Where do you go when you need anything new? Do you really consider what you need versus want? Would you be able to give up wanting more? My conversation with Christine Liu will inspire you and have you thinking deeply about these and other questions that are so easy for us to forget to ask ourselves. We talk about the mostly benefits, but a few challenges, of living a minimalist and zero-waste (yes, it’s called zero but you just do your best) lifestyle that she makes look gorgeous. It’s clear that minimalism will spread, for the benefit of all of us. Because if we keep up our consumerist ways, we or our progeny may be left with no choice but to go without…a beautiful planet.
Find Christine at her Website: https://www.snapshotsofsimplicity.com
Christine’s Book “Sustainable Home” on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wIyAFm .
For other episodes go to: https://schoolofconnection.com/podcast
Rana Olk (Host): Hi, everyone, I hope you’re doing great today. I’m going to start with a question for you right off the bat: are you by any chance a person with all or nothing, or perfectionistic tendencies like me? I want you to keep in mind that if you are making changes or adding new things into your life, can feel a bit more challenging sometimes and that’s just because it’s harder for people like us to be satisfied with small stuff and small winds, and progress, rather than perfection. Honestly, I work on this in myself all the time, and I know that there are some of you who struggle with it as well, but what does this have to do with anything? Well, the topic and my guest today brings to mind these tendencies. They did for me right away, because when I first saw Christine Lu’s website and her videos on sustainable living and Melissa, I was immediately inspired. It’s like, yeah, I want to help the planet, I want to consume less, waste less, let’s do it, and then I see more of her life and I will get my life, my stuff, my home, and I think, oh my gosh, forget it, I’m a lost cause, I can never do it. Well, yeah, can’t do it all in one day, and none of us can, and that goes for any of the changes that we ever talk about on this podcast. Even small positive changes in how and what we consume, what we discard, these all make a tremendous global impact, especially if every one of us made a tiny change in the direction of more sustainable living, and that’s why Christine is so wise. She has so many clever hacks and makes it look so much fun. So, I’m excited to connect with her today and bring in her wisdom and her story, and she’s definitely going to inspire you.
I’m excited that I will finally have some of my own questions – yes, I know it’s a bit selfish – but I’m going to have some of my questions answered. She’s the first person that I actually will be able to face and ask, oh my gosh, what is this type of lifestyle and how do we start? So, with that, without any further ado, Christine, I’m so happy that you are here. Thank you so very much. Welcome.
Christine (Guest): Hi, thanks so much for having me.
Rana Olk (Host) : Thanks. Sorry for that long intro, but that’s totally what it brought to mind for me, is the make it look simple, but it really doesn’t seem that simple, and so just to start from the beginning, let’s ask, what exactly is sustainable living and what do you call what you do?
Christine (Guest): So, sustainable living in terms of, I guess, my own words, I would describe it as living in a way that you can lower your impact on the planet, in a way that you are reducing your carbon emissions, the amount of waste that you are producing, and hopefully, also impacting the planet in a positive way. For myself, this comes to fruition in the way of I have a zero-waste lifestyle. That’s one of the areas where I try to tackle my overall footprint. I’m also quite conscious of my diet as well and try to go for more plant-based options as well, and the third is also minimalism where I try to really reduce the amount that I’m consuming to begin with.
Rana Olk (Host) : Okay, so I am really curious to delve into all of those in more detail, but first, I kind of want to say, what is your story? What inspired you? Because you have quite a few followers, you have a good following, and you put in a lot of time and work into this. This is like a mission for you. Why? What’s important about it to you? When did it start?
Christine (Guest): Yeah. So, it all really started when I was studying in college. I studied packaging and industrial technology, so it’s kind of a blend of manufacturing operations, business, as well as packaging engineering, and I was studying in a few different classes. The first class that really struck me was when I took a plastics course on plastic polymers and processing. We focused quite a bit on food packaging production in our major, and when I got to learn a lot about food packaging, I was so intrigued and so fast-[0:04:47] by the packaging industry and everything that went into it, but as soon as I got back home or I went into a grocery store, I would seek out and find that no one else around me really understood what was going on and simply throw away things without much of a thought, and see how much they threw away and how much I threw away definitely got me to start thinking about how much we consume, how much we produce, and where it’s all going afterwards.
