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The good old fashion book vs the kindle!

Let’s make one thing clear straight away. I love reading, big time. There is very little literature out there that I actively dislike, (George Elliot’s Middlemarch being the number one (and two if I’m honest) on my hate list,) I love classics, historical fiction, (although as a history student I am prone to spend 95% of my reading time arguing with the book) Sci fi, fantasy, murder mysteries, thrillers, romance (don’t judge, who doesn’t love a good romance?!) you name it, I’ll have read at least one book of that particular genre, I may not have loved it, but I have read it. And that is one of the main reasons I’m writing this particular post.


As an obsessive reader, (there really is no better word for my reading habits) I own a variety of methods through which I can indulge in my addiction, which is a fancy word for saying I have a Kindle, and a tablet with my kindle on, and the app on my phone, so even if I don’t have a book on me or in my bag, I have reading material with me in one form or another, at all times.

When I got my kindle on my 18th birthday, many years ago, I thought that would put a stop to my book buying addiction, a very expensive side effect of my need to read constantly, and from then on I’d buy all my books as E-copies, much cheaper, and much more sustainable way of reading and owning every book ever published (A feat which is at the top of my bucket list) after all, physical books take up A LOT of space. Don’t believe me? Let me present Exhibit A:


This would be my bedroom book collection, I specify it as ‘bedroom books’ as I also have 3 boxes under my bed, a third book case containing Uni books, a variety of books stashed in various corners of the house, and a whole bunch of book boxes sorted in the loft. That a whole load of space being taken up by books. My Kindle currently contains 245 books, and do you want to know how much space it’s taking up?

That much. Well kind of, that’s a piece of paper wrapped around my kindle to make it easier to see in the picture. But the point is, in comparison to the sheer volume of books, the amount of space, and storage required by a kindle is tiny.

Now translate that into the amount of paper required to make all the books on the bookcase, and the amount of time and resources it took to create each of those books. That’s a whole lot of tree and time and energy, just to make a single book.        In the grand scheme of things it’s not just a single book though. I’m a Harry Potter fan (Just in case the Diagon Ally sign hadn’t given that away already) The Harry potter series is the most published book in the world at the moment. 450 million copies of Harry Potter are currently in circulation. 450 million!!!! But to make those 450 million (!) books it took approximately 10 million tree’s. I have not calculated this number in an entirely scientific manner so I may be out a bit, but I’m not far off. 10 million trees. For one book series. Ouch.   Each year 4 billion trees are cut down just to satisfy the world paper needs. 4,000,000,000 trees. For paper.
Now I don’t know what you think, but to me that’s not a very sustainable way to read, especially when you consider that figure is recent, meaning despite all the recycling we do, we still need 4 billion trees to produce all the paper required. Sad times to be a tree my friends, sad times.

Especially when you factor in the life expectancy of a paper book, exhibit B:






My much loved and over read copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire. (I will change book examples next time I promise.) Now before you all get out the pitchforks and torches and chase after me through the village for torturing a book. I did not do this intentionally. I was given this book not long after it was published, way back in 2000, and I’ve read it over, and over, and over, and over again. To be honest I could probably read it to you with my eyes closed, but as a consequence it’s a little bit dead, and has a page missing (but don’t worry, I know it virtually word for word so can recite that bit when you reach it!) therefore it never comes off the shelf. Bit pointless for a book really, books are made to be read, not to be dust collectors, so I’m going to have to buy a new copy to replace it, when I can finally work up the courage to take that step and dispose of it (responsibly. Always recycle kids.)

But wait, I hear you yell, that’s not very sustainable, by replacing that book I’m only encouraging publishers to publish more copies. More trees, I’m a bad, tree hating person, I know, I know. But a book cannot be read if it’s broken. Meet my second favourite series of books:

10887838_10203776473317569_460898631_nDavid Eddings, world’s best fantasy writer, if you haven’t read anything by him, do it! You’re missing out. Any way back to the point, as you can see this book is much loved also, not to the extent of Harry Potter, but still a bit battered, so no doubt in 5, maybe 6 years I’m going to have to buy another copy to replace this one when it’s pages start going AWOL. Not very sustainable.

