Friday, 27 December 2013

Celebrating Yuletide

So, once again both Christmas and Boxing Day have finally passed, with everything that goes with the season! I had a very quiet celebration this year, just staying at home on 25 December and visiting a few family members in Glasgow on the 26th. Although there were no grand parties or enormous family gatherings for me this year, it was a really nice couple of days and I wanted to just share a few thoughts and photos about the festive season this year.

First of all, it was with huge relief that I learned that the Arctic 30 have been given amnesty by the Russian parliament (even though it's an amnesty for a crime they didn't commit!) and that the activists and two freelance journalists are now finally heading home today. Clearly, the fact that they were detained and imprisoned at all is an outrage, and we still need to do a lot of work to get their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, back, but it's still great news that they will be able to get home before the new year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty!

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Great news this week: the 28 Arctic Sunrise crew members and two freelance journalists who were arrested in September in international waters and then imprisoned for two months in Russia have been granted amnesty by the Russian parliament. Obviously this is a huge relief for them, their friends and families, and hopefully it might mean that they can get home for Christmas. However, the reason that they were out there on board the Greenpeace ship was to try to protect the Arctic from oil exploration, and with that there is so much more that needs to be done.

First of all, however, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped put pressure on their Russian embassies for the release of the Arctic 30, particularly friends and family who put up with repeated emails from me on the subject, everyone who came out to the many protests around the world, including here in Edinburgh at the Russian consulate and down in London at the Russian embassy, and those who wrote to their elected representatives to get them freed.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Winter Spice Jam

This autumn, I made my first ever batch of jam and was completely surprised at how easy it was to make really nice homemade jam, so I've been making more ever since! Pretty much every time I realise that I have enough empty jam jars, I get a new batch on the go. I've made pear and apple jam, pineapple jam and last week I tried out making up my own recipe, winter spice jam.


Recipe: Winter Spice Jam


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A taste of Vegusto!

During VeganMoFo this year, I was offered a free sample of a bunch of Vegusto vegan products to review, and so I jumped at the chance! Here's what they sent me in the post:


In case you can't see it so well, the sample includes their No-Moo Melty Cheese, Mild Aromatic Cheese, Piquant Cheese, the Mushroom Burger and Farmhouse Sausage.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Vegan Kind box

This month, I was sent a box from The Vegan Kind to review, which bills itself as "the UK's first monthly lifestyle subscription box for vegans".


In case you can't see from the picure, it included: a small badge, a Crystal Spring travel deodorant, a box of Clearspring miso bouillon paste, a Living Naturally soapnut sample bag, a bag of Goody Good Stuff sweets, some samples of Qi tea and a sachet of Vegg egg yolk replacement.

Friday, 1 November 2013

World Vegan Month 2013 in Edinburgh


Happy World Vegan Month! I thought I would just write a quick roundup blog post of animal rights and vegan events taking in place in Edinburgh this November during World Vegan Month 2013. If I've missed any events taking place that you think should be included, please do get in touch and let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Friday 1 November 2013, 12-2pm: Student Voice for Animal Rights stall in front of the Edinburgh University Main Library.

Friday 1 November 2013, 7pm on: Edinburgh University Vegetarian Society international potluck for World Vegan Day in the Highland Room of the Pleasance Student Union building.

Saturday 2 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Monday 4 November 2013, 6-7:30pm: Talk on the interconnections between feminism and animal rights hosted by Student Voice for Animal Rights at Edinburgh University (DHT Room 8.16).

Saturday 9 November 2013, 12-2pm: EdVeg social at Himalaya Vegetarian Cafe.

Saturday 9 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Monday 11 November 2013, 6-7:30pm: Talk on humane approaches to wildlife hosted by Student Voice for Animal Rights at Edinburgh University (DHT Room 7.18).

Thursday 14 November 2013, 8:30pm-late: Edinburgh University Vegetarian Society's Big Veggie Night Out, starting at 8:30pm in Teviot, Edinburgh University and moving on to the Bristo Bar at 10pm then Opal at 12:30am.

Saturday 16 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Thursday 21 November 2013, 5pm onwards: Vegan Evening at the Bread Street Brasserie, with live acoustic music between 6:45pm and 9pm. I went to the one in September and it was excellent! Advance booking is recommended.

Saturday 23 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Saturday 30 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

And of course, if you're not already vegan, and wherever you are in the world, you can always sign up to one of the many 30-day vegan pledges for this year's World Vegan Month such as those offered by the Vegan Society, Animal Aid and many other organisations.

Monday, 28 October 2013

If I can't bring you to my house, I'll bring my house to you ...

Earlier this year, I sold my much-loved campervan which I'd had for over 4 years to a good friend here in Edinburgh, so I wanted to write a short farewell post with some photos of the places we've been and things we've done together.


When I bought the van, it was a fairly standard Mercedes Sprinter van which had previously been a carpenter's van, and was pretty much empty inside except for some panelling on the lower parts of the walls. I had a lot of help from friends and family around the UK with fitting it out to be a proper, full-time live-in campervan, and I'll always be grateful to them for helping me make it such a wonderful space to live in which is associated with so many happy memories.


 The wood-burning stove was an absolute necessity for getting through a winter in the van in the UK, and although the one I got was significantly larger than what I needed for the space, I got it extremely cheap and it certainly kept the van warm even on the coldest nights! Huge thanks must go to Pete in Cumbria, who helped me put it in, to Cathy who made such a wonderful denim curtain and bedcover for me, and to Geoff who showed me how to make better joints with wood to put the furniture together.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Trying out the Vegg

Last week, I received a free sample of a new vegan product, the Vegg, in the post. It's an egg yolk replacer which comes in powder form, and so far I'm really impressed! The company also included a free copy of their Vegg Cookbook, which is a beautifully put together book of a wide range of recipes (many of them written by different bloggers, so there's a real variety of styles and uses) using the Vegg, including really beautiful pictures.



Unlike many vegans, the last thing which I gave up from my pre-vegan diet was not dairy cheese, but chickens' eggs. Growing up in the south of England, my parents kept chickens in their back garden (long before it became fashionable!), and so did my grandparents. One thing which was always in abundance in our house when I was growing up was fresh chicken's eggs, and they were delicious and very flavourful. Whilst I know now that there are huge problems with keeping hens in your back garden, and that male chicks born as a result of breeding chickens to lay eggs are killed at just a day old, as a child I honestly believed that these hens were our much-loved pets who happened to lay tasty eggs which I enjoyed eating, and the meals we made from those eggs remain linked in my mind to many happy memories. Needless to say, I don't eat chickens' eggs any more, regardless of where they come from, but I still miss the taste of them from time to time.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A couple of sweet treats

This week, I've been making a couple of sweet things using recipes I've found on the internet. One of the great things about being vegan in the twenty-first century is that you can find so many amazing and diverse recipes online to make pretty much anything you fancy! These were two recipes that I tried making for the first time this week:

First of all, I made a chocolate truffle torte using a recipe submitted to the Guardian Readers' Vegan Recipe Swap earlier this year. This was surprisingly easy to make, even though it involved quite a lot of ingredients and different steps. It's really chocolatey, nutty, orangey and delicious, and unlike many vegan cakes which call for silken tofu as an ingredient, you really can't tell it's in there.



Thursday, 10 October 2013

Scandalous Edinburgh!

Yesterday I went on a 2-hour walking tour around Edinburgh, organised by the World Development Movement as part of the 2013 Edinburgh World Justice Festival, which took us to a series of locations around the city linked to the fossil fuel and finance industries, explaining their links to government and responsibility for contributing significantly to climate change. All in all, it was a very informative and entertaining walk around Edinburgh's historical finanical district, and I highly recommend going along if you get the opportunity.


We started in St. Andrew Square, visiting the numerous sites around the square which are linked to finance and fossil fuels, and particularly a number of banks which are involved with bankrolling carbon-intensive, dirty energy projects. A particular highlight was the inside of the building of the Royal Bank of Scotland on the square, which was incredibly beautiful and ornately decorated.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A weekend at VegFest UK in London

Last weekend I went to London for VegFest UK at Kensington Olympia, which was an interesting vegan event that I was really glad I went to. I was amazed to see how huge it was, with over 9000 people attending!