I took another course my last quarter or – yes, second to last quarter of college and there was a small sustainability lesson in as well, and we had a guest lecturer that actually worked for the waste management facility in San Luis Obispo which is where I went to school, and he shared a statistic that the United States makes up 5% of the world’s population or produces about 40% of the world’s wastes, and 50% of that comes from food and food packaging.
Rana Olk (Host) : Oh my gosh.
Christine (Guest): Yeah. As soon as I heard that, I was thinking, is this right? Do we have the privilege, or do we even have the right to be able to produce of this amount of waste considering how small a percentage of population we actually are and what’s going on? Where is the disconnect? So, that really got me to start thinking about my consumption and I think consumerism and overconsumption has always been a topic that’s kind of been on top of mind for me, but it really hit home when I saw how much we were actually wasting in our nation.
Rana Olk (Host) : Well, what about – so, I’m imagining that there are other people such as yourself had this major who heard the same statistics, who saw the same issues as you, but what do you think it is about you? Are they all creating these changes? Are they all out there evangelizing about sustainable living? They’re not. So, why do you think this really struck a chord with you?
Christine (Guest): Yeah, I think for a lot of people in the major that are studying or whoever is in the packaging profession, I think everyone is aware of the issue of sustainability and it’s definitely something they all care about, but the extent of which they care is going to be different depending on their background, their values – it doesn’t mean that anyone’s last or more if they care about sustainability more. It just so happens that for me, I knew that going into college, I wanted to help other people, and I actually discovered in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and through that, I was able to kind of figure out okay, with my major, how can I apply sustainability and CSR into what I’m doing, and I soon realized that the environmental aspects was a huge area where we could make some change. So, for me, it was just a huge passion of mine to want to help other people and it slowly became a path of discovery, I would say.
Rana Olk (Host) : See, I’m so glad you said that because you didn’t say basically, this is a major that is going to make me the most money? Like, how do I choose a college major that’s going to give me the best job in the most money, right? Sadly, that is something that seems to be propagated in our culture, but when you go to college, so you can get a good job and make as much money as possible, and consume as much as possible, and have most fun. So, if somebody wanted to say – okay, you know what, wait, I’m going to go in a different direction. What does happen to especially this 50% of waste that America has that is from food packaging? What does happen? Explain that to us for those of us who kind of know on a surface level what happens.
Christine (Guest): Right. So, I guess to put it short, there’s two different options. It really depends on every single municipality or local region because the recycling market is always fluctuating, so some of us might have heard already, but trying to actually stop the import of a lot of recyclables and it’s always a fluctuating market, and because China used to import so much for plastics and our paper, we are now kind of forced to figure out what we are going to do with all the waste that we do have. So, depending on the recycling market, if there is a market that plastics for the paper, or whatever the material is can be sold off to, those will be sent to your local recycling center. It’s going to be sorted, cleaned, and then bailed into large stacks and I would say, condensed piles of this material, so you’re going to have your aluminum and metal, you’re going to have your glass, you’re going to have your paper, and you’re going to have your plastics, so all that is going to be sorted, and then it will be sent off and hopefully sold to be repurposed again to some new product. That’s the hope, but more likely, it’s going to end up in the landfill and that’s the most common way of managing wastes here in the US. We don’t incinerate. We often put things into a landfill. These might be a couple miles away from your home – I have quite a few here in San Jose area of, and typically, what happens is, your packaging waste is going to go in after being sorted and it might not be recycled, it might not be recyclable at all, so then it sits in a landfill and pretty much gets covered after its compressed with a lot of other trash that gets stuck in there, and sits there waiting for something to happen.
Rana Olk (Host) : Oh, because I know that there are some communities. Now, I’ve been to California and there is a lot more conscientiousness about waste and recycling there, but I live in Florida and I traveled in other states, and I know that recycling sometimes isn’t even – they make it really difficult in some places, so do you know what – you may or may not know this – but how many states, or is this a town thing? Who provides whether or not your town provides recycling bins and if the trucks come around to pick up your recycling versus you have to travel 20 miles to take your recyclables somewhere? How common is that in the United States?
Christine (Guest): Yeah, so I think here in California, it’s very common because our government has put quite stringent environmental laws to set those things in place and we have a lot of passionate civilians as well that are wanting to make change in the space, but if you go to places, maybe in the Midwest, they might not have any recycling infrastructure at all, but there are organizations out there that are working to get more recycling infrastructures throughout the US, but it’s definitely a challenge and is not available in every single region, I would say.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, all of this to say, it’s on us, right, to care about this issue? Because, those of us who do care, those of us for whom the consequences of all of this trash and our consumerism is scary, or disconcerting, or if we want a better line at, we have to do whatever it takes. We have to take responsibility and not count on it being easy necessarily, regardless of where we are. Would you agree?
