The Unfuckers x Powershop

We often get asked about recommendations for brands who we think are doing amazing things in the sustainable space. So we thought we’d share some and why we think they’re great.


First up, this is a paid partnership. Yup, we're playing with the big boys now, and we’ve spent a lot of time researching our partners to make sure they’re someone we’d want to recommend. We see it as a way to let you guys know about brands you may not have heard about, and of course, it’s a way for us to cover some of our running costs. But enough preamble, it’s boring. Onto more interesting things, like interviewing electricity! Yup, you read it right. We’re talking to electricity, on behalf of a pretty great company called Powershop.

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The Unfuckers: Hi Electricity. Thanks for sitting down with us today.

Electricity: I’m not sitting. Electricity can’t sit, we just surge.

The Unfuckers: Um, ok. Thanks for surging with us today.

[awkward silence]

The Unfuckers: So, we were thinking it would be good to go back and talk about your background a little. People know electricity as a thing that charges their phones and helps bring us Netflix, but there are massive concerns about your source. Like coal.

Electricity: [Sighs] Listen ladies, I’ve been around for a long time. I don’t like the whole coal thing anymore than you. It’s a problem for the planet and therefore it’s a problem for me getting a good sleep at night. Coal is a dirty energy source and is the biggest contributor to global warming. It’s bloody alarming that around 40% of the world’s electricity still comes from coal. I’ve been doing this for over 100 years, and I’d like to keep doing it for another 100. If we fuck the planet, I’m outta a job.

The Unfuckers: You’re out of a job and we’re out of somewhere to live. We read Australia’s greenhouse emissions are currently on the rise – electricity emissions make up around a third. What we’re really concerned about is how the majority of our power comes from coal and not from renewables.

Electricity: Again, tell me something I don’t know. You’d think I’d have some kind of control over where my source comes from, but I don’t. Neither do the people who supply electricity. So in the end, neither do you.

The Unfuckers: We’re not sure if people know much about this, can you explain it a bit more?

Electricity: All us electrons hang out in the same place on the grid and I have no control whose home I get sent to or my source – whether it’s coal or renewables. It’s like an actor’s equivalent of a haemorrhoid cream ad. You don’t want to do it, but when you get the call, work is work.

The Unfuckers: So as customers, what can we do about this if we don’t have any control?

Electricity: You pull your finger out and find yourself a power company that is at least trying to do something about moving over to renewables.

The Unfuckers: Thanks for the segue.

Electricity: You’re welcome. It was like pulling a plug out of a dodgy socket.

The Unfuckers: So let’s talk about Powershop. 

Electricity: What do you want to know? They’re trying to do better by the environment and to support the renewable energy industry in Australia. Not many other fuckers do this – the big players don’t give a rats ass about trying to offset or re-invest in renewables.

Powershop offset 100% of the carbon emissions associated with their customers’ electricity usage and they try and encourage people to use less of me. That kind of pisses me off because I don’t get work. But like I said before, no planet, no work. So I’ll take one for the team.

The Unfuckers: Some people might think, what’s the point of switching if fossil fuel generated electrons and wind farm generated electrons all get mixed up anyway? They might just want to go with the cheapest provider.

Electricity: Just because Powershop are a ‘green’ company it doesn't mean they’re not competitively priced. But what do I know, I don’t have fingers let alone money. Secondly, it’s a crime to keep using fossil fuels when we don’t have to. You humans have lots of technologies that can replace dirty fossil fuel generators – like hydro stations, wind or solar farms and small-scale generation like rooftop solar. The big guns make too much money from the way things are at the moment. Powershop are trying to change that. I like that.

The Unfuckers: We like it too. That’s why we made up this weird fictional interview with you. Thanks for your time.

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If imagining electricity as a kinda cranky, yet environmentally conscious electron hasn’t inspired you to switch to Powershop, who knows what will. Oh wait, this might do the trick: here’s a $75 sign up credit!

 

The different shades of V

We humans are funny, flawed, little fuckers. Sure, we’re sometimes lovable and squidgy, and some of us can even juggle, but our need to categorise everything and everyone often gets us into trouble. It spans from small things like asking people the worst introduction question ever: ‘what do you do for work?’ To bigger things like trying to label people as gay or straight. Sure, you might be genuinely interested in what someone does for a living, but as soon as you find out their answer, you pop them into a category because it’s what we’re conditioned to do. Oh, you’re a writer? You must be amazing at spelling. You’re a lesbian – do you play soccer? Imagine if you’re a bisexual writer who can’t spell or play sport, then you’re fucked. 

