How it all Began

I was born in NZ, Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud, a country known as green, connected to nature & the land.
We were a modest income family I guess you could say, so sustainability, re-use & upcycling was a natural way of life….my dad is a bit of a MacGyver & my Mum extra crafty with anything she puts her hand to!
We always had our own vege garden growing organic food… or as my Dad calls it food.
There were times I hated it…the time my mum dressed me & my little sister in our matching hand-me-down brown homemade dresses ready for primary school photos…..although it was the only thing that defined me as a female as I had short hair….potentially as a result of an accident with a curling brush. I noted curling your hair around a round brush does not give you fabulous curls but fabulous tangles.
I didn’t realise it back then, but that time, effort & love put into those things enriched our young lives no end & the seeds where planted for my journey to wander lightly.
I now have so much gratitude to them both for these things…even those brown dresses!

I’ve always been conscious of the impact of my living on the planet; I endeavour to choose products that have been made ethically & sustainably (some like my phone are still a work in progress). I don’t eat meat, not only because I love animals but because of the huge environmental impact mass meat production has. I grow my own organic veges in my small garden flat & what I can’t grow, I purchase from the weekly local organic markets. I compost & I dutifully separate out all my recycling into their respective yellow & blue bins….sometimes digging in to rescue the neighbour’s paper waste that somehow made its way into the plastic bin…yes I’m that person head down bum up in the bin having a jolly good dig!
I proudly hand over my (plastic…glass on its way) keep cup at the markets to get my Masala chai & my glass container to take my Gozleme home in.
So I figured myself pretty good & secretly felt pretty chuffed at myself, but let’s face it I wasn’t that good.
I still had a small bag of garbage at the end of the week & a recycling bin full of assorted plastics… some single use & some that could be recycled. Well let’s say they ended up in the right bins but what happened after that I didn’t know. I enjoyed my coconut water out of its Tetra pack & have a tendency for the odd bag of potato chips…weekly….I can’t be trusted with them, it’s a fact.

It was to a recent Yoga trip with Living Ocean Yoga to the sacred breading waters of Tonga with an amazing group (where I was blessed to swim with Humpback Whales & their calves) that I realised just how much impact we were all having on the Planet, myself included.

Ive been speechless at the amount of Plastic trash in many of the places I’ve travelled to, so much of it tourist influenced trash. In Delhi my senses were consumed (read assaulted) by the rubbish & its sobering smell everywhere. This photo was taken in a public market place, metres from where food stalls where set up. Delhi banned the production & use of Plastic bags a few months after this photo was taken but they have a long road ahead of them to be free of it as do the rest of us. A positive step in the right direction though!

In Bali, plastic tourist water bottles stacked high in laneways or fields made me feel ashamed to be part of the problem.

As a photographer I was drawn to documenting these piles, but I still wasn’t sure, aside from not purchasing those items what I could do to help.
It was after a conversation with my fellow yogis & kindred spirits Tris & Dave from Whale Discoveries we had about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch & the impact that plastic happy lifestyle was having on the ocean & her creatures something larger began to shift in me.
At 4am the next morning I woke up with a strong knowing that I had to go Plastic free for a year. It was such a strong powerful feeling; everything around me was quiet, except for those words. It was one of “those “moments, defining, one you know will change the course of your journey, one you can’t fight against.
My journey to become Plastic Free began that morning, I didn’t know how i was going to do, only that i needed to.

I do absolutely believe with all of my heart that each positive choice we make, big or small can have a ripple effect.
The plastic bag you don’t take, the plastic wrapped sushi roll you don’t buy, the bananas you don’t put into another bag (face it they already their own wrapping people), it all adds up.
So my goal for this year is to go plastic free, unleash the shackles of single use plastic & stop my contribution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , reduce my use of plastic & not support a harmful industry.

So it is in this space, that I would like to share my journey with you in the hope that you may feel inspired to take some steps yourself…however small they are.

S xx