Christine (Guest): Right.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, I don’t think that it’s that people don’t care; I think there has to be a certain level of awareness and some of us don’t have that, and then after the awareness, it’s about, oh my gosh, how do I make these changes, and will it make a difference? So, how did you start?
Christine (Guest): So, in regard to living this lifestyle, it really all started when I discovered the aspect of living with a zero waste. Before, I had dabbled in a minimalistic lifestyle, but it really hit home when I was able to be very intentional with my purchases and nowhere of those purchases would end up at the end of their life after they were used up were broken, or something happened.
Rana Olk (Host) : I have to cut you off for a second right there. You said zero waste. Just because I’m thinking about the audience to. When I hear zero waste, Christine, my brain freaks out, like oh my gosh, that sounds impossible. So, yeah, tell me, in the beginning, is it really zero waste or if I’m just starting out, is there such a thing that I can start out with as little waste as possible or less waste?
Christine (Guest): Definitely, so the term zero waste, it’s coined by Bea Johnson. She’s kind of the leader of this lifestyle and started the movement. She coins zero waste as zero is an aspiration. It’s not that I happen most likely, but we can try our best to achieve for zero, so I think most people have claimed it were they claimed it as a low impact or a minimal waste lifestyle, so you can go with whatever you want to do, but yeah, zero waste lifestyle just happens to be the name for it and yes, it can be very intimidating especially when we see how much trash people do produce, but it’s meant to just be a goal.
Rana Olk (Host) : Right. So, for you, do you remember, was there before and after or was it a gradual process for you?
Christine (Guest): So, for me, I actually set out to live a zero waste lifestyle after I had recently graduated from a social entrepreneurship program, and it was through that program where my blog Snapshots of Simplicity also is incubated because I knew I had this huge passion to share my background in packaging, my passion to want to change the way that we waste, and through the blog, I was encouraged by my mentors, hey, share your story, connect with people, and you are a great storyteller so why don’t you use that power to inspire change it to bring awareness? So, I told myself to go ahead and challenge myself to reducing my waist and to try living a zero-waste lifestyle, and in a span of six months, I would say one item by one item, every time I would throw something away, I would look at it and look for a more sustainable alternative. So, let’s say I throw away a plastic toothbrush. Okay, it’s time to look for an alternative. What can I get? A bamboo one. Great, so I will use that one instead. It’s compostable, the bristles are compostable just yet, but at least double handle can either be reused or maybe I could repurpose the toothbrush, but there’s so many different sustainable alternatives out there, so I really just took it one by one, what I can by one, and then was able to convert everything that was consumable over to a reusable or more sustainable option within six months.
Rana Olk (Host) : I love that. Okay, so yeah, this concrete example really helps me. I think it will be helpful to the audience to. So, it is kind of looking at what you are consuming or buying one by one, and may be doing a little bit of research, and if there is a community out there or like your site or your Instagram post, there are places to learn more about certain objects were things, or necessities, like a bamboo toothbrush. Until I went to your Instagram for your blog and checked you out, I didn’t even know, and I feel ignorant for that because I consider myself a very curious and educated person, but I didn’t know about bamboo toothbrushes, so for example, let me just through one thing out there for you, what would I do if I wanted a pen, like I have these pens that I use that I’m in love with, that I’ve used for 20 years, but plastic. Are there sustainable alternatives for pens?
Christine (Guest): Yeah, so for pens, I’ve actually been using a fountain pen. A lot of the things that I’ve been using ever since I started the zero-waste lifestyle are probably thinks that my grandparents are my parents have used.
Rana Olk (Host) : No kidding.
Christine (Guest): Yeah, a pen is completely reusable. I just buy a bottle of ink which can be recycled, and then fill it up every time it is used up.
Rana Olk (Host) : Okay, so are there any other objects are things that you can give is an example of that people would not guess about, since you said things that my grandparents might have used?
Christine (Guest): Good question.
Rana Olk (Host) : I know, I kind of surprised you with that one. Let’s see, I know that you have baking soda toothpaste, right?
