Its a new year, and its time to learn even more about living in balance with nature in the city for health & well-being.

We know our GLL community members are already doing their best to live in balance with nature, with respect for our environment, & we salute you!

We’re currently planning some nice workshops & events for you to enjoy in the coming months, & we’re looking forward to celebrating nature with you at our beautiful location on the Vrije Universiteit (VU) campus.

In the meantime, check out these great tips from Outsider Magazine to help you streamline your green!

http://outsider.ie/lifestyle/lower-your-carbon-footprint-tips/

We look forward to seeing you at The Green Living Lab in 2018!

 

Is your phone sabotaging you?

Based on recent statistics, chances are you are reading this on a mobile device. Thank you, and let me tell you why you would rather you didn’t.

You have probably heard all about the crazy amount of time we spend on our phones and how this kills human interaction. Sure, it was much better once upon a time, when you would look strangers in the eye and shake hands to prove your sword stayed at home. Frankly speaking, criticising the impact of technology on interpersonal communication is too easy. Let’s focus on something else instead – the impact your phone usage might have on your personality.

Now that I have your attention, this is what you stand to lose through excessive phone use:

Your Balls

iHunch

In her insightful book “Presence”, Amy Cuddy discusses in length how body posture can affect assertiveness and confidence. Among the numerous studies she undertakes, one focuses on posture while using a mobile device. For most of us, checking our phones means automatically hunching and looking down (hence the term for this posture –  iHunch). Whereas the occasional hunch might seem harmless, research shows that spending time in a “powerless” posture leads to increased cortisol and decreased testosterone production. As these two hormones play a vital role in our assertive behaviour and stress perception, the hunch could actually cause you to feel less bold over time and hinder your reactions to novel and challenging situations. The good news is, you can reverse this effect! An obvious solution is to stop checking your phone that much, but if that is a stretch – make sure you have the most upright and expansive posture possible while using your device. For more tips on using your body posture to enhance confidence, I would highly recommend reading Amy Cuddy’s book.

Your Romantic Mysteriousness

Before I started consciously limiting my smartphone usage, I used to instinctively grab my phone in any situation where I would have to wait, where I would have to be alone, or when I was so nervous I did not know what to do with my hands. The idea that we are using our phones to avoid uncomfortable feelings is not new. It is human nature to seek an escape from discomfort or threat. Putting your phone down will not change that.

However, as an admirer of all things poetic, I must inform you that while escaping into your phone, you are missing out on learning the following beautiful skills:

Waiting

One of the saddest things phones have done to us is to create the expectation that something needs to be happening all the time. A moment of silence feels like a moment lost. A slow day feels unproductive. But the good things in life take time, and knowing how to expect them is one of the most underrated beauties of life. The moment before something happens – before your lover arrives, before your alarm clock rings, before the rain starts – is when life happens. Losing this ability to just be still and wait will make you, frankly, tragically uninteresting. Stop this from happening by not grabbing your phone next time you are waiting for someone to show up – look around instead. Notice the sky. Breathe in. Breathe out. Take a walk around the block and come back. The beauty of the moment is fragile – open that app and it’s gone.

smartphone

Losing Yourself

Ten years ago, before I was a smartphone owner, I was a paper map owner. A proud one. Finding myself in the beautiful city of Vilnius at the time, I was planning my daily route in the mornings only to end up losing my way by lunchtime. There was no Google Maps for me to turn to – there were people. And, actually, this is how I got to know the stories of the places I was looking for, rather than just their locations. Not that the internet doesn’t offer this knowledge, but the way you remember a story being told to you is not the way you remember reading a Wikipedia article.

10

Constant reliance on Google Maps takes away the serendipity of life. Consider all the side streets you have never seen and what gems they could hide. Frankly, unless you live in a super dangerous place (in which case, please don’t follow my advice), you will be fine without a map. Grab some comfy walking shoes, a camera (optional) and leave your phone at home. Take the longest, most winding route to where you want to go. If you need directions, ask someone or look for a bus stop – there are always maps of the area on there. Now get lost!

Are there any other beautiful life skills you know of that are under threat of modern technology?

