What’s your story?

Filed in Blog by on December 14, 2009 15 Comments
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Gather 'round friends; Mrs Green tells her story

Gather 'round friends; Mrs Green tells her story

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.

She asks

* 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’?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (15)

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  1. I love this post Mrs G and it looks like I’ve also got more catching up to do with the others too. It was indeed my own Zero Waste challenge that started me on the path to living more sustainability. It woke me up to a whole load of different choices and a commitment to help promote them.

    By the way, that was a great feature in The Sunday Mirror. I’ve been down with the lurgy and Mr A was in Bristol for the weekend so I couldn’t go and get a copy, but I’ve managed to track it down through a friend of a friend… or was it a friend of a friend of a friend. LOL. At least you’ll be pleased to hear it was well read. 🙂

    Also wanted to say thank you soooo much for joining in the Recycled Christmas Carnival. The post is now up at http://therubbishdiet.blogspot.com/2009/12/recycled-christmas-carnival.html

    There’s also a link to a great site that I know you’ll love called Present Sense. Really worth a visit. x

  2. Ben says:

    wow…. although I think you are farther along, listening to your story sounds alot like the journey we are beginning. We were good consumers, but rapidly becoming very bad consumers.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Almost Mrs Average: Hi Mrs A – your challenge has really sparked some personal changes hasn’t it? I’ve watched you change habits and your lifestyle to match new awareness and it’s lovely to be walking the journey with others. I love how you are moving more into community ventures, as this can help spread the word quicker – I don’t have the courage for that!
    Thanks for hosting the recycling carnival; it was a lot of fun with some fab entries; I read them all this morning and posted comments. And thanks for the thumbs up on the Sunday Mirror article; it was really good and we were delighted with it.
    Present sense is fab!

    @Ben: 😀 waking up to the whole consumerism thing is really something 😉 I love following your journey – I’m learning a lot from you 🙂

  4. Thanks for participating in the APLS Carnival! I think many women can relate to how life-altering having a baby can be…Your hair looks great in the picture. I’ve been considering trying no poo but am terrified of the detox phase. I’m waiting at least until I can get my hair back into a pony tail.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Erin aka Conscious Shopper: Thanks Erin; it was a wonderful carnival you put together and I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the entries 🙂
    The detox phase was pretty horrifying, I have to be honest! Good idea to wait until you can tie it back!

  6. Cherie says:

    Yes, pregnancy does have a way to make you rethink a lot of the way we do things. Although I didn’t begin my green journey with my first pregnancy, I was extremely conscious of being around tobacco smoke and of the chemicals in soft drinks. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  7. Thanks so much for joining in the APLS Carnival and sharing your story! You have clearly made significant changes and I am looking forward to reading about your plans for the future!

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Cherie: Hi Cherie, welcome to the site and thanks for leaving your comment. I think pregnancy is a time which raises awareness for a lot of couples. How do you keep your compost pile active during the winter months? I remember reading on your APLS carnival post that compost was your husband’s new baby 🙂

    @Steph @ Greening Families: Hi Steph, lovely to see you! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoyed reading on your blog how you combined frugality with a greener way of life. I find stories like that very inspiring.

  9. Cherie says:

    My husband says the key to keeping compost active during the winter is to NOT turn it as it’s counterproductive.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Cherie: Hi Cherrie; good tip – thanks. I take it turning it in winter lets out heat, rather than keeping it in the core?

  11. Cherie says:

    Mrs. Green – yes, turning compost in the winter releases the heat, thus stopping the process.

  12. Thanks for sharing. I loved reading your story!

    Also I’m hosting this months carnival and would love if you could join in. 🙂

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green: Hi Lisa, I’m definitely going to join in with the next carnival – very cool that you are hosting it 🙂

  14. Isn’t it interesting how so many of us start caring once there’s a little one arriving?

    Thanks for joining us for the carnival, BTW. We’re also looking for hosts for future months. If you’re interested, email me or post on my blog. Thanks!

  15. Mrs Green says:

    @Robbie @ Going Green Mama: Hi Robbie, great to see you. I don’t mind hosting the carnival sometime – it will need to be in a few months though; things are pretty hectic at the moment!

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