Christine (Guest): Yup, that’s actually one thing that I would say that grandparents are probably also used as well. Yeah, I would say that there is not a lot of reinventing when it comes to a lot of the sustainable options that are out there these days. I find a lot of my coworkers mentioned, oh, hey, that metal container, I used to use that all the time when I was a kid, but I was eating lunch and bring it to school, or I’m sure grocery bags back then were also some type of fabric as well, so that’s not –
Rana Olk (Host) : Oh, yeah, like our lunch boxes. I mean, I’m older than you but I’m not that old, but we used metal lunchboxes or paper bags. Okay, so I think one of the things that we might want to mention to is sustainable living also means buying secondhand goods instead of brand-new goods, right? Can you elaborate on that? [0:18:26] did your home and all those things.
Christine (Guest): Sure. So, in terms of more sustainable living, I think there’s two ways to purchase things or you can also borrow and lend, that’s also a great option as well, but if you do need to buy something of your own, I do like to support the secondhand market so that you can extend the life cycle of a product that was already manufactured instead of buying something completely new which means more [0:18:49], more waste generated from the production of the product itself, etc., but the second thing that I think that’s also important, besides supporting secondhand market is also to buy new from more sustainable companies that are trying to do the right thing from the start. I think it’s important to do a blend of both.
Rana Olk (Host) : Okay, so there are companies that have new things that have been recycle, reuse, what would you say to people who say it like, the first thing that comes to my mind is, what are those things sometimes more expensive? Why is it more expensive for me to get creative recycled new – I don’t know – thingamajig, instead of a brand-new one, a non-recycled one, you know what I mean?
Christine (Guest): Yeah, definitely. So, can definitely think about this in terms of the recycled plastic versus the virgin plastic market. So, if you’re wanting to produce something as made out of completely new plastic, it’s usually very cheap to extract oil and to process it into a new product. It’s very, and there so many different machines out there and so many different productions that already use this type of thing. The invention or the introduction of recycled plastics, however, the need to actually sort all the plastic waste, that’s actually very time-consuming and also is very high cost, so that sorting and then the processing of it as well is something that’s more novel, and so it’s usually the amount of human interaction and the human involvement in those processes that definitely increase the cost as well.
Rana Olk (Host) : Interesting, okay.
Christine (Guest): Yeah, but that’s just for recycled plastics versus virgin.
Rana Olk (Host) : That totally makes sense. So, Christine, I’m in the midst of relocating, okay? So, I have this house that is full of stuff, that I don’t intend to take with me. I’m in the midst of getting rid of a lot of furniture and just stuff that I feel like I don’t need to carry across the country with me. I feel happy that I’m getting rid of the stuff and that I know somebody else will use it. That’s great, but I’m also – I was – excited to get new stuff. Now, you are having me reconsider and I’m wondering, was there any point or is there still any point for you where you think, oh, shucks, I wish this was easier, I wish that I could have something brand-new or you covet or look at something you really want, but realize it’s not sustainable, and so you throw it out?
Christine (Guest): Yeah. I think that’s something I go through all the time, but it always brings me back to why I even started this, and why it has become so important to me and it’s hard for me, please as a person or as an individual, to deny the fact that I care so much about this, and then to not kind of act out that life as well, but I think that it’s just me. There’s also quite a few other people in the movement as well that would say that it’s okay to slip up here and there and to make mistakes, but overall, it’s just such a life-changing way to live.
Rana Olk (Host) : Is it an all or nothing kind of – do you get caught up in that all or nothing thinking?
Christine (Guest): I think sometimes, I can. It could be the personality type. A lot of people that live a zero waste or a low waste lifestyle are very Type A – they like to plan out things and really organize, and stay on top of things, but it doesn’t have to be. I think there’s people out there that are also doing it that might not be that way, and they can definitely make it their own, I would say. I think one thing I’d like to encourage all my readers or my viewers is that zero waste, again, it’s a goal, it doesn’t have to be a must, and you have to definitely put self-sustainability first as well, and that’s something I always try to preach to myself, is not to kill myself or the fact that I’m producing may be one piece of plastic every so often, but to just remind myself, hey, I’m trying to do good intentions and just doing the best I can, so try to just make the lifestyle the way that you can actually handle it on your own in a more sustainable way that will last you, hopefully, matter of months or maybe even years.
