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What’s behind the brand?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014 13:59:26 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

We’re surrounded by so much choice on what we can buy. But it can be difficult to find out the information to make the buying decisions that we want to make, in line with our values. Fortunately, information about brands, their actions and what they stand for, is becoming easier to find out, with guides that can help point us in the right direction.

The Good Shopping Guide, published by the Ethical Company Organisation, is one of the original guides that has been published in book form annually since 2002. It is now making its ratings available on its website for everyone to freely use.

The sections in the guide cover everything from home and office goods through to food and drink, with categories as specific as washing-up liquid and breakfast cereals. Each brand is given a rating out of 100, based on a number of ethical criteria, and from this rating the brand is either recommended as buy, questionable or avoid. The researchers at The Good Shopping Guide look not only at the specific brand, but the parent company behind the brand. For example, Seeds of Change is an organic pasta brand, but it is owned by Mars, and it is therefore judged on the basis of the parent company’s activities as well.

At Po-Zu, we are delighted to have achieved the highest ranking in the Shoes and Trainer category. We achieved a score of 86 out of 100, as well as being certified by the Ethical Company Organisation. There are typically 12-15 criteria that are used in each category, with criteria varying according to the specific issues that an industry faces. For example, ‘human rights’ is included as a criteria in the Footwear section because workers’ rights are an important consideration in the shoe and apparel industries. All of Po-Zu’s shoes are made in Portugal and you can see how our shoes made here, as part of our ethical promise.

Materials are another important consideration when looking to buy shoes ethically. The Good Shopping Guide recommends an alternative to leather due to animal rights and environmental issues. However, PVC, often referred to as ‘synthetic’ is to be avoided, as environmental campaigners say that it is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics and also harmful to human health. At Po-Zu, we use leather from Iberian origins, which is tanned without the use of harmful chemicals. We are also looking for alternatives to leather and have introduced a vegan, solvent-free eco microfibre in some of our ranges.

When you are looking to make a purchase, as well as checking the overall rankings, The Good Shopping Guide also suggests looking at the detailed table which gives each brand a top, middle or bottom ranking for each criteria. This allows you to make decisions based on the criteria which are most important to you, whether related to the Environment, Animal Welfare or Human Rights.

In this way, each product that we buy can truly be a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.

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Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 14:58:36 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

This weekend, London is hosting a celebration of all things mindful and spiritual in the shape of the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival.

If you’re looking for inspiration or a fresh perspective, to learn or try out some new tools and techniques or just to have some fun, then this is the place to be.

Every day, from Friday 23rd May to Monday 26th May is packed full of goodies of different types. Included in your ticket price are a host of free events and activities, from yoga classes in the Wellbeing Studio to relaxation in the Mantra Lounge (in the shape of a yurt), to music, dance, drumming and more on the free stage. If that’s not enough, there are also in-depth workshops. The challenge will be to slow down enough to take it all in. From the extensive line up, we’ve picked out five highlights that we’re tempted by. And even if you can’t attend there’s no need to miss out! You could always take inspiration from the events and talks on offer– book yourself a new class you’ve been meaning to try out, watch some films of speakers online or take time to read a book.

 

1) Acro Yoga

Ever wanted to fly? This could be your chance. In acro yoga, you work with a partner in a practice that incorporates acrobatics. It just looks so much fun! In the Wellbeing Studio on Friday afternoon

 

2) Laughter Yoga

If laughter is the best medicine, this is the place to come and laugh your socks off. Joe Hoare is running sessions on awakening the laughing Buddha within. In the Wellbeing Studio on Saturday afternoon, and on the Free Stage Friday and Saturday

 

3) Ruby Wax

The wonderful Ruby Wax will be sharing mindfulness techniques, based on her book, ‘Sane New World’. On the Free Stage on Saturday afternoon

 

4) Liberate your Naked Voice

We often talk metaphorically about ‘finding our voice’. But what does it actually mean? And how can sound help us to find our inner voice? On the Free Stage on Saturday morning

 

5) Slowing Down to Speed Up Success

We’re always on the lookout for new ways to help us slow down, so this workshop on Monday with Robert Holden and Sandy Newbigging sounds like a good one, as they share a Mind Calm meditation technique

 

Congratulations to Sarika, our lucky winner who won a pair of tickets to the Festival with this lovely snapshot of how she gives her feet a pause.

And if you are going, get in touch via Facebook or Twitter and let us know what catches your eye, we’d love to hear your recommendations as well as any ideas to create your own mini festival.

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Our top 5 tips for National Walking Month

Monday, 12 May 2014 13:05:14 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

Here in the UK, it’s National Walking Month, with the aim of, you’ve guessed it, encouraging us to walk more – whether walking to work, walking to school, exploring in the countryside, or just walking for walking’s sake.

Our Po-zus love to go for a walk, so here are 5 suggestions to try out if you want to get walking more.

1) Walk at lunchtime

One of the suggestions on the Living Streets website for National Walking Month is to go for a walk at lunchtime. Instead of just nipping out to your nearest local sandwich shop, they suggest setting up a ‘Food Exclusion Zone’. On a map, draw a radius of 1 km around your place of work – any sandwich shops in this area are out of bounds. This means that you need to walk a minimum of 2 kilometres at lunchtime – and who knows what new culinary gems you might discover, as well as getting some fresh air to keep you alert through the afternoon.

2) Walk 10,000 steps a day

10,000 steps is the recommended daily amount of steps per day, which works out at about five miles. If you’re someone who is motivated by achieving goals, then wearing a pedometer and setting yourself a 10,000 steps challenge could be the motivation you need. I undertook a 10,000 steps a day for a week challenge in March for the charity CARE. To hit my target, it meant being creative in my journey to work including going different routes and walking to different stops, walking at lunchtime and choosing to walk rather than getting public transport when going to meet friends. I discovered new parts of the city, and since then I’ve integrated more walking into daily life. £10 on a cheap pedometer could be money well spent.

3) Walk for no purpose

A recent article on the BBC website lamented the slow death of purposeless walking. A survey found that only 17% of walks are ‘just to walk’, and that includes dog walking. Yet walking has been proven to stimulate creativity, so next time you hit a creative block or are in need of inspiration, probably the best thing you can do is to just get up and go for a walk – just for the sake of it, and not to get somewhere in particular.

4) Go on a micro adventure walk

Alastair Humphreys is an advocate of the micro adventure. It’s easy to think that if we want to have an adventure, we can only have one if we go away to some exotic land for weeks at a time. But micro adventures are adventures to be found on your doorstep, and can be had in a spare few hours at the weekend or in a evening. One micro adventure suggested in an article in The Guardian ‘Do Something’ magazine was to simply set out for the horizon. Look out of an upstairs window and choose a point on the horizon, a church spire, a tree, a block of flats. Then try to reach your destination without using a map. It doesn’t matter if you don’t reach it, that’s half the fun. Along the way, take a picture every 10 minutes to help focus on unexpected detail.

5) Walk barefoot

If you want to give your walking a different dimension, then barefoot walking is a great way to refresh your soles. It’s best to try this on grass, so head along to your local park and wake up your toes. We tried it out on Hampstead Heath on our recent walk with Way of Nature and loved it.

For more inspiration, check out the National Walking Month pages on the Living Streets website.

Happy walking!

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Soil, Soul, Society (with added sole)

Thursday, 1 May 2014 11:44:32 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

When the inspirational Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence and Ecologist magazine told us he was coming to London to give a talk at the Nehru Centre, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to be immersed in his wonderful warm energy and to hear his wisdom about ‘Soil, Soul and Society’, and their inter-relationship.

‘Soil, Soul and Society’ is the title of Satish’s latest book and he puts this forward as the new trinity for our time. ‘Mind, Body, Spirit’ is a similar such trinity, but it has more of a focus on the self. Soil, Soul and Society is about our outerscape (soil), innerscape (soul) and our relationship with each other (society). It is a holistic trinity.

Soil

Satish spoke about each of the elements in turn, starting with soil. He spoke about how we forget the importance of soil. We owe our clothes and food to soil (not to mention our shoes!). We stand on the soil. We depend on the quality of the soil, and if we forget soil, we forget everything. We are nature.

