Category Archives: Planet

Slow living is about looking after our planet, treading lightly and reducing our impact. Learn about ethical consumption and the importance of buying once, buying well. Or you could try green cleaning, turn your hand to gardening or reduce your plastic use.

The stress-free guide to zero-waste living with Anita Vandyke

Orlova Maria

“Zero waste life means not only reducing your waste, but also not wasting your life.” Anita Vandyke

The term ‘zero-waste’ is so emotive isn’t it? It simultaneously sounds wonderfully inspiring and overwhelmingly difficult, bringing to mind tiny jars of rubbish and endless hours of DIY.

I personally love seeing those glass jars containing a year’s worth of rubbish and have definitely been known to make my own deodorant and toothpaste, but I’m always thrilled to meet a zero-waste advocate who understands how overwhelming ‘zero waste’ can seem to those just beginning the journey.

Enter my wonderful guest this week, Anita Vandyke, a zero waste activist, literal rocket scientist, medical student, author and all-round breath of fresh air. Anita brings a new, more practical perspective to the zero waste lifestyle, and in this episode she and I talk about her journey to living a zero waste life, the impact of her cultural and familial upbringing on her choice to simplify life, tips for helping people get started and so much more.

Anita talks about her life a few years ago as a self-described ‘maximalist’, how she went from working in corporate engineering at the height of her career to being burnt out, and having to quit her job and step back for six months to think about what she wanted in life.

She talks about her cultural background, as her parents immigrated to Australia from China during the communist regime, and how this informed her value of money, power and status in her early 20s, as well as her work ethic, but also how her upbringing cemented her understanding of living minimally. She talks about her discovery of this very podcast during that six month break, and how this, combined with other resources, volunteering, meditating and economic necessity started her on the journey of simplifying her life and decreasing her waste.

Now Anita is studying medicine and has just written a book, called ‘A Zero Waste Life: In 30 Days’. Her scientific background means her approach to zero waste living is incredibly practical, with a creative, problem-solving bent to help you make small changes in your everyday life. Her focus is accessibility, and I really love her three-tiered approach to adopting zero waste strategies to any issue: 1) dipping your toe in, 2) living low waste and 3) living zero waste.

This podcast is full of so many nuggets of wisdom and great ideas for approaching a slower, more simple life. Start where you are, take stock, ask for help and stick to the 80/20 rule are just some my main takeaways. If you’re looking for further inspiration and advice on how to begin or level-up your own zero waste efforts, I can highly recommend Anita’s new book (which is being released on July 4th – only a few days before the North American release of my second book, SLOW.)

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4.5 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Rob Greenfield on the enormous power of small changes

“Radical transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with one small change, and then another one, and then another one.” — Rob Greenfield

Over the years I’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles to making positive change is a sense of hopelessness. What can I do? What difference will I make? Why does it matter? Who cares what one person does?

I’ve asked myself those exact questions countless times as I’m faced with the impotency of my own efforts. Whether it’s reducing plastic consumption and waste, making ethical clothing and food choices, supporting organisations trying to make a difference or showing kindness in the face of anger or aggression, I so often falter when I realise that me and my changes are merely a single drop in a very large ocean. I may pat myself on the back for avoiding plastic for an entire day, only to walk home and see hundreds of straws and cigarette butts littering the street. Boom. Demoralised.

In today’s episode I explore this issue with my guest, the inspiring and change-making Rob Greenfield, a self-described ‘dude making a difference’, and someone with a fascinating perspective on what is required in order to have a positive impact on the world.

Rob is an activist, environmentalist and legend, and is very good at raising people’s awareness of an issue by doing big, bold things to grab our attention. In 2016 he collected the amount of rubbish the average American creates in a month, strapped it to his body and wore it around New York City like a big old swollen trash suit. It’s a sight to behold and certainly succeeded in gaining attention to the massive issue of plastic waste.

But on the flip side, he’s also been the person making small, consistent change in his own life and in today’s conversation we talk about why that’s such an important lesson to learn, and one which will often lead to bigger changes down the line.