Rana Olk (Host) : Yeah, I mean, something that comes to mind right now for me is just even if everybody, let’s just say in this daydream, if everybody in our country simply stopped using, let’s say, those plastic tupperwares that they sell in the shelves and now that are even disposable, right? And instead of using those, we all use glass or stainless-steel storage containers instead. What kind of impact with that make with just one thing, if everybody could do one thing and everybody can do no matter where you are one thing, right? Don’t use plastic bags, use more sustainable containers for storage, the impact of that, can’t even estimate what that would be?
Christine (Guest): Oh, I don’t even know the number, but I would definitely assume that as long as people can stick to using that one container, that would make a huge impact in terms of the carbon emissions that are used to produce those plastic containers and to ship them, to whatever story are going to be picking them up at or through Amazon, but yeah, it’s pretty unfathomable, I would say, but yeah, collectively altogether as a planet, if we were all to just do one thing together, it definitely makes a huge impact, and even yourself as an individual, you’d be surprised to see the amount of impact that you can make just over a year if you were to like, for example, bring a reusable water bottle all the time with you.
Rana Olk (Host) : I have a sister in law who carries bags in her purse at all times, just in case. She always has [0:24:47]. They don’t, when there were during – you know how you go to a restaurant sometimes and you might want to take your food home, right, it because you can’t finish it, especially here in the United States, they won’t take a bag. You can’t really avoid the container, but they won’t take a bad for the food container, so even though it’s little things, could make a difference.
So, let me ask you about psychologically, the life philosophy and how this relates not just to the environment, but what about consumerism aspect or materialistic aspect of it, do you have any thoughts on that or [0:25:39]?
Christine (Guest): Yeah. I would say that even before zero waste, I’ve always been very aware of consumerism. I actually remember when I was in high school, I did speech and debate, and one of the speeches that I did my senior year was about our obsession with consumption, and I knew that as an issue because I myself as a teenager, even as a child, could see how all the kids in school had to have the newest things all the time, and we are so obsessed with getting the newest gadget, but soon, we are dissatisfied and we are looking onto the next thing, and that’s exactly what we are kind of attracting right now and that is why we are so just caught up in this kind of mess of the amount of waste that we are producing in this country. So for me, at least, living zero waste has definitely opened my eyes to see, if I am going to buy something, let me make sure that it’s something I really care about, it’s something I’m going to use a long time, and that if it breaks or if I don’t want any more, that it can go somewhere to be put to better use or recycled, or composted, or put back into the planet safely.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, how long has it been now that you have been living this way?
Christine (Guest): I’ve been living this lifestyle for maybe about three and half years now.
Rana Olk (Host) : Okay. Would you say that you are more fulfilled in any way or happier?
Christine (Guest): I would definitely say I’m happier, more fulfilled, definitely a lot more satisfied because I remember in college, that’s also a time where I was kind of discovering myself, and I remember I was really interested in always buying new clothes and that got really tiring for me and at some point, actually, when I was living on my own for the first time for an internship, I decided to do a full purge and try to live with a more capsule style wardrobe, and I really eliminated a lot of things, and slowly but surely, really try to find my personal style and the amount of things that I loved it actually needed. So, I would say that whole process of being really intentional with what you are purchasing is really fulfilling to know, hey, I don’t need all the things that people are trying to shove into my face. I only need the relationships are the experiences that I have in my life that make me who I am.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, this is, in a way, because you were talking a little while ago about how much more expensive it can be to buy some sustainable items, but you are also saving in all these other areas.
Christine (Guest): Definitely.
Rana Olk (Host) : Your wardrobe is a very, very – I love it and I’ve often said to myself, oh my gosh, if I could just wear a uniform. Not only would it be – I mean, really for me, because I hate shopping, and I know a lot of people do, there’s an assumption that women love shopping and that doesn’t seem to be as true as some people think, so for those of you listening out there, I’m not unique, but just the decision fatigue, like just having to decide what to wear, and I look at your wardrobe, I have to say, that is one area that first appealed to me, that I was envious of. Do you ever feel like oh my gosh, but I’m wearing the same thing all the time, and does that ever feel weird or uncomfortable?
Christine (Guest): To be honest, no. I think for me, I just try to choose pieces that I really love, and I have just enough, I would say, that I can rotated around in a not too tired of it. I think that’s just me. I think for everyone out there, a capsule wardrobe might work for some, but not for everyone, even for me, I think after – it’s been about two years, actually, since I pretty much have bought anything new from that video that you saw of my minimalist wardrobe, because yeah, it’s pretty much – I can really easily mix and match everything in it was really easy to just pop things on and not really have to care about anything because I knew it fit me well and I loved and I knew where it came from, but yeah, it does make the process a lot easier, but it’s not for everyone. I think as long as people are conscious of how much they’re getting, and they tried to buy longer-lasting pieces that they love and that are made more sustainably, that can make a huge impact as well.
Rana Olk (Host) : Yeah. Well, your home is lovely, your wardrobe is lovely, and you often feature your husband.
Christine (Guest): Oh, yeah!
Rana Olk (Host) : So, I’m wondering, how did he fit into this? Was he totally on board with you or what would you have done if he wasn’t, and did you agree to this before you married him, or did you agree together? How did that work out?
Christine (Guest): So, for my husband, we started dating before I discovered the zero-waste lifestyle, so he didn’t know what he was signing up for.
Rana Olk (Host) : Oh my gosh, okay.
Christine (Guest): But I think for him, he knew how much I cared about it and he has seen me through all these years of kind of discovering myself and going through this journey, so he completely understands, and if anything, it’s given him a lot of awareness about this issue and it gives him a lot of, I guess, gives him a lot of encouragement to kind of push in that direction too, and I don’t personally push him to live a zero waste lifestyle. I would say he’s more minimalist and also minimal waste, but he’s doing what he can, and I’m very proud of him for that because I think for anyone that’s living this lifestyle or wants to make a lifestyle change, and if you are in a relationship or living with a family, it’s important not to drag everyone into it, but to try to encourage. When I actually first started living this lifestyle, I was actually living at home with my parents, and I didn’t push them into it and I tried to keep my lifestyle a little bit separate from them but not force them into it, but slowly and surely, I kind of started to share things that I was doing with them. They got to understand and be encouraged and understand what I was doing.
Rana Olk (Host) : Cool. Yeah, I was wondering about that. He doesn’t look happy. He’s always smiling in the pictures.
Christine (Guest): Yeah!
Rana Olk (Host) : So, if you had to choose one thing that is challenging to you about this, just so people understand, like it’s not always a cake walk or happy happy, rainbows and unicorns, but what is the most challenging for you about this?
Christine (Guest): I think one of the most challenging things that I have faced so far is probably, there is some things in our – just public institutions that don’t allow us to live this lifestyle. For example, there’s a lot of health codes out there that prohibits you from bring your own container to some places, or there are some employees I’ve met at specific food stands for restaurants that say, oh, we can do this in the kind of given attitude, and they get a little bit angry, and then you don’t mean to hurt them or harm them, or anything. You just want to save the planet for the earth on their behalf too, and I think oftentimes, people that live this lifestyle, they might be looked down upon or people might look at them weird, or they might be a little bit ostracized, but so there are those challenges sometimes, I think even for my husband, when he looks at me go through those things, he tells me, “That’s not fair, that’s not okay. You guys are trying to do the right thing and that you guys are being put down like that,” so I know that again and again, sometimes, I get putdowns for doing the right thing where people refused to accommodate my requests, but you try to just put a smile on it do what you can, and so be it.
Rana Olk (Host) : Wow, that sounds – yeah, that doesn’t sound right. I mean, I can’t argue with the fact that this definitely appears to be the right thing to do. I mean, you are here in the planet. It’s for the benefit of all of us. I don’t see how anybody could disagree with that, and if they are not disagreeing with that, how they could judge you or put you down is kind of I guess beyond my comprehension, but I think regardless of whether we agree with someone or not, regardless of whether we think it’s right for us or not, judging others is something we as a society definitely have to get over.
Christine (Guest): Right.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, would you say – I mean, and this is kind of a tough question, but I have to ask it. Would you say that you ever catch herself in judgment for people who aren’t living a more sustainable lifestyle?
Christine (Guest): So, when I first started the lifestyle, and I was very aware and very conscious, I would say that I didn’t really necessarily have judgment on people. It was more like, a sadness that was in my heart of, oh, these people don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know the impact they’re making, and it was kind of like, oh my goodness, the world is going to end tomorrow. It was that type of feeling for me, but slowly but surely, I think I got over that feeling, and even though my friends around me or my community, I know they don’t live this lifestyle, but I know that I can still make an impact where I am, and I know that a lot of the people that have encountered me, they tell me that they had changed small things in their lifestyle, and that has definitely been a huge encouragement for me.
Rana Olk (Host) : Yeah, definitely. Well, all we can do is continue to try to be the change we wish to see in the world, and I think we all have two – those of us who are out there trying to make positive changes, that’s really, we have to keep going and that’s the best we can do.