Satish told the story of how he was invited to speak at the London School of Economics (LSE). The word ‘economics’ has its root in the word ‘ecos’ which means home. It is a root that it shares with ‘ecology’. Economics means ‘the management of home’; ecology means ‘the knowledge of home’. Satish asked if ecology is taught at LSE. The answer was no. He posed another question: how can you manage something you don’t have knowledge of? He suggested re-naming the LSE to London School of Economics and Ecology. We look forward to LSEE coming into being.

Soul

The second part of the trinity is soul. As we need to take care of our outer landscape, we need to take care of our inner landscape. We need to develop our soul qualities of compassion, love, generosity and patience. Satish also spoke of creativity as an important part of the soul. Every person is a special kind of artist – you just need to go and open the door yourself. To do this, you need courage and a spirit of adventure.

Society

The final part of the trinity is society. Our primary identity is as a member of the human family. The most deprived must be looked after first.

In response to questions about the future, Satish said that he was optimistic. But at the same time he stressed that we all need to be participants in shaping the future. We are all special kinds of leaders. We all need to rise to the challenge and participate in shaping the world, and not leave it to others to shape our lives. That's one of the reasons why soul is central – we need to be able to communicate and spread these ideas to others.

Service

Satish finished by saying he doesn’t make a division between spiritual life and practical life. Cooking can be spiritual when carried out with love and care. So can his work in editing the magazine. He sees life as an opportunity to serve – and that is his spiritual practice.

Service – perhaps that is the word that can link together our relationship to the trinity of soil, soul and society. We’re grateful to Satish for his inspiring words to take away, ponder and put into practice.

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Kissing the earth with our feet

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 14:37:11 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

At the end of our walk, we gathered in a circle, twenty-five or so souls.
“So how was it?” “Wonderful.” “Wonderful.”

Wonderful is a commonly used word. We know it means something great, something that we have enjoyed, something that speaks to us in some way. In this instance, I really felt that the two people who used it were drawing on the origins of the word – something full of wonder.

Our Po-Zu walk with Way of Nature was billed as a Mindful Sunday walk. My experience on the walk has led me to be ponderful about the relationship between Mindful and Wonderful, and how being mindful leads to awareness of the wonderful.

Andres Roberts and Adrian Kowal were our mindful and wonderful guides for the afternoon. During the course of our three hours together on Hampstead Heath in the most glorious soft spring sunshine, they introduced us to four mindful activities.

The first was simply to walk and to pay attention to what you noticed. You could talk, but preferably about what was in front of you, rather than thoughts you had brought with you. When we gathered together again, people shared about the bluebells they had noticed, the little blue flowers, the irises shooting up dynamically from the pond, the copper beech tree with woman’s hips and light caught in the leaves, the bird song. Noticing the wonderful.

Gathered in our circle, we then practiced a few Qigong exercises. My favourite here was ‘bouncing bliss’, jumping up and down and shaking faster and faster, and then stopping and feeling the energy radiate away from us. We finished with a standing meditation, holding our arms in a circle in front of us at different heights for nine breaths at a time, and beginning to feel the energy flowing between our fingertips. Sensing the wonderful.

The third activity was mindful walking and Andres shared techniques for this. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh’s invites us to experience with each step, “I am home, I have arrived”. Andres explained this is not simply about saying these words to ourselves as we place our feet on the ground. It is about fully experiencing this sensation in our bodies. He also shared an expression of Thich Nhat Hanh’s – ‘Walk as if you were kissing the earth with your feet’. I had heard this before, but I had never felt what this really meant. As I walked slowly, mindfully, taking my time to put my foot on the earth, I focused on that contact with the earth. It came to mind that if I was seeking to ‘kiss the earth with my feet’, as I placed my feet slowly and gently, this was placing me in a relationship, a loving relationship with the earth. And a kiss is two-way – the earth was kissing my feet back, loving them, supporting them, supporting me. In this mindful walking, I truly felt the earth as a body. Experiencing the wonderful.

The final mindful activity, which was optional throughout the course of the walk, was barefoot walking. After the Qigong, I opted to carry my Po-zus, for once me carrying them rather than them carrying me. I noticed how walking barefoot made me walk more slowly. Part of this was a practical reason: I needed to pay attention to where I was putting my feet to make sure that I wasn’t putting them on something sharp or squishy. It was also to do with feeling the earth, enjoying the coolness of the grass, or the warmth of sun-baked soil, the slight prickliness of seed casings, or the softness of a damp patch of ground. Feeling the wonderful. 

At the end of the walk, I slipped back on my Po-Zus. My feet felt tingling and alive, my body and mind relaxed. Thank you to Andres and Adrian, and all the people who were part of making it so full of wonder. 

If you like the sound of this and would like to experience your own sense of natural wonder, here’s a link to the events Way of Nature are running this year:

http://wayofnature.co.uk/events-2014/

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Walk on the wild side

Tuesday, 1 April 2014 11:35:57 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

Here at Po-Zu HQ, we are getting ready for our Mindful Sunday Walk on Hampstead Heath on 13th April. We are joining up with the lovely people at Way of Nature for the walk, and were delighted to have the opportunity to chat with Andres Roberts, one of the founders of Way of Nature, and our guide for the afternoon. Here Andres gives an insight into what you might expect from the walk, and what puts a spring in his step.

Andres’ background covers a number of areas – leadership, guiding and sustainability – and this mix of influences and experiences has led him to founding Way of Nature UK. A few years ago, he was investigating playfulness, or the lack of it, in our working lives. And this evolved into taking his work out into nature, leading groups in nature in Spain and enabling people to experience solos in the wilderness, out on their own for a day or two, helping them to reconnect with themselves and nature. Way of Nature UK stems from his desire to bring more of this work to the UK, and also share the teachings and practices of one his own teachers, John P Milton.

Andres Robert, Way of Nature UK, Co-founder

Andres does not identify himself as a hiker or a walker. He believes that at heart we are all walkers. We evolved in the wild with trees, birds and grasses, so when we go for a walk in nature, it’s about going back home, and it’s about letting go. Being outside in nature can lead to deep relaxation and opening of the heart and Andres believes that it is an antidote to what contemporary work and life, fuelled by a consumer culture, is all about. People come from all different types of groups or need to experience Way of Nature activities, from those who are keen adventurers and outdoors types, to people working in Leadership and organisational change, and those interested in spiritual and personal development.

One of the techniques that Andres is going to share with us on the walk is mindful walking. At its heart, this is about really slowing down to notice what is happening and awakening our senses and awareness. Andres describes how it is so difficult to find silence and space in our busy lives. At its simplest level mindful walking is just a lovely way of walking in silence, which then leads on to the next question, “What do you notice?” For example, how is the tree moving? This in turn begins to open up a space within us. Andres quotes the Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who wrote in one of his poems “Kiss the earth with your feet”. Mindful walking is about bringing this appreciative connection into your walking, being mindful of how the earth is holding you and supporting you.

One of the other practices we will get a taster of on the walk is Qigong (Chi Kung) which is a set of Chinese exercises, to help develop awareness of the energy in our body. As Andres describes it, these are simple and lovely practices, which you can use to ground yourself, cultivate your energy and, when practiced outdoors, connect your energy with the earth and sky. During the walk, we can try out a few exercises, and maybe we will sense something, maybe not – but the important thing is to have a sense of curiosity and intrigue.

Finally, we wanted to know if Andres had a favourite place to go for a walk. He loves the rugged, expansive landscapes of Snowdonia, where he can enjoy a wild swim as well as a walk. Going barefoot on sandy beaches is another favourite. But he can find tranquility in urban spaces as well, such as Battersea Park in London. It’s a good reminder that we can go out and explore and experience the nature that we have on our doorstep, wherever we are. We look forward to joining Andres on Hampstead Heath on 13th April – and hope you can come too. If so, please join up to our facebook event here or email directly info@wayofnature.co.uk

If you are interested in finding out more about some of the experiences that have shaped the development of Way of Nature, and the benefits of spending time in nature, you can view articles and videos here.

