My final post on my ‘living eco’ theme is a mini interview with two awesome and inspiring people who live a lifestyle a bit more in touch with their natural surroundings. I thought it would be nice to hear from some other people instead of just me! They are both regular lovely people in their mid twenties (no extreme hippie ‘woollen socks and sandals’ here, to quote Georgina!), Tom works in sustainable construction and Georgina is studying practical sustainability – they both live in Bristol.
1. What does ‘living eco’ mean to you?
Georgina: Living eco makes me think of living in awareness of our (inter)relationship with the natural world and realising we are part of it – that the planet we live on is not just an unlimited supplier of resources we can carelessly make us of, but that it is actually a huge living being we have to take care of! In more practical terms that would involve reducing our carbon footprint (realizing the limits of the resources we are so violently taking from the Earth), eating locally (try growing/foraging your own food!), and sourcing our stuff as ethically as possible.
Foraging for wild garlic!
Tom: For me it’s all about empowerment and being in control of our lives. For example, who knows what is actually in the vegetables bought from the supermarket and by growing your own, exchanging with a friend or buying from a local supplier you become more in tune with the process. And it’s a great for the environment too!
2. Why do you try to live an eco friendly lifestyle?
Georgina: There’s a strong link between the pervasive personal discontent/dysfunction present in our civilization, and the ecological crisis our planet is facing. We are people who evolved over the course of millions of years to live in communion with the Earth, but we instead exist dislocated from our roots by the psychological, philosophical, and technological constructions of our society. This alienation leads to suffering on both personal level as well as on bigger scale (society as a whole).
Tom: To be honest, because I enjoy it! But it brings people together also. We’re constantly told we can’t look after ourselves without the commanding power of the government and to realise that actually sharing ideas, time, produce and knowledge that anything is possible. That spark of imagination can so easily turn into a flame.
3. What are the benefits? Both to environment and to you personally?
Georgina: I personally feel much more alive when living in (harmony with) the natural world and the planet needs us to not exploit her beyond repair. Think some generations ahead… How would we like our childrens children to experience this planet?
Tom: A greater awareness of our surroundings works wonders for the observer and the observed. I believe a slight increase in knowledge can have a profound effect on how we view the world. A tree becomes so much more than a tree – it’s a place for birds to nest, for animals to feed, the soil becomes stronger around it. There are other users of this world and it’s in our benefit to realise that.
4. What do you think are the barriers or negative connotations against the idea of ‘living eco’ and how do you get around these?
Georgina: I know there’s lots of prejudgements about living eco and it is often biased as “hippie-stuff”, whereas actually i think to realise our interconnection with the earth and other living beings is one of the most essential realisations we can have in terms of both the well-being and wholeness of human beings as well as the Earth. No woollen socks and sandals required!
Tom: Time. It’s much easier and quicker to drive to your local supermarket and buy all your food and other supplies from one shop and come back to the TV. I totally understand that. It takes a lot of time to source things locally or to make your own bread but you get so much more out of it. You get that smell of freshly baked bread in your house to start with but you get to know your local food suppliers, you learn how to make your own soap, you have friends over for dinner. Your life becomes enriched. But we are not perfect. I am not saying that driving a car or shopping at Tescos is wrong. Not at all. We are humans and we impact our environment, plain and simple. But let’s try and make it fun at the same time!
5. Do you have any top tips for someone who wants to live more eco friendly?
Georgina: Nice & nourishing to do – Make some time every single day to sit/stand still for even a moment in a place where you are exposed to some sort of nature. Be it the beautiful flowers growing in a garden, the rich songs of birds (there’s lots of them around if you pay attention!), the amazing formation of clouds high in the sky, or sensing the magical aliveness of tender buds bursting on spring trees… This will not only be a nice gift to yourself, but is quite likely to get you more motivated to live in a way that doesn’t harm these simple wonders of life too much as well!
Useful and energy-saving to do – don’t leave powersockets on when not in use, switch gadgets off (instead of standby) when not in use, and switch off lights when you don’t need them (and you probably need them less often than you think you do…)!
Also – cut out consuming animal products – there’s lots of suffering for both animals and the planet involved to produce all this meat (and to feed all the animals where te meat comes from) and dairy products for human consumption, but we nutritionally don’t need it and can prevent a lot of exploitation + suffering from happening by refraining from this.
Tom: I love growing my own fruit and veg so maybe start with that. Tomatoes are a great one to try and compare with ones bought from the supermarket. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Walk more! I walk to work and for someone who’s not great in the morning it’s very soothing to just have to put one foot in front of the other and listen to the birds trying to compete with the traffic. Sharing dinners is a great way to decrease food and energy waste also, and you get the added bonus of having a conversation.