The problem with books is they’re not built to last, they’re made out of paper, not the sturdiest of materials. It bends, it rips, it tears, and it absorbs spilt drinks then sticks all the pages together or all the ink runs making it impossible to read. Also they’re not massively child/dog friendly. My puppy, the really cute coffee addict over there pup


LOVES to eat my books, a habit I don’t find at all cute

Or adorable, in fact it’s irritating, upsetting, expensive and most importantly, not at all sustainable.

Kindles on the other hand are made of much sterner stuff. So far mines been thrown across a room (accidentally) sat on (accidentally) slept on

Had a box dropped on, been dunked in a coffee and temporarily stored in a fridge, (don’t ask, that’s a whole new story) and there’s not a single scratch on it. Well, there’s a teeny tiny one but it’s barely noticeable. I’ve had my kindle for three whole years and not had to replace it once, I’ve just bought book, after book, and it’s showing no sign of wear as of yet.

Much more sustainable, and tree friendly. But. What about the other sustainable issues with kindles?


Such as charging. Kindles, being electronic obviously require charging at some point. Obviously. Now I only charge mine about every other week, (when I remember to turn the wi-fi off otherwise its weekly) sounds pretty good right?


Because, like millions of others I don’t unplug the charger once my kindle’s charged, nor do I turn the plug off, the same goes for my tablet, my phone and my laptop, all of which I use to read books on. So that’s 4 chargers plugged in and turned on 24/7 for the last three years.

Oops. Not very sustainable. Well actually it’s nowhere near as bad as you may think. Plug sockets use energy, but not as much as you may think. In one year having all those chargers plugged in and on, you’re only going to be paying about £10 in energy. (Actually I think it’s a bit less, I got the figure off a US site so I had to convert energy and currency and all sorts of mathematical wizardry.) For a poor student like myself, £10 is a lot of money, that is 5 pints of beer a year down the SU that I’m missing out on! Sad times. But my eco-sustainable credibility isn’t going to be flushed down the toilet because of questionable charger usage.


Moving away from saving trees and energy for a moment, I want to talk about money and tax. (don’t stop reading, I promise this isn’t going to be depressing, well maybe a little but not much I promise!) When I buy a book, which by the state of my bookcase you can see I do frequently. (Here’s another picture for you to admire)


Now when I buy these books, I typically go to a book shop, sounds like an odd fact to state, but stick with me. I go to the book shop, I browse, I find the book I was looking for, and normally 3 or 4 or 10 others that I wasn’t planning on buying, I take them to the till and I buy them. By doing this I’m helping sustain local business and putting money back into my community, helping create a sustainable economy.

But when I buy an e-book, I shop on Amazon. Amazon don’t pay their taxes, (naughty naughty amazon) Amazon are not helping create a sustainable economy, they’re just taking all my money. No one else benefits from my money. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop using amazon, I’m not that morally righteous, nor am I willing to sacrifice my Amazon prime. (Free one day delivery for the win!)

But when comparing physical books to downloading e-books, economically physical books are a more sustainable method of reading. Which is good news for people like me who do things like this


The two on the left were presents, but didn’t match books 3, 4,9,10 and 12. So for no good reason other than I wanted the bookshelf to look prettier, I re-bought books 1 and 2. 

So to conclude my rather long (sorry about that) post on the Books v. Kindles, I feel that both Books and kindles have pro’s and con’s when it comes to sustainability, but at the end of the day it’s down to you to choose a method which works best for you, and just make sure you do so responsibly!

Personally, I’m going to carry on buying books, but am going to make an effort to read more on my kindle in order to preserve the books I have, so that way I won’t have to buy replacements every couple of years. Oh, and I’m also going to try to remember to unplug my chargers, as I could definitely do with that extra ten quid!


Charlie & The SGO

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The Graduation pledge of Social & Environmental Responsibility!

Hello CCCU Students!

graduation pledege imageI’m Alexis Galvan, a bilateral exchange student from Humboldt State University, a small university located in Northern California, nestled between some of the world’s tallest redwood trees, and wondrous beaches we refer to as The Lost Coast. It’s always been a goal of mine to travel back to the motherland of England, and explore the roots of America, and I’m delighted to spend this term at Christ Church, in the beautiful and historic city of Canterbury.

Since I’m only here for 3 months, I aspire to leave my mark and influence in the hearts and minds of students abroad. At my home institution, I am the Coordinator of a program called The Graduation Pledge Alliance. The Graduation Pledge Alliance is a symbolic pledge created by a group of students in 1987, it states:


I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”


The idea of the pledge was brought up in a time where monetary acquirement was becoming the main focus of the professional world, with a growing disregard for the diminishment of Earth’s natural resources. These students recognized the danger of this idea seeping into the minds of impressionable college graduates, and sought to create a movement to remind them of values that should be kept in mind.

