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10 sustainability influencers you should be following in 2021

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Sustainability female influencer checking the label of a product
Content creators that are practicing what they preach have higher engagement on social media

Sustainability has been popping up on social feeds for a while.

From creators sharing tips on how to save the planet by upcycling your wardrobe, to food lovers advocating for the end of food waste. However, you can’t trust all social media hashtags these days – as posting a photo of yourself holding a recycled paper cup captioned #conciouslifestyle, while sporting tons of plastic accessories, doesn’t turn you into an eco-warrior.

Here are 10 sustainable influencers that are practicing what they preach. They are using their platforms to share actionable hacks and ways to live a more balanced life in 2021. After hearing about their quality content, you will know you should go and follow them as soon as you finish reading this article.

 

The entrepreneurial Influencer

Lindsey McCoy @plaineproducts

While living in The Bahamas, Lindsey McCoy noticed all the plastic bottles washing ashore and, after taking stock of the amount of plastic she was using in her own life, Lindsey made a concerted effort to stop using single use plastics. She had trouble, however, finding plastic-free bathroom products and realized her opportunity to make a difference. In 2017, North Carolina-based McCoy joined forces with her sister to start Plaine Products, a line of vegan, natural body care items that arrive in reusable, refillable aluminium bottles. Once empty, customers can return bottles to be cleaned and refilled. Her interest in learning more about the impact of plastic on our landfill led Lindsey McCoy to get involved in plastic pollution research, so she spent last summer aboard a plastic research sailing vessel.

 

The green chef

Max La Manna @maxlamanna
Low-waste chef, award-winning author and host of multiple BBC Earth food shows, Max La Manna is a 32-year-old chef who uses colourful plant-based recipes to encourage people to be more mindful about food waste while cooking. As most of us have been in the kitchen more often, thanks to waves of lockdown around the word, this influencer is rapidly growing on social media. In January 2020, he had 97k followers, and by September 2020 his profile had grown a following of 135k. This growth has only increased as the pandemic has continued. By May 2021, the influencer had reached almost three quarters of a million followers (730k and counting).

 

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A post shared by Max La Manna (@maxlamanna)

 

The minimalist podcaster

Host of a weekly show about eco-friendly living, minimalist parenting, and incremental lifestyle tweaks toward sustainability, author Stephanie Seferian aims to make sustainability accessible and easy. A former teacher turned full-time content creator, she interviews specialists to demystify eco-friendly living for the average,
overwhelmed parent on her podcast Sustainable Minimalists. This is definitely one to tune into to learn more about reducing waste and reliance on plastic, and how to become a more conscious consumer.

 

The fashion-conscious influencer @haifazakariaa

Dubai-based digital content creator, Haifa Zakaria, balances fashion with posts about minimising plastic use, encouraging recycling and sustainable fashion, and where to find brands that are conscious of the environment and animal ethics. She produces this aspirational content to her 77k+ followers. Check out Haifa’s story highlight ‘Earth’ on her Instagram page to find sustainability content that is updated on a regular basis.

 

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A post shared by Haifa Zakaria (@haifazakariaa)

 

The vegan expat @mostlyamelie

Amélie Gagne is a Canadian sustainability and wellness blogger based in Germany.

Her blog www.mostlyamelie.com features ethical living, veganism, and wellness travel. She also offers recommendations and tips on health, eco-living, sustainability, and wellness. Besides creating content about living a healthier and greener life, the influencer also shares occasional recommendations about living in Berlin as an expat, a city she has called home for five years now.

 

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A post shared by Amélie (@mostlyamelie)

 

And here are five sustainability influencers, from different parts of the world, recommended by our readers:

 

Good for your planet and your mind
“I highly suggest you check out @TimFerriss. He posts new videos almost weekly on his YouTube channel that cover various topics on sustainability
and self-improvement. If you have the time, you can listen to his podcast as well! It features several powerful and successful people from a wide variety of professions who share their philosophies and vulnerabilities while Ferriss deconstructs their habits, traits, and routines. There’s a wealth of lessons to be taken from them that will influence both your mind and heart.”

