Saturday, July 18, 2015

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Green Light- Lauren

There's always something to learn says this eco-sista


How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been conscious of living eco-friendly for some time now, but I really became devoted and committed to living a sustainable life about 8 years ago. At that particular juncture of my life, I was living fairly sustainably already, but I was having dreams about nature, about working more closely with nature. All the signs were there that I needed to be more connected with nature in order to really explore what happiness could look and feel like.  

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? I started farming and gardening years ago and working for organic and chemical-free farms requires a certain consciousness and respect for the land that I really wanted to extend into my personal life as well. When I started to really bridge this gap, when I really started to explore what it looked like to respect the earth in both my professional and personal endeavors, I started to experience my first taste of fulfillment.

I'm a Food and Wellness Educator, which means that I teach people, youth, and adults about how to nourish their bodies and spirits using food. I also teach people about food systems issues. A few months ago, I was teaching a class of 9th graders and a student raised her hand and said "I want to get healthy like you. You just seem so happy!" I was really excited to have that connection with that student because in that moment, she seemed to realize that happiness was her birthright and that there were a few changes that she could potentially make to live a more balanced, happy life. It was really important to me that I had this moment with a young woman of color. 

What do you like about it? Living a sustainable, eco-friendly life allows me to save money, build skills, and connect to the natural world on a really profound level. I have the skills to grow my own food, heal ailments through herbs and proper nutrition, ferment vegetable, brew my own kombucha, create non-toxic cleaners, make my own toothpaste and deodorant, and forage wild plants. I'm really proud to have built these skills and I'm honored that so many people have share their knowledge about living in harmony with nature with me.

I love living in an eco-friendly life because there's always something to learn. I will absolutely never know everything… or even close to everything. There are so many people out there who have so much information to share that I feel like I'm constantly knee deep in books and projects. It's really exciting to always be immersed in a new project or attempting to build a new skill.

I'm also really inspired by the fact that there is an ancestral link to living in unison with the earth. Our ancestors lived this way before the eco-chic boom: simmering broth from bones, healing from herbs, moving their bodies in nature, sharing in community. None of this is new.

In the coming years, I'm really interested in building a tiny house, keeping chickens, and doing as much as I can to live off the land, learn from the land, and respect the land. There's much more to learn and so many skills to build, but I'm ready for the challenge.  

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? In my experience, I've met many people with preconceived notions about what living a green life looks like- that is is for white people, or expensive, or time consuming, or that it is a worthless use of time. I refuse to buy into any of these notions. People of color and indigenous communities have lived with the environment in mind for a great deal of time. There are times when this type of living can be time consuming, but making things from scratch is cost effective, healthier, and incredibly fulfilling.

I also have trouble with the fact that many sustainable and eco-friendly practices are not linked to the communities where they originated. The majority of sustainable practices were created and maintained by indigenous people out of social, spiritual, and nutritional necessity. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Do your research and ask questions! There is a blog out there for just about every eco-friendly topic. The public library is your best friend. There is someone out there who has done it. Ask them!

Don't let issues of money discourage you! There are many people who offer green services who are willing to barter, do trades, and offer sliding scale prices. I've spent a lot of time trading skills and utilizing sliding scale services.

Don't be discouraged. I've made handfuls of mistakes, and so will you. But the wins are beautiful. Keep going! 

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! But I try to remember that we live in 2015 and have access to so much. If I ever feel like I'm veering from my personal mission, I remind myself that simplicity and happiness are important to me and the I find my way back.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Almost 10 years! Having a shaved head is as easy as pie. I give myself a haircut once a week, use coconut oil on my head as a moisturizer, and keep it pushing. Simple!

Is there anything you like to add? Stay in touch with me! Let's connect. Website- Lauren Nixon and Twitter

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