Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Green Light- Sonia


An eco-sista who says pick a sustainable practice that you are passionate about



How long have you been eco-friendly? I have been eco-friendly for about ten years. I really got immersed into it in 2007 when I worked for a green company called Act Now. We traveled around the US teaching sustainability practices to individuals and companies.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? It just made sense. I believe one person can make a difference. I believe in climate change and I want to protect the planet for my children and hopefully my grandchildren one day. It also compliments my yoga practice. I aim to be a better person everyday and live a happy, healthy life. 

What do you like about it? I like teaching my children about recycling and composting. They are five and two years old. My son, who is five, is fascinated with sea animals and really into protecting the ocean animals. So we discuss plastics and how they may end up as ocean debris. We limit our impact by using resizable water bottles.

I like to think about doing something positive for myself and the planet. For example, I used to be able to ride my bike to work. I was exercising to and from work, saving money by not using fuel and reducing my carbon footprint by not using my car. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? I think cost is one of the biggest obstacles in being eco-friendly or going "green". If money were not an obstacle we would have solar panels on our roof and my husband has been wanting an electric Ford Fusion for a long time. Unfortunately, buying organic food is a lot more expensive. When you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to buy organic. Many neighborhoods don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetable. Sometimes inconvenience is an obstacle.

It is much more convenient, time efficient, and comfortable to drive in certain areas of San Francisco rather than BART and bus there. Since cost is such a driving factor in becoming eco-friendly, it often feels like becoming eco-friendly is an elitist group of people. There may be the eco-friendly snob giving the gas guzzling, SUV driving person the evil eye. I think it's important to model and inspire others by your life choices and not shame them. I try not to feel guilty about every choice I make, right or wrong, I try to make the best decision for me and my family that I can.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Pick a sustainable practice that is personal to you and/or something you are passionate about doing. It will be easier to stay motivated if you pick something that is meaningful to you. Start with one simple practice such as buying organic apples or buying fruit at your local farmers market. Stop using plastic bags and switch to re-usable bags. Eat less meat.

Notice I didn't say to stop! I have been practicing vegetarian, vegan, and I currently eat meat, but not everyday. Start by practicing Meatless Mondays. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Try using more organic products for cooking, cleaning, or for your hair and face. Surround yourself by like-minded people.  

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? Sometimes. I just keep trying my best to reduce my impact on the planet and live a healthy life. There are quite a few "green hypocrites" out there. Leonardo DiCaprio who said he plans to take time off acting to fly around the world doing good for the environment. He may have overlooked that a single transcontinental flight is estimated to pump as much carbon into the atmosphere as a year's worth of driving. Al Gore has a 20 room mansion with a utility bill estimated at $30,000 a year.

I don't really think Leonardo and Al are green hypocrites. I just think even the most well intended person is not perfect. One person does and can make a difference. However, there is a great responsibility on certain individuals and companies, who have a much larger impact on the planet, to do their share in adopting sustainable practices.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I've been natural for about 14 years now. I did the BIG chop in the year 2000. There are so many curly products in the market now to help maintain you natural curls and many that do not use any chemicals. There is also a wealth of information from other curly girls. I learned a lot about taking care of my hair by talking to other curly women and reading Nikki Green's book, Good Hair. My #1 curly hair tip is moisturize!

Is there anything you like to add? Adopt one personal sustainable practice today that makes you happy and helps you live a healthier life! As a yoga teacher and student, I always aim to live in the moment. Yoga is NOW. Life is NOW.

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