Matthew Paxton – Founder at www.hypernia.com

 

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A post shared by Tim Ferriss (@timferriss)

 

The young activist we should be listening to

“As editor of a website on sustainability, I believe there can hardly be a better sustainability influencer than the young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. She doesn’t influence like most others do, by locking us into a silent, socially unresponsive cycle of endless consumerism of click-through ads; she influences by acting, speaking, and appealing to the decision makers. But she also teaches us that no age is “too young” to understand the catastrophic consequences of climate change.”

Silvia Borges – Chief Editor of sustainability website at www.enviromom.com

 

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A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg)

 

Living with less
“As a warrior for social equity and an advocate for sustainability, Francesca Willow desires to bring some clarity on the best methods to utilize for a more ethical lifestyle. She not only has an incredibly informative Instagram page, but her blog is a treasure for anyone searching for a holistic approach to sustainability. The most important idea I learned from her is that we don’t need expensive products to live a healthy and sustainable life; the products we need are all around us.”

Caroline Lee – Co-founder at software development www.cocosign.com

 

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A post shared by Francesca Willow (@ethicalunicorn)


Sustainability works better when fully integrated
“One of my favourite sustainability influencers is Besma, a Paris-based lifestyle influencer. Her blog, Curiously Conscious, talks about essential eco-friendly shortcuts and makes sustainability feel effortless. She tries to document her clothes swaps and visits to eco-villages, sustainable spa hotels, and organic food markets. She also promotes small organic brands on her profile.
One thing that I have learned from her is how to integrate sustainability into all aspects of life: food, travel, fashion, and beauty as well”.

Miranda Yan – Co-Founder at software development company www.vinpit.com

 

Advocating beyond sustainability

“The best sustainability influencers in my opinion are Emma Slade Edmonson and Claudia Ayuso. Not only do they both promote sustainable fashion, but they use their platform to advocate for climate change and charity fundraising to help those without a voice. They both possess an active presence in the sustainable clothing sector and are looking to use these platforms to make social change for the better.
Their environmental advocacy is by far my favourite and I look forward to seeing their posts regularly on social media.”
Umarah Hussain – Outreach Specialist at Marketing solutions agency www.surgems.co.uk

Sustainability

Barcelona launches awards for sustainable digitalisation projects

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The initiative was announced today during the presentation of the new 2023-2027 Strategic Plan at Barcelona City Hall.

Mobile World Capital Barcelona has announced the launch of international awards to recognise the best innovative projects in sustainable digital transformation. The Foundation will reward the public or private proposals that are best aligned with compliance with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.

With these awards, MWCapital aims to take a step towards highlighting the role of technology as a driver of change to generate a positive impact on society and the economy and, therefore, on the planet. This is also reflected in the development of the maxim that will govern MWCapital’s activity, which goes from Technology Matters to Humanising Technology.

This launch took place today at the presentation of MWCapital’s new Strategic Plan, which was attended by the Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, the Minister of Enterprise and Employment of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, and the new Minister of Digital Transformation of the Government of Spain, José Luis Escrivá, who has recently joined the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Also participating were the Director General of GSMA, Mats Granryd, the CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., John Hoffman, the President of Fira de Barcelona, Pau Relat, and the CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Francesc Fajula.

Since its inception, Mobile World Capital Barcelona has been a pioneer in showing how technology can improve people’s quality of life and contribute to the overall well-being of society. The Foundation will focus on Tech4Good, promoting technological projects and scalable digital services that have a mission to generate a positive impact on society and the economy; Digital  talent, promoting the generation and attraction of digital talent so as to position Barcelona as the benchmark in this field, and technology transfer, occupying a unique space in Europe in the ecosystem of initiatives to support the creation of scientific spin-offs.

During the presentation, Francesc Fajula, CEO of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, and John Hoffman, CEO and Director of GSMA Ltd., announced the first strategic alliance to confirm the city of Barcelona as a benchmark in the field of sustainable digital solutions.

Technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics will be explored to develop scalable projects and to face the challenges linked to technological progress in society.

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Sustainability

10 European cities awarded by EU for plans to reach climate-neutrality by 2030

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Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, in Sweden, is one of the cities awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities | Photo: Mike Kienle

10 European cities have been awarded the Label of the EU Mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, one of the EU Missions in Horizon Europe. The EU Mission Label is an important milestone as it recognises the cities’ plans to achieve climate-neutrality already by 2030 and aims to facilitate access to public and private funding towards that objective.