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The perfect fit

Thursday, 27 March 2014 16:17:42 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

Do you remember when you went to the shoe store as a child? And you put your foot on the long ruler, and the shop assistant slid down the metal bar till it met your toes. Then they checked the width of your feet. You tried on a couple of pairs, most likely the sensible shoes chosen by your Mum when secretly you were craving the ones with bows or the trainers with the flashing lights. But even so, you walked out of the store, proudly swinging your new shoes in their bag. And your shoes fitted – until your feet grew again, and the process was repeated.

As adults, we think we know what our shoe size is, but often we are a different size in different brands – and sometimes we just end up buying shoes that don’t fit. And, whilst shopping online is convenient and saves us traipsing around stores, it can be difficult to know for sure exactly what size we will be. At Po-Zu, we’re always on the hunt for ways to make life easier for our customers and ensure the comfort of their feet, so we were delighted when we serendipitously bumped into Anne Currie, the founder and brains behind WhatsMySize.

For the past couple of years, WhatsMySize has been making it easier for people to order the right size of clothes first time online. Enter your key measurements into the app, and it will calculate what size you are in participating brands. Eureka! No more having to order multiple sizes and returning incorrect sizes. And fewer returns is better for the environment too, helping to cut carbon emissions from deliveries. Needless to say, when Anne explained the concept to us, our natural first question was “Do you have a version for shoes?” The WhatsMySize team hadn’t yet branched out into shoes – but were up for developing a shoe-size app with us. We started bouncing in our Po-zus with excitement.

We are now bouncing even more since we have launched the app for our new spring/summer range of women’s shoes and sandals. Over the past couple of months, we’ve been whipping out our tape measure at every possible opportunity to measure people’s feet when we come across them at home or in the office (we’ve restrained ourselves from doing so in the street). The data we’ve collected on the shapes and sizes of feet has all been crunched by the WhatsMySize techies and matched with the sizes of our new range.

We’ve put together a short little video explaining how you can measure your feet, and get the app to tell you what size you need in your preferred style. We’re proud that we are the first online shoe retailer to be able to offer this service to our customers, and in doing so being able to lower our carbon footprint. Many thanks to the WhatsMySize team for choosing us to develop the app with. Give it a go, and let us know what you think. We hope your feet will thank you!

We’ll be rolling out the app to cover men’s and further women’s styles in the coming months. If you want to keep up-to-date with all latest news, you can sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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Who made your clothes?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 14:18:14 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

Why are we wearing our clothes inside out? It isn’t (this time) because we got dressed half-asleep this morning. Instead it is to take part in a campaign organised by Fashion Revolution Day called ‘Inside Out’. 

Fashion Revolution Day will be held on 24 April this year. On this day last year, 1133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many more were injured. Today, people are still suffering as a direct result of our fashion supply chain. 

The organisers of Fashion Revolution Day want us all to get involved in asking where and how our clothes were made. If brands can see that we, the people who buy their clothes, care that our clothes are made in a fair and ethical way, then it will encourage those brands who still need to make improvements to the working conditions of their workers to do so. 

It’s easy and fun to take part and help to change the fashion industry for the better. All you need to do is take a picture of yourself wearing an item of clothing inside out, and then ask the brand where and how it was made. You could email the company, and/or tweet them, post a message on their Facebook page or share your picture on Instagram. You can make a video too if you like. If and when you do you hear back from the company, then please share what they said with Fashion Revolution, along with your picture. Full details on how to take part are on the Fashion Revolution website.

At Po-Zu, this is an issue close to our hearts. Sven Segal, the founder of Po-Zu, used to work as a shoe designer for mainstream brands and saw for himself the exploitive conditions that his shoe designs were being made in. This was one of the main reasons that led him to setting up Po-Zu (along with the desire to make the comfiest shoes ever). You can see for yourself how Po-Zu shoes are made with love and care in Portugal by people who enjoy their jobs and are proud of the shoes they make in this video

So what about our inside-out clothes? Cecilia has tweeted M&S about her shirt but they couldn’t provide an answer (see above pic). Our intern Ambah tweeted ASOS to ask for more information about her dress and is waiting for their response. Sven has tweeted H&M to ask where in Bangladesh his organic t-shirt was made as he is anxious to know if it was made in Rana Plaza, but no answer from them either. 

Here at Po-Zu we are going to be turning more of our clothes #insideout over the coming weeks and sharing back what we've heard from the brands on Facebook and Twitter. Let us know how you are getting on too – together we can turn the fashion world inside out for good.

Follow Fashion Revolution Day on Twitter and on Facebook

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Walking for peace

Monday, 24 February 2014 10:31:01 Posted By Sven Segal

I had a great pleasure to be introduced to Guillem Ferrer recently by Satish Kumar, who sensibly thought that we eco shoe designers were likely to have a thing or two in common. I was astounded to discover just how remarkably similar our world-views are, as if I met my lost twin brother…

Guillem was responsible for introducing the concept of sustainability to Camper over a decade ago as their Creative Director during their eco-considered heydays, and while they were still producing shoes locally in Spain. 

Despite moving on to support greater environmental causes, such as managing the Education for Life Foundation and founding the slow movement Poc a Poc (‘Little by Little’ in Spanish), Guillem is still very passionate about artisan and low-impact shoe making, and is keen to spread his knowledge and offer his assistance to footwear producers for free, with the hope that they will adopt his vision to become a part of the solution.

Click here for the full Walking For Peace film version (30 min)

Guillem says: “The way shoes are made today is totally the opposite to the way that life creates things. We cannot continue doing business as usual. We are at the right moment to create a new culture in the way we do business and products; a culture that unites:

-       Matter with spirit

-       Science with consciousness

-       Ecology with economy

-       Aesthetics with ethics

-       The head with the heart and the hands”.

If you happen to be connected in any way to the shoe industry, and are interested to go a step further into Guillem’s beautiful holistic approach, feel free to drop him a line at guiemf@gmail.com I’m sure he will be pleased to hear from you!

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Enjoying the coco-nutty side of life

Friday, 7 February 2014 16:35:34 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

It may be because here in the UK it is February, the nights are long, and the rain is a pretty consistent companion, that we are dreaming of sunshine, deserted golden beaches and waving coconut palms. It’s a time when we are wishing that this was the view out of the window rather than just a screensaver. It may be because of this that we have turned our thoughts to all things coco-nutty this week – after all we can still enjoy the sunshine benefits of the coconut even when there is not much sunshine around. 

Coconuts are the secret of our unique foot-mattress, with coconut fibers forming the main compound. In coconuts, these fibers are found between the hard shell and the soft fruit and they act as a natural shock-absorber to protect the fruit when it falls to the ground – so they are well up to the job of looking after feet.

We also use coconut oil to protect our shoes, in the form of our Edible Shoe Cream, which is made entirely from cold-pressed coconut oil. We are proud to source our coconut oil from Coconoil; a company that was formed in 2004 in the wake of the tsunami in Sri Lanka to provide a new revenue source for the local people. 

Amongst its many benefits, coconut oil does have anti-fungal properties, so if you do find anything unwanted creeping up on your feet, you can also use the edible shoe cream to spread on your feet.

 

 

Of course, the best known use of coconuts is in cooking. We turned to our favourite nutritionista, Meghan Telper, to ask her for a favourite coconut recipe, and we’re grateful to her for sharing this quick and easy one with us – guaranteed to bring some sunshine into your day and spring into your step! 

 

Coconut Lemon Quench
by Meghan Telpner


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: None

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water (or 1 tetra pack)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more depending on desired concentration)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger root
  • Sea salt to taste

 

Instructions

Squeeze the juice of the lemon into blender.

Add coconut water, water, honey, ginger and sea salt into blender.

Blend.

Drink up with a smile or keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.

For the vegans: replace honey with coconut nectar

For the kiddies: freeze and make delicious, healthful popsicles

For the pool-side loungers: replace 1/2 cup of water with ice and make a super rad slush

For the drinkers: throw in a little tequila and ice and you’ve got yourself a margarita (though you may want to save the coconut water to take care of the hangover the next day).

Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based nutritionista and her humorous, engaging and real approach to healthy living has garnered her a world-wide following and extensive media attention. Her online cooking courses  and health programs are making this vibrant living lifestyle available across the globe.

Meghan’s bestselling book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health is creating a revolution in how people think about their health.

