Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Green Light- Olivia

An eco sista who says living an eco-friendly lifestyle inspires her to learn from others

How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been eco-friendly since I was 10 years old and I got a book on things kids can do to save the planet from Troll Book Club. I guess besides recycling, I didn't put many of these ideas into action until I was 22 and I moved out on my own. I became a vegan, got involved in animal rights, and toyed with freeganism (reclaiming food and other perfectly clean, safe, and useable "waste" from urban trash). The freeganism didn't really stick but dumpster diving allowed me to see with my own eyes the massive waste of resources that happens in our consumerist culture.

Why did you choose to bee eco-friendly? I've always loved animals. When I learned how the choices humans make affect animals' well-being and habitats, I felt it was my responsibility to try to make a positive difference.

What do you like about it? I feel that living an eco-friendly lifestyle inspires me to learn from others and try creative ways to live a fabulous life with less silly expenses and less stress. I also love that it's super healthy!

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Life is one big challenge! Simply living as an eco-concious person in a predominately consumerist culture is a challenge because most things are set up to accommodate and encourage a wasteful lifestyle. My biggest obstacle is packaging for food and everything else. It drives me crazy how many layers of unnecessary packaging most things come in! I deal with this obstacle by buying less, by making more things at home from bulk and pakage-free ingredients, and by using re-purposed materials whenever possible. I also throw a thermos and cloth napkin in my purse when I know I'm going to be out all day.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Pick one area of your life where you would like to be more green and start with a single small, clear, and tangible change, For example, if you decide you want to become a vegan, consider starting by eating one vegan meal a day. If you decide to start cleaning green, begin by swapping a conventional product for a green one from the store (or a homemade one, if you're feeling ambitious). Get a library card and take out books on the topic. Explore informative blogs and websites that speak to your spirit. Connect with other eco-friendly people in your community and on social media. The more knowledge and experience you have, the more empowered you will feel to gradually make even bigger changes. 

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? Of course, I can think of thousands of ways I could be more eco-friendly. I even sometimes find myself doing things are inconsistent with my values. For example, I'm mostly vegan now but for years I was so strict about it. I would work standing (as a hostess and in retail) in crappy, cheap pleather shoes for hours every day because I couldn't find affordable comfy vegan shoes. I practically ruined my feet. Eventually I broke down and bought a pair of inexpensive, old lady orthopedic leather shoes. That day I became a hypocrite and was totally comfortable with it. (Pun intended)

I think it's a good idea to take your ego out of it and remember you're just a fallible human being who aspires to do the best she can with the circumstances she is in. If you wanna help heal the world, you gotta remember you're a part of it. Be kind to yourself first. Secondly, don't compare yourself to others or judge them based on the way you choose to live your life. Their situation is most likely not the same as yours or even as it appears from the outside.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Thanks! I've been wearing my hair natural my entire life. I love my supercoils! I think the key to fly hair- at least for me- is to drink lots of water, never wear a shower cap (#freesteamtreatment), and keep it moisturized. Lately, my hair likes water and aloe vera juice topped with coconut oil. Otherwise, I leave it alone. I try not to style, comb, or shampoo my hair too often. I've been known to wear an Afro wig too! It's a stylish way to cover protective styles like chunky braids or twists that have gotten fuzzy.

Is there anything you like to add? Thanks for including me on your blog, Maggi! I'm so happy to be a part of the wonderful resource and community of sisterhood that you are creating here. I invite everyone interested in getting the push they need to try green cleaning, non-toxic homekeeping, and DIY natural body care to visit my blog: Olivia Cleans Green. Hugs!