Unfortunately, apart from the photo above, I didn't get a lot of photos myself as they all came out a bit blurry for some reason, but there were a few highlights of the show that I'd really like to share here, and a few photos that other people took of the event I'll include as well.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I do already have quite a collection of vegan cheese in my fridge at the moment, but that didn't stop me making sure I tried as many free samples of the cheeses at the festival as I could, especially as we still don't get a great variety of vegan cheeses up here in Edinburgh yet. I was really impressed with the quality of the different flavours of cream cheese at the Sheese stand, as well as the multiple varieties of Vegusto they had there, and particularly the walnut flavour one. So good!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Post Punk Kitchen Peanut Butter Blondies


I can't quite believe that it's already the end of VeganMoFo 2013! The month seems to have gone by so fast, and there are so many things I was planning on posting that I simply didn't get around to. However, one thing I can say for sure is that taking part this year has really kicked me into gear as far as blogging is concerned, and I'm definitely planning on keeping this blog going as a regular thing.

To finish up, there's one recipe that I really want to share with you that really is a favourite in my home, although it's not one that I came up with myself: peanut butter blondies from the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK). This recipe is so simple to make, and deliciously peanut buttery, it's become a real go-to recipe from my vegan dessert/cake repertoire. Someone on the PPK forums suggested a while back to use chocolate chips as a topping which in this instance I chose to do in addition to the peanuts from the original recipe, and it's so delicious!


Vegans and the badger cull


If you live in the United Kingdom, chances are that you'll have heard something about the badger cull which is currently taking place in south-west England. As I have said before in a previous blog post, I am an ethical vegan, so my concern for animal rights extends well beyond the food that I eat, which is why I think that the badger cull really should be considered to be a serious issue for vegans.

Source: http://badger-killers.co.uk/

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Arctic Activists, Verdant Veg and Baked Beans


This is going to be quite a short post as I'm feeling pretty tired out this weekend and have a lot of work to catch up on after working hard on getting a protest together in Edinburgh to show solidarity with the crew of the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, who are being detained without trial in Russia right now after their ship was illegally boarded and seized in international waters last week. If you could take a moment to write to the Russian ambassador asking for their release, regardless of where you are in the world, I would be very grateful: http://www.greenpeace.org/freeouractivists/

Anyway, back to vegan food! Today's subjects are veg boxes and baked beans (yum):


Thursday, 26 September 2013

What does a vegan barbeque look like?


Before I went to Brazil earlier this year, I had a barbeque party in the communal garden at the rear of my flat, and everything was vegan! It was an amazing afternoon and we had a fantastic time.

Sometimes people wonder what vegans could possibly eat at a barbeque, so I'm happy to share that this is what a vegan barbeque can look like:


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Broccoli, mushroom and sundried tomato pizza



Today, I finally got hold of a book I've been looking forward to for a couple of months now: Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson, published earlier this month, when it arrived at my wonderful local, independent and radical bookshop, Word Power Books. Whilst I was growing up in London, pizza night was always the most excitedly-anticipated night of the week for me, food-wise, and after I went vegan, one of the happiest moments of my early vegan experiences was trying vegan pizza and realising that it could actually be just as good, if not better, than non-vegan pizza. Needless to say, I was super excited about the release of this new cookbook.


Monday, 23 September 2013

The wonderful world of vegan podcasting


Before I went vegan, I never really listened to many podcasts apart from BBC Radio 4's weekly Friday Night Comedy podcast. However, as a new vegan in the midst of trying to learn as much as I could about animal rights and veganism, I began listening to and subscribing to quite a few vegan podcasts. Being a vegan can sometimes feel quite lonely, especially if you don't have huge numbers of supportive vegan friends around, and I've definitely found that listening to podcasts can really help me to feel that I'm part of a much wider community of people who care about animal rights around the world and are doing something to try and change things for the better. I've tried a few different ones, and have ended up with four podcasts that I really like and listen to regularly, so I thought I would share them here with you for VeganMoFo 2013.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Couchsurfing hints and tips for vegans


I haven't posted anything for the last few days as I've been away in England, where I was giving a paper at an Oral History Network conference at the University of Warwick. Normally when I'm visiting that part of the country I will try and stay with my awesome friends Sam and Anna in Birmingham, but as they were away whilst I was there, I ended up staying with someone through couchsurfing.