Join Meghan’s community on twitter @MeghanTelpner 

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Mind your pause

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 12:24:25 Posted By Olivia Sprinkel

The other day, after spending time with the Po-Zu team, I went to a yoga class with Susannah Hoffmann. We began the class by focusing on our breathing. In, out, in, out, in, out. Making the exhale slightly longer than the inhale. And then focusing on the pause that is in between the out breath and in breath. Extending the pause slightly, and putting our attention on this pause, rather than on the in breath and the out breath.

In our modern life, it is easy to lose the pause. Even if we take a moment to breathe deeply, our attention tends to be on the movement, the act of inhalation and exhalation. We are comfortable with that. I’ve been running around this morning, with a long list of things to do. Yet, just sitting here, and bringing awareness to the pause in my breathing, gives a different quality to the breath and a sense of calmness. Try it for yourself now. What effect does it have? 

As you may know, Po-Zu actually means pause in Japanese.  One of the aims of Po-Zu founder Sven Segal was to give our feet the ultimate rest (through innovations such as the coconut husk foot-mattress), because they bear all our weight. And, since the planet bears all our waste, to give the planet a rest too. In this case, our footprint really can help our ecological footprint. 

In general, we tend not to look after our feet or give them much pause for thought. I know from my own experience that they are easily forgotten, particularly during the winter months when they are tucked away in socks and boots. One in six people in the US have foot problems, nine out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small for them and two-thirds of foot problems can be attributed to shoes.

http://www.sunandmoonstudio.com/Articles/feet.html

You might not initially associate yoga with care for the feet, with the focus tending to be on the fancy, bendy poses. But yoga teachers recognise that, precisely because feet bear all our weight, they deserve our care and attention. Some of my favourite poses are the standing poses like mountain pose, which is simply about standing tall and steady and breathing, and tree pose, in which your hands reach up above your head and you balance on one leg. The benefits of both poses include strengthening your feet. And, at home, or maybe in your yoga class if you are lucky, you can practice a simple yoga massage, working into the base of your feet with your fingers and stretching your toes. You may be surprised at how different you, and your feet, feel afterwards. This two minute video gives some useful tips. 

Feet are our connection with the earth. And the ultimate aim of yoga is the feeling of peaceful connectedness with the universe. So perhaps one or more of your re-slow-lutions of the year could be to pause and acknowledge your feet which allow you to walk, run, jump and skip, to love your feet more and to try yoga or practice it more – and the practice of one will benefit the other. 

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Re-slow-lutions; where the magic happens

Monday, 6 January 2014 12:36:27 Posted By Sven Segal

A Chinese proverb rightly states that “a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” and with 2014 already underway, it’s important that ambitious, idealistic New Year resolutions don’t overshadow the real opportunity for lasting change in our lives. So how is your resolutions list looking for this year… are the usual suspects on there… losing weight, stopping a bad habit or learning a new skill? You may find it’s more effective to look at small changes in behaviour rather than try to overturn deep-rooted habits.

Slowing down

Everyone is busy; work commitments, family, running errands - there aren’t enough hours in the day and we have already forgotten what we did last weekend. Time to slow down we think! Po-Zu means ‘pause’ in Japanese, which is the focal point of our company’s ethos. We believe in living at a relaxed pace, relishing the journey and making sure our impact is minimal. Make 2014 the year you do less, by taking on fewer tasks and focusing on what is really important. Try doubling the time that you allocate to a task so that your stress levels can be easily managed; multi-tasking is no longer an advantage! You will be more productive, creative and find it much easier to deal with unexpected change if you have given yourself space to breathe.  

Be present. It’s not enough to just slow down, apply yourself to what is going on around you. As Gandhi said, “there is more to life than increasing its speed”. If you are eating, savour the taste, be mindful of all the flavours as you chew, of the different textures.. think about the preparation of the food and where the food came from.

If you are cycling, take the slow lane! By going at a leisurely pace, you can appreciate the scene as you pass by, contemplate your day and enjoy a safer journey. If you walk a lot, try and pause occasionally to smell the flowers. And here is a simple calming exercise that you can do anytime your feet are on the ground… As you inhale imagine you are drawing air through the sole of your feet, up through your legs and body. As you exhale imagine the reverse.

Getting out of your comfort zone

Comfort reigns supreme here at Po-Zu, with our coconut foot mattresses continuing to please people, like one happy wearer (Olivia) said: “ They are a bit like sinking into your favourite sofa each time you put them on”.  Check out her blog about the ‘slow moving creative good’ concept, featuring our shoes.

As much as we try to extend people’s comfort zones, being too comfortable in your life, can hold you back. The New Year can be a great time to test your inner strength, discipline and embrace new experiences. 

Go beyond self-interest

Each year many of us make resolutions completely focused on ourselves. Could this be the year you commit to volunteering at your local animal shelter for one hour a week? Or maybe you could do without your daily cappuccino and instead give the money to an environmental cause. As Charles Eisenstein said “In a gift economy the more you give, the richer you are…” 

 

So just in case you got inspired, here are some great ways to share:

http://www.justfortheloveofit.org

http://www.goodfornothing.com

http://www.streetbank.com

http://www.thepeoplewhoshare.com

http://economyofhours.com

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Are you a Walking Experiment?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:21:21 Posted By Cecilia Lunch

If you broke down every part of your daily life, how many nasty chemicals could you have been exposed to without even knowing, or simply assumed that they had been pre-tested for safety?

On a daily basis, we are exposed to thousands of chemicals in our appliances, electronics, food, furniture, make-up/skincare, transport; a never-ending list which we can’t easily escape from! We have been led to believe that the appropriate governing bodies have set the necessary guidelines in place for our protection, but is it enough or are they being influenced by private companies trying to sell their products? It’s time to acknowledge the connection between the extensive chemical manifestations in our lives with the increase in disease rates, and do something about it.

Two upcoming documentaries The Human Experiment and Unacceptable Levels are shedding light and exposing the truth on this very issue. We ought to question what’s in all the products we consume, since the information is not openly presented for us to scrutinize and better understand. There is massive financial gain for a few, by keeping the masses in the dark. 

One of the doctors interviewed for The Human Experiment documentary sums it up. She said, “Information that’s only held by some people only empowers some people. So it may be that a producer only knows what’s in their product and they want to vouch that it’s safe but if the public and the government and if scientists can’t see what’s in the product and don’t have any information about its safety, then that doesn’t give me much assurance.”

So together let’s try and turn this around. Information is power and it is up to us, as a collective for good, to make choices that encourage a healthy, chemical-free life. We can do this by spreading the word, by donating and supporting campaigning charities that contest the powerful conglomerates lobbying the government to keep this issue under wraps. Then of course, there is our purchasing power. And what better time than at Christmas when consumption is at all time high. Buying from companies who are producing products that are made ecologically, organically and free of harmful chemicals is one of the easiest things we can do to empower and change the status quo.

Maybe try and change one aspect of your life each month as a new year’s resolution, such as your skincare range or food? We’d love to hear how you’re doing on your personal chemical-free endeavour, feel free to share any tips to the rest of our community!  

http://thehumanexperimentmovie.com/

http://www.unacceptablelevels.com/

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Life Changing Postcards

Thursday, 14 November 2013 12:01:59 Posted By Cecilia Lunch

With Christmas drawing near, many people start to feel more charitable and make a one-off donation to a cause of their choice. But charities need support all year round, so over the next few weeks we wanted to introduce you to the environmental charities that we support here at Po-Zu.

This week we thought it was appropriate that we showcase the very important work of The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF); a UK-based non-profit organisation working internationally to protect the environment and defend human rights. We have all heard about and seen the horrific devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in recent days and it’s easy to feel powerless against this out of control destruction. Extreme weather is becoming ever more frequent as the true force of Climate Change shows no remorse. Of particular concern are the environmental refugees; those displaced by these disasters. Did you know that they have no legal status, no recognition and no protection? As if they didn’t have enough to worry about! Imagine your entire home, neighbourhood and life as you knew it, obliterated.  It’s simply too much to comprehend.

Well, EJF and their postcards campaign are trying to change this…take a look:

So what do you think?

We believe the power of the people has worked many times before and definitely can again. This postcard initiative is just one way you can help and play your part. Small changes and small change can make a real improvement in these people’s lives.

http://www.ejfoundation.org/postcards

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Is the leather in your shoes Chrome-Free?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 11:52:42 Posted By Sven Segal

Sorry if this blog is not your cup of tea. 

Whether you are a shopaholic or just buy out of necessity, we don’t often have the chance to know all there is to know about the fashionable garment we are about to purchase. A revolution is underway within our Food industry; now you can understand that a sandwich (for example) contains a certain amount of fat or calories and be well-informed about its ingredients thanks to a colour-coded dial and in depth labelling. Or maybe you spot a symbol such as Fairtrade or Organic, which in many cases ‘would do’ as an instant stamp of approval.

And what about our clothing and footwear? Their contents can’t be as important as food, right?

Hmmm… You may not realise what kind of stuff actually goes in your shoes until your feet perspire or get wet one day. You may notice your feet turn a bit brown or blue, you may even develop a rash. This is just one example of your feet being exposed to the cocktail of chemicals often found in shoes; from solvent-based glues, petroleum-based components, to toxic leathers. These residues could be heavy metals such as Mercury, Lead, Chromium and Arsenic, which are potentially carcinogenic.

And if this doesn’t sounds scary enough, our relatives in developing countries are taking the biggest hit… 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, at least 95% of leather produced worldwide is tanned using Chromium, an incredibly harmful chemical to the people working with it and to waterways. Most leathers are produced in developing countries like Bangladesh and India, where environmental standards are far too relaxed. Chemically tanned leather is quick to produce, and it caters for the demand of cheap leather goods in the west. 

Beyond just being a local issue, Chromium has been identified as the 4th worst pollution problem in the world!

Please remember this next time you buy leather shoes; go on don’t be a fart, buy smart! We must pause and think outside our own backyard; we ought to question the shops and the brands about where their leather comes from and how it was produced.

Or simply look them straight in the eyes and ask: Is the leather in your shoes Chrome-free? 

And what do you think would be our answer here at Po-Zu? You bet!

We find the implications of using toxic substances horrific and beyond just caring about our leathers, we look into every single component in our shoes. We like to ensure that all the materials are safe for all the workers throughout our supply chain and kind to the environment.

We use Natural Latex in our soles as opposed to the usual petroleum-based Rubber, and Coconut Husk foot-mattress as opposed to the usual petroleum-based foot-bed. You won’t find any harsh glue in our products either, as we stitch all the components together, which make our shoes more breathable, durable, and repairable.

People often say “but your shoes are so expensive”, to which we say "NOT REALLY, most other shoes are too cheap"!

May good soles be with you.

http://worstpolluted.org/

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Nourished Souls

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:58:14 Posted By Cecilia Lunch

We take great care about what goes onto our feet, so imagine the attention we give to what goes into our body!  Meet Meghan Telpner, she’s our favourite nutritionista.

Meghan is not like most health experts, she won’t bore you with information that you find daunting or hard to digest… as you read her book, you feel like your feisty, fun friend is sitting right next to you giving you the inside word. This is just one of the reasons why so many have taken her book as gospel. Meghan encourages major life changes through small steps, breaking down the science into achievable goals & tips that you actually can take on board and most importantly, stick to… unlike any diet! You can now access good health and a vibrant new way of living, thanks to her motivating bestseller “UnDiet”.

Here at Po-Zu we connected with Meghan’s message on many levels, particularly about taking responsibility for the choices you make and how these can improve your life for the better. Rather than being preachy, Meghan aims to empower and inform. Meghan’s message resonates with us about looking after your mind, body and planet. We were particularly interested in the section on eliminating toxins and chemicals in your life, something that is very close to our hearts.

We had the great pleasure of interviewing Meghan on skype yesterday. Much to our surprise, she gave us blushing British more than we bargained for with her edible shoe cream tips. 

For your chance to win a copy of her book, simply like the post on our facebook wall, and share your favourite health tip with us before next Wednesday 30th October.

As Meghan says, “Eat your way to the life of your dreams” :)

You can follow Meghan on Twitter @MeghanTelpner

http://meghantelpner.com/books/undiet-meghan-telpner/

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Apps with a Soul

Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:58:52 Posted By Cecilia Lunch

Ever feel helpless in the face of all the Internet and media noise out there? We know what it’s like – you try to make choices that lead to a healthier and more eco-conscious life. But it can be quite tough. There is always new information coming our way and due to the power of the media – we often don’t get told the whole story.

That is why we thought we would post a blog about some tech tools out there that aim to make life a little easier. We can make a real difference with how we spend our mighty currency…

GSG Ethical Shopping App

The Good Shopping Guide Ethical Shopping App draws on the information from the world’s best-selling ethical guide. You can get helpful information at your fingertips on over 700 famous brands, including Po-Zu! Sections include Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Energy, Home & Office and Money…so you can start making ethical buying decisions in every area of your life! Each company is critiqued on their Environmental, Animal Welfare and Human Rights records – download it today for only £2.99…and check out where Po-Zu ranks. And as an added bonus, 10% of all the proceeds go to Friends of the Earth...now that is smart shopping!   http://www.ethical-company-organisation.org/ethicalshoppingapp.htm


 

Avoid 

Ordering online has revolutionized how we purchase goods, but we can’t always know where things are coming from and the supply chain. This plug-in seeks to tackle the child labour issue head on by preventing your browser from displaying clothing that may have been made by minors.  Created by Active Against Child Labour, who aim to pressure and hold companies accountable for their supply chains. The plug-in works on sites like ASOS and Amazon. http://www.avoidplugin.com/

Good Guide 

Whether you are out and about or simply doing some research, the Good Guide app has social, health and environmental performance ratings about 120,000 products. The purchasing power you hold as a consumer can come into full force here, as you simply scan a barcode to get the information you need. You can select the issues that concern you most and create a personalised shopping list. http://www.goodguide.com/

Shop Like a Star, eBay  

Many people are influenced by and interested in celebrity culture. Many follow what their favourite star does very closely and will even buy products simply featured in advertising. But this is not a complete cause for distress, thanks to an initiative by eBay, called Shop Like a Star. Available to iPad users, you can log on and purchase things on your favourite celebrity’s page. All purchasers contribute to that star’s selected charity or their own foundation. To date $339,476,055 has been raised – turn shopping into philanthropy!  http://celebrity.ebay.com/

Instead 

Do you buy a coffee a day? Or do you take the bus from the station when maybe you could walk? This app is about making choices that result in a little spare petty cash. And with that cash what could you do with it? Substituting everyday purchases can accumulate to a decent contribution to a cause of your choice! So think about it, if you usually do this, don’t. INSTEAD….

https://instead.com/

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10:10:10

Thursday, 10 October 2013 12:22:32 Posted By Sven Segal

Perhaps we have all watched too many superhero cartoons in our childhood to turn the idea of saving the world into a cliché, but after the recent IPCC report the threat of climate change is no longer a fantasy. So wake up, get real, and join the low carbon movement!

To mark today’s 10:10 we’ve come up with a list of 10 of our favourite eco heroes, and a short line on why we chose them:

 

 1. Kumi Naidoo
Because saving the Earth takes more than holding up placards and writing letters to people in power; hats off to heroic (yet peaceful) activism.  @kuminaidoo

 

2. Tony Juniper
Because Tony had shown us that money does really grow on trees! It’s about time we focused on conserving nature since it pays us far more dividends than any financial institution ever would.  @TonyJuniper

 

3. Caroline Lucas
Because we need more MPs to hug trees, as opposed to arm dealers and fossil fuel companies CEO’s.  @CarolineLucas

 

4. Bill McKibben
Because 350 is more than just a number; reducing CO2 levels back to 350ppm is our safest bet.  @billmckibben

 

5. Franny Armstrong
Because its hard to admit we still live in the age of stupid, and cutting back our carbon by 10% a year is a neat way to gradually wean us off without going cold turkey.  @frannyarmstrong


6. Andrew Simms
Because we are still in time to cancel the apocalypse; phew! Read his book to find out how.  @AndrewSimms_uk

 

7. Thich Nhat Hanh
Because peace starts from within, and “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” - is our favourite quote!  @thichnhathanh

 

8. Ellen MacArthur
Because we need renewable energy like wind in our sails, and the circular economy seems like the only way to go without drowning in a sea of waste.  @ellenmacarthur

 

9. Rob Hopkins
Because the Transition Town model is an awesome way to live in harmony with both nature and our communities.  @robintransition

 

10. Polly Higgins
Last but certainly not least, because Earth needs a good lawyer to implement Ecocide as the 5th crime against peace.  @PollyHiggins

 

Also check out today’s 10:10 #itshappening gallery there are some amazing climate success stories from around the world; nice shots of optimism for a change!

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Common Ground

Thursday, 19 September 2013 12:13:07 Posted By Cecilia Lunch

We were delighted to meet Polly Higgins for the first time while celebrating as winners (in different categories) at last year’s PEA Awards. In his speech, Sven paid tribute to Polly and her work, sending out a call to action urging people to support the initiative of eradicating ecocide

A year and a half on and we are thrilled to finally add The Earth Community Trust to the selected charities we support.

We are also honoured to support Polly’s very own soles and delighted to have her as a brand ambassador for Po-Zu!

We believe Polly’s mission to end ecocide is hugely important, and so in case you’re unfamiliar with her work, check out this inspirational Ted talk-

 

As much as we care a great deal about people’s feet, the future is actually in our hands; please take a moment to sign the European Citizens’ Initiative to make Ecocide a crime in the EU.

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Future Fashion

Monday, 16 September 2013 17:46:55 Posted By Sven Segal

Last night I had a dream about an intriguing semi futuristic scenario… 

As the world is increasingly gasping for clean air (surpassing 500 ppm of CO2 at this point in my dream), we have become obsessed with carbon capturing to such an extent that a peculiar law has been implemented...

Every unused personal space that is regarded as being excessive has to be used to capture carbon. The examples that grabbed my attention were a couple of wearable items; tall hats and platform shoes.

 

Sponge like carbon capture devices come in different shapes and sizes for mainstream usage, and everyday items have been re-designed and adapted to accommodate such fittings.

Do you think this could become a reality one day?

Will the content of clothing ever become more important than the way they look?

It reminded me that back in the 17th century we (the English) were taxed by the size of our property windows - that’s where the term ‘daylight robbery’ came from.

In a similar but fairer manner, the fashion of future taxation may evolve beyond just paying fees for certain usages, to incentivise us to make more meaningful contributions to society and act in more considered ways for the common good.

Utilizing the use of space more sustainably is just one example, and in this particular fantasy the practical sense is getting rewarded for capturing carbon, perhaps similar to the way we get credited for uploading extra renewable energy into the grid beyond our own consumption.

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Our ‘Good for Nothing’ Springboard

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 21:11:43 Posted By Sven Segal

We had a big night out just over a month ago… Our Good for Nothing friends pulled together an unforgettable show of solidarity to put a bouncier spring in our step.

For those who are unfamiliar with their awesome work; Good for Nothing is a community of creative doers who apply their skills and energy to solve important challenges collaboratively and help accelerate the work of change-makers and projects for the common good.

We never had such a large bunch of positive brainstormers handling our shoes in such an investigative, imaginative, and constructive way, and we feel very fortunate to have gone through this eye-opening transformative event.

So after this turbo-induced powwow- it’s now time to walk the talk; we are ready for a long, steady and invigorating hike accompanied by a cumulative community of good soles. 

 

http://www.goodfornothing.com

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Basic stuff

Monday, 18 February 2013 10:37:56 Posted By Sven Segal

People
we.
 
People need
basic things.
 
People need shoes
to walk and get places.
 
People need comfortable shoes
because we spend most of our lives on our feet (which bear all our weight).
 
People need comfortable shoes that are kind to their feet
because our feet are so important we should be kind to them by avoiding shoes that are made with toxic substances (you’ll be surprised to know the level of toxins in an average pair of shoes).
 
People need comfortable shoes that are kind to their feet and the planet
because; if we keep on harming the environment with toxic substances, we’ll end up with no planet to walk on. In which case we won’t be around either, and there will be no need for shoes.
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Resolution Revolution Evolution

Monday, 7 January 2013 10:23:32 Posted By Sven Segal

We tend to announce to the world our personal New Year resolutions in order to boost our self-esteem by transforming cowardness into courageousness, yet this year it feels rather different as our personal goals have somehow shifted towards being global, from ego to eco.

It’s been hard to ignore Prince Charles’s heartfelt reflection in the press about his fears to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren…

We thought the Prince might have watched this viral (perhaps no coincidence it was released on the last day of the Mayan’s calendar); a brief history of human regression, finely animated and cut by Steve Cutts in deep dark humor.

It’s dead clear that there is no room for disrespect and arrogant behavior in our fragile ecosystem as it collapses beneath our feet. No more sweeping under the carpet either my friend, it’s time to clean up our mountainous mess.

Here at Po-Zu we have been thinking hard how to improve our product further while reducing our impact on the environment at the same time. We have big plans this year such as making our shoes even more high-grade and exceedingly durable/ reparable, yet still made from biodegradable components. Look out this autumn for our Prestige Collection (literally ‘smart’). We also have great hopes of substantially increasing our contribution to environmental charities this year.

Last but not least we have just joined the Climate Revolution launched recently by Vivienne Westwood and Lush cosmetics; check it out and please feel free to join too- http://climaterevolution.org.uk/

We love their SHOP LESS - KISS MORE motto, and more than happy to live by it :)

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Tortoise gene therapy

Monday, 3 December 2012 15:55:01 Posted By Sven Segal

The tortoise and the hare fable has been a highly popular meme by surviving hundreds of generations (since ancient Greece), yet we tend to completely disregard the moral of the tale in practice.

Our obsession with speed has been constantly on the rise ever since the industrial revolution, and despite knowing the destructive consequences we continue to snowball our pace as if there is no tomorrow.

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that speed kills; it only takes one hard-hitting road safety ad campaign, as they don’t leave much to the imagination.

When you think of it, almost everything we have ever sped up (possibly as an intentional ‘improvement’) has turned out more harmful than useful. Take fast food for instance, which brought upon us the globesity epidemic (just to point out one major knock-on effect out of many). And fast fashion? As if using and dumping vast amounts of toxic chemicals in our waterways in order to speed up the production process wasn’t bad enough, the recent Toxic Threads report by Greenpeace uncovers traces of harmful substances in the clothes and shoes of some of the most popular high street fashion brands.

Everyone knows that cutting corners tends to lead to poorer quality, but more critically it endangers our environment too (if you can imagine all the corners that have ever been cut - piled up in one place). As long as companies can get away with ecocide, and as long as there aren’t any clear incentives or rewards to slow down, companies would find it hard to compromise ‘unnecessarily’. The bigger the company the harder it is for them to alter their operating system.

Perhaps this is one advantage of having a small operation- it’s relatively easy to change, and it’s even easier when you start from scratch. As the meaning of our brand name suggests (‘pause’), the very reason we started our business six years ago was to emphasise the importance of slowing down our hectic lifestyle and at the same time trying our best to ‘pause’ harming the environment too. As shoe production methods vary enormously in regards to their environmental impact, by and large the slower processes (such as stitching as oppose to gluing for instance) prove less harmful and are ultimately more sustainable.

You have probably never heard of ‘slow shoes’ before (perhaps because it doesn’t sound particularly appealing- shoes that slow you down??), but more likely you have come across the term slow fashion, and slow food. These two positive movements are part of a global force of good to promote slowness as a way to make things better, more sustainable, more resilient, and ultimately to make us happier. 

In praise of the person with possibly the highest concentration of tortoise genes in the world; the slowness grand master Carl Honore, we’d love to spread his fun and wise words. Check out this great TED talk and learn how slowness can be not just appealing but even sexy! 

The good news is that we are soon about to switch into a slowness mode during our rare allocated holiday period, and so perhaps we should try and maintain part of this feature in the new year and be reminded that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Oh, and by the way, have you noticed that the lifespan of the tortoise is much longer than the hare? Some even outlive humans!

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The joy of spinning

Monday, 1 October 2012 13:14:33 Posted By Sven Segal

We are excited to be featuring the luxurious touch of world-famous Harris tweed on our women’s boots this season; Pep, Piper, Liv, and Suji.

