I am passionate about many things. I’m a passionate person. It’s sort of my thing.
In the fall of 2015, I stumbled upon a google-driven youtube talk by Bea Johnson.
In the following January, I hopped on a plane to southeast Asia and spent the next three months exploring, all the while nagged by this extremely conscious lifestyle.
I couldn’t shake it.
I had always been environmentally conscious and I can’t get enough of silence and small details; an avid lover of camping and all things outdoors, as well as cooking and DIY projects, being zero waste just seemed to make sense. I landed back on Canadian soil and embarked on a drastic lifestyle change.
Or so I thought.
You see, being zero waste isn’t an overnight change. It was slow. Really slow. And the more I waited for things to get hard, the more I started to realize that living a lifestyle you were meant to live would never actually prove difficult.
Yeah, yeah, so I’m starting to sound like a hippy. But I’m serious. I’ve had a really hard time advocating for zero waste because I’m aware that the changes, which others might view as sacrifices, are things I am gladly willing to give up. And then one day, early into my transition, it hit me.
Being zero waste is a state of mind.
Appreciate the things you have and ask yourself- seriously- what you truly need.
Look at your day to day life and challenge yourself to question normal practices.
You’re going to start to see that the waste from a coffee cup, a candy bar, a deck of cue cards- all of it is unnecessary. Zero waste isn’t about depriving yourself of luxury and living off of your garden, it’s about changing the convenience culture and finding better, more sustainable ways of getting (or making) the things you love. Coffee, candy bars, and cue cards, can all come in sustainable forms- so why don’t they?
I experience a sense of conviction behind the life I lead and the choices I make. Never before have I been this critical and this engaged in my own life, and the beautiful thing about being zero waste is that you already have the community you need to make it work- there are shops, markets, and communities everywhere willing to help and accommodate the lifestyle- regardless if they themselves intentionslly support green initiatives.
You stand out.
Even in a trendy city like Vancouver, bringing trail mix to the till in a paper bag gets some odd looks. I use handkerchiefs (seriously guys, they can be washed daily, calm down), and my take-out is often wrapped in a tea towel. You get used to it, and coming from someone who battles with social anxiety, believing in the things you do can give you the strength to overcome the mountains you struggle to climb.
So whatever your passion, whatever your purpose, I beg of you- find it and run with it. My love of cooking and kitchen experiments, my love of health and exercise, my love of expression- all of these hobbies have transcended into passions by adopting a lifestyle and a value system that not only reflects who I truly am, but stands, unashamed and steady through whatever life may throw at me.
One of us. One of us.
Here are some zero waste resources to give you an idea of what a zero waster does and how: