastic bags because that is what you give us. It’s very easy to lose plastic bags. We can’t use public transport (in the UK anyway, and other nations with privatised public transport) because it’s an extortion. We end up driving old, less efficient cars because, for many, that is all we can afford.

The problem is not the consumer. To those who believe the people need to do more, there is little more we can do than the efforts we currently make. But we’re blinded by constant content which all repeat the same message of “protect our planet”. But the big name corps are the ones who should be taking most of the responsibility here.

Old McDonald has a…

…massive franchise which mass produces beef (if you didn’t know, cows are a significant contributor to CO2 emissions due to the large amounts of methane they produce), mass distributes bad plastics, builds itself in pretty much every town and city, and so much more.

Amazon are another fine example. Have you ever ordered something small from amazon, but it comes in a box which really does not need to be as big as it is? Or uses loads of “protective” plastic (e.g. bubble wrap)? Yeah, I have too.

The number of trees cut down for resources is somewhat frightening. The lack of control of the waters is dangerous. We all know how polluted our waters are. They’re like that because only 3% of the ocean is actually protected. This article from Richard Branson tells you the importance of protecting our oceans.

“Our Planet”, narrated by the great Sir David Attenborough and can be viewed on Netflix, really puts it all into perspective. A really touching piece of work which tells you how commercialism is killing Earth. It’s sad. It’s sad because it’s all true. And the worst thing is, a lot of it we already know, but we don’t know the scale of it.

Supermarkets are actually an area for other companies and brands to look up to. Brands, like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, are currently in the transition of replacing plastic bags with recyclable bags. By 2020, non-recyclable plastic bags should be a thing of the past. Morocco is a nation who have gone a step further. They have banned plastic bags and have replaced them with bio-degradable ones. Game changer- the rest of the world should be taking notes.

We have until 2030

#EarthDay has just passed, but our attention should still strongly remain on the future of planet Earth. This is a plead to the big guys up in their leather chairs and fine wooden desks. Do more. We do our part. Experts say we have until 2030 to do something about climate change, so do something.

Harming our planet because it’s the cheapest way to carry out your business is not ethical. It’s too common. Use electric transport for delivery. Find an alternative for plastic packaging. Stop dumping in the seas and, in fact, control them. Use your excellent marketing and strategy teams to get us consumers involved in your movement.

Make a change to your business and save us.

Follow the socials…

#FollowTheFlock and get involved on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages! And remember, you #HerdItHere.