Saturday, August 22, 2015

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Green Light- Erika

It was the right thing to do says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? My journey into eco-friendly living actually started a few years back when I first started eating healthier. So much of what I was learning to cook resulted in so much less trash, that it became easier to embrace a life of less packages, less wrappers, less stuff, period. The more I learned to cook, the more I learned to use just about everything I bought, right down to the stalks and stems!

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Honestly, it felt like the right thing to try and do at that time. I'm certainly not perfect. I have to find ways to incorporate eco-friendly living in my daily life, learn more abut where the items I love come from and find ways to fit sustainable replacements in my lifestyle, but when it comes to putting my support behind companies who are trying to change the game, I do everything I can to help increase their visibility where I can. 

What do you like about it? I love how much money I save, honestly- I buy lots of books,  sneakers, and I certainly love my tech, but outside of that… I'm a major minimalist! I try to keep it simple. Thinking eco-friendly first helps me save money and thinking in terms of my budget because I'm a broke New Yorker also allows me to stay eco friendly. The two tend to serve each other's purpose quite nicely in my home. I'm not constantly replacing packaging.

I have glass jars and containers. I'm not constantly buying metro cards to ride public transit. My husband and I have bikes. See? The metro cards saves us easily $13-1400 a year alone. It appeals to the cheapskate in me!

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Honestly, the sustainability angle is the most difficult. I used to feel so guilty being a sneaker lover because they're the most historically unsustainable products you can buy, but then you look at the supply chain behind your phone, laptop, headphones, produce, seafood, and you realize that it's not as much about boycotting as much as it is about learning enough to allow you to advocate on your behalf of sustainable agriculture, supply chains for the brands we love, regulation to tamper down on the abuse of harvesters, textile workers, and other industry factory workers overseas. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Lots of reading. Looooots of reading. I let my guilt guide me through the learning process and encourage me to find better ways to cut down on my footprint. It's not so much a moral thing for me, but a necessary thing in my household. My husband is an adamant recycler, almost to the point where it drives me nuts, because he's nowhere near as adamant about actually taking the recycling out of the house. He feels sympathy for how much trash we all accumulate here in the city.

Speaking of which, contact your city's sanitation department and find out what resources they have to help ease the burden of recycling. Or, if you pay for your trash pickup they'll sometimes give you separate trash cans to denote when you're putting out recyclables and they'll come over and take that on separate days as well.

Also, two of my favorite eco-friendly blogs: Yoli's Green Living and Savvy Brown are great resources for not only make-it-yourself, but eco-friendly and sustainable products. So, when I do actually need stuff I check there first for what I need.

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 used to, but the more I learn the more I realize how complex anything can be. It's always easy when you only skim the surface. The older I've gotten the more I've realized that it's not always as easy as "boycott and make noise." Sometimes, it's "I'm going over your head." Sometimes, it's "let me see if I can put some coins behind a brand that seeks to be sustainable." Even in those cases, we learn the hard way that those brands aren't as sustainable as we'd otherwise like to believe as well.

I guess what I'm getting at is that there's no hypocrisy when your intentions are pure and merely guided by a lack of knowledge instead of willful ignorance. The line between "I didn't know" and "I don't wanna know" is massive. It's okay to learn you're making mistakes. What you do after that matters more than the mistake itself, in my opinion.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Ha! It'll be 6 years in November. As for my hair care, it's mainly three things:

1. I wash my hair regularly… as in every other day

2. My diet matter far more that what I put on my hair. I eat my dark leafy veggies regularly. Easily three or four pounds a week total and I eat them with different kinds of oils (olive, peanut, sesame seed, and so on) and they give my hair, skin, and nails everything the need to prosper.

3. I leave my hair alone! The thought of sitting for multiple hours to have something done to my head reminds me too much of sitting in the salon for 8 hours just to get my perm and press and I'm over that life. If I'm sitting for 8 hours for any reason, it better be making me money!

Is there anything you like to add? Eat your veggies and boil the stalks and ends with the chicken or sausage or whatever to make broth for delicious soup. See that? I just save you some money. :)


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