My Interview at GlenEira Magazine

So after I had a workshop for GlenEira City Council Staff at the their lunch time presentation event, they contacted me to ask some questions for their magazine as I was living in the area at that time.

Here is the content:

Living Sustainably by Dr Sam Shokravi

1. Why is living sustainably important to you? (for example: reduce environmental impact, save money etc)

Sustainability is our lifestyle; we decided to be as sustainable as possible long time ago because it makes sense. Why would you want to pay more, harm the environment or harm your society. You can avoid all these by very simple steps and all these mean you are living a sustainable life. I believe that this earth and all in it are gifts to us and we should take care of it, so we and those coming after us can enjoy all its goodness. When you think like that, avoiding waste in any aspect of life becomes necessary. This means wasting your money on things that are not essential, wasting your natural resources, like water, energy, and wasting your (or others’) time on worthless tasks or on spreading hatred.

2. What kinds of things do you do at home to live more sustainably?

We try to make it clear what is our goal, we want to live waste free, enjoy life and have a great time living it with others. So we think and for instance before we shop, we use shopping list and make sure not to buy things that we can easily make ourselves at home and have fun in the process of making them. We bake almost all the bread and sweet treats that we eat. Only buy the essentials from local stores or markets, usually in bulks to minimise the packaging. We also make our own cleaning products from vinegar, natural soap nuts and alike. Ultimate goal is that nothing manufactured abroad entered our house and we try our best not to have plastics in the house or at least not discard plastics (soft plastic included) in the landfill (normal trash bins) as they take more than 1000 years to discompose in the landfill and during these 1000 years they emit CO2 and methane that is one of the drivers of Climate Change.
To share our lifestyle with our guests, we give them a visitor pack which opens up a conversation about our values and why we are living this way and encourages them to do the same. So not only for the time they are staying with us but also when they go back to their own house, they apply these easy steps to their own lifestyle.

3. Do you have any plans for the future to live even more sustainably?

Our ultimate goal is to be living self sustained. That means producing all our fruit and vegetables and reuse all that we have. It is rewarding to make all that you need and spend your time enjoying all the glories in this world.
We also want to spread sustainable living to all around us so everyone can enjoy the little things as we do. This also spreads happiness and happiness means health.

Step 1. Rethink your journey

At the time I was living with my partner/husband with no children in the horizon. So I sat him down and had an honest discussion about what I believe in and how I think we should drastically but gradually change our consumptive life and led a simpler and more joyous living.

We both aspired to the path and agreed to do it in a way that will be lasting and not a short lived change.

The first changes we did were:

  1. Make a conscious decision of buying from market instead of supermarket to bring home less packaging
  2. Taking our shopping bags with us when we go for the weekend market haul
  3. Reusing plastic bags that were ending up in our house despite our best efforts
  4. Try to buy locally
  5. Religiously recycle instead of landfill
  6. Start and strive to make most of the food, bread, jam and in general our eating supplies ourselves in the house

These changes were conscious for about couple of years, when we were quite comfortable with them and they felt an essential part of our life style, more like a habit ingrained in our unconscious. However, being both immigrants-I am from Iran and my husband is from Colombia-we had visitors from overseas where consumption is unfortunately still mistaken as a sign of opulent living. So our attempt to have a simpler life was perceived as lack of economic means or outward stingy. It took me a while to change the dynamics and educate my immediate family on disadvantages of massive consumption but more on that in future posts.