One thing that’s struck me most recently about sustainability, is that it’s not just about our dependence on the planet, but our connections with each other, that is so important to protect. It doesn’t matter how much recycling we do at home, or how many less things we buy; it is pretty clear that powerful changes really happy when we work together to share passions, ideas and resources.
There are already heaps of groups, organisations and companies doing awesome things out there, transforming people and places; but it’s a bit of a forest out there! Sometimes it can be hard to get our voices heard, and share the success (and not so….) stories which remind us why we are a productive and creative species, who can actually change the world for good.
This is why I wanted to pick the brains of someone who is at the heart of a thriving community of ‘doers’, and helps to get conversations around positive change flowing. Project Dirt is a social media site for community projects and groups who want to chat with like minded passionate people. and collaborate to share resources and ideas. From gardening groups, and Big Lunchers, to transition towns and community organisers; it’s like a little hub of positive goings on! I chatted to the lovely Freya from PD to find out what lies behind her passions for green living:
“I’m the Community Manager at Project Dirt (projectdirt.com), the UK’s largest and most active community social network. This means that my job is to ensure our site is easy to use and useful to those community groups looking to connect, promote and resource what they’re doing and to take Project Dirt to new audiences. I’m also chief tea brewer at PDHQ.”
What does green living mean to you, and how do you incorporate it into your life?
To me, “green living” is all about being aware of your impact on the world around you to inform your choices. I prioritise living lightly but that is not to say basically! I concentrate on the providence of where my food, clothes and other essentials come from mainly and the cost too – especially living in London, if I can save on my energy or weekly food bills by being mindful of my behaviour then every little helps.
Why do you think it’s important to live a sustainable lifestyle?
Because if we don’t all start being a bit more conscious of our effect on the planet then we’ll all be dead. Soon! And I’d quite like to hang around for a bit. Plus the trees were here way before us humans and I like to be a good neighbour.
What have you found the easiest thing to implement?
Eating seasonal and local food. Being in London, we may not be surrounded by fields but we are surrounded by a multitude of farmers markets, green grocers and corner shops providing valid alternatives to the big supermarket chains – which near me are small and up to 30% more expensive than their “superstore” counterparts.
This means I can shop for cheaper in smaller shops or markets which usually particularly stock seasonal food so not only can I buy smaller amounts of ethically sourced food but I can save money too, leaving more money for the artisanal cider and cheese…
What habits have you found tricky to get started or maintain?
To not fly! I’m often prone to an unsquashable urge to grab my backpack and jet off to a country half my friends have never heard of. I’m an adrenaline junkie and have been bitten by the major travel bug so getting to these places I desperately want to visit without flying poses a real conundrum. I’ve come up with a rule that I try very hard not to fly within Europe. That’s the best I can do – but I do slip up time to time and end up on a city break in Prague. It’s all about balance for you, not being a green martyr.
What’s your favourite idea or tip for living green without costing too much time or money?
The best advice I ever received about “living green” was just to pay attention! Don’t buy what your friends buy just because it’s easier or shop by default at the nearest supermarket – once you start questioning your habits then you’re more likely to make sustainable changes for the better. I now think more about where I shop a bit more, where I travel to and what I wear. It doesn’t always mean I don’t go/shop where I always have, just that I’ve consciously weighed up my options and made an informed decision.
I do think it’s getting easier to foray into the green world, and we all know it’s very in vogue. With high street shops such as H&M and Gap creating ranges with organic cotton and supermarkets stocking more locally sourced and fairtrade produce most people can now make small changes to make a big (collective) impact! So be a bit more aware of your daily options and buy according to your priorities.
Who or what keeps you inspired?
Cliché but true – the Project Dirt community inspire me everyday with their enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for creating sustainable communities whilst having fun! I think it’s a good thing to be constantly humbled by your day job.
- Twitter: @projectdirt
- Web: www.projectdirt.com