28 years later, the efforts of these students have not gone unnoticed. I am here today to spread this message of social and environmental responsibility. When you graduate from university, recognize that you now withhold a power in the world. You are, essentially the future; considering that you will be responsible for how the professional world is operating since you will be working in the midst of it all. The Graduation Pledge is not limited to majors ​geared towards environmental or social reform, rather it strives to appeal towards all academic majors. It is a call to action; a pursuit to activate environmental and social consciousness into our hearts and minds and being able to transfer that attitude into the workplace. It can start with something small, such as incorporating recycling in the office, or directing their energy towards improving human rights both in the workplace and towards clientele.

Since being founded, the Graduation Pledge Alliance has been adopted by 200 schools globally, in countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan – with efforts being considered in the Philippines and India. Elite schools such as Stanford University and Harvard University stand whole-heartedly next to pledge. Every year thousands of graduates across the globe take part in this movement, simply by signing a pledge card that states the pledge and placing a green ribbon on their gown as a symbol of their commitment. Since it is a voluntary pledge, the university does not call to check up on you – it’s just an emblematic representation of your allegiance to the cause.




With population on the rise, environmental resources depleting at a constant, and corruption in the world, we as students must take matters into our own hands. We must not feel succumbed by society’s limitations. We must utilize our brain, speech, and actions and fight to create a more harmonious world, respectful of all life forms, biologically and anthropologically speaking.


Anything is this world is possible, we are living in a state of flux. Remember that you can make a difference, no matter what field you go into after leaving university. I hope this message reaches you in an inspiring and heart-warming manner. Thank you.

-Alexis Galvan

Graduation Pledge Coordinator 2013 – 2017


“Responsibility is the ability to respond. Inherently, to respond means to act, to create, to change. But responsibility also implies an awareness of the impacts of one’s actions, and it is this concept that is finally becoming part of the global community’s consciousness. The days of action without thought are obsolete in this increasingly closely knit world.” – 1997, Matt Nicodemus Graduation Pledge founder


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Edible Campus – Super Berry Smoothie Recipe Card


Edible campus at CCCU allows students and staff to reconnect with the food they eat in a sustainable way, such as partaking in food related activities which provides the opportunities to explore food securing and skills sharing with different people. For example the allotment Blitz’s which are held every Wednesday by the Edible campus team and SGO.

Part of the Edible Campus project here at CCCU is that our lovely project office Savannah-Jade creates recipe cards which you can download from our website or pick up from the Student Green office in Fg11.

Below is the recipe card to make your own Super Berry Smoothie which is perfect as a healthy breakfast or a snack for anytime of the day.



Jess & SGO

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It really is the Good Life!


photo 3

Cue Soundtrack


When it comes to gardening and allotments the first thing that springs to mind is BBC’s Good Life with Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers. Even though this is way before my time I remember sitting down and watching this with and grandma and experiencing my first glimpse of sustainable living through the main characters Tom and Felicity; Tom’s career has been as a draughtsman, a job he thoroughly dislikes. He feels his life is meaningless, nothing more than work and consumption. Becoming self-sufficient is his idea, but Barbara, after expressing concerns, supports him. Tom is determined to succeed at self-sufficiency, and is mostly cheerful about his new lifestyle.

Good life


So your probably thinking what is the point of this. Well here at Canterbury Christ Church University we have our very own Student Green Office where we promote sustainable living and self-sufficiency through our very own Edible Campus programme.

What is Edible Campus I hear your ask: Edible Campus at CCCU allows students and staff to reconnect with the food they eat in a sustainable way. Through food related activities such as Food for Thought debate events and our Allotment Blitzes provide the opportunity to understand what food security is and gives both students and staff to learn new skills through skill sharing opportunities.



How can you get involved:

If you would like to try your hand at being self-sufficient and growing your own flowers and crops please come along to the SGO and Edible Campus Allotment Blitz’s held Wednesday’s on the main university campus. To find out when our next allotment is running head on over to the SGO facebook page and join our group, where you can then join each allotment event. We are always looking for new people to join the SGO, if you would like to also help run our allotment diary here on the blog after each allotment blitz please let us know via our email; greenoffice@canterbury.ac.uk.