Rana Olk (Host) : Well, you’ve certainly opened my eyes big time, Christine, and I don’t know that I am going to again, going with that all or nothing thinking, I don’t know if I’m going to say, call it zero waste aspirations here, but I’m definitely going to do my best. I’ve already started making some changes, so I’m excited about that, and what I wanted to before I ask you my last important question, I want to tell people that you have a book that’s coming out very soon. Tell us about that.
Christine (Guest): Oh, yeah! Right. So, I recently authored a book which is really crazy for me to say. It was crazy but really love the process of being able to take out all the thoughts that I wanted to share with the world and compile it into a book which is titled Sustainable Home. It has products, tips, and tricks on how to maintain a more eco-friendly household and it goes through each room in the house, ranging from the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and the living area, and also has a section on the outdoors. You kind of get a home tour, the things that you can do inside your own home and implement, and I think it’s a really great way to just have a good primer of understanding what are some ways I can reduce my consumption and live more sustainably as well? So, that’s going to be coming out on October 11, and I’m really excited. I’ve already got a physical copy myself, and I think it’s really exciting to see this work and want to share with the world as well.
Rana Olk (Host) : It’s a pretty book. It’s got pictures in it, right?
Christine (Guest): Yes, yes, I’m also a huge – I guess I have a huge passion for photography, and that’s one of the things that I really love about my blog, is that it allows me to share the beauty of living simply. At least for me, I really enjoyed negative space and minimalism, and just brightness, and how clean things are and how clean they can be, so for me, I love being able to share the way and the beauty of living more simply and sustainably as well.
Rana Olk (Host) : And I have to say, your Instagram feed absolutely reflects that. For anybody who thinks sustainable living and minimalism looks boring or is boring, you have to check out the blog and the Instagram feed, because it really looks beautiful.
Christine (Guest): Thank you.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, people can find you and more information about the book and how to get it at your website, I’m assuming?
Christine (Guest): Right, and that website link is snapshotsofsimplicity.com.
Rana Olk (Host) : Awesome, awesome. Okay, so I have one more question for you. What is something, somebody, a person out there listening to this who thinks, ah, I’m not going to do zero waste, but they can do one small thing, right, starting right away, what could they do?
Christine (Guest): So, this was – yeah, a little difficult for me to decide on what is the one thing I recommend everyone to do, and it’s always changing every 10 people asked me this question. I’m going to be a little bit selfish and have input is one, but the first one that I always tell people is to refuse the things you don’t need. I think that’s one thing that we definitely overlook, is we can always pause before checking out in a shopping cart. If we have an online shopping cart for example on Amazon, let’s pause for a week or so and really determine whether or not we need that item, if we can happily without it. I’ve turned down so many different purchases just because I did that, in refusing the things that you don’t need can also eliminate the waste that is going to come there down on the road as well. My bonus tip is one thing that’s been really personal to me is I love going to waste facilities, and this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it really opens your eyes to see what is your local waste infrastructure like? What are some of the challenges that they are having, and how can you as a consumer and a civilian be more responsible in the way that you sort your trash or just understand what the recyclables and the rules are out there to because it’s so different every single region. It’s just so different, so yeah, it’s always good to understand, be aware and to see the amount that your vicinity produces in terms of trash.
Rana Olk (Host) : Wow, wow, I would’ve never thought of that. That’s awesome.
Christine (Guest): Yeah.
Rana Olk (Host) : Or like me, you can just stop using plastic tupperwares so much.
Christine (Guest): Oh, that’s a great one too.
Rana Olk (Host) : I have to confess. I was, I was. All right, well, Christine, there is so much more that we could say here. I wish that we didn’t have to go, maybe we can have you on again. Maybe you will write another book.
Christine (Guest): Yeah, we will see, we will see.
Rana Olk (Host) : So, I’m looking forward to getting at, and I just want to say thank you so much. I know our audience is going to enjoy this very much, and to those of you out there who care about this, I think that it’s our responsibility to care. I think we need to care, and definitely look Christine up. She does make it look fun, and you have YouTube videos too. That’s important.
Christine (Guest): I do.
Rana Olk (Host) : Yeah, so you’ll find all of that on your website and thank you very much, Christine, for being here.
Christine (Guest): Yeah, of course, thank you so much as well, it was great.
Rana Olk (Host) : Have a great day, everybody. Thanks for listening.