Changing any aspect of your lifestyle can be difficult. For those transitioning to a more planet-conscious mode of living, there will be many challenges and dips in motivation. Plastic is ubiquitous and we live in a society deeply rooted in consumerism. Sustainability isn’t a priority for everyone, and making it one of yours can be part of a lonely journey. Sometimes you can feel like your efforts aren’t enough - big enough, frequent enough, effective enough - and it’s easy to forget the words of zero waste chef Anne-Marie Bonneau who said that “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” In those times, I find it helpful to find motivation by turning to the passion and mahi of others. Here are three inspiring wāhine whose work help me refocus on the importance (and joys) of living in line with eco-friendly values.
1. Ella Rose Shnapp of For the Love of Bees and Gecko Trust
Ella Rose Shnapp wears many hats, some of which include: General Manager of The Gecko Trust (an environmental and social NGO in Tāmaki Makaurau); facilitator of the Free Bee School; organic plant grower; an amateur beekeeper; maker (producing raw honey, hand-dipped beeswax candles, prints, illustrations, and books); and practitioner of permaculture on numerous scales. I’ve been following her work via her Instagram for some time now (on top of everything else, she is also an exploratory film photographer who documents all manner of sustainable practices that she and her partner practice, which makes following her work an experience in and of itself) and she is an amazing local role model for Kiwis wanting to live a more sustainable life centred around living gently and giving back to the earth.
2. Sarah Lancaster of Sew Love
I first met this remarkable human when some friends gave me a gift voucher for some sewing lessons some years ago. Since then, I’ve followed the amazing mahi of Sarah Lancaster, the mastermind behind Sew Love - a social enterprise that is helping strengthen New Zealand communities while teaching us all how to sew sustainability and reduce landfill. Sarah has hosted pop-up workshops at numerous recycle centres, op-shops, markets, and campgrounds all across Aotearoa to get Kiwis mending what they have and sustainably creating what they don’t (check out her etsy of handmade products made from rescued fabrics using solar power). Sarah is a trailblazer when it comes to showing people that sustainability doesn’t have to be about a never-ending list of restrictive, boring, and laborious chores. Rather, her take on being kind to our planet is all about dazzling colours, fun times with friends, and using our number 8 wire mentality in ways that prioritise our planet. Follow Sewlove’s journey via Instagram and Facebook.
3. Kaméa Chayne of Green Dreamer Podcast
I’m going to be honest: I’ll never be able to live that hipster, reading-books-on-public-transport life. Reading in vehicles gives me a headache, and the hospital schedule means that my commutes tend to be stupidly early in the morning or at the end of a long day when my brain is half asleep. So Kaméa Chayne’s podcast Green Dreamer has really enriched my daily commuting experience. In each 30-40 minute episode, Chayne interviews a different thought leader and/or expert working in some aspect of sustainability. And it’s astonishing that despite having put out 154 episodes, each one feels fresh and provides a different, very-detailed twist to ways of living the green dream.Support Villainesse