An eco-sista who one day realized she grew up in an eco-friendly household
How long have you been eco-friendly? Forever. In college, I studied environmental policy and realized I unknowingly grew up in an eco-friendly household. We were bargain hunters, buying everything from clothes and shoes to furniture and knickknacks from the thrift stores, garage, and estate sales, and even garbage pickup on the curb. Though we saved a lot of money over the years and avoided reality TV level hoarding, it wasn't until I was an adult I saw how we shrunk our carbon footprint by using recycled items and saving them from a premature trip to the landfill.
Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? During the recession, I became a freelance journalist, so I was working at home a lot. Then I decided to got to the gym for activity. Over several months, I wasn't losing much weight, but at the same time, I was taking an art class at the local food bank where it was promoting the vegan diet in the community. Long story short, I eventually became vegan (now I'm a pescetarian) and began doing yoga at home to cut down on gas driving to the gym and avoid using exercise machines. I had also stated using more non-toxic beauty products, with first stopping chemical perms and embracing the natural texture of my hair. Along with other eco-lifestyle changes, I felt so much more positive energy within my body and my life, so I stuck with it.
What do you like about it? The eco-lifestyle has improved my physical, emotional, and mental health. With doing body conditioning exercises like yoga, for example, I've went from a size 6 to a size 2. I was always petite, but my body fat was high at 30%, so dropping pant sizes but still staying at a healthy weight really showed me how I can look the way I want with exercising and cleaning up my diet with the environment in mind. Eating little to no meat over the past four years has improved my health and energy.
Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? It's hard to adopt the eco-lifestyle because we've grown accustomed to our diets, habits, and surroundings, when oftentimes they're detrimental to our health. One example is eating red meat. We hear the mass production of livestock like cows has led to an overload of methane, a greenhouse gas, that it's one of the main causes of man-made global climate change. I always thought I ate healthy even though I ate red meat. So cutting red meat from my diet was a major change, but adding it back in once made me realize how it negatively affected my body as well. The challenge is making the change. The obstacle is how you discover and respond to the connection between your internal environment and external environment.
Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? I would troubleshoot what you want to fix. If you want longer hair, figure out what herbs to add to your diet or non-toxic hair products that promote hair growth. If you want to redecorate your house on a budget, check out flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales for cheaper, recycled finds. It depends on what you want to improve and figuring out how the environment factors into the equation.
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? I do feel like a green hypocrite sometimes. When I first started blogging about the eco-lifestyle years ago, I was still using a lot of toxic beauty and household products because they worked well for me, or at least I thought so. I would write about something like vinegar being a good cleaning agent and not use it all the time. Now, after getting sick from using toxic cleaning products, I do now use pure pine oil, castile soap, and vinegar to clean my apartment. The problem is we like certain brands and products, and we don't want to give them up, even when we're trying to be green. I do think at one point you realize the more natural choice is better for you in the long run.
You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I didn't get my first relaxer till I was 18 and in college. That was another eco-friendly thing I grew up with. I had natural hair throughout my childhood, but it was always braided. Two years ago, when I decided to remove as many toxins as I could out of my beauty routine, I decided not to get a touch up. It was the first time going completely natural after seven years. I also decided not to cut my hair either. I did struggle on how to style it, but it's so much easier to work with than chemically treated hair. I like using pure shea butter and oils to moisturize my curls and castile soap for shampoo/conditioner. During my transition, I used leave-in conditioners with a lot of hydrolyzed silk that prevented breakage.
Is there anything you like to add? I blog about eco-consumerism at Environosh. I write about the corporate giants we are still going to buy things from and how they're being eco-friendly or not. I also write about startups trying to build companies on eco-friendly products.