Sunday, 4 May 2014

eco soul sister

I recently had the delight of being contacted by who can only be described as my Eco Soul Sister, Katie.

Her blog's title is dangerously close to my book's title (Sustainability in Style), and her journey into environmentalism eerily similar to mine. I couldn't be more delighted that she reached out to me, and we're counting the days until we are in the same city and can sit and chat over a cuppa (or twenty!).

Below is a partial reblog of her review of the second edition of Sustainability with Style.

Reading Sustainability with Style by Lisa Heinze, strangely caused me to have Sliding Doors flash backs, and I consider writing this review as a therapeutic task to work out why. So please bear with me if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching this slice of 90′s rom-com cinema.
Whether you call it an ‘environmental awakening’, ‘doing your bit’, ‘a learning experience’, or ‘finding your path to voluntary simplicity, most green-centric folk will be able to tell you the moment they decided to take action. Like most of us, Heinze had made some small changes in her life prompted by the messages we absorb from mainstream media, simple changes like recycling and taking reusable bags to the supermarket. But the real life changing (compact fluorescent eco) light bulb moment for Heinze was the revelation that takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable.
This coffee cup moment of revelation for Heinze is the equivalent of Gwyneths Sliding Doors, character Helen catching her subway train. Subway train Helen heads home to her ‘loving partner’ to find him in bed with another woman. Where Subway platform Helen who in a parallel universe, had missed the train, never finds out she was sleeping with a man who was ‘screwing her over’.
The experience for Heinze was somewhat different to Helens, in that she really did have a loving partner and no missed trains were involved in her revelation, but she did realise she had been cheated. All this time she had been under the impression that her takeaway coffee habit was harmless, but unbeknownst to her (and millions of other coffee drinkers) every cup she disposed of was contributing to the 500 million coffee cups disposed in landfill each year. Why hadn’t anyone told her?
For Heinze, now a woman on fire, coffee cups served as the catalyst to a life overhaul. She changed her appearance (just like Helen), gets a new job (just like Helen) and begins a new Eco life. Like Helen, Heinze had periods where she grieved for her former life, but found the changes she had made we’re creating such positive effects she could help but move on. In true movie style the ending of sliding doors is a little too far fetched to be relatable to reality, so the parallels end here. However I also felt that reading Heinzes story was like reading my own ‘coming-of-eco-age’ and that perhaps her and I were living our own Eco ‘parallel universe experiences’.
Like Heinze, I too had worked in an industry that pushed consumer products like drug dealers at a rave. I was dirty pusher giving the addicted shopping masses what they wanted, fast cheap clothing. Heinze was helping us ‘product pushers’ advertise to the masses and create the demand. While Heinze had her revelation over coffee cups, mine dawned over coat hangers, ones specifically designed for a product we sold, hard moulded plastic, a thing of beauty that wasn’t recyclable, that the company I worked for wanted disposed of as they ‘didn’t match the department stores decor’. So I threw them in the bin, put the product on flimsy matching hangers, and decided I couldn’t put up with the waste anymore and quit several weeks later.

Thanks again for reaching out, Katie! Who knows, we may have some more Eco Soul Sisters and Brothers out there . . . if that sounds like you, please get in touch!

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