Let us know and let’s figure out how to protect them together! Contact me here: kristina@greenlivinglab.org

  1. http://bgr.com/2016/11/02/internet-usage-desktop-vs-mobile/
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/283138/millennials-daily-mobile-usage/
  3. https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-youre-hiding-from-when-you-constantly-check-your-phone

When you are on the go, it is easy to forget that the little things you do can have a big impact. Take that cup of coffee you pick up at the café on the way to work; have you ever thought about where it goes after you’ve had your morning pick-me-up? And what about the multitude of other people who also grab a hot drink whilst they are out and about? In the UK alone, 8 million disposable cups are thrown away every single day [1], and globally 500 billion cups are produced and used [2]. Many of these cups are a mixture of plastic and paper, making recycling in the regular way impossible; in the UK, only 1 in 400 of these cups is recycled [1].

As students of the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge, we decided we wanted to do our bit to combat this waste, and came up with the idea for a Reusable Cup Month. Other initiatives have taken place in the form of Kill the Cup Challenge; for one month in 2015, students at several universities in the US were challenged to bring reusable cups around campus [3]. For us, the idea was to pledge to only use reusable cups for the month of November. Working together seemed to be the key here, as the waste generated by disposable cups is something that we all contribute to.

We teamed up with CollAction, a crowdacting platform set up to combat “collective action problems”, and which enables people to come together around issues they care about, to create a bigger social impact. The Reusable Cup Challenge seemed to fit perfectly. We launched our project, and 33 eager participants signed up to take part.

As it’s nearly the end of the challenge (last day already!), I thought it would be myteacollectionnice to check in on some of the people who took part to talk about our experiences doing the challenge. For me, I used my cup primarily in the office at work. It was also super handy for bringing my breakfast into work. This challenge really made me more conscious of how much I waste on an average workday, also by buying snacks at the train station. In the office I brought in a stash of loose leaf teas… so no more tea bags! I also learnt the hard way that it is important to have your cup on you at all times; some places serve drinks in throw-away packaging even when you aren’t taking away, which can catch you out!

Some of the others who took part also started noticing the other throw-away products that are common in their everyday lives, and took steps to combat these as well. There was also some interest from other people who noticed the reusable cups (often because of how cool they look!). Their experiences are included in the “Our Stories” segment of this article.

We are all going to keep up this challenge, and you can also give it a go! Reusable cup brands such as KeepCup and ecoffee cup are great options, or you can grab your favourite mug to take on the go. You will love it!


Our Stories

“Hi Everyone! For me it’s going well! I was actually already using my KeepCup for all the outdoor coffees I bought (and if I may be so arrogant, feeling fabulous doing so, since everyone’s always asking me where I got it), but this challenge was an extra spark for me to go all the way. I must admit I wasn’t fully successful though, with the hardest struggle being the coffee machine at my work. It should be able to recognize a mug, but it usually doesn’t work for me and still spits out a paper cup. I’ve been asking all my colleagues how this works and tried every tip I heard, but still no success. At least I got everyone thinking about it, I guess.” Roos

“I went to Bagels & Beans and it was no problem there! At my school it’s also easy to put my own cup in the machine. I noticed also that they use a lot of plastic forks and paper plates for lunch and soup at school, so I try to re-use them and keep them in my bag haha!” Amy

“I bought a ecoffee cup (made from bamboo) for this challenge! (and beyond of course). It’s been super super easy. Also because the coffee cup is just super pretty. We are trying to get these cups for sale on the UvA, especially made for students with an UvA logo, so we can promote the use of reusable cups. The students will get a small discount! It’s not final yet, but I have good hopes that this plan will work.” Alissa

“I almost never drink take away coffee or tea and at my job I can just use the reusable glasses that are there. However, my boyfriend drinks a lot of take away coffee so I convinced him to do the challenge and bought the Ecoffee cup for him in his favourite colour. He was really happy with it and is using it every day:) this challenge also made me more aware of the amount of plastic we use especially also at Crea café where I work. Instead of putting plastic cups at the water bottles I tried to convince my colleagues to use the reusable glasses. And I also try to come up with other alternative to waste less plastic like not using plastic butter cups.” Sheila


CollAction is an online platform which serves as a place to launch crowd-acting campaigns. Crowd-acting aims to bring people together to take part in initiatives that will be best solved with community action. Check out their projects and start your own here: https://www.collaction.org/

The Green Student Bootcamp Challenge is an initiative run by the Green Living Lab. It offers workshops that teach students about a wide range of topics related to sustainability, from permaculture and organic composting to waste management and social entrepreneurship. The program is offered in Amsterdam in the spring. To learn more, follow this link: http://greenlivinglab.org/our-programmes/green-student-bootcamp-challenge-2016/


References:

[1] The Guardian. 2016. Caffeine hit: what happens to Britain’s 3bn empty coffee cups? Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/15/coffee-cup-britons-3-billion-so-few-recylced

 

[2] CHOICE. 2017. Let’s grab a coffee – billions of them. Available from: https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/drinks/tea-and-coffee/articles/are-takeaway-coffee-cups-recyclable

 

[3] The Red & Black. 2015. Kill the Cup campaign challenges students to bring reusable coffee mugs. Available from: https://www.redandblack.com/uganews/kill-the-cup-campaign-challenges-students-to-bring-reusable-coffee/article_fe23f902-82a5-11e5-b2aa-7333dfdb7365.html

Winter is coming! The days are getting shorter, and you feel like sleeping longer.

However, at the Green Living Lab, we’re not going to sleep!

Come and warm yourself by our rocket stove, and enjoy the events we have planned in our Winter Wonderland.

Event times and content are subject to change, so please check the event info here on our Facebook page.

Winter Programme

Meet in nature & make merry at The Green Living Lab!

Plan your office meetings, events and borrels in the dome and enjoy our stunning location in Zuidas Amsterdam.

All bookings in November or December receive a 25% discount.

For info please email: dome@greenlivinglab.org

#borreltijd #biophilicoffice #naturedesks #futureofwork

Meet in Nature

Compost a la Carte

De koude wintermaanden staan weer voor de deur, een tijd om gezellig samen te zijn. Tijd dus om een gezellig diner te plannen met je lief of met je familie!

Bij Restaurant As en Scandinavian Embassy kun je heerlijk eten en als je nu een diner boekt bij deze lokale voedselpioniers help je daar ook mee om de stad te verduurzamen. Beide restaurants gebruiken een wormenhotel van onze collega Le Compostier om hun GFT-afval te verwerken tot mooie wormencompost.

De compost wordt gebruikt voor voedselproductie in de stad. Als je nu een diner bekt maak je het mogelijk dat meer restaurants een wormenhotel kunnen uitproberen.

Restaurant As en Scandinavian Embassy gebruiken de beste ingrediënten van lokale producten en werken naar een circulaire bedrijfsvoering.

Ondersteun deze ambitie en boek nu nog jouw exclusieve diner via de crowdfunding op:

www.voorjebuurt.nl/projects/wormenhotel

 

Crowdacting at The Green Living Lab

CrowdAction: Green Student Bootcamp Challenge

#GreenStudentBootcampChallenge students are launching an initiative to inspire positive environmental behaviour while enjoying a cup of coffee on the go!

Did you know that most disposable cups cannot be recycled? 

When you are on the go, it is easy to forget that the little things you do can have a big impact. Take that cup of coffee you pick up at the café on the way to work; have you ever thought about where it goes after you’ve had your morning pick-me-up? And what about the multitude of other people who also grab a hot drink whilst they are out and about? In the UK alone, 8 million disposable cups are thrown away every single day [1], and globally 500 billion cups are produced and used [2]. Many of these cups are a mixture of plastic and paper, making recycling in the regular way impossible; in the UK, only 1 in 400 of these cups is recycled [1].

Practical Solution 

Thankfully, we can cut down on our waste production without cutting out coffee completely! Reusable cup brands such as KeepCup and ecoffee cup are great options, or you can grab your favourite mug and bring it with you when you are out and about.