In an eco sense, the fascination for categorisation is no different – especially when it comes to vegetarianism. Hello vegetarians, vegans, lacto vegetarians, ovo vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, pollotarians, pescatarians and flexitarians. Yes, there are many categories, but what about the different shades within vegetarianism as a whole? How about forgetting categories and just accepting that there are many shades of vegetarianism and how you colour them in your life is up to you?

To be very honest, we don’t give a shit about whether you eat yogurt or eggs and you shouldn’t give a shit about what other people do either. The thing to care about is that YOU are doing something: that you’ve gone from eating meat everyday, to three times a week. Or maybe you’ve gone vegetarian but can’t give up dairy, so instead, you’ve planted flowers that attract more bees to your garden. The overall point is: do what’s best for you, only judge yourself and let others do the same. 

When it comes to the environment, unfortunately some people will never be happy with the effort you put in and that kind of attitude is a barrier to getting more people caring about it. But if you ever feel judged, remember, it’s their own issues they’re projecting on you. They’re probably frustrated because they feel like they’re owed something for the sacrifices they’re making. They’re pissed that they’ve given up so much when others give up so little. We get it, but that’s not why you make eco changes in your life. You do it because you want to, regardless of what everyone else does. 

There will always be ignorant, lazy people who don’t care about the future of this incredible place we call home. There will always be people who could be doing more, but will never get around to it. The only thing you can control is your life and gently nudge the people around you. Not to do things the way you want them done, but to encourage them in a way that works for them. After all, there are many shades of everything, and that’s ok.

The Unfuckers.

Putting the 'i' in climate change

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Climate change is a really hard thing to get people to give a real shit about. And we get why. While it’s tragic seeing polar bears floating away on their shrunken icebergs and dissected birds with their innards filled with plastic, these images are so far removed from our everyday life to do nothing more than a ‘oh that sucks’. Another issue in the care factor barometer is, climate change isn’t immediate. While we’re seeing the undeniable effects in weather patterns and rising sea levels, it’s not impending enough for us to feel like it’s an imminent, get-our-shit-together threat.

So what to do? The stats or pictures don’t scare us enough into action. Neither do freak weather patterns or the news that hundreds of thousands of people have and will become climate change refugees. We’re too far removed from 2050, 2030, or even 2020 to compel us or many of our governments into any meaningful change. So when things seem too big and hard to manage, you attack it as you would with any sizeable problem in your life: break it down into manageable chunks.

So what can we all do?

We can stop waiting for other people to do something first.

We need to lead by example and step the fuck up. Thinking it’s up to others, governments or big businesses to do something first is lazy. Just because Bob down the road doesn’t recycle or drives to his letterbox doesn’t let you off the hook. Bob’s a dick and he’ll soon change his ways. Have a bit of pride and self satisfaction that you are part of the last generation who can and will do something about saving the planet. When it comes down to it, the problem with climate change is our attitudes.

We can take a stand with our wallets

Ok, so our governments are paralysed with greed, red tape, indecision and a blinkered vision of the future, but that doesn’t mean we have to be. Instead of waiting for our one vote every few years, let’s show what we want with our wallets. If we’re not cool with having our money in banks that invest in coal, change banks. If we’re not ok with the waste of fast fashion, don’t indulge in it. If wrapping four strawberries in plastic pisses us off, don’t buy it. Write brands a letter, cause a stink on their social media accounts, start a Tumblr, start a petition. All it takes is a little self control, motivation and getting off your ass. We have so much more power than we think and this is what will help change the bad ways of many businesses, and in turn, influence governments.

Give a shit about what your friends and families are doing

We all know someone who could be doing more. It’s not that they’re a bad person or they don’t believe in climate change – maybe they feel the problem is beyond them. What’s one more disposable coffee cup they say sheepishly as they toss their morning latte in the bin. Well, the trouble is, one more from everyone currently equates to 500 billion disposable coffee cups discarded into landfill every year.  So don’t let them off the hook for stuff they know is wrong or bad habits they can easily do something about. Plant the seed of change and watch it grow like a limp penis in a porno.

Make climate change relatable

If we can’t care about the polar bears, try bringing climate change closer to your life and what’s important to you (or the people you know). Most people like beer, right? Talk to them about how a climate change brings extreme flooding and severe drought to crops. This could make beer a shitload more expensive. The same goes for coffee and chocolate – all the good stuff. Put climate change into relatable, life affecting terms.