The two sophisticated looking tweeds we’ve picked are Black twill - dappled with subtle coloured specks, and a traditional flecked-pattern Barleycorn tweed that provides coarse appearance where the colours merge into a single shade from a distance.

Unlike most tweeds, Harris wool is dyed before being spun, which allows them to blend a multitude of colours into their yarn.  With each thread containing a myriad of different colours a cloth of great depth and complexity is produced. 

Apart from its striking appearance, the beauty behind Harris Tweed lies in its impressive heritage, authentic artisan workmanship, and low-impact production that is 100% locally sourced and fully traceable.

So no wonder we fell in love with their tweed, check out this inspiring video about the Harris legacy and their conscience approach to production.

HARRIS TWEED HEBRIDES from caspar zafer on Vimeo.

We especially like their pedal-power looms; not only they are energy efficient, but it keeps the weavers fit too!

This ecologically sound textile provides us with both mental and physical comfort, which fits in rather perfectly with the nature of Po-Zu.

For further info see

http://www.harristweed.org

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Eco Luxury

Monday, 10 September 2012 22:06:50 Posted By Sven Segal

We are delighted to showcase our shoe fleur collaboration with Michel Tcherevkoff at the Ecoluxe London exhibition this coming Sunday!

Going luxury is a new phase in our brand evolution; a transition almost as radical as introducing outdoor shoes a year after launching Po-Zu as an indoor slipper back in 2006.

We once thought that luxury products strongly conflict with an eco friendly lifestyle, just by being an unnecessary indulgence that we could all live perfectly well without. There are however certain values in luxury that we feel rather comfortable being associated with, such as high quality, high comfort, high level of design and craftsmanship.

It may not always be the case, but for us luxury equals excellence. Making a product to the highest possible standards has always been our goal, but perhaps casual shoes could never be considered luxury no matter how well they are made, it’s more about the styling!

And that’s where our marvelous collaborator artist Michel Tcherevkoff comes in, to deliver the visual wow-effect we’ve been missing all along.

Ecoluxe London, launched by Miriam González Durántez - in September 2010, is a not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable luxury.

The exhibition opens on the 16th/17th of September 2012 (Sunday 12:30pm-8pm and Monday 9am-8pm) at London’s Kingsway Hall Hotel, 66 Queen Anne Street, Covent Garden.

http://www.ecoluxelondon.org

 

Check out Ecoluxe blog about our shoe fleur collaboration

http://ecoluxelondon.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/176/

 

If you are interested to visit the exhibition please RSVP to

rsvp@ecoluxelondon.org

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Non Toxic Revolution

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:54:22 Posted By cecilia lunch

We don’t seem to bang-on enough about why we chose to make our shoes non-toxic. Of course all types of ‘sustainable’ footwear follow ethical principles, whether they are made from recycled materials, recyclable, durable and so forth, but there is something fundamental about eliminating toxins that have set our goals so clear from the start.

This pressing issue is evident across most man made products, and since harmful substances are in many cases not listed on the label, we better be more vigilant with the choices we make.

This great video is a must watch, please spread the word and join this existential revolution >>>

Via Keep A Breast Foundation

http://www.kabntr.org/

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The future we want

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 18:06:06 Posted By Sven Segal

All eyes were on Rio+20 last month, hoping for a positive outcome from the UN sustainable development summit in Brazil.

While the conclusion wasn’t as groundbreaking as we were hoping for, the summit has certainly raised awareness about the urgency of stopping the destruction of our natural environment and reducing our consumption of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.

As we’re always trying to look on the bright side, we wanted to share this wonderful ‘uplifting’ video that carries the thought that we do have the power to sustain our world, and it all starts from us the individuals!

Perhaps we were especially drawn to the upside down world as a theme we have been following ourselves for a while…

We may feel too secure and comfortable with our feet firmly on the ground and in need of turning our world around in order to appreciate our lives and everything around us.

For more info check out

http://futurewewant.org/

http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/

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Shoe Fleur collaboration

Thursday, 7 June 2012 10:25:45 Posted By Sven Segal

We are delighted to introduce you to the inspirational artist and designer behind our upcoming collaboration for Spring-Summer 2013-

Michel Tcherevkoff is a conceptual photographer who began designing and sculpting footwear from flowers and plants when he noticed a resemblance between a leaf he had photographed and a woman's shoe. In 2008 Michel launched the book Shoe Fleur: A Footwear Fantasy, alongside an exhibition of his prints at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York during Fashion Week.

 Check out this video where Michel talks about his work

 

We are thrilled to be the first to turn Michel’s ingenious floral designs into wearable art, and are looking forward to launching this exciting collaboration at the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin next month!

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The speech I didn’t have a chance to deliver

Monday, 26 March 2012 11:43:17 Posted By Sven Segal

The only thing I’ve ever won was an eco toilet cleaner in a raffle.

So no wonder I was in a dreamlike state when they announced my name as the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year at last week’s PEA Awards (People and Environment Achievement Awards).

photo of sven

Here is the speech I never had a chance to deliver while collecting my trophy on stage: 

I am over the moon - I can’t deny it. This is probably the most meaningful moment in my life so far. But hang on… WINNING an environmental award is an odd concept. Until sustainability becomes truly mainstream, we are all big-time losers!

So beyond these 15 minutes of glory shared by all winners here tonight, however positive and amazing these projects may be, we all need to have a collaborative global goal to fix the mess we have put ourselves into.

They say global warming is what we need to combat, but perhaps we need to fight against the real life-threatening pandemics called Apathy and Greed first of all.

We environmentalists are likely to loose the battle to maintain the Earth’s habitability and will remain a minority - UNLESS environmentalism becomes a duty for each and every one of us, rather than a choice.

We have become totally addicted to a lavish and uncaring lifestyle our planet cannot sustain. And how bloody hard is it to cure addiction? How could we possibly divert people’s perceptions and priorities?

Beyond consumption the problem lies with accumulating bad habits— we've been used to making stuff the wrong way for too long (many thanks to the The Age of Stupid, which I assume you’ve all watched).

So WHY BOTHER changing the way we produce stuff if they ‘do the job’?

“Check out these super cool trainers, WHO CARES if they’re made in a sweatshop with a nasty blend of harmful substances?” 

“NEVER MIND that the cotton used for this lovely dress has been soaked with toxic pesticides, it’s so flattering, and too cheap to resist!” 

“I must have this designer handbag! Well TOO BAD the leather has been tanned with carcinogenic substances, I must have it anyway!”

Maybe the intensity of life is already too hard to bear and we are already stressed enough to ALSO care about such ‘minor details’ or ‘imperfections’...

Life is full of compromises anyway! 

And NOBODY is perfect, right? 

We fail to grasp the sheer scale of our problem and picture the global impact. It is all adding up; just multiply your own unsustainable consumption by a few billion. And to make matters even trickier, many of the harmful products appear to be deceivably inoffensive!

I was thinking it would be really cool to have a harmful-substance reader App in our smartphones, in a similar vein to those Geiger counters being popular back in the 80’s when people were concerned with the radiation from microwaves.

We self-obsessed creatures tend to focus on our own personal life, and in any case why can’t the ‘authorities’ do something? And isn’t this the government’s ‘job’?

If THEY don’t care, WHY SHOULD I ??

- Pause -

I want to conclude by paying a special tribute to the tremendous and inspirational work of Polly Higgins who just won the best Environmental Campaigner Award! Please follow and support http://eradicatingecocide.com/ as this is one of the few campaigns out there that CAN make a real and major difference.

Much love, and thank you all x

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Don’t tread on people, tread on coconuts

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 15:38:06 Posted By Sven Segal

Check out our first ever Po-Zu animated clip. It all started as a play on the classic story about how Newton discovered gravity. We swapped the apple with a coconut, and thanks to getting hit on his head our inventive dude discovered how to make super comfy bio-based shoes…


Turning a coconut into a shoe may seem gimmicky, but it was certainly an ‘aha’ moment when our dude realized what he could do with coconut fibres. In nature, the layer of husk surrounding the coconut acts as a shock absorber to protect the coconut from breaking when it tumbles down. Dude imagined it would make a perfect bedding for a shoe, and so began Po-Zu.