I have only been a member of the couchsurfing website since 2012, so the vast majority of my couchsurfing experiences have been since I went vegan, and I'm happy to say that so far I've had no problems being either a host or a surfer. There are definitely a few things that I've found have made life easier when couchsurfing as a vegan though, so I thought I'd share them here:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Supporting Vegan Prisoners


I wanted to write this post during VeganMoFo 2013 as it's something I've been thinking about a lot over the last year or so as I've become more aware of vegan issues and animal rights, and last week the blog post I read from the Crabby Crafter about her prison-style serving plates finally prompted me into action.

Those who know me in person will be aware that I am a political activist, although so far I have predominantly active with peace and environmental campaigns rather than vegan/animal rights ones, and this shapes a large part of my life. So much so, in fact, that my research project for my PhD, which I am currently about halfway through, involves interviewing activists in Scotland for their life stories and then working with these to understand more about their lives and campaigns. Some of the activists that I have interviewed have spent time in prison, although most have not. Despite the fact that going to prison is not something that I plan to do at any time in the near or indeed distant future, hearing about other people's experiences has really prompted me to consider how vegans may cope in prison.
 

Say (vegan) cheese!


I just thought I would write a quick blog post as I've just got home from visiting some friends and family in the south of England, and whilst I was down in London I went to pick up some vegan cheese at Vx in King's Cross, as there is a much better selection down there than I've been able to find in Scotland so far. As you can probably see from the photo, it is possible I went a little overboard with the vegan cheese buying:


Friday, 13 September 2013

We need to talk about tacos ...


Have you already heard of the Taco Cleanse? If not, you're missing out!

In summary, for VeganMoFo this year, a group of vegans in Austin, Texas are trying out a new "cleanse" diet for one month, all in the name of science, but rather than just being some kind of liquid/juice-based cleanse, the Taco Cleanse really is what is says on the tin: every meal, every day should contain some form of taco.

In case you need any help understanding how the Taco Cleanse works, Austin-based vegan blogger Lazy Smurf has produced a handy diagram explaining the different levels which participants can aim for, and some of the likely health benefits of doing so:

Credit: Lazy Smurf (http://lazysmurf.wordpress.com/)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

September Vegan Night at the Bread Street Brasserie


If you live in Scotland and haven't yet been to one of the fantastic vegan nights at the Bread Street Brasserie in Edinburgh, I seriously suggest you give it a try! I've been to two so far, one in June and one tonight, and the quality has been superb both times, and very good value at just £15 for a three course meal.

The way it works is you get a menu with three different choices for each course, so you get a decent range of choices as to what you can have. Each of the two times I've been to this vegan night, I've been along with a non-vegan, and they've both been seriously impressed with the choices and the quality of the food.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Enjoying homemade guacamole


One of my serious pet peeves about the United Kingdom is that most of the guacamole you can buy ready-made in shops and supermarkets is not vegan, usually because it has some kind of animal milk product added to it such as cream. This used to annoy me a lot when I first went vegan, right up until I discovered how easy it is to make really delicious guacamole yourself at home, and how much nicer it tastes!

I've tried making a few different recipes from other people online, but none of them were quite right for me, so I came up with this one:

Recipe: Really Easy Guacamole

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Product Review: Organically Yours Vegan Meats


At the Portobello Village Show on Saturday, I bought some vegan meats from Organically Yours, an Edinburgh-based food company specialising in providing for those on allergen-free diets. I bought one of their 'Better 4 U Vegetarian Burgers' and a packet of 'Happy Pig Vegetarian Spare Ribs'. I would be the first to admit that, in the packets at least, they didn't look too appetising:

Organically Yours Better 4 U Vegetarian Burger
Organically Yours Happy Pig Vegetarian Spare Ribs

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Portobello Village Show and Braised Tofu Wraps


I'm back home in Edinburgh! It's really nice to be back, not least because I've had so much cat love already. As much as I did enjoy travelling in Brazil, it's been a real relief to finally get back home to my flat and my own space again after nearly two months away.

For my first day back in Scotland, I didn't do very much except wander on down to the Portobello Village Show organised by Portobello Open Door (POD) for the afternoon. This was a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed the 'Best Dressed Vegetable' competition, as well as some of the great entries for the 'Recycled Pet' competition:


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Cats I met on my travels!


After my last rather grumpy blog post about problems I had getting vegan food with British Airways, I promised something more cheerful next for the Vegan Month of Food 2013, and as one of the suggested blogging topics on the official VeganMoFo blog is to post a cat picture (seriously), I thought I'd share a few photos of some cats I met on my travels in Brazil this year!