No need for foetal rocking, the future is bright

The whole idea is not to feel hopeless or shitty about climate change. There’s plenty that can be done and mostly, it has to do with calming down on consumption and minimising our waste. Not hard stuff. It’s an exciting time to be around and we should feel positive we can be part of changing things. Do some reading about the incredible things happening in science, technology and innovation. It’s inspiring. Talk about it, share the great stuff you see and start putting the i in climate change.

The Unfuckers. 

Are we eco assholes?

‘They’re just not as good, they're too expensive...’

This is something we hear quite a lot about eco products. Sometimes it comes from a place of truth. Other times, it's a mix of good ol’ fashioned hyperbole and anecdotal hearsay. Here’s our take on it.

It’s a long, hard slog trying to create an eco friendly product. Big brands have preservatives, money, marketing, chemicals, not having a green conscious and a shit load of other stuff on their side. Green companies have to work twice as hard to create a product that is financially viable, green and effective on a bee’s dick of a budget. Ultimately, their end product will be compared to that of big brands, despite them having been made in a completely different way and according to a different set of rules. So when you take all of the above into consideration, is it really fair of us to make this kind of comparison?

The shitty thing is, when we compare eco vs. big brand, eco products will probably always come up a little short. Without the chemicals and preservatives, the toothpaste will never be as minty, the deodorant not as long lasting, the cleaning products not as hardcore, the eyeliner a tad too smudgey and the price tag never as sweet. However, instead of thinking it’s the products’ problem, that they’re just not as good, maybe it’s our attitudes that need to change.

Instead of comparing these products to what we’ve used in the past, we should give them a whole new category in our brains. Let’s make it a level playing field. After all, why would we even want to compare eco friendly with products that are bad for both the planet and us? We should compare eco with eco and leave big brands out of it.  

So let’s give eco products a break. Maybe we’ll have to fork out a little more, apply our deodorant twice a day instead of once and get used to a little less fake spearmint, but surely that’s a small price to pay. The more we support the companies that are busting their asses to make change, the better off we’ll all be.  

The Unfuckers

Unfucking impact.

We spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of The Unfuckers. We wonder if our messages are understood in the way we intended. We question whether our Facebook likes translate into real world action. We ask ourselves if people ‘like’ for the sake of liking and when it comes to the crunch, just go back to old, bad habits because it's easier.

We think about these things a lot.

In a time when people get into ice bucket challenges, searching for Kony and changing their Facebook profiles into rainbows, it makes us think even more about the difference between click caring and real life caring. Now, read this bit carefully; we're not criticising anyone who participated in any of these things, we're not saying that they're not worthy issues or people didn't truly care in their response. What we're really interested in here is the impact of mass popular social campaigns. What happens after the click?

The notion of clicktivism is a strange thing to get your head around. On the one hand, awareness is great. Being able to reach millions of people with your message via social media is a powerful, clever, amazing thing. However, it's safe and easy caring from behind your computer. What happens when people do nothing more than use your cause for LOLs and likes and then shrug their shoulders as they hop onto the next bandwagon? Is there any point in it at all?

Well, yes and no.

You can't choose the way people care or the level of how they do it. It’s about planting the seed of a thought, crossing all your body parts and seeing if and how it grows. But having said that, there’s still a big fucking difference between click caring and real life caring and only you know which one you really are. Generally speaking, we think that mass awareness is great, but perhaps no one has managed the hardest thing of all, long-term follow through; to separate the clickers from the carers.

For you Unfuckers reading this, we do hope that every thumbs up and every heart we see from you translates into something real and meaningful in your life. Perhaps we'll never be able to truly measure it, but you will. In the meantime, we’re going to keep working our asses off to make what we do count beyond just a click.

The Unfuckers.

 

FOMO, UH OH & Saying NO. Standing up to planned obsolescence

There’s nothing more annoying than agonizing about spending money on an expensive item. Then there’s the process of carefully researching the best deal, umming and ahhhhhing one last time, finally buying it, to then find yourself back in the same predicament a year later because there’s a newer, better model.

Planned obsolescence, or the way brands design products not to last, is a cheeky, rage-inducing and quite frankly, bloody annoying thing. For some, obsolescence is a business strategy; in-built and planned for each product. So when the time comes to release something new, it creates a knock-on effect that a lot of us, least of all the brands themselves, don’t think about. For starters, the environment gets piled up with even more landfill, our consumption habits become even more insatiable and consumers are left half resentful, half wishful and even more out of pocket.