Lent term Allotment dates:



Jess & SGO


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Money, Money, Money!

Hi All,

You may have guessed what this post is about just by the title, but make sure to sing it just like Abba.

Some of you may have just started your first year at university or going into your second or third years and like me money is on my mind constantly. For some the student loan will seem like a lot of money and be very tempting to spend in one go and for others that student loan isn’t enough to make ends meet.

I am in my final year and fall into that last category. I’ve learnt my lesson from my two previous years of spending my student loan in one go (mainly at the student shopping night). However this year i’m doing something different. After reading a very interesting article (Here) about students and money. I took on board its top tips and have started to see a difference already in my spending and money habits.

The key top tips I took away from this article were:

  • Budget for the month, add up all your costs to make sure you leave yourself enough money for the month
  • Keep a money diary, this will help you to review your outgoings and track unnecessary spending
  • Taking out a weekly money in cash, one of my main expenditures is on coffee (i love the stuff) and when paying on card its very easy to add in a piece of cake, but if you have cash you can see what you have left to spend for the week.
  • In regards to shopping – bargain hunt for clothes, using eBay, charity shops etc, use google books if you can for some of your text books or you can buy books second hand through amazon at a decent price.
  • If you see clothes or shoes that you really want. Make a note of the price and if you still want them at the end of the month you can get them (but make sure your have the money for them).

But the main thing to remember this isn’t a chore but a way to enjoy university fully by being cash smart.


Jess & SGO


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How to cure a hangover!

Hey All,

Now after trying some of those summer cocktail recipes below, or even after a big night out of drinking. A lot of us are cursed with that forever pounding, painful and irritating headache. We start feeling poorly and sorry for ourselves :(.

WELL! Have I got news for you, I have found the CURE! The cure, to that much hated hangover!

To insure it works you need to follow the below five steps:

  1. An hour before you know you’re going to stop drinking, drink water! This will hydrate you.
  2. Eat a slice of toast when you get in.
  3. Drink a glass of water, with Berroca (Vitamin supplement) when you get home.
  4. In the morning drink a glass of orange juice
  5. If you’re not feeling better by now, then take the last resort…….”Paracetamol”

Remember though, that hangovers are caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol, so if your hangover is unbearable, remember that for the future, and cut down on the booze 🙂


Michaela & SGO


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Summertime Cocktails

Hey All,

Jess wrote a post last week about her favourite refreshing drinks, but this week we thought we would let you know about some tasty summer cocktails that have a little bit of a KICK to it. Summer is nearly over, so why not spruce it up a bit before we have to wait another year for a nice summers day!

These cocktails are predominantly made with alcohol, but you can remove the alcohol and have it as a mocktail instead 🙂 .

As a student I think myself and other students can admit, we can go a bit heavy on the drinking, but please drink responsible and know your limits. You can even download an app that shows you how much units and Vol is in the alcohol you are drinking. Please see link attached: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/

So here are my top three summer cocktails:

At number 3 is: Orange splash

This calls upon all us citrus lovers, it’s sweet and tangy and because it is made with fresh orange juice, it makes you feel healthy too 🙂

All you need is:

  1. Fresh orange juice
  2. Lime
  3. Cut up a few strawberry’s
  4. Vodka
  5. Cointreau

Then mix it all together 🙂

Number 2 is: Cuban

Ahh the good old Cuban, forget about British weather, Cuban is a little taste of the Caribbean.

All you need is:

  1. Lime
  2. Barcardi rum (Cheaper versions are okay)
  3. 6 whole mint leaves
  4. Ice
  5. Coca cola, I sometimes have lemonade J

The mix it all together 🙂

Number 1: My all-time favourite (The classic) “Pimms”

  1. Pimms (depending on how strong you want it, use a shot class)
  2. 2 shots of Pimms
  3. Chopped strawberry pieces
  4. Chopped cucumber pieces
  5. Orange slices
  6. Mint leaves
  7. Lemonade

Then mix all together 🙂

Why not Try the elderflower pimms as well, it is sweet, perfect for summer and is great for social gatherings and BBQ’s.

Enjoy! But remember drink responsibly and be safe!

Also let us know what your favourite summer cocktails are? Or if you liked some of the recipes you have read on the blog today.


Michaela & SGO.


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