Saturday, November 5, 2016

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Green Light- Samantha

Making one step forward is all you need says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? I would say I have been eco-friendly my entire life (29 years) because my parents (Jamaican born and raised) were not into being wasteful. We reused as much as possible and then recycled once that became a mandate in NYC in 1989. I was born in 1986 in NYC when recycling was introduced so that was just a way of life. I didn't realize people didn't know how to do this and were not doing it until I moved to California in 2008 and was managing a commercial property where I had to do lots of education on the Building's recycling program. I now live in Chicago where it is really the worst I have seen in that aspect. Some commercial buildings have no recycling option at all for tenants. 

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? It is just my way of life. My mom grew up in Catadupa in St James parish in Jamaica (the same parish as Usain Bolt). Her experience as a youth there with what we now call composting toilets, collecting rain water for baths, hand washing linens and letting them dry in the sun, etc- this was her life. When she moved to America, a lot of these things stayed with her and were passed on to me. Growing up, I learned how to hand wash my clothes, make dishwashing soap and other things stretch, and of course eating vegetables was a big part of meals. I've now been vegan 8 years and so with that choice, I know I am making a bigger impact on the health of the environment, most importantly my own health. 

What do you like about it? My conscience feels good. I understand the impact that a wasteful humanity puts on the environment. I was a LEED Green Associate during my time managing commercial property and I was disgusted about what I learned about our water supply. So I've been very mindful about water usage. Knowledge is one of those things you can't erase, so once I know, it is hard to live in ignorance. I feel it is important to be a good steward of the Earth seen as how we will not be the only people to pass through here. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Recycling batteries and light bulbs have been a challenge because it is not as convenient as I would like and this is a problem that will hopefully get resolved soon. We need to really expand on recycling programs in municipalities nationwide.

Also, I'm guilty of running heat somewhat higher than I should probably in the Winter time. My home is not well sealed and for indoor air quality, I like to leave the windows cracked year-round. I live in Chicago where it is extremely cold in the winter and I really don't like the cold at all. I like to be comfortable. But my plan is to eventually move someplace where the weather fits me perfectly so I don't need heating nor cooling. Jamaica is my dream. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? I guess I would say just educate yourself on the impact and see what speaks to you. From knowing how our modern conveniences impact the water, air, food supply, animals, and your own health, you will naturally feel compelled to make changes in your life. 

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 would not call myself a Green Superstar but I am definitely doing a lot better than most. Even this is narcissistic thinking in a way because it is not about us ultimately. It's about the environment that has been here before us and we hope it will be here long after us for the next generations. As a spiritual being, I feel a sense of responsibility to not be arrogant in my living and not care about the impact of my actions. I do the best I can and I don't stress myself or focus on what I'm not doing. To me your individual health is most important. Once you care for yourself, you have the mental capacity and energy to take care of others and the environment. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I have been natural most of my life. I wore a perm/texturizer for 2 years and even had a weave on for a week. That is not for me. My mom is a cosmetologist and hair salon owner for over 35 years. I was raised in the salon and the entire time I was questioning the need for all that women do to their hair and face. I like to be free of all of that. I don't wear makeup because I feel melanated people don't need it. At the same time, I respect people's enjoyment of artistry. Makeup is fun for some women and I am all for whatever makes you happy. I'm just really against changing myself so others can accept or like me. I like me and that's all that matters to me. I like a simple life, less things to buy. I focus one what's important to me and my face and hair are not important enough to me to spend too much time and mental energy. 

Is there anything you like to add? Life is a journey. Making one step forward is all you really need to make a huge impact. You do one single step each year and you are yourself changing the world. 


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