It’s great learning from nature and adopting its models to design smarter products, which are also more sustainable. This design discipline is called Biomimicry, check out some other inspiring examples here:

Mother of Invention

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The proof is in the pudding

Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:25:04 Posted By cecilia lunch

If you like baking and feel a bit adventurous, try this delicious wholesome recipe using our Edible Shoe Cream in a Christmas pudding! 

1 and 1/2 cups of mixed dried fruit (raisins, apricots and/or prunes)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced small

1/4 cup brandy

1 tbsp orange and lemon zest

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup agave syrup

A pinch of sea salt

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cardamom

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pot of Edible Shoe Cream (or 1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil)­­

1 cup spelt flour

1 cups breadcrumbs

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup hemp milk or rice milk or soymilk

Marinate dried fruit, ginger, brandy, orange and lemon zest and juices, agave syrup, salt, spices and vanilla for about 8 hours.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Grease the inside of the pudding bowl and add the mixture.

Cover the top of the pudding with a circle of parchment paper and the top of the bowl tightly with aluminium foil with a pleat in the middle to all for expansion.

Cook for four hours in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, filled with water up to one inch from the top of the bowl.

Enjoy :) 

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Do you “deserve” a free pair of shoes?

Thursday, 1 December 2011 15:07:57 Posted By cecilia lunch

Are you a fan? Are you proud to own a pair of Po-Zu shoes? Do you genuinely enjoy wearing them? Do you feel they are the most comfortable shoes you have ever worn?

We are starting to collect filmed testimonials from our fans, and we’d love you to share with us your personal experience… Some people have said that they feel as if they are walking on clouds, or that their feet give a blissful sigh every time they put their Po-Zu shoes on!

How do yours feel?

We will be delighted to give away 20 pairs of shoes for the first 20 clips we decide are worth uploading to our website!

All you need is a filming device (mobile will do) and email to us clips up to 1 minute long. For data over 8mb please email via www.wetransfer.com to contact@po-zu.com

Happy Filming!

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New Po-Zu Accessories

Tuesday, 1 November 2011 12:10:25 Posted By cecilia lunch

We thought it would be cool to utilize some of the components we use in our shoes to make some functional accessories. For instance, the padding in the backside of our backpack is exactly the same coir that goes into our foot mattress, designed to provide great cushioning and comfort.  


The elasticated bands on our laptop cases are made from hardwearing natural latex, (which is the same compound as our soles) and have been cut out from our very first and dated sole-mould, which is no longer in use.


Check out our new additions to the Po-Zu family

http://po-zu.com/men/accessories

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The jewel green school

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 08:53:40 Posted By Kristof Dierckx

The school that we can all learn from.

We are looking forward to 2011 as sustainability is becoming increasingly mainstream. We hope to witness more breathtaking projects such as this magical green school, which is probably any child’s dream school…

Known for his bamboo inspired jewlery designes, John Hardy has built the most amazing school complex in Bali, made almost entirely from locally sourced bamboo.

Check out his inspirational talk on TED:

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Live mannequins “pause” in biodegradable shoes

Monday, 4 October 2010 15:17:08 Posted By Kristof Dierckx

London Fashion Week – Last week at Caroline Massey’s show, static models wore some rather special shoes made by Po-Zu for Timberland. The models paused still for over an hour as if time had frozen! Witnessing this powerful calmness in front of buzzing spectators was as refreshing as the outfits themselves.

More to come soon about this exciting collaboration with Timberland for Spring-Summer 2011…

London Fashion Week 1

 

London Fashion Week 1

 

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calling all creative minds

Monday, 20 September 2010 18:57:15 Posted By Kristof Dierckx

Only two weeks left to enter the Green Awards. You have until the end of September to send your entry. If you are involved in communicating the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainable development and ethical best practice, don't delay, get your entry in today!

Green Awards

 

Since Po-Zu was nominated in 2006 for our compostable shoebox, we have been following this unique annual celebration of insipring green thinking. Now in their 5th year, the awards have gone global for the first time by opening up to entrants from all over the world.

There are 16 categories including Best Green Product Inovation, through to Best Green Advertising. The Green Awards highlight the importance of keeping people informed of green issues, products and the most sustainable lifestyle choices. This year’s awards ceramony will be held at the Natural History Museum, and hosted by Jo Wood and Wayne Hemingway.

So what are they looking for?

The judges are looking for innovative, creative and original work that really stands out and makes them think. They are looking for proof of the positive sustainable impact of a campaign in terms of environmental, social and economic benefits. The work must have been previously published between October 2009 and October 2010 and not just written for the awards.

The deadline is 30 September. So if you think you have what it takes…

Find out more here.

 

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save the sea

Wednesday, 18 August 2010 22:16:34 Posted By Sven Segal

As many of us tend to spend their summer holidays at the seaside, check out this important campaign from our friends at the EJF…

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many legs make light work

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 18:20:07 Posted By Kristof Dierckx

We just finished reading the latest issue of our beloved green mag Sublime , which this month focuses on working together. That got us thinking about, not only how much more we can achieve when we work together, but also how much more fun it is…

 sublime cover

Take for example the Pedibus that we spotted in London recently. It is kind of a communal bicycle that allows friends or complete strangers to propel themselves along using a joint effort of pedal power. The super strong but light weight aluminium chassis allows cyclist to sit in a dinner table formation and to chat, socialise and even enjoy a drink or two while pedalling.


The Pedibus has next to zero emissions as it drives purely by pedal power and its lights and sound system are powered by solar energy. Maybe one day, the Pedibus will replace urban buses and trams… imagine what it would do for the environment, to our fitness levels, and our social lives!

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Thekey.to ethical fashion

Wednesday, 30 June 2010 21:57:17 Posted By Kristof Dierckx

Just over a week to go until thekey.to trade fair at Berlin Fashion Week and we can't wait... This is one of the most innovative platforms for green fashion, sustainable lifestyle and culture.

There will be a great mix of edgy fashion brands, eco classics, and great contemporary designs. Each of them also fulfils a number of criteria in terms of ethics and sustainability including use of sustainable materials and certifications in social standards.


 cork chair

Events at the fair will include an ethical fashion show, a new concept area for green shopping, workshops, and parties of course! Whilst slow fashion seems to be the more sustainable option, the conference will explore the contribution of speed, innovation and fresh ideas to green fashion with a panel that includes fashion Dr Otto von Busch, Professor at the Gothenburg University in Sweden, known for his artistic "fashion hacking" projects and Tamsin Lejeune, Director of the Ethical Fashion Forum.


cork umbrella

 







We will be exhibiting and presenting our Po-Zu SS11 range at thekey.to acceleration from 8 - 10th July in Berlin, we look forward to seeing you there. You can find out more or register to visit here.

http://thekey.to

 

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what a corker!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 16:00:44 Posted By Sven Segal

We recently went to a great green show called UK Aware http://www.ukaware.com/ and met so many lovely people... We were especially delighted to discover the UK Cork Industry Federation http://www.cork-products.co.uk/ as our love for cork has been growing stronger then ever this season. 

Cork is a very unusual material in that its cells are aligned in a honeycomb type of structure and filled with air, making it very compressible and elastic. When pressed, cork will return to its original shape. This property makes it useful for many purposes in industry and the arts.

There has been concern in recent years about wineries switching away from cork. The reason for the shift is that a cork stopper can occasionally ruin the taste of wine. Rather than being a good environmental move, it is argued that the shift away from cork will be damaging to the environment. The reason is that without wineries using cork, the demand for cork would fall to the point that cork forests would stop being maintained or replaced altogether with more profitable products. Therefore, coming up with new and innovative uses for cork may be critical to its future.

Being such an amazing versatile material, we wanted to share with you a few of the coolest and unusual cork objects we found…

 cork chair

 

"Roll Chair" made from 3000 wine corks, by Gabriel Wiese

http://www.galleryoffunctionalart.com/wiese.shtml

 

 

 

cork umbrella

 








Cork Umbrella by Sandra Correia
http://incrediblethings.com/style-and-gear/cork-umbrella/

icork 

 

 

 












iPhone cork case by Griffin
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elanformcork


cork sofa 








Sofa by Trevor O’Neil
www.bornrich.org

 

 

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