One of my New Years Resolutions is to join in with the fabulous monthly APLS blogging carnival. So what better way to get into the swing of things than having a practise run right now?! And as we have some new readers on board, thanks to our recent story in the Sunday Mirror, this topic is particularly fitting for new readers.
The APLS (Affluent persons living sustainably) Carnival focuses on the issues of sustainability and green living. Whoever is hosting the blog carnival, gets to pick a topic of their choosing.
This month, Erin, The Conscious Shopper, mother of 3 boys who is concerned about wastefulness and sweatshop labour amongst other things, wants to know our green story.
* What triggered you to start trying to live a sustainable life?
* What are the biggest changes you’ve made to live sustainably?
* How far have you come since you started your green journey?
* And what do you feel you still need to work on?
So here goes!
What triggered you to start trying to live a sustainable life?
I guess I started living a sustainable life when pregnant with Little Miss Green. I became aware that 60% of what I put onto my skin would end up inside me. And inside me was a perfect, healthy and growing baby. I wanted to keep her that way as much as I could, so I started looking at the products I was using and was horrified by what I discovered.
I was putting toxic chemicals on my skin and hair and these were being ingested by Little Miss Green. Out went the chemically laden toiletries and in came little; as there wasn’t much around at that time! I found it very hard to find any products that ticked all the boxes, so I went through a ‘no poo’ regime – that means giving up shampoo and letting your hair wash itself. After 8 weeks of horrific detox where hats and scarves were my best friend, my hair did indeed start to wash itself and it looked great!
I gave up my twice daily cleanse, tone, moisturise routine and switched to yogurt and oats; yes really! Within a few weeks I no longer had dry patches of skin on my face after cleansing and I had an epiphany – all the products designed to clean my skin and hair were, in fact stripping them of their natural oils. It also meant I could eat any left over product LOL!
I started to look at nature a little more closely; my cats, dog, the sheep in the fields and figured they didn’t put products on their fur but they did have a good grooming routine going on! So I paid more attention to my skin and hair, but in a different way; I mean, I didn’t start licking my hair or anything. I bought a natural bristle brush, used natural oils in my skin and just started to take care of myself and my diet a little more. I learned that what I put in I got out.
Fast forward to Birth Day and my perfect, healthy girl was in my arms. I was determined to breastfeed her and give her the best start to life. I never used a single ‘baby product’ on her, we cleaned her bum with a mixture of sesame oil and witch hazel and that was all the products we used. And no, she didn’t smell or look dirty 😉
As a Mum I suddenly realised the fragility of the planet and how it had to stay healthy and abundant because it was no longer just about me. From there my awareness gradually grew; using herbs and natural remedies instead of drugs for treating illnesses, decreasing our carbon footprint to save on resources and reduce pollution, and 18 months ago setting about our zero waste challenge.
The zero waste challenge was inspired by 3 things: a trip to Boscastle, where we witnessed first hand, the potential effects of climate change. At the beginning of 2008 I came across the wonderful Mrs A and all she was doing to reduce her waste and finally, stories about the devastating effects our current lifestyle were having on marine life sealed the deal and started us on our zero waste journey!
What are the biggest changes you’ve made to live sustainably?
The biggest changes I’ve made to living sustainably have come with my views on consumerism. 15 years ago I was a big consumer – clothes, cosmetics, going out because I couldn’t be bothered to cook, drink, trips out, presents, furniture, the latest electronic gadget, hair cuts – you name it, I bought it. I’ve become a pretty bad consumer in recent years! I no longer need the newest or latest fad, I’m happy browsing charity shops and finding a bargain, I get joy from making things at home and get more out of sunset and a cuddle than a new item or expensive night out. I’ve learned that my happiness is not linked to the ‘stuff’ I have.
How far have you come since you started your green journey?
Since starting my ‘green journey’ I’m probably unrecognisable from who I was before I began. Things have progressed gradually though, so everything now has become a lifestyle habit. To be honest, I don’t remember much about how I used to be or how I used to feel about acquiring ‘stuff’, but the most significant changes are from within and from discovering the things that bring me real fulfilment, value and a sense of purpose and meaning.
And what do you feel you still need to work on?
We still have lots to work on; there is always room for improvement in any aspect of life. For 2010, we have some exciting plans for my zero waste. Every time I think I have nothing left to write, ideas come flowing to me!
We have some new features to bring to you; to enable you to engage more with one another and build up a great resource of information and we’ve set ourselves a challenge that is bigger and even more exciting than only putting our dustbin out once a year!
On a personal level we are doing lots of ‘eco changes’ in our home, but they are outside the scope of waste management so we rarely talk about them here.
What about you? That’s my story, but I’d love to hear yours; please leave us a comment and tell us your green story!
Erin will be sharing the APLS carnival on her Conscious shopper site on December 18th. Why not bookmark her site and find out the inspiration and motivation behind other people’s ‘green lifestyles’?
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