The cities that have received the label are: Sønderborg (Denmark), Mannheim (Germany), Madrid, Valencia, Valladolid, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zaragoza (Spain),Klagenfurt (Austria), Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Stockholm (Sweden).

The EU Mission Label is an acknowledgement of the successful development of Climate City Contracts, which outline the cities’ overall vision for climate neutrality, and contain an action plan as well as an investment strategy. Cities co-create their Climate City Contracts with local stakeholders, including the private sector and citizens. A first group of cities presented their Contracts in April 2023, which were reviewed by the Commission with the support of experts, including from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Following a positive review, cities receive an EU Mission Label, which is intended to facilitate access to EU, national, and regional funding and financing sources, in particular private investment.

In total, 100 EU cities participate in the EU Cities Mission, with 12 additional cities from countries associated to Horizon Europe. 

The Commission, through the Mission Platform, will continue to support cities with hands-on advice and funding programmes, such as a €32 million pilot programme combined with a twinning programme. Another call for pilot cities with a budget of €20 million is currently open until 6 November. 

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Sustainability

How does solar energy work and why to use it?

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Solar panels in a house
More than 1.3 million UK homes have solar panel installations, according to the latest MCS data

 The impact of the climate crisis has never been more evident, with flooding, rising sea levels and high temperatures now becoming common occurrences on national news.

But renewables are a relatively unfamiliar technology, which means that we first need to raise awareness about how they work in order for people to feel comfortable using them. In this post, we explore solar energy – how it works, how you can use it at home, and why you should make the effort to switch to green energy.

How does solar energy work?

Solar energy is probably the most well-known form of renewable energy, but it’s massively underutilised. In fact, some research suggests that in just an hour and a half, the amount of sunlight that hits the earth could actually power the world for a year.

To harness the power of the sun, we need to use solar panels, which capture the sunlight (solar radiation) and then turn it into power that we can use in our homes. A conductor material in the panels, such as silicon, releases electrons when exposed to light, which in turn produces an electric charge. This then creates a direct current, which is passed through an inverter to create an alternating current – the type of electricity we use in our homes.

The difference between solar PV panels and solar thermal panels

When most people refer to solar panels, they tend to mean solar photovoltaic panels (PV panels) which we’ve outlined above, but there are actually two types. Solar thermal panels are made up of tubes or panels filled with water and glycol. They harness solar energy, converting it to heat.

The fluid is then pumped around the solar thermal circuit, which goes through the hot water cylinder used for the house. So, they do not offer solar electricity, but rather solar powered hot water, which can be used for washing as well as heating a property.

How can we get solar energy at home?

Solar PV panels can either be placed on a residential property, for direct use by the homeowner, or they can be part of a solar farm. If you have solar panels on your home, you’ll use solar power first, before topping up your electricity supply from the national grid. UK homeowners can also take advantage of the Smart Export Tariff, allowing you to sell back any excess electricity you generate but that you don’t use to the grid.

Alternatively, if you’re renting, don’t want to or can’t have solar panels at home, you can choose a renewable energy supplier to provide you with your electricity. Whilst there’s no way of ensuring that only green energy flows into your home, these renewable suppliers will put more green energy units into the grid mix, increasing the overall percentage of eco-friendly electricity – so you’re essentially voting for clean energy with your money.

What are the benefits of solar energy?

Cut your carbon emissions

The most significant reason to choose solar energy is that doing so can slash your carbon footprint, reducing your impact on the environment. Your installer will be able to advise on the best solar setup for your home, based on the orientation of the property, size of the roof and how much energy you’re likely to need. Whilst solar panels won’t be able to provide all of the necessary energy for your property all the time, there’s something satisfying about running your devices on energy that isn’t harmful to the planet.

Reduce your bills

Generating your own solar energy can help you cut your energy bills at home, both because you can use the energy directly and through the Smart Export Tariff. You’re simply making the most of the geographical orientation of your property, utilising a previously untapped resource to generate power for your home. In a time where energy bills are notoriously high, this is a welcome idea for many homeowners. Whilst there is the initial cost of the panels to consider, in the long run, you’re likely to end up saving money.

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