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Here at Po-Zu we love cycling; we think it’s the second best mode of transport, after walking of course :)
But if you commute to work in town, there is a good chance that cycling would be the most convenient, fastest mode of transport; as well as being the cheapest, smoothest, least exposed to air pollution, least dependent, least frustrating, whilst having the greatest sense of freedom and wellbeing.
All we want to see are your happy bike selfies!
Good luck and happy riding.
When was the last time you wrote a love letter? And when was the last time you wrote a love letter to a stranger?
This was the invitation that was made to us as we sat in a London park on a summer’s evening.
It was in the name of an experiment in ‘pronoia’, facilitated by Tiu de Haan for 6Heads, a sustainability network. I’d never heard the word before, but it turns out that it is the opposite of paranoia. Instead of seeing the bad in the world, as if the world is against you, you see the good.
So we took our pen and paper, and wrote a love letter to a stranger. We had just a few minutes to do this, so it was never going to be a Shakespearean sonnet. But it would be a message direct from the heart. I imagined the type of person who would be curious and receptive enough to pick up the letter from wherever I left it. I thanked them for their curiosity and for going about the world with their eyes open, mentioned that the world needed more people like them, and wished them a good evening. I sealed it up in an envelope, wrote, ‘For beautiful you, yes you!’ on the front and stuck on a little red heart sticker.
Then it was time to go and release our love letters to the world. I left mine under a pile of Evening Standard newspapers by the tube station. As we released our love letters to the world, we also left little messages for people to find. One of our groups had bought sunflowers to give to people, and it was wonderful to see the genuine joy on their face when they were presented with the flower. Reaching out in such a way helps others to see the good in the world. And it really is true that the gift is in the giving.
In one of the other experiments we did, we had to choose a moderately annoying or irritating event that had happened to us in the last 24 hours. We had to tell the story, then tell it like it was the worst thing in the world ever, then in as surreal a way as possible, and then as if it was actually a good thing. Although it seemed like that would be a hard thing to do, each of us was surprised to find that it was possible to see it in a good way – who knew that frustrations with a tax website could actually have a silver lining if you choose to see it?
Taking part in experiments such as this is such a powerful reminder of how we can choose how we see the world – and how we can choose what kind of impact we want to have in the world, including what we buy. If we choose to see the good in the world, it makes sense that we align with, for example, shoes that are made with love in a way that minimises environmental impacts. (Wonder which shoes we could be talking about ?-)
If you’re inspired to write your own love letter to a stranger, check out the website ‘More Love Letters’. Go on, you will be the first one that feels happier!
I first came to Hawkwood College a year ago and a bit to attend a course led by Eradicate Ecocide campaigner, barrister (and proud wearer of Po-Zu shoes) Polly Higgins. Then it was a bitingly cold January. Now it’s a blessed summer’s eve.
The fields are bigger than I remember, the woodland sanctuary and walk more beguiling, the ponds and wetlands fringed with swaying wildflowers, and the cows shockingly friendly (the last time a cow tried to lick me was in India).
I’m here for the Seed Festival, an eco-art gathering. At its heart is a mission to fuel a culture of care for the earth and each other. There’s a stellar line-up of speakers.Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Jonathon Porritt, the founder of Forum for the Future, Satish Kumar, peace activist and editor of Resurgence and The Ecologist – sadly speaking on the Sunday, after I go – Scilla Elworthy, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and founder of Peace Direct and Charles Eisenstein, author of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible are the biggest draws.
But there’s also music, workshops and all manner of enticing-sounding stuff, like a kind of ‘eco-allsorts’: dip in, and you might randomly ‘pull out’ a herb walk, cloud appreciation, den-making, straw bales, earth mandalas, green poetry, a Reindeer Road exhibition of images from the Siberian Tundra and so much more that you wonder quite how the organisers managed to pull it off.
For me, it’s a chance to reconnect with friends, to be reminded that I’m not crazy to harbour a belief in the sacredness of the earth, to enjoy the beauty of the land, roam (in my Po-Zu’s, naturally), take a break from researching my book, and hope that somewhere along the way some magic might arise, in a mysterious, alchemical fashion. Isn’t that what we all secretly come to a festival for? Enchantment? Connection? A chance to leave behind our everyday existence and enter a chimerical realm?
For me, the magic comes slowly. I’m a tired writer. I am constantly doing. I need ‘undoing’. What might ‘undo’ me? Plonking myself down on a hay bale. That feels pretty silly and fun. A peaceful stroll through the woodland sanctuary. You climb up some stairs through a walled garden, a sort of Narnia, and then disappear up a path. It’s the peace of trees, dappled with sunlight. Later I listen to Boe Huntress perform. Her song 'Green Dragon’ is a re-imagining of the myth of St. George and the dragon. In it the maidens aren’t sacrificed, they’re initiated into a fierce, proud womanhood. This song – I’ve heard it before – floors me. Sends shivers up my spine. I like it so much I listen in on both performances, the evening one as I lie on the grass, arms flung wide to the sky.
Jini pozuing in Jules
The undoing makes me receptive to the talks and talks in a field, sitting on grass on a sunny day are more appealing than talks in a building. I stray indoors though for Nathalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party whose deep sincerity inspires me to become a member. ‘We need to live within the environmental limits of our planet,’ she says.
Jonathon Porritt could read the phone book and I would sit up and take notice – he is compelling and articulate and driven by a fierce anger. ‘There is no vision from political classes around the world,’ he says (the Green Party excepted, of course). He is such a natural and visionary leader. I begin to daydream about a parliament with him in it. But his anger is leveraged with hope: ‘How do we make change work practically?’ he asks. Practical, local action, the sharing of resources, community building, and gatherings like these are part of the answer. (Offstage, on the subject of Po-Zu: ‘You’ve got to love people who put that much care into a pair of shoes,’ he says. Indeed, paradigm shifts encompass production too).
I’ve heard Charles Eisenstein speak before but this talk, on the intelligence of nature, (with special mention for the humble, potent and love and life-giving seed), inter-being and how we and the soil are one, echoes so much of what I and probably all who’ve come to the festival believe, deeply. Sometimes though, our beliefs need validating.
‘The courage to care for the earth comes from love. We don’t need to fix the planet, we need to fall in love with it again,’ he says. ‘Experiences in nature are transformative’. Suddenly this tired writer feels inspired anew and remembers why she is writing the book she is writing.
I begin to shift into a lower gear, slurp cup after cup of sweet chai, refuel on dhal and rice, chew my way through a sweet, chocolatey tiffin, stare at the cows some more, turn my face to the sun, make new friends, amble, rest – it feels good to do all of this. Sometimes a slow unravelling, having no particular destination, is the best magic of all.
By guest blogger Jini Reddy
To celebrate National Walking Month we’ve put together 7 of our favourite bouncy walking quotes; may they lighten your sole!
Giacomo Balla / Girl Running on a Balcony (1912)
1. An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. ~ Henry David Thoreau
2. You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres
3. The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk. ~ Joseph Joubert
4. There's something about the rhythm of walking, how, after about an hour and a half, the mind and body can't help getting in sync. ~ Bjork
5. I was walking in the park and this guy waved at me. Then he said, 'I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else.' I said, 'I am. ~ Demetri Martin
6. A line is a dot that went for a walk. ~ Paul Klee
7. Walking is one way of making the world our own. ~ Michel De Certeau
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.
Further reading: http://www.bettershoes.org/introduction/
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.
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 :)
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.
Check out Ecoluxe blog about our shoe fleur collaboration
If you are interested to visit the exhibition please RSVP to
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
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.