I’m sure I have said before that sustainability is not just about recycling, organic food and solar panels. It’s also about all of us wonderful human beings, and how we treat each other and the world around us. I choose to be an optimist when it comes to the intentions of others, and believe that deep down we all want the best for the world; and will do anything in our power to make it fair, safe and enjoyable for everyone in it. But as we all know, information spins around so freely these days, conflict and confusion can happen; and we are often unsure what to believe when it comes to “making a difference”.
Well, let me introduce a very inspiring young lady, who happens to be one of my nearest and dearest friends: Miss Elsie Bryant! Having worked in many areas of sustainability – from Start UK and UK Green Building Council, to awesome events such as Bristol’s Big Green Week – Elsie has worked her communications & campaigning magic across the UK green world. But her true passion lies in people; and her interest in international develop has lead to her fabulous work as an inspiring Humanitarian and environmental entrepreneur. Her personal blog, Development Truths, is an honest and frank look at the world of international development; which seeks to challenge, but not judge, our perceptions of the world around us.
And from a personal, extremely biased perspective, I simply love this chick!!
“I am a 26 year old girl/woman who’s enjoying the magical adventure we call life. I’m learning a lot, exploring, and working with some wonderful and amazing people and projects. Someone recently called me a humanitarian and environmental entrepreneur – I think that may be a little generous, but it’s certainly what I aspire to. I like my work and my life to contribute something to the world becoming a better place. When I’m not doing that, I love to explore, converse, create and learn. I also author a critical development blog and am a co-founder of a campaign that challenges negative development stereotypes.”
What does green living mean to you, and how do you incorporate it into your life?
My hope for ‘green’ living is that the term ceases to exist, and just becomes ‘living’. Green living is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s now necessary. Sustainability is no longer an option; we now need to focus on regeneration. We need to stop asking ‘what can I get?’ and start asking ‘what can I give?’. I work with a truly inspiring peace builder, Scilla Elworthy, who, in her new book, writes that she observes two phenomena happening simultaneously:
“On the one hand humans are stripping the earth of its natural resources so fast that entire eco systems are collapsing. On the other, humans are waking up to an entirely new perception of how the universe functions. The future of humanity really is in the balance.”
This is where I think we are at the moment. Green living isn’t just about switching the lights off and putting out the recycling. For me, ‘green’ living is a shift in consciousness that encompasses all areas of your life. It’s about reconnecting with each other and with the world, it’s about truly respecting and appreciating where we live and who and what we live with, it’s about making decisions not from a place of guilt or greed, but that are for the benefit of all.
People think that green living is restrictive and laborious, but the benefits of it, when enough of us start to wake up to this new way of thinking, will be out of this world. We will start to see a world that works.
Why do you think it’s important to live a sustainable lifestyle?
Oops…See above! (Did I go a bit too new age hippy on you?! haha :))
What have you found the easiest thing to implement?
I suppose for me, what started to develop before any of the direct actions I now take, was this awareness of my impact on the planet. This is still growing all the time, but for me it has been the easiest thing to ‘implement’ and also the thing that makes everything else I do as a result easier to achieve. Once you truly understand why you’re doing what you’re doing (cutting down meat, campaigning, recycling, not buying anything new, cycling etc etc etc) then it becomes so much easier to make the changes. I don’t know if that makes sense, I’ve kind of waffled…
What habits have you found tricky to get started or maintain?
I have recently cut meat (not fish) out of my diet completely, with a view to dramatically reducing my meat intake (and potentially one day cutting out meat, fish and dairy completely). I LOVE meat so this has been a real sacrifice for me. Honestly though, it was difficult at the start, but now I truly don’t miss it much at all. There are so many delicious foods and flavours out there, and many of them aren’t dependent on meat as an essential ingredient. I don’t know how anybody gives up (free range, organic, local) eggs though; that really would be a challenge.
What’s your favourite idea or tip for living green without costing too much time or money?
Try not to buy anything new for six months that you can’t put in your mouth or on your skin (i.e stop buying non-perishable items). It’s actually easier than you think, is a fun challenge, SAVES MONEY, reduces waste and consumption and it’s refreshingly nice to breeze through life and the shops knowing that you’re not going to buy anything.
Who or what keeps you inspired?
You Trudi Noodle 🙂 and the wonderful, inspirational people and organisations in my life who, like you, dedicate themselves to taking action that will ultimately make the world a better place. Thank you!