News & Land

Par défaut

Une petite présentation ?

Solène est brune, discrète et passionnée d’audiovisuel.

Héloïse est blonde, bruyante et s’endort devant les écrans.

Mais lorsque Solène rencontre Héloïse en classe préparatoire, le duo prend forme au fils des heures passées côte à côte. Après la prépa, Héloïse s’engage dans des études de philosophie et de droit de l’environnement tandis que Solène se dirige vers la communication et le marketing. Quatre années après leur rencontre, elles décident de prendre une année de césure pour créer un projet de toutes pièces : News&Land.

Pour tous ceux qui ne connaissent pas encore votre projet, comment est ce que tu résumerais votre aventure ?  

News and Land c’est une aventure un peu folle mais simple : un voyage 100% électrique pour aller à la découverte des initiatives de développement durable, en Nouvelle Zélande.

Comment est ce que cela vous est venu à l’idée ?  

Solène et moi nous sommes rencontrées en première année de prépa. Après, on a bifurqué chacune de notre côté : moi dans le droit de l’environnement et Solène dans le cinéma et la photographie. J’étais partie du constat comme quoi beaucoup de gens, même sensibilisés, ont beaucoup d’idées préconçues sur les questions environnementales. J’ai essayé d’y remédier en mettant mes cours en format vidéo de 2 minutes et en essayant de rallier d’autres élèves de mon cursus au projet. Un soir, Solène m’a proposé qu’on fasse quelque chose ensemble. Mais pour que les gens s’intéressent à nos vidéos, il nous fallait une histoire. C’est de là qu’est parti l’idée du voyage en électrique. On a pensé à l’Europe du Nord, mais on ne voulait pas renforcer l’image typique de la Scandinavie très écolo et toujours en avance. Solène a proposé Nouvelle Zélande, où un voyage en électrique prenait tout son sens : je n’aurais pas fait un voyage en électrique en France mais là-bas c’est vraiment le terrain rêvé, notamment parce que plus de 80% du mix énergétique est issu de sources renouvelables.

 voatur.jpg

 

Quel est l’impact principal que vous espérez avoir avec votre voyage ?

Il y en a plusieurs. Tout d’abord, on souhaite soutenir un mouvement de citoyens néo-zélandais qui promeut les véhicules électriques car la situation de leur pays est vraiment idéale. La densité de population est faible : seulement 4 millions de personnes dans l’ensemble du pays ! Leur mix énergétique est très propre avec plus de 80% provenant des énergies renouvelables. Et pour couronner le tout, le réseau électrique est assez solide pour supporter 3 millions de voitures.

Ensuite, le but du voyage est aussi d’aller à la rencontre de gens qui agissent dans différents secteurs du développement durable et leur donner plus de visibilité. En mettant en avant toutes ces initiatives, on espère participer à la création d’un réseau qui les relie et leur permet de s’entraider. On cherche aussi à éventuellement inspirer des futurs entrepreneurs à l’étranger avec toutes ces idées.

discussion

 

Et une fois rentrées, comment est ce que vous voulez valoriser la matière brute que vous aurez accumulée ?

On a un partenariat sur place avec une agence de statistique pour pouvoir leur fournir des indications sur les endroits en manque d’infrastructures et sur les capacités réelles de notre véhicule en fonction des conditions météos et autres critères. Etant donné que nous allons notamment être accueillies par des particuliers qui utilisent des voitures électriques, l’idée est de les inciter à participer également à cette base de données.

A notre retour, toutes les images et témoignages que l’on aura rassemblés nous permettront de créer un documentaire. Des projections de notre reportage à la Sorbonne et dans nos villes respectives sont prévues. Avec le versant plus « blog de voyage » on espère toucher un public jeune et pas forcément sensibilisé aux questions environnementales.

