I must admit, I’ve been dying to get in the head of Rachelle Strauss ever since I came across her genius on Twitter a few months ago. This lady, with endless enthusiasm and zero waste knowledge, was an early inspiration to me when I started A Lazy Girl Goes Green. With years of experience of running awareness campaigns, and an army of committed bloggers at her side (me being one of them this year) this chick knows her stuff!
That day has finally arrived, where we all get to hear from Rachelle on her inspiration, lazy green tips and why we all need to keep a Native American principle in mind…
“My name is Rachelle Strauss and I’m founder of the awareness campaign ‘Zero Waste Week’. Zero Waste Week is an invitation to individuals and businesses to rethink waste and reduce landfill. Each year thousands of people sign up and pledge to slim their bin, have fun and save money.”
What does green living mean to you, and how do you incorporate it into your life?
Green living to me means thinking about the consequences of our actions on resources, the environment and our health and making sustainable choices based on knowledge.
I incorporate green living into my live by making conscious decisions (I don’t always succeed!), separating my wants from my needs (I certainly don’t always succeed at THAT!) and keeping in mind a Native American ‘7th generation’ principle in mind. The principle suggests that we consider how every decision we make will affect our descendants seven generations into the future. It’s pretty daunting to think about, and almost impossible to get your head around, but it helps keep me focused.
Why do you think it’s important to live a sustainable lifestyle?
I think if we keep that Native American principle in mind and we look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren, it’s clear we owe it to them to preserve this beautiful planet. The population is exploding, resources are dwindling and we need to find more sustainable and innovative ways of living.
This doesn’t have to be a terrifying prospect or life of deprivation; it’s enormously exciting and a fantastic opportunity that we can put some of the best aspects of our humanness to – we’ve been blessed with creativity and imagination which have given rise to some amazing technological advances, so let’s use them to face one of the biggest challenges of our time!
I also believe in re-incarnation, so I really don’t want to sh!t on my own doorstep because I’ll be coming back to check it out at some point!
What have you found the easiest thing to implement?
Some of the easiest things to implement have been making full use of kerbside recycling collections, making some of my own cleaning products, switching to more sustainable brands, giving up flying and I’m a whizz at creating a meal from leftovers 😉
I’m also one of the most difficult people to buy presents for because I seldom want ‘stuff’.
“Rachelle also appeared in award winning film Trashed; which explores the topic of waste and sustainability across the world. See below as she talks to narrator Jeremy Irons about the amount of landfill waste she, and her family, threw out in 2010 and how they accumulated so little…”
What habits have you found tricky to get started or maintain?
We still run a 4×4 and I’m not about to stop (we use it to collect wood which heats the home and provides us with hot water), I find gardening terribly difficult to find the time for; although I aspire to grow my own food and I’m rubbish at repairing clothes. Oh and I still have a kitchen towel addiction despite being gifted some beautiful reusable cloths – sigh…
What’s your favourite idea or tip for living green without costing too much time or money?
Banish the word leftovers from your vocabulary and replace with ‘leftovers’. I love the challenge of creating a meal from nothing and some of our favourite recipes have been discovered this way. With the average family throwing away over £700 of food per year, it costs nothing, actually SAVES you money and many meals can be rustled up in less than 15 minutes.
So put away that tablespoon of sweetcorn,crust of bread and half inch square of cheese to use in tomorrow’s lunch.
Who or what keeps you inspired?
I believe we are all pieces of a jigsaw and have our own passions and talents. So a friend of mine isn’t the least bit interested in reducing waste but she walks or cycles everywhere because she’s passionate about reducing emissions due to the fact her son is asthmatic. A lady in the village drives her 4×4 ½ a mile to school every day but takes in any waif or stray animal and loves them back to health. A neighbour has fostered 97 babies with special needs over the past 40 years – many of whom have needed 24/7 care. Another neighbour has his tumble dryer going all year round but keeps such a beautiful garden he opens it up to raise money for charity and frequently takes surplus eggs and produce around the village.
It’s knowing that there are all these people out there doing their bit that inspires me to keep going when it all feels like a bit too much trouble.
And Mother Nature herself of course; what a role model 😉