Saturday, April 29, 2017

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Green Light- Gina

I can save money, accumulate less clutter, and be grateful says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been eco-friendly since 2012. I would say that was a year of transformation for me because I not only started wearing my hair natural again, but I adopted a plant-based diet as well. 

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Perhaps I was always eco-friendly on some level. I was taught not to waste food and to conserve energy and water. However, in addition to that, I would say that I actually went eco-friendly when I lived in Mozambique, Africa for two years in 2012. When I saw neighborhood children digging in my trash in the backyard in order to reuse my plastic bags and bottles and even my bags of dried beans that I had discarded due to imperfections or discoloration, I became more conscious of how much stuff I bought, accumulated, and wasted. It became apparent to me how essential it is to buy things that I absolutely need instead of shopping impulsively. 

What do you like about it? Being eco-friendly to me means that I can save money, accumulate less clutter, and be grateful for all the basic necessities I already have. I love that being eco-friendly also helps the animals and the environment as a whole because there isn't as much toxic waste in the ocean and on the land and in the air. In addition, when more people adopt a plant-based diet, less water, and food is needed in order to feed livestock, which are often exploited for their meat, eggs, and milk. Further, I love the fact that I'm eating healthy as a vegan and that I'm not contributing to the torturing of animals.

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? I think the biggest obstacle for me when it comes to maintaining an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, is getting out of my comfort zone and learning about more ways I can help the planet as a whole.

I'm still learning and becoming more cognizant of eco-friendly ways of doing things such as growing my own food. I would love to grow my own food, but I keep making excuses such as, "I don't know how to grow food", "I don't have the space", or even, "I don't have the time to water the plants". However, I think when I'm ready to put my mind to it, I will grow my own food. In the meantime, I support local farmers by going to the farmer's market to buy my produce, which also helps sustain them as they provide fresh, organic produce for the community.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Avoid being too hard on yourself if you're not able to change your habits overnight. You can start being more green by unplugging appliances when they're not being used or take a 7 minute shower on low pressure instead of a 10 minute shower.

Also, practice being mindful of the things you buy. I always ask myself, "Do I actually need this new outfit, or do I already have something like this at home?" Along the same lines, it's helped me to save money when I buy vegan-friendly second-hand items or things I absolutely need.

Additionally, recycling and reusing items can really help the environment because manufacturing companies don't have to continue producing as many products, which can lead to more accumulation and waste. When going to the market, I use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags.

Lastly, it's pivotal to continue educating yourself about the different ways you can adopt healthy and sustainable practices for 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? Living in Africa made me realize that there are some people who go green out of necessity because they don't have a lot of money and their very survival is contingent upon their conserving energy, money, reusing bottles, growing their own food, and buying used clothing.

Because I have this awareness, I sometimes feel like what I'm doing isn't good enough in terms of being green and I feel sad about that sometimes. At the same time, I try not to be too hard on myself. I allow myself to grow and learn about more ways in which I can help the environment and spread awareness. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I returned natural in 2012. It took me a few years to adjust from having my hair chemically relaxed to learning how to wash, moisturize, and style my tightly coiled hair. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the "perfect" deep conditioner, shampoo, hair gel, and moisturizer for my hair, only to find out that my hair simply loves natural, chemical-free products.

I've finally found a hair regimen that my hair loves and as a result, it has become thicker and has retained length in the past few months since I've adopted my new routine. My hair loves bentonite clay as a hair cleanser and shea butter and oil as a moisturizer.

My vegan, minimalist, and chemical free hair regimen is not only good for my body, but for the environment as well. It puts a smile on my face to know that my hair and body loves natural, cruelty-free products.

Is there anything you like to add? It's an honor to be featured on CluelessCurl. I'm grateful for the opportunity! I'm currently sharing my health and wellness journey on my YouTube channel where I provide plant-based recipes, health tips, and motivational messages. Feel free to find me on the social media platforms below.

Naturally Gina
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