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.

April Hepokoski on creating a zero-waste, nature-based classroom

“Children learn best through play and exploration in nature.”

April Hepokoski, Founder of The Little Barnyard Preschool and zero-waste campaigner

One of the most common questions I get asked from poggie listeners is about how to raise children in a slower, more mindful way. Undoubtedly it’s a difficult thing to do given how fast-paced our world is, and how much pressure is being applied at all levels of education. But that’s not to say there aren’t people looking for a different way.

In today’s episode I’m joined by one such inspiring change-maker in April Hepokoski. April is an early-childhood educator and founder of The Little Barnyard Preschool in Duluth, Minnesota, where she has created a learning centre focused on time spent in nature. April also founded a zero-waste living group on her local community, where she shares tips and tricks for living with less waste as well as lobbying the city council to make changes in her town. (See? I told you she was a change-maker!)

April and I speak about nature-based learning and the parallels it shares with slow living, as well as the positive impact that more time in nature has not only on her young students but also their families and the community in general.

We also talk about the power of grassroots change, and as someone who has recently set up a community group for zero waste living, April has some fantastic insights in to what works and the challenges she’s faced in establishing such a group.

Questions featured in this episode:

  1. How did you structure a localised zero-waste living group?
  2. What is the philosophy or mission of The Little Barnyard Preschool?
  3. What caused you to combine child-led learning with nature-based learning?
  4. What does nature-based learning look like on a day-to-day basis?
  5. What benefits and differences do parents see?
  6. How can people begin to bring this philosophy into their own home if there are no nature-based learning offerings in their area?
  7. What can educators do to start to bring nature-based learning into their school? Any resources or recommendations on how to start the conversation?
  8. Do you have any tips for bringing zero-waste principles into the classroom?

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As always, thank you for listening!

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Rob Greenfield on the enormous power of small changes

Hello, and welcome to the Slow Home Summer Series (AKA Winter Warmies!) For all of January we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite episodes from 2018, so we can walk the walk and slow down during the New Year 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 and that they keep you company on the beach (or the slopes!) 

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Today we’re highlighting one of the most inspiring interviews of the year – my conversation with Rob Greenfield. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Rob and his boundless enthusiasm, you’re in for a treat. Rob is a self-described ‘dude making a difference’: an activist, environmentalist and all-around legend. I love that Rob shares his story so honestly and in a very relatable way – he was just an average guy who had a wake up call, and he talks about what his catalyst for change was, how he started to make changes, having the realisation that you can’t make enormous changes overnight and more. (I also can’t wait to see how Rob goes with his current project – growing or foraging 100% of his food for a whole year. Listen in for more details on the how and the why of such a big undertaking.)

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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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Florence Williams on the importance of getting our nature fix

Hello, and welcome to the Slow Home Summer Series (AKA Winter Warmies!) For all of January we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite episodes from 2018, so we can walk the walk and slow down during the New Year 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 and that they keep you company on the beach (or the slopes!) 

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We’re kicking off the Summer Series by heading back to my absolute favourite experiment of 2018, and an episode that came just after it: my chat with Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix. In this episode Florence shares why time in nature is so important, tips for how to make it happen and some of the mind-blowing benefits she’s found in her research. This conversation only further convinced me of the importance of spending time in nature – let us know if it made you feel the same way! Head over to Instagram and share your thoughts. To read the full blog post and for a full list of all the links and resources mentioned, head over here.

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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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Love Slow? Support the show!

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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Love Slow? Support the show!

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!

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Love Slow? Support the show!