What does sustainable living mean to you?

For me it means connecting to a more seasonal approach to life. Through being a keen gardener and growing a lot of our own food, I’ve learned to work with the seasons (and curb my impatience!) to respect all the cycles, from seed to compost. This has encouraged me to slow down and be more thoughtful and observant in my approach. We can burn though a lot of energy and other resources when we’re constantly pushing ahead instead of stepping back to find a lighter, more creative solution that works with what is naturally available right now.

How and when did your sustainable living journey begin? 

We were raised in the bush here in Mohua Golden Bay, growing food and spending time in nature. Mum founded HealthPost when I was 8, so we used natural plant medicines too. We were encouraged to think critically and ‘outside the box’ in terms of our own choices, and that propelled me on my sustainability journey. We learned to make progressively better choices as a family when I was growing up, and I’m continuing that journey now with my own children. Parenthood has definitely made me more focused on living sustainably.

What are your favourite, mindful ways to live a more sustainable life?

Growing things! Every day I tend our vegetable gardens and trees. Even if it’s just a few minutes weeding between work and school activities, it uplifts me. We’re lucky to have a lot of space so I like to let plants go to seed, to see the whole cycle through and watch things come up again in the garden if they want to. This benefits other creatures too: the bees love the brassica flowers and the birds feast on the sunflower seeds. I’m way more conscious of the whole ecosystem than I used to be, and I like to think that as long as I keep observing, this will be a lifelong learning. Our 12 chickens also make a solid contribution to our sustainability, and they are beautiful!

What essentials do you have at home to support your sustainable choices?

What have you learned along the way during your sustainable living journey?

Simplifying my life and getting clearer about what I really value (and what I can do without) has made the biggest difference in my sustainable living journey. I’m more confident to invest in what really matters to me – including buying better quality items that will last – and skip the rest. Knowing what I personally value has also helped me identify the products and brands that are most ethically aligned. How we spend our money is obviously so important in terms of our sustainability impact.

Another key learning has been to focus on what is working and amplify that instead of dwelling on the imperfections. Rather than getting stressed if the kids have had too much sugar, for example, I can go and pick some carrots and broccoli for them to munch on. Channeling my energy that way is more sustainable and motivating for me, and the people around me!

What 3 tips would you share with our community to get started with sustainable living?

  1. Find your way of living sustainably. Work out what matters most to you and start in an area of your life that reflects your personal values. Don’t try to cover it all.
  2. Find sources of inspiration and education to help you on your way. There is so much good stuff out there! Be discerning and try to find the right level of information for you and your lifestyle now.
  3. Grow something. Green herbs like parsley and basil are pretty easy, even in pots in small spaces where there is enough sunlight. It feels great to produce even a small amount of your own food, and it cuts down on trips to the supermarket.

What are 3 easy ways our community can make more sustainable choices today?

  1. Shopping locally. Like many people, I’ve become more committed to supporting local businesses over the past few years. The wonderful creative food producers and craftspeople here in Mohua Golden Bay are my go-to for food and gifts, which has led to lovely community connections too. When I shop online, I look for ethical Aotearoa-based retailers and products primarily.
  2. Easy swaps. There are so many solid substitutions now to cut down on plastics and packaging. Beeswax wraps, steel or silicone straws, compostable baking paper, shampoo bars are all just habits for us now, no hardship involved!
  3. At work. More and more businesses are on a sustainability journey – if you have sustainable ideas or suggestions for your workplace, speak up! This is a powerful way that we can drive positive change.

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