Books to help you take the plunge for Zero Waste

I live in London- a city swamped by disposable coffee cups, cute little plastic straws sticking up out of cocktail glasses and offensive amounts of plastic wrapping on every item in the supermarkets. When I first moved here, plastic bags in shops were still the norm, and the disdain in the city for the environment was obvious.

Things have changed in just a few years. Plastic bags are now subject to payment (with the money going back to community groups), sustainable eateries and schemes are popping up left right and centre, commitment to bicycles has gone up even further and, since the recent televising of Planet Earth II, David Attenborough’s series has dominatingly convinced London that plastic straws have to go- as well as a current scheme to prevent plastic bottle use by introducing public use water fountains.

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From Book to Musical: Hamilton in London

I read Ron Chernow’s Hamilton only recently, after months of good intentions and months of fears about the size of the book and its resulting capacity for use as a weapon on the London Underground. It’s a hefty tome, but I didn’t notice the pages going by- Hamilton’s story appealed to me as an immigrant, but his flaws and imperfections are both neither hidden nor undercut; Chernow’s portrait of Alexander Hamilton is one of a man living through some of American history’s most extraordinary moments- but just one man, nonetheless; flawed and imperfect like the rest of us.

Booking tickets to Hamilton in London was an event in itself. I booked tickets for my boyfriend and I in January 2017, for a show in March 2018. At the time, I remember telling him that if we weren’t still together at that time, he would be the person not attending. He was offended, though mostly because my faith in our relationship appeared to be quite thin.

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Travel Writing for the Rest of Us

More and more lately, I find myself immersed in travel writing, a sector that appears filled to bursting with totally ordinary white men trying to bring perspective to the world. This isn’t a criticism—much of the writing is beautiful and nuanced, but as a tiny woman, often I don’t really feel that I belong in their stories. Over the past decade, I’ve travelled to lots of different places, from Iceland to Azerbaijan and Mexico to Argentina—and I think, as a woman often travelling alone, my experience is very different to the easy confidence of a lot of travel writing.

Let’s face facts: travelling looks like paradise in Instagram photos, but in reality comes with the hefty weight of multiple challenges, some of which are felt much more bluntly depending on the traveller. Women travelling alone face inherent risks, especially in places where women’s rights are less developed. People who are disabled are rarely accounted for in guidebooks, and it’s only in recent years that I’ve seen guidebooks offering recommendations and advise for LGBT travellers. People with illnesses that may need management, people with young children, people of colour—the world of travel writing, in its efforts to broaden our view, sometimes narrows people down quite a bit.

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A Reader’s Guide to Repealing the 8th

In 1983, the people of Ireland went to the polls in a referendum to amend the Constitution of Ireland. 66.9% of the population voted to approve the 8th Amendment, which would recognise the equal right to life of a pregnant woman and the unborn. In 2018, after 35 years of surviving the realities of the 8th Amendment, the people of Ireland returned to the polls and voted to repeal it.

Ireland has long been known as among the last bastions of unborn protection in the western world. Across the world, the repeal of the 8thwas seen as a ‘blow to the church’, a surprise from a ‘largely Catholic country’ and ‘a quiet revolution’. It was all of these things, but it was also none of them.

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