10 years ago Rob was living what he calls a “typical American life”. He was driven by money and ideas of success, obsessed with his car and didn’t consider the impact of his choices on the planet or the people around him. As he began to travel and broaden his horizons Rob began reading books and watching documentaries about the state of the world, and the more he learned, the more he realised he had to change.

So he did. Slowly, one step at a time. Rob talks about the fact that making positive changes in your life is a has a snowball effect, and we both agree that while this slow steady approach might seem frustrating or overwhelming at first, it really is the only way to go.  He breaks down the changes he made, and how these eventually fed into the big, bold experiments and projects he’s become known for.

We also talk about how he communicates these changes to the people around him, the idea of comfort zones, change and societal norms, as well as the need to practice compassion and get good it at, just like building any other muscle or skill. He shares an amazing story about a man named Guitar Johnny, that has stuck with me for many months and is such a simple and beautiful example of what it looks like to live with compassion and forgiveness.

It’s incredibly inspiring to hear Rob share so honestly about his life, and is a much-needed reminder that we can all make choices in our daily lives to have a more positive impact on the world.

I’m also really excited to see how Rob goes with his next project – growing or foraging 100% of his food for a whole year, and I’ve linked to this project in the show notes below.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this episode and take solace in the knowledge that every single change matters. No matter how big or small.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4.5 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

The Great Outdoors: Part 2 – A Slow Experiment

“Everything resets outside. Your mind resets, your priorities might reset. All these different things click over. And when you come back, you have this spark of creativity; the barrier that was there is no longer there. How powerful is that?” – Ben

We’re one week into the Great Outdoors experiment, and, unsurprisingly, it’s off to a super enjoyable start. In today’s episode, Ben and I talk about how we’ve spent the last week getting out in nature and what we’ve been noticing in ourselves as a result. We also dive into some specific research around the emotional benefits of spending time outside (there’s a lot more than I expected, to be honest) and while some of it feels a little “Well, yeah, obviously…” I find it amazing that we know how beneficial time outside can be and still manage to avoid it. Us humans are so accomplished at putting off those things that benefit us the most, aren’t we??

We also talk about how we spent our outdoors time over the past week. It’s been a combination of solo time and family time, active and contemplative. One day I spent my 60 minutes outside just sitting by the river watching the water flow, and loved being reminded that we don’t need to overcomplicate this idea of reconnecting with nature. It doesn’t need to be grand, it doesn’t need to be exercise, it doesn’t need to be Instagrammable. It is so often enough to simply focus on the being rather than the doing.

Ben talks about the difference he’s noticed between time spent outside in nature versus time spent outside in an urban environment. He shares some research where this distinction was made between urban and natural outdoor environments, and the different impacts they had on stress, happiness, creativity, generosity, kindness, attention and the feeling of being alive. No surprises, nature comes out ahead.

The other discovery I’ve made this week, as I’ve been reading up on the emotional benefits of time spent outdoors, is that awe is one of the most effective experiences in delivering big emotional benefits. I always thought that feeling awe-inspired by nature was nothing more than a beautiful by-product, but I’ve discovered that there is a significant amount of research that shows just how important it is as a standalone emotion. Studies have found that awe is more important than happiness when it comes to unlocking all the emotional benefits of time spent outside, as it forces us to slow down and be immersed in the thing we are in awe of. Pretty magical stuff, right?

So I’d love to encourage you to try and keep that sense of awe and childlike curiosity with you this week as you spend time with nature big and small, and stay tuned for the experiment episodes for the rest of the month, where Ben and I will look at the mental (especially performance) and physical benefits of spending time in nature. If you’re playing along, don’t forget to share how you’re going over on Instagram using the hashtag #slowexperiment, or comment on Facebook. We’d love to know what you’ve found challenging or easy so far, and if you’ve noticed any emotional benefits at all!

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Tim Silverwood on circularity and saying no to plastic – Summer Series

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Hello, and welcome to the Slow Home Summer series! For 5 weeks over December and January we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite episodes from 2017, so we can walk the walk and slow down during the Christmas break. Also it turns out podcasts, just like fine wine, really do get better with age. Whether you missed them the first time around, or are having another listen, we hope you enjoy these poggies as much as we did!

