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To tea, or not to tea

Is your daily fix causing damage to the environment?

For most people, a day rarely passes without a cup of tea or coffee. But how much thought goes into what you put in your mug? We investigate the factors to consider.

PLANET

“Tea is such a popular drink around the world that there is always a demand for mass-produced tea,” says Rui Liu, Founder of Grass People Tree (grasspeopletree.com). “However, the extensive farming required to do this imbalances natural habitats and drains resources. We have seen examples of insecticides eliminating vast lands of species, and the consistent use of fertilisers and herbicides compounds soil erosion. In the luxury tea market ‘silver needle’ and ‘rare bud’ varieties (tea that consists of only the buds of plants) prevent tea trees from growing healthily and sustainably, so we should always try and avoid buying these teas.”

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About Vegan Life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the amount of time we spend glued to our phones — social media is always at our fingertips, and whether you love it or loathe it, you can’t deny its potency. A quick search for #vegan on Instagram yields over 62 million posts, with #veganfood producing a cool 11 million results. Both are huge figures, and with vegan celebrities (with enormous followings) advocating a vegan way of living, it begs the question — is social media veganism’s big shot at becoming mainstream? You may have spotted our cover star, Earthling Ed, on your own newsfeeds — he’s making huge waves spreading the vegan message. Ed attributes a lot of his success to social media channels, such as YouTube and Facebook, which have given him, and veganism, a platform that has never been accessible before. Find out more in our exclusive interview on page 16. Without social media we wouldn’t be able to engage so quickly in debates, such as this month’s on the ethics of working dogs — we had a huge response across all our social platforms and we always love to hear what you think. Turn to page 38 to see your views. Another thing you’ll no doubt have seen on your timelines of late is wedding pics — we are truly in the midst of the season. We caught up with Michelle Dadachanji, who put together her dream vegan wedding, on page 54 and we’ve got some fab wedding themed recipes for you to try out, too. Enjoy the issue and the sunshine.