Crowdacting with CollAction

“If 30 people sign up to stop using disposable cups for one month (November), then we will all commit to switching to reusable cups.”

Students have proposed a crowdaction where they will replace their disposable cups with reusable cups for all of their takeaway drinks for one month (November). They hope to not only change their own behaviour by taking part in this challenge, but also inspire others to grab their funkiest mug from the counter and take it out on the go to reduce their personal waste.

Students were inspired to launch their initiative on the innovative CollAction platform. Ron van den Akker, founder of CollAction and a guest speaker at this year’s Bootcamp Challenge programme, informed us how this online platform enables people to come together to take initiatives for positive social impact. Check out the great initiatives on the CollAction website, get involved or start your own initiative!

Join Students in Their CrowdAction & Help to Make a Positive Impact Together!

To participate, please sign up here:

https://www.collaction.org/Projects/Details/67

 

[1] The Guardian. 2016. Caffeine hit: what happens to Britain’s 3bn empty coffee cups?

[2] CHOICE. 2017. Let’s grab a coffee – billions of them.

An interesting documentary about the situation in the UK is ‘Hugh’s War on Waste: The Battle Continues’, Episode 3.

 

We still have some spaces for university students who’d like to learn about #SmartWaterManagement at this Friday’s #GreenStudentBootcampChallenge .

Be informed about water as a precious urban resource & hear how you can make a positive environmental impact by following your own smart water practices at home, in your neighbourhood or at work.

Stephanie Kuisma, Consultant with the International Water Resources Association, will lead an interactive information session on our water footprints.

Irene Poortinga, Community Manager with Amsterdam Rainproof will tell us how the fantastic Amsterdam Rainproof initiative works to foster smart water solutions in Amsterdam, to ensure we live in a rainproof & climate-change resilient city.

Irene will then take us for a peek at a ’Polderdak’, an innovative smart water green roof located in our Zuidas neighbourhood, & realised by partners including De Dakdokters, TU Delft, Waternet & Amsterdam Rainproof.

To apply for a place, please email us by 12pm this Thursday 14th September with a copy of your valid university card with photo ID: info@greenlivinglab.org

 

This year we created 2 semesters for the Green Student Bootcamp Challenge 2017 programme in order to cover an extended growing season and to give more students the opportunity to take part.

It’s now possible to sign up for our autumn semester, beginning on Friday 8 September with a worm hotel workshop by Le Compostier so you can experiment with recycling your organic waste at home. 

Spring Action: Our spring semester included 5 sessions with experts on themes including germination and growing plants at home for food,  sowing seeds in the city for people, plants & pollinators, permaculture, biophilic design & integrating nature with urban planning, tiny homes, a creative cooking action with rescued “ugly veggies”,  and lots of time was spent learning to observe natural patterns and processes in our organic garden. With help from spring semester students our organic garden is now packed full of veggies and we look set to enjoy a bumper harvest when making vegetarian food for the students’ graduation party on 6 October.

Summer Challenge: Green Student Bootcamp Challenge students have been given several challenges to complete over the summer months that can be completed wherever they are. One of our summer challenges is a collaboration with the crowd acting platform CollAction, where students are tasked with organising their very own crowd action project, to be completed in September. We’re looking forward to seeing what the students decide to do in order to effect positive social action.

Autumn: Our autumn programme includes sessions with experts on composting, life in the soil, growing mushrooms at home, how to take initiative, textile recycling, the circular economy, smart use of urban natural resources including rainwater, a tour of an innovative green roof & The Co-creation Challenge, where students will work together to create functional beauty at the Green Living Lab location.

The autumn semester has 5 sessions on Friday afternoons (14.00 – 17.00) on 8, 15, 22, 29 September & the graduation day takes place on 6th October.

Applications: All university students are welcome to apply, from all study disciplines.

Cost:  €35 per student for 5 sessions (the entire autumn semester) or €9,50 per student for individual sessions.

If you’d like to participate we’d love to hear from you! Just email us at  info@greenlivinglab.org for info on how you can join the Bootcamp party!

#GreenHealthyStudents #GreenLivingLab