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Tim Silverwood is one of my environmental role models. He maintains that he’s just an ordinary guy who somehow found himself at the forefront of environmental activism in Australia, but his passion and knowledge means that while he may be an ordinary guy, the impact he’s having on the growing environmental movement in Australia is anything but ordinary. As one of the founders of Take 3 for the Sea and a powerful voice in the movement away from single-use plastics, Tim is having a massive impact both in Australia and around the world.

In today’s episode we talk about the Plastic-Free July campaign and why it’s so important, but we also go back to the catalyst for Tim’s shift to environmentalism. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tim’s passion for protecting the ocean started in his passion for the waves and like so many people now heavily invested in protecting our wild spaces, Tim was a surfer who used his love of the ocean to drive changes in his own life.

We also talk about the importance of small steps, and why Tim believes it’s the only way to convert the apathetic in to the passionate, but also why these small steps are only the first part of creating global change.

One of the beautiful themes that kept emerging in our conversation is the idea of connection – both to each other and the environment we all live in – and Tim specifically talks about the ways in which we’re all connected to the health of the oceans. It’s far too easy to think the issue of plastic pollution isn’t one we’re part of, and Tim gets very passionate as he talks about the different ways our actions can have an impact – both positive and negative.

We also talk about the problematic issue of recycling and why so much of what we think of as ‘good recycling’ is actually exacerbating the problem, and why the circular economy and circular design is the way of the future.

This was such an exciting and inspiring conversation and I hope you walk away feeling as hopeful as I did.

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 3.5 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt

Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt - Episode 189 of The Slow Home Podcast

Dixit Motiwala

If you’re anything like me, you probably have heard the term permaculture. And if you’re a little more like me, you may have heard it in terms of gardening, and in particular, growing food. You may understand that it has something to do with tapping in to the natural systems, strengths and partnerships in the plant (and animal) world, and that it’s a method of growing that results in better soil, a more seasonal approach to food production and higher yield. It’s also a bit of a buzz word these days too.

What I’d never really considered before is that the philosophy of permaculture doesn’t stop at food production. In fact, much like slow living, the permaculture philosophy extends to community, connection, family, relationships, business and how we view the world at large. It can impact on where we live and how we live there, as well as the things we own, the money we earn and the way we interact with those around us.

Permaculture hinges on 3 key ideas, all of which can be applied to pretty much every element of life:

  • earth care
  • people care
  • a fair share

In today’s episode I chat with Robyn Rosenfeldt, the founder and editor of Pip Magazine – a magazine dedicated to spreading the ideas of permaculture far and wide. Pip is released three times a year and is packed full of both inspirational articles that dive deep in to permaculture, as well as the super practical information that will help you turn that inspiration in to action.

We chat about the similarities between slow living and permaculture, how Robyn came to discover permaculture, and what led her to make the shift permanently. We also talk about the idea of self-sufficiency, and why permaculture isn’t necessarily going to allow us to be individually self-sufficient, but rather encourages the creation of self-sufficient communities.

This is an idea I really seize upon because so often we’re sold the idea that we should aim for total self-sufficiency, where permaculture admits that doing so would either be impossible, or very not fun. Instead, it encourages us to create connections within our community and begin to use those connections to work towards self-sufficiency.

We also look at what community means and why we sometimes may need to look beyond our neighbourhood to find a tribe of like-minded people.

Robyn has some fantastic suggestions for those of us who want to start on the path to permaculture but don’t have a lot of time, and one of those suggestions is to let go of perfection. Our gardens (or balconies or community plots) don’t need to be Instagram-worthy in order to be productive, and while there’s definitely inspiration to be found in pretty photos, it’s worth remembering that a pretty photo is not the entire picture.

One of her other suggestions is to begin to educate ourselves on our food – where it comes from, what time of year we should be seeing it in supermarkets (and what times of year we shouldn’t – AHEM, nectarines in July!). It’s from this basis of knowledge that we can begin making small, consistent changes and from there springs real and lasting change.

I consider myself so lucky to be able to speak to so many inspiring guests for the poggie, and Robyn is no exception. I love the work she’s doing to spread the ideas of permaculture across the globe, and just as excited to hear that readership of Pip is growing as more and more people jump on board.

Enjoy!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2.7 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!