La transmission, c’est un élément central de notre projet. C’est pour ça qu’on a aussi mis en place un partenariat avec des collèges en France et en Nouvelle Zélande. Les enfants français ont écrit des lettres pour les néo-zélandais et partagent des contenus sur le sujet : « un geste du quotidien pour réduire son impact sur l’environnement » .

Pour toi, qu’est ce que c’est que la mobilité propre ?

Déjà, c’est des transports comme le vélo ou les transports en communs et le covoiturage. Je ne sais pas exactement à quoi la mobilité propre ressemblera, mais je trouve que le discours actuel présente trop l’électrique comme solution miracle.

Certes, on part en van électrique en Nouvelle Zélande, mais uniquement parce que dans cette situation précise c’est une solution vraiment bénéfique. En France, avec notre mix énergétique, d’autres solutions pourraient être beaucoup plus logiques. Pour le paysan du Larzac, il y a d’autres alternatives plus adaptées comme le bio fuel par exemple !

plein

 

Sinon, est ce que tu pourrais partager un peu plus sur le processus que cela a été de construire un projet pareil ?

 Au tout début, on est parties d’un projet assez vague. On s’est ensuite inspirées d’autres voyages comme Trêve, Cycle to recycle ou EcoSailing. Après, on a commencé à tâter le terrain en rédigeant une brochure que l’on a distribué au salon    de l’auto pour voir les réactions et le degré d’intérêt des concessionnaires automobiles. On a eu des très bons retours, suite à quoi on s’est lancées dans la rédaction du dossier de sponsoring pendant environ 6 mois puis au démarchage. On a décroché notre premier sponsor au bout d’un an. Une étape importante a été de convaincre les acteurs en Nouvelle Zélande pour vraiment évaluer la solidité de notre projet. On a même été publiées dans les médias là bas !

Et enfin, le plus crucial : trouver la voiture. On a fini par décrocher notre véhicule vraiment in extremis, notamment parce que le van aménagé convertible n’existe pas encore ! Par chance, une entreprise de location de campervan, JUCY, était en train de travailler sur un prototype et nous a proposé de tester le véhicule.

fin

Pour suivre leur aventure :

fb.pngFacebook :  News & Land

instaInstagram : newsandland_in_newzealand

siteSite internet (en construction) : newsandland.com

MY EXPERIENCE OF MENSTRUATION IN NICARAGUA

Par défaut

“¿Heyling? »

I looked up from the class attendance sheet to scan the classroom for Heyling, a student at Los Talleres de Colegio Roberto Clemente in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua.

« Hoy no vino, profe, » chimed a few of Heyling’s friends, stating without detail that Heyling had not come to school that day.

« ¿Otra vez? ¿Y eso? »

I said aloud, frustrated at Heyling’s third consecutive absence that week. Heyling’s friends muttered amongst themselves, looking unsure of whether or not they should answer.

« ¿Está malita o qué? Tenemos un examen el viernes, díganle que lo tendrá que hacer, sí o sí. »

While I was the youngest teacher at Roberto Clemente, and actively trying to earn the unofficial title of the coolest teacher – la profe más tuani – I wasn’t about to be the pushover teacher. Heyling would have to take the Unit 4 test on Friday with the rest of the class, despite missing the days leading up to the it. Without a doctor’s note, it was school policy that I could not excuse a student from completing their work or any sort of examination.

Heyling’s friends rushed my desk and were hovering over me:

“ Tenemos que contarle algo…es de Heyling… »

These girls looked worried and upset, and needed to tell me something about Heyling…which in turn worried me. In a place like Ciudad Sandino, safety for a child was always at risk, even and especially in their own homes. Many of my students lived unstable family lives, and even those in the most stable families were not immune to the effects of real, material poverty that plagued the former refugee tent city where we all lived.

I looked up at the girls, and tried to read their worried faces. They knew it had been Heyling’s third absence that week, which would also make her eligible to receive some sort of disciplinary action from her homeroom teacher, for whom I collected afternoon attendance. Disciplinary action was not usually grave, but did involve letters being sent home to parents.

The girls kept their voices hushed, saying that they couldn’t tell me here, not there in the classroom.

« Es que…bueno…pues…Heyling…bueno, tiene la regla, por eso no pudo venir hoy…y no creemos que venga hasta que…bueno ya sabrá, profe. »

And there it was, the reason that Heyling had missed three days of school and would miss even more according to her friends: Heyling had her period. La regla – my students had whispered it when they said it, as if it were a bad word. As I shuffled my students back into class and began the lesson, there was a sense of hush over the room that you really didn’t often find in a classroom full of 14 and 15 year olds. Heyling’s friends sat down, still looking concerned, and even the other students in the room had knowing looks on their faces. Everyone knew exactly where Heyling was, and what’s more–everyone was ashamed on Heyling’s behalf.

In Ciudad Sandino–and other materially poor cities and towns throughout Nicaragua, I’m sure–girls missing school due their periods is commonplace. In fact, missing out on daily life tasks and duties, like work and school, due to la regla was normal not just for girls, but women. I had several coworkers that would mysteriously disappear around the same time every month, taking sick time to live what every single woman in the world lives on a monthly basis. And yet, for such a common reason for missing work or school, admitting to having your period was something that brought my students and coworkers sheer and utter shame. They whispered the word – la regla – as if it were dirty, punishing and made them less.

I won’t lie – having a period every month is not something I look forward to, nor is it something I find particularly amusing. However, having a period reminds me I am healthy, I am strong in Mother Nature’s view, and most importantly, I am a woman. Do I shout it from the metro:

« BONJOUR À TOUS, I HAVE MY PERIOD TODAY!!! »

No, of course not. But am I ashamed to lend or ask for a tampon to a fellow sister of womankind in the bathroom? Am I worried to admit to friends – regardless of whether they have ever had a period or not – that I’m not feeling up to drinks because my ovaries are throbbing and testing my will to live? Do I skip school or work for fear of colleagues finding out I have my *gasp* period? No, no and no. Perhaps I’m lacking a good dose of self-inflicted shame in my life, given my feelings surrounding those questions, but I don’t envy (nor do I judge) the women that answer yes to any of those questions. Instead, I’ll say that it seems unfair to answer yes to those questions–why should we feel shame, hide our bodies’ monthly routine, or miss out on life? Especially, for something that is natural and ultimately not up to us whether it happens or not.

Heyling missed class because she had her period. In Nicaragua, feminine products – pads and tampons – are quite costly, especially in comparison to the high rates of unemployment and general low wages. The only places you could get pads or tampons in Ciudad Sandino were the mini-Palí grocery store and a handful of pharmacies…and when these venues were out of feminine supplies, Ciudad Sandino was out of feminine supplies. Going to the store to buy pads or tampons involved being watched by men – whether friendly neighbors or the more worrisome men that lingered on corners to hiss and smack their lips at any and every female that walked by. Going to the pharmacy for these products meant paying a premium for the brands we may find in our own Carrefour or Monoprix. These were feats my students and coworkers did not want to face, and more often than not, could not face given their precarious financial situations.

And so they would miss out on school, football games, work, life. Women would use rags or just try to stretch the life of a tampon inside them, putting them at risk for TSS. Girls would wear pads for days without changing them, unable to come to school because of the smell, exacerbated by the heat. Menstruation—as normal as having a runny nose or sore foot—was not sustainable…it was stopping women from basic life tasks.

In Ciudad Sandino, there was no Diva Cup; there was no Moon Cup; there was no sustainable solution for the monthly, healthy bodily process. While I cannot speak for the whole of Nicaragua, Central America, or Latin America, I can say that within the community I lived, having your period was shameful, disgusting, and even dangerous, depending on the practices. Privileged enough to have brought a Diva Cup with me, I was alright every month that reminder of being alive rolled around. But living on the volunteer stipend of $37USD/month and seeing the prices of feminine hygiene products, I would not have been able to use tampons or pads on a monthly basis either.

Access to feminine hygiene products must be improved—this is a fact. However, education on and understanding of just how dangerous certain practices revolving around menstruation hygiene must be developed as well. By creating programs to bring sustainable menstruation cups to women, not only in Ciudad Sandino, not only in Nicaragua, not only in Central America, but all over—this is how lives can be saved. This is how lives can be lived. Women should not have to miss out because they cannot afford proper products or because they are ashamed to attempt to purchase these products in front of anyone else. The sustainable menstrual cups provide a viable alternative: a one-time cost, a safer method to use and for up to a longer amount of time between changes, and an environmentally friendly way to menstruate.

Women bleed. We bleed a lot, and we do it once per month, give or take. It’s not gross, it’s not shameful, and it’s certainly not a choice—it’s a literal sign of life blossoming from between our legs. A healthy, accessible and safe way to bleed for days at a time is the least that can be afforded to women—from Paris to Ciudad Sandino. Creating and promoting sustainable menstruation for women worldwide, for Heyling in Ciudad Sandino, isn’t any easy task, but it’s also not impossible. It starts with one—that’s not so hard now, is it?

 

Katy Burns

JOIN THE SUSTAINABLE MENSTRUATION REVOLUTION

Par défaut

Hey ladies,

Ever wondered how tampons which we so conveniently put inside our bodies and disposable sanitary napkins that make our skin burn, red with rashes, are produced? Ever thought about the effects they might have on our health? How does the chemical soaked plastic react with our most sensitive body part?

If this is something that hasn’t occurred to you, now is the time to wake up and take control of your health. We are here to set the grounds for a stimulating discussion with you.

A few ‘not-so-fun-facts’ on disposable sanitary napkins and tampons:

Did you know that the ultra-white “clean” look comes from chlorine bleach?

It produces dioxins that not only can cause cancer but have no level of safe use according to the Environmental Protection Agency! We have been socialized to believe that any product wrapped prettily in plastic is hygienic, it’s time to question our assumptions.

Moreover, I feel that pesticides are probably not the best thing for the vagina… or any other body part (and I hope you agree, it’s a legit thought). Materials used to produce tampons and sanitary napkins are grown using pesticides. Vaginal membranes are filled with blood vessels, which makes absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream very easy. When we insert tampons, they create micro-tears in the vaginal wall that allows bacteria to accumulate, and creates a favorable environment for growth of the poisonous bacteria ‘staph’. This can lead to the infamous, potentially fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

article cup

But wait, there’s more! It’s not just our bodies that are being harmed…

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, a conventional sanitary pad can contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags! A woman uses an average of 11000 – 16000 tampons in her lifetime.

This and other plastic laden feminine hygiene products adds up to 180 billion plastic bags going down our waste stream. Adding to these mind-boggling numbers, a sanitary napkin and tampon stays in the landfills for 500-800 years! Boggle your mind some more to imagine the grim consequences of their entire lifecycle – from production to disposal. We have already started seeing the effects of disposable pads and tampons on our oceans – killing wildlife, destroying biodiversity and potentially changing their habitat. This of course will come back and bite us.

Now I could go on and on about the problems but I would rather take your attention to the bright side of things.

Enter menstrual cups and organic cotton pads!

GOOD FOR THE BODY: By using organic cotton pads or menstrual cups (made with medical grade silicon) we dramatically reduce risk of infections, irritation and more serious risks that we have seen above.

GOOD FOR THE EARTH: Reusing menstrual products in a hygienic manner reduces ALL that waste going to the streams and will leave you feeling empowered.

GOOD FOR THE POCKET: A cloth pad is re-usable for 3-5 years and a cup for 10 years, I’ll leave it up to you to do the simple math and let your pocket feel the happiness!

Hope this article makes you want to engage in more discussions about the choices given to a woman’s body.

We wish to take you on a journey of (re)discovering your menstrual cycle with two mid-wives Gisèle Piroit et Claire Rayappa, to discuss in depth these innovative solutions for menstruation and look forward to learn from your experiences of menstrual culture around the world on December 1 at Saint-Pères students Cafet’!

PS: We sincerely invite men to indulge in discussions as well. Would love to hear your concerns about women’s health and our environment!

Let’s open the doors to happy menstruation!

Nandini Agarwal

 

This article is based on:

– Understanding Toxic Shock Syndrome — the Basics: WebMD Medical Reference, Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on March 14, 2017,

URL: https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/understanding-toxic-shock-syndrome-basics#1

– Toxic Shock Syndrome: Mayo Clinic, “Are Tampons Safe? 7 Reasons We Should Be Concerned About the Ingredients in Feminine Hygiene Products”, RACHEL KRANTZ, May 18 2015,

URL: https://www.bustle.com/articles/83591-are-tampons-safe-7-reasons-we-should-be-concerned-about-the-ingredients-in-feminine-hygiene-products

– 7 Powerful reasons why you should switch to reusable menstrual products, Kimberley Mok, TreeHugger, 2014, URL: https://www.treehugger.com/health/reasons-why-you-should-switch-to-reusable-menstrual-products.html

– Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, HuffPost, the Blog, Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2013, URL: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/feminine-hygiene-products_b_3359581.html

– Disposable Menstrual Products: Convenience at What Cost? , EcoFemme, URL: https://ecofemme.org/convenience-cost-part-2/

– Periods have become a problem, Women’s Environmental Network, URL: https://www.wen.org.uk/environmenstrual/

– Conventional Feminine Hygiene Products: A Women’s Issue with Toxic Implications, Andrea Donsky, URL: http://naturallysavvy.com/care/conventional-feminine-hygiene-products-a-womens-issue-with-toxic-implications

Are we really « Energy-addicts »?

Par défaut

*En Français ci-dessous*

2015 is finally upon us, and the discrepancy between the impoverished and the materially rich has never seemed so vast. One issue that affects us all, regardless of level of affluence, is the rapid depletion of energy sources. To illustrate both these facts, Israeli graduate student Naomi Kizhner has designed a project that draws on the idea of biological wealth. Lire la suite

Follow the yellow brick road: “Solar Freakin’ Roadways”

Par défaut

*En Français ci-dessous*

Who among us can claim that they haven’t fallen into a pothole at least once in their life? Even if I am exceptionally clumsy, nobody can deny that the roads that crisscross the world are full of pitfalls. American couple Scott and Julie Brusaw developed a solution to the constant road maintenance programmes that exhaust council budgets every year. Their start-up company, Solar Roadways, aimed to create smart, sustainable highways comprised of individual road panels.

Lire la suite

En Belgique, l’hiver vient

Par défaut

*In English below*

Depuis quelques mois, la Belgique s’inquiète. Comme dans beaucoup d’autres pays, la saison froide booste la consommation d’énergie nationale à son plus haut niveau (il faut bien se chauffer!). Problème cette année avec la fermeture de plusieurs centrales nucléaires¹ : en cas de froid intense, le pays pourrait tout simplement ne plus avoir assez d’électricité pour fournir l’entièreté du réseau. Le gouvernement et les grands fournisseurs énergétiques travaillent bien sûr à des solutions pour éviter la pénurie, et donc le “délestage” de certaines régions, mais les citoyens auront vraisembablement leur rôle à jouer dans l’affaire. Pour répondre à cette crise énergétique, le groupe de consulting Factor-X a décidé de surfer la vague de l’économie collaborative en mettant en place un réseau permettant de réduire sur demande la consommation énergétique d’une région donnée : la Citizens’ Reserve http://www.citizensreserve.be/.

Lire la suite