First of all, a cat I happened to pass on the road in the Jardim Botânico district of Rio de Janeiro:


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Some jerk ate my dinner! The story of my stolen supper


As you may have guessed from the title, I have some quite strong feelings about the subject of this blog post.

To give you some background, before I went to Brazil, I hadn't been in an aeroplane for over eight years, which was also before I went vegan, although I was already vegetarian by that point. In general, I remember the vegetarian food on board being pretty poor in quality, and having problems getting any vegetarian food at all on at least one occasion.

Despite having this in mind when boarding the plane, on the flight out to Rio de Janeiro with British Airways, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it simple and straightforward to order a vegan meal in advance, but that the food provided was really very good! I enjoyed some excellent couscous and vegetables, a lentil salad, a tomato and vegetable panini and much more besides. However, this post is about the experience I had last night and today on the return trip flying back home from Rio, which was significantly less enjoyable.

Lunch at Vegana Chacara, Rio de Janeiro




Today was my last day in Brazil before I head back home to the UK. In preparation for going back, we had some real Scottish-style weather here in Rio de Janeiro, so I was very happy that I managed to get up the Corcovado yesterday rather than waiting until today!

After yesterday's visit to Vegan Vegan, I had already eaten at two of the three vegan restaurants in Botafogo, so it seemed clear to me that the obvious choice for lunch today was to go to the last one, Vegana Chacara. I didn't realise until I got there that they are sister restaurants with very similar and health-conscious menus, so I'm afraid today's post will be a little similar to yesterday's! However, it was a great lunch and, if anything, I preferred Vegana Chacara to Vegan Vegan.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Lunch at Vegan Vegan, Rio de Janeiro


I've got to Rio de Janeiro safe and sound, where I'm staying with a really lovely family and their two beautiful cats that I met through couchsurfing, which is one of my favourite ways to travel and get to know a city. Carol, her husband Nando and their two children live in a neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro called Botafogo, which is particularly handy for me as there just so happen to be three vegan restaurants in the area. I felt sure that I was going to get along with them from the moment I spotted this stuck to their fridge:


Monday, 2 September 2013

Seeing animals in Brazil


Although this is the Vegan Month of Food, for me it's very important to be clear that, as an ethical vegan, my commitment to animal rights and the impact this has on my life extends well beyond just my food choices. I don't wear clothes made from animal-sourced materials such as wool, leather or silk. I chose to get my two beautiful cats from a rescue organisation rather than buying them from a pet shop or breeder. I try not to use idioms which reinforce ideas about the acceptability of animal exploitation. I don't go to zoos.

This last ethical choice often comes as a surprise to non-vegans. When it comes down to it, zoos don't kill animals in order to function, after all; indeed, they often claim to be protecting them through captive breeding programs and awareness-raising initiatives. I am sure that there will even be other fellow vegans reading this who agree with that view.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

What I've been eating in Manaus



Happy VeganMoFo! This is my first post in what I hope will be a very active and interesting month of blogging about veganism.

Whilst I've been in Manaus in Brazil for the last fortnight, I've been staying at the home of the wonderful Narhuna from Greenpeace with her and her family, so for pretty much all of my time here I've been eating in their house for breakfast and dinner, and having lunch in the canteen of the Greenpeace office, where I have been volunteering during the week.

As being vegan is much less common here than in the United Kingdom, getting vegan food has been slightly harder here than it is in the Greenpeace office in London, where all the food served is always vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options. On the first day I was here, there was very little I could eat in the canteen except plain rice and salad! There is definitely a lesson there in the importance of telling people you are vegan in advance of arriving somewhere that you're not sure what the vegan options will be like.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Importance of Urban Mobility

(Originally posted at: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/groups/edinburgh/blog/letter-brazil-importance-urban-mobility)
More than a month after my last Greenpeace blog post about the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, I'm now finally coming to the end of my trip to Brazil before I come home to Edinburgh. I've spent the last fortnight volunteering at the Greenpeace office here in Manaus in the Amazon, and it's been an amazing and really interesting experience. I will write another blog post specifically about how Greenpeace works in Brazil and some of the things I've been doing here, but right now I'd like to share a bit about a really important local campaign: transportation. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Vegan MoFo is coming!


The Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) is happening in September this year, and I'm going to be taking part for the first time!

So far, I haven't got a specific overall theme, but you can expect vegan food focused posts about:
  • Brazil (especially Manaus and Rio de Janeiro)
  • Travelling by plane
  • Connecting veganism and the environment
  • University life and academia
  • Being an activist and a vegan
  • Connecting veganism and peace issues
  • Edinburgh/Scotland
  • Veg boxes
  • Couch surfing (hosting and being hosted as a vegan)
  • Vegan recipes: old favourites and new discoveries
  • Topical animal rights and vegan issues and news

Plus probably a whole lot more besides!

Any suggestions for an overall theme, or requests for posts about specific things are very welcome; feel free to write them in the comments section below.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Vegan Brazil 2: Pará and Amazonas


In this post, I'll be discussing the kinds of vegan food I've been able to find so far in the Brazilian states of Pará and Amazonas, which both lie in the Amazon Basin in the north of the country. It's going to be quite limited in some ways as the only cities I've spent any significant time in are Belém, Alter do Chão and Manaus, but as I've also spent a couple of days in the forest staying with a family of indigenous rubber tappers and over five days travelling by boat along the Amazon River, I've also had some quite interesting experiences worth sharing.

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to say once again that it really is possible to be vegan and eat well in Brazil, but you do need to bear a few things in mind:

Firstly, most Brazilians that you meet simply won't know what vegans do and don't eat. I've met a fair few who do know what vegetarians eat, but none so far who've known anything about veganism, so you really do need to be prepared to try some Portuguese and be really clear about what you can eat.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Vegan Brazil 1: Rio de Janeiro & Foz do Iguaçu

I guess the first question is: why am I talking about being vegan in Brazil when there are so many other things I could be sharing about the incredible experiences I'm having here? I guess that the answer is that I wanted to write about this subject because, when I told friends, family and even relative strangers about my plans to spend around seven weeks in Brazil travelling on my own, many people assumed it would be very hard or even impossible to both eat well and keep to my ethical standpoint as a vegan here. However, I'm very pleased to be able to say that, so far at least, this definitely isn't the case.

Rio de Janeiro
Refeitorio Orgânico, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro

I think that most foreigners (and indeed most Brazilians too) will be surprised to hear that, according to the vegetarian and vegan travel website HappyCow, there are at least seven vegan restaurants and ten further vegetarian restaurants within the city of Rio de Janeiro alone. Whilst I was in Rio, I visited three of them, and would have gone to more if there hadn't been so much disruption disruption in the city during the World Youth Day, which I wrote a bit about in my last post.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Greenpeace at the WYD 2013, Rio de Janeiro


Right now, I'm in Rio de Janeiro, and have spent most of the last week helping Greenpeace Brazil with our presence at the World Youth Day (WYD) 2013, a Catholic event which has brought hundreds of thousands of pílgrims to the city from across Brazil and from around the world. Despite the name, it actually lasts for a week rather than just a day, and has a diverse programme of events which includes music, debates, religious observance and more.
So why are we here? Well, firstly, in Brazil, Greenpeace is currently focusing on growing theZero Deforestation movement, a campaign which is seeking to bring in a "law by popular initiative" which would bring the current problem of continuing deforestation in the Amazon region to a complete halt within five years once passed. In order to get this law discussed by the Brazilian Congress, we need to get the Zero Deforestation petition signed by more than 1% of the entire Brazilian electorate, which comes to about 1.4 million people. Thousands of Brazilians have already signed the petition, but we need a lot more just to get this law considered by Congress, and a huge number more to show enough support to get it passed.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Olá from Brazil!

Just in case anyone is wondering where I've got to, I have arrived in Rio de Janeiro safe and sound, and am currently staying with some lovely people from Greenpeace Brazil in an apartment a little way out of the city. We're working on the Greenpeace presence at the World Youth Day event (which actually lasts for a week) here in Rio, so I'm being kept pretty busy.

I'll be updating this blog and the one on the Greenpeace Edinburgh website with occasional news and updates about my travels. If I can, I'll upload some photos from my trip too!


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Improvised Counterweight Flying Video, IADF 2013

Last month I went to the Irish Aerial Dance Fest in Letterkenny, and one of the things which I did there was a one-week course in counterweight flying. At the end of the course I did an improvised piece to music, which you can see below: