Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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Green Light- Nzinga

You can't win 'em all but we can strive to do better says this eco-vista

How long have you been eco-friendly? I became aware of being eco-friendly last year when I went vegan. I'm a lot better than I was years prior, but I still have a lot to learn from people whose focus is on the environment. 

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Being eco-friendly was a by product of my veganism. Cows produce incredible amounts of methane, so not eating beef was just as much about my health and animal welfare as it was about being kind to the planet.

The synthetic fibers used in vegan fashion are often harmful to the planet, so I made a conscious decision to either avoid them completely or only buy synthetic clothing I plan on wearing for a very long time. 

What do you like about it? I like lining my actions with my ethics. I still have a ways to go and lots to learn, but it feels good making decisions that have a less harmful impact on the environment. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Clothes! Being vegan means avoiding natural fibers derived from animals (fur, wool, silk, down, and leather being the five most common). Finding vegan, eco-friendly, fashionable, and affordable clothes has been a challenge for me so I haven't done much shopping this year. There are lots of designers emerging who care about both the planet and animals. It's great discovering small brands whose thinking is in line with my own. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Go vegan! Buying eco-friendly products is wonderful, but the choices you make three times a day can have an incredible impact on the environment. Deforestation is often a result of clearing land for cattle. Animal excrement from factory farms jeopardizes local water supplies. Remove animal products from your diet. We have to stop funding some of the most harmful industries on the planet. 

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? All the time. Our system is set up in a way that makes it hard to shop green. You can't win 'em all, but we can strive to do better than we've done in the past.

I started a project called Wanyama Box that sends anonymous packages of vegan food to non-vegans. The intention to dispel negative stereotypes about vegan food and encourage our friends and family to stop eating animals. The initiative is good but there's so much packaging. Not only are the gifts themselves shipped across the country but the products have to get to the warehouse. I know the initiative is inherently good, but it's not the most eco-friendly project I've started and I feel a bit guilty sometimes. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? You mean my hair? I've never had a perm so I've been natural for 28 years! I had locs for 10 years then cut it for an afro but shaving my head was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I feel super comfortable in short hair and it makes getting ready a breeze!

Is there anything you like to add? I think it's important for people from other movements feel comfortable reaching out to each other. I wouldn't consider myself an eco-friendly warrior just yet, so I'm honored you've seen the efforts I'm making to be kinder to the planet and reached out to interview me. But I couldn't leave without asking your readers to consider how their eating habits are impacting the environment. The women in your network are doing incredible things, but if you aren't vegan yet, there's more you can do to be friendlier to the planet.

Feel free to DM me on Instagram if you have any questions about removing animal products from your diet. Our planet will thank you!

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