The Conscious Student has Graduated

532683_2573119585900_582490413_nAutumn has arrived, the leaves are turning yellow, and everyone’s cracking out the knitwear left right and centre. It’s the start of a new semester- and for some, a new chapter. For the Conscious Student, we are happy to finally share our new identity with you, over at theconsciousstudent.com

The Conscious Student has graduated from being a largely DIY guide for living ethically on a budget, to becoming a blog devoted to reporting on sustainability and social issues. We hope the website will inspire the ethically minded, socially conscious and environmentally aware to share their own ideas and join in the conversation.

Whilst we’ll continue to share ideas and how-to guides for living a sustainable life, we will also be sharing more reports, essays, articles and interviews with you about the most cutting edge solutions currently at the forefront of positive social and environmental change.

We hope to create a space that gives attention to inspiring and thought-provoking stories from the world of social change, and also create a forum for critical reflection on current issues related to this movement.

We look forward to starting the conversation

Anna & Kasia

To see our new identity and get involved in the conversation, follow this link

Happy Holidays from the Conscious Student

München-1 Hi All! Just a quick update for you guys. After a semester of very hard work, we are both are back in Munich for the holidays with our families and dogs. So with all this free time we’ve suddenly got on our hands, we’re taking this opportunity to give the conscious student a makeover! Unfortunately this means we won’t be posting for a while, but we’ll be back in the New Year with a shiny new layout. We wanted to thank you for reading our posts in 2014 and hopefully trying out some of our advice and recipes, and we look forward to getting the blog up and running again very soon! We hope everyone has a lovely holiday season and that the new year brings success, happiness and good times to you all. Anna & Kasia

The modern farmer

Boondockers2

photo courtesy of the modern farmer

I really enjoyed stumbling across this wonderful website today. Take a peek if you’re looking for some interesting reading on sustainability, food or farming as well as plenty of how-tos. My favourite articles include “Raising backyard chickens for dummies“, “A day in the life of a bee wrangler” and “why does beer smell so delicious?“.

If you want a distraction in visual form, here is a beautiful instagram account worth following.

Have a great weekend!

The Untapped Power of Big Business

book-trans
I would like to recommend a book that I thought presented a compelling argument against the “us vs. them” attitude so many conscious students of this world tend to fall into, myself included.

While big business is without a doubt the source many problems, the list of injustices and crimes is extensive and blatant, people also tend to forget the amount of potential and power big business has to elicit change for the better. Jon Miller and Lucy Parker remind us in ‘Everybody’s Business‘ that “sending an email, feeding our families, charging our mobile phones, traveling, taking medication, paying a bill, having a shower, watching a movie, enjoying a beer” are all examples of what an intrinsic role big business plays in everybody’s lives, whether we like it or not.

As Lucy and Jon described in an interview, “when you think about it, there isn’t a single big problem in the world today that big business can’t help find solutions to, whether that’s global water security, fighting poverty, energy efficiency, the future of health care, or women’s empowerment. These are all issues that businesses are tackling today.” Continue reading

Merhaba. Hallo. Cześć. Hello again.

We are back with sincerest apologies for the radio silence! Those of you who are also studying will understand the immutable feeling that the year ends in April and begins in October. And hopefully you will also understand the life-consuming amount of work associated with writing a dissertation. So this is a new beginning for a new year. We both wrote dissertations in International Relations in spring and graduated in June. Anna has moved to Munich to begin an internship and Kasia is staying in St Andrews for an additional year to do a Masters degree.

graduation

 

This summer we were lucky enough to travel to Istanbul, Australia and Poland and we’d like to share with you some things that inspired us on our travels and tell you about our plans for the year to come.

Turkey

Istanbul

We travelled through Istanbul in early June and were impressed with the range of green-initiatives in such an otherwise hectic, fast-pace megacity (almost 15 million citizens in total!). Though Istanbul still has a way to go in terms of recycling  and other initiatives we take for granted in the UK and Germany, other areas intrinsic to Turkish culture also happened to be sustainable in their approach to consumption as well. For example, the first Saturday we arrived we visited a Kurdish vegetable market, in which people from all different backgrounds and walks of life went to buy good, seasonal, local food in bulk for incredibly cheap prices. At a quarter of the price compared to groceries in your average chain supermarket, people flocked from all over the city. Aside from groceries there were also countless independent tailors, cobblers, designers and antique stores.

It can seem difficult to find any redeeming sustainable qualities in major cities like Istanbul, but access to affordable local produce is a simple concept that is surprisingly hard to find in much of the developed world.