FOMO

As time goes on, and the cycle of newer and better increases, our FOMO gets worse. We buy an item and next minute, an upgraded version is released. We see other people with it. Suddenly, our shiny flavor of the month doesn’t seem so shiny or new anymore. This doesn’t just extend to electrical products like phones, laptops or gadgets. It’s everywhere.

Fashion doesn’t last a season before we’re suddenly tempted from every angle to replace the once hot-right-now khaki to the new must-have neon. These days, clothing is so cheap and accessible, many of us don’t think about the ethical or the environmental cost of fast fashion. Then there’s the kids toys. Something that they’re dying to have for their birthday is replaced by the next schoolyard fad by Christmas. Then there’s disposable cameras, cars, textbooks, light bulbs, game consoles – the list goes on. Planned obsolescence affects all areas of our lives. Despite most of us being smart, sensible people, that fear of missing out niggles away at us until we think, perhaps, I would look better in neon.

 

UH OH

Apart from the moral and social problems with planned obsolescence, there’s the cost to the environment that’s already, quite frankly fucked, if we don’t do something about it. The trouble is, product longevity just isn’t profitable. It doesn’t fill pockets, please shareholders or buy crazy ass yachts. So instead, we pile the planet with waste. We’re like holiday goers who use every crevice of their suitcase, sit on it to zip it shut and still have to wear three layers to get everything home.

One of the problems are with every new product, there’s the discarding of the old one. Many products are either not recycled or un-recyclable, so they’re sent off to landfill to do nothing but concentrate on breaking down (sometimes toxically) over the next, oh, 1000 years or so.

Yeah, uh oh.

You see, many of us throw away unwanted things like electronic items without giving it a second thought. But we should. The environment and third world countries are paying the price for us. They end up taking our waste and our guilt so it doesn’t burn into our eyes or our back gardens.

Then there’s the whole resource aspect. The more things we make, the more resources we use. Manufacturing means more energy, more water and more transportation. It’s a vicious cycle. Then think about the clothes we have worn a handful of times, the shitty toasters we’ve bought and toys broken after one play. Quantity over quality is a bad, bad habit.

SAYING NO

We want people to be Unfuckers. Part of this is saying no to things that fuck with and cost the planet dearly. It’s about taking a stand to things that we can easily change and control. Planned obsolescence is one of them. We can make brands change their behavior because we hold the purse strings. We have so much more power than we think. It’s time to get annoyed because none of this is ok.

Now, we’re not saying products should live forever. In a world where technology drives us, that just isn’t feasible. But the materials that make these fast moving products should be made better and more sustainably. The way we dispose of them needs to be responsible, ethical and eco friendly. As consumers, we should be demanding this. We should research the companies that do things right and reward them with our support.

Part of saying no is also making an adjustment to our attitudes. Basically, we need to get a grip. We need to stop and think before we buy things. We have a choice not to participate in the frenzy. It’s our responsibility not to automatically turn to buying something new and instead, think of alternative ways to prolong a product’s life. If it’s a electronic item, see if a part or battery can be replaced. If your computer is slow, get more memory instead of buying a new one. Find out if you can buy an item second hand. Up-cycle your clothes to give them a new look or swap with friends. Go to a toy library instead of the shops. See if what you need can be borrowed. Not only are you doing something better for the environment, you’re saving yourself money too.

When something does need to be replaced, think about if you really need it, why you need it and ways it can last longer. Look for quality, durable materials, parts that can be replaced within a warranty and try and swap the old item for a buy-back or recycle program. And while it sounds silly, take care of it after you buy it. Nothing lasts if you trash it. Just like the planet.

Original article featured on Collectively

Being a realistic Unfucker

Trying to be more eco friendly is sometimes hard because there’s a fucking huge grey area to navigate your way around. Getting the right balance of good and bad is something we think about a lot. It divides a lot of people because some people are eco good to the max and think everyone should be too. For others who aren’t that way inclined, having people telling them they’re not doing enough makes them feel bad and turns them off making any changes all together.

Here’s what we think. It’s fucking hard to be 100% ‘good’. Most of us don’t live in eco friendly houses, loads of people have cars, brands who try and do the right thing in terms of sustainability and green awareness still have to make a living and they need to get their stuff transported from somewhere. The list goes on and its endless and complicated. For us, we try and make sure the good outweighs the bad. Otherwise, you just get caught up in a spiral of detail. If you buy a bag made in India that’s fairtrade and eco friendly, is that better than buying something made locally and isn’t eco friendly? Can you have a go at people not being vegan when you drive a car?

You see? It’s complicated and this makes people very passionate.

Our rule is a 70/30 majority of the good outweighing the bad. That goes for the decisions we make for the site, for our own lives, as well as the brands we like. We believe in being eco good, but realistic. For some people, it’s more, for some it’s less. We all have bills to pay, and sometimes we can’t do all the things we’d like to. So we have to make a choice and care hard about the 70% and do our best to minimise the 30%.

We prefer to walk on the line of positivity. We believe doing something is better than nothing. We believe that if a person, a brand or an organisation is trying to do the right thing in a majority of what they do, that’s a great thing because there’s a load of people out there who don’t give a shit.

The barriers for people not caring about something like the environment is others telling them they’re not doing enough or they’re not doing it right. So let’s be inclusive and encouraging of everyone who is trying to care and do something in their own way. Leave your high horse at the door.

The Unfuckers.

Grab the environment by the balls.

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Ok, we have good news and bad news. Ever heard of the whole ‘it takes 21 days to break a habit’? Well, it’s a bunch of bullshit. But all is not lost. No, there’s one big, shiny, silver lining because now, you’re unrestrained by time. You can go cold turkey and just fucking get on with it.

We all have something deep down we want to change – especially when it comes to the environment. We feel guilty for the things we know we should do, but don’t. We feel guilty, but we shrug it away because it’s easy to let ourselves off the hook. To break a habit, you need to be hard on yourself. There’s no magic solution or easy way out because changing deep rooted habits is quite frankly, boring and difficult. It’s hard getting up to exercise, giving up smoking, crack, chips or watching The Bachelor. If it was easy, the self help industry would be out of work and we’d all be twiddling our thumbs in perfection.

In the Unfucker spirit, choose one bad habit and stick to changing it successfully. Don’t do it half assed – you’re better than that. Stop being a lazy recycler, swear off disposable coffee cups, stop using the dryer, ditch plastic. Whatever you choose, be honest with yourself and choose something that is realistic for you to do.

Look out into the world and see what you can do to fix it. Grab the environment by the balls and do something.

The Unfuckers.

 

Meet your make up

Some things in this world are scary. Like overly happy people, businessmen in wide pinstripe suits and us putting shit on our bodies that we know nothing about. When you think about it, it’s fucking crazy. We use a number of products without the faintest idea of the ingredients inside them. According to the US Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 personal care products before they leave the house, ingesting 168 toxins while they do it. So let’s stop, put the mascara down and work out what the hell we can do about this.

What the fuck is formaldehyde?

The first step is to get studying and become familiar with what’s in your potions, lotions and beauty products. Read about what’s the worst of the worst, what’s not too bad and what’s A-OK. Make a list of stuff you know you absolutely don’t want near you so you can recognise the names on the ingredients list. Find out what brands make the kind of products you want to be using. Empower yourself.

And then there’s the environmental aspect of it all

What goes on must come off right? And it does, into our waterways, doing irreversible damage to ecosystems on top of everything else that gets washed into there. Then there’s the packaging and the disposal of our makeup. It’s a shitload of non-biodegradable plastic that gets dumped into landfill and takes hundreds of years to break down.

Yeah, it’s a mind fuck

We get this whole issue is confusing. We’ve spent hours reading through stuff on the internet, and to be very honest, we’re still confused. There are quite a lot of organic brands out there, but you can’t always take what they say at face value, so that requires more research. And the trouble with a lot of organic makeup brands is that they’re not available in the big retail stores, so you can’t see, try or touch it. Of course, the solution to all this is not to wear makeup at all. If that’s for you, great. If you like make up, we need to do something about this and it starts with getting smarter.

Some tips

  • As a general rule, the fewer ingredients listed, the better. This way, there’s less chance of a whole load of different chemicals being put on your skin.
  • Ingredients are usually listed in order of most to least, so it’s easy to know what there is a shitload of and what’s not too bad.
  • Don’t be a sucker. Anti aging shit doesn’t work, neither does miracle cream or 1000% volume mascara. Once you don’t believe the hype, it’ll make cutting the stuff you put on your face a lot easier.
  • When it comes to eye makeup remover, moisturiser, cleanser and toner, fuck it all off and see if there’s a natural alternative you could be using. Coconut and olive oil are great, plus you can fry pancakes with them after.
  • Just because there are pictures of botanicals on the packaging doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Your reading list

Get to know safe cosmetics 

A great Australian based site 

A US based database 

Interesting article about stuff to avoid 

And a great app to download.

If you can suggest or find a great makeup or skincare brand doing your own research, email us

Thanks for reading,

The Unfuckers.