 

Australiagiant_clam

While traveling down the East Coast of Australia in August, we came across the Food Connect Foundation, which is organises the  supply of produce from local farmers to people living in and around Brisbane. Based on the concept of ‘Community-Supported-Agriculture‘, Food Connect was founded by Robert Pekin in 2005 and has since expanded into various branches including the consultancy ‘Think Food’ and the ‘Open Food Web‘. Food Connect is an inspiring example of a successful social enterprise that serves as a hub to connect local groups, businesses, farmers and consumers as well as improve access to local and ecologically grown produce while ensuring stable and fair prices for growers. Amen!

 

 

Byron_Bay

Poland

While visiting family in Poland, I was amazed at how easy and common it was for everyone to preserve vegetables for the winter. Popular are pickles, cabbage, pureed tomatoes and my personal favourite, Lutenica – which is a red pepper relish popular in Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. I had no idea that vegetables could be preserved without using vinegar, sugar or salt! Lutenica is made by roasting and pureeing bell peppers, tomatoes, onion and then pasteurising the mixture in sterilised jars. It tastes delicious on crackers, as a dip or side with savoury dishes. Here is a recipe in English, but I would recommend roasting the peppers in the oven to remove the skin, and boiling the tomatoes to remove the skin. Funny side note – while I was in Poland bell peppers were incredibly cheap because over over-supply since exports to Russia stopped! We couldn’t get enough of them. Also couldn’t get enough of the cows. My family are dairy farmers and I love visiting their cows – they must think I’m mad.

cows

 

In the following months you can expect to hear from us about twice a week, with some brand new recipes, how-to guides, DIY ideas, and musings on sustainability, life, the universe and everything in it. Until then, thank you for your patience, and we hope your summer (or winter for those south of the equator) has been as good as ours!

Much love,

Anna & Kasia

 

2014


Scotland

 

Happy 2014! We hope you have all had a wonderful and relaxing Christmas and New Year.

We are back in Scotland and back in the world of blogging. After a much needed and restful vacation, we’re very excited for the year ahead and have lots of fun ideas to share with you guys. We will continue with our usual DIY, product and food posts, but this week we’ll be starting a series of posts on cheap and easy soups. We love a good bowl of soup in winter, but are complete rookies when it comes to soup-cooking. So hopefully this series will inspire us (and you!) to make more soups from scratch instead of buying the ready-made kind, saving money and packaging. win-win.

We will also be embarking on a series of week-long ‘eco-challenges’, in an attempt to become more environmentally conscious consumers. The first eco-challenge will be to not eat processed foods in order to avoid the excessive energy and packaging that goes into ready-made meals and snacks. After googling the definition of  ‘processed foods’ we realised that we’d have to make some concessions so we’re going to allow milk, cream, butter, flour and oil & vinegar but apart from that we’ll be subsisting on fruit and vegetables, beans and grains. We’ll be posting updates on our progress and recipes we use throughout the week so watch this space.

Wish us luck!

– Anna & Kasia

Happy Holidays!

In the spirit of the festive season, we wanted to wish all our readers a great holiday and a happy new year! Thanks so much for your support, it’s been wonderful to have had such a great reaction to the blog, and we couldn’t have wished for more. We will be taking a short break while we’re away with our families, but will be back and posting in the new year soon.

Until then, peace out

Anna & Kasia

Veg of the week – Potatoes!

roast potatoes

La dolce pita’s lemon and rosemary roast potatoes

Having a German father, potatoes have always been a staple growing up. My dad is never shy about vocally praising the humble potato: “They’re so delicious and versatile!” he’ll exclaim. His excitement for potatoes has definitely rubbed off on me. These sweet carby nuggets are one of the few vegetables in season during the winter, last for ages in the cupboard, are low in fat and high in vitamin B6, C, and potassium, are incredibly versatile, dirt cheap, and easy to source locally. I love them.

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a tour of the Guardbridge biomass plant site

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Yesterday we were lucky enough to be invited on a tour of the site for the new energy centre in Guardbridge, located a few miles from St Andrews. The University bought the former paper mill in 2010 with plans to build a biomass plant with the capacity to heat the entire North Haugh section of campus. This is part of the University’s energy strategy to become carbon neutral by 2016, and while they are still only testing on the site, it will be operational by the end of 2015. It was uplifting to see sustainability principles being put into action, and made us proud to be part of an institution that leads by example.

Here is what we learned from the tour

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