At Green Dandelion we are different. We firmly believe that planetary health and human wellbeing are inextricably connected. Our mission is to raise awareness and support others to change behaviour to reduce waste and use of materials that are potentially harmful to both ourselves and the environment. We are change makers, helping you to build the future you want for the world.
Living simply looks different for different people. What does living simply look like for you?
I have always aspired to keeping things ‘simple’, both at home and in business. For me that has meant always using natural eco-friendly products (usually homemade), growing our own food (as much as possible!) and cooking whole foods from scratch; supporting local artisans and makers, farmers and small businesses; buying in bulk to reduce plastic waste; buying pre-loved over new, or just making do; only buying what I need; reusing, repairing and repurposing pretty much everything possible; “unconsuming” household items we no longer need; making household items using traditional crafts; and being involved in the community (eg volunteering).
I am very much a home body and find the most contentment there engaged in these activities. Stillness though is something I have always struggled with, but I think is one of the most important elements of keeping things simple and slow. Consequently, I make a conscious effort to immerse myself in nature regularly. This may be just while walking the dog around the neighbourhood, or a planned Sunday bushwalk. I find being in the fresh air amongst the trees brings me the most quiet to either problem solve, or to just be.
Do you have a specific interest that you like to focus on in the area of simple living?
Plastic pollution!! I aspire to a zero waste lifestyle and have made it my life’s mission to encourage others to do the same through Green Dandelion. Mother Nature and her creatures, including us, are in dire straits right now, and the clock is ticking. I am by no means perfect, and I don’t expect anyone else to be either. I have always ensured that my business is tailored to meet people where they are at in reducing waste, especially plastic. While I recognise that the greatest impact can be made at the government and industry levels, I do believe that small changes can collectively make a big difference, most importantly helping us as individuals to feel empowered.
For me, I follow the 6 R’s of Sustainability: Rethink, Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Repair, Recycle. This is pretty much the ethos behind Green Dandelion where I work to raise awareness and support others to change behaviour to reduce waste and use of materials that are potentially harmful to both ourselves and the environment. I am also a huge advocate of using traditional “craftism” to help achieve the “R’s”, eg beeswax wrap making.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey toward living a simple life. Was there a catalyst that led you to follow this path?
As one of my friends said many moons ago, I have “always been a bit of a hippy.” And, I have. I was brought up frugally by a country woman who was all about practicality, subsistence and reuse. We grew up in handmade clothes and hand me downs, we reused everything, everything was mended or repaired until it could be no more, we did everything ourselves with little being outsourced, nothing was ever wasted.
Also, growing up in the 70’s I basically lived through the plastic explosion and remember clearly our family’s transition from visiting a local farm for our fresh fruit and vegetables to buying it at the store; sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper to sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap; milk from the milkman in glass bottles which we returned directly to him for recycling, to milk in plastic bottles from the supermarket which we threw out; also soft drink delivered by a local company in glass bottles which we again returned directly to them for recycling, to soft drink in plastic bottles from the supermarket which again, we threw out.
This never sat well with me. Everything became so removed from the local community and its people and businesses. The personal touch was gone, and with it our knowledge of our food sources and supply, as well as our responsibility for our waste. I determined to always shop small and locally, and to remain as closely connected to the grower, maker, producer as I could. Also, to grow and make as much at home, my favourite place to be, as I could.
What do you find challenging about trying to live simply?
As I mentioned above, I find it hardest to be still. I am a perfectionist by nature and have an overactive mind. I use “busy-ness” as a distraction and often get caught up in the process rather than focussing on the “why” of my actions. I have learnt over the years that all this does is lead to stress, anxiety and burnout – none of which are fun! This is an ongoing challenge for me that I work on daily.
Also, (confession time!), I am not perfect at sustainable living or being zero waste, but this is partly by choice. I find it can lead to unhealthy obsessive behaviour, a bit like dieting, so I allow myself to be human and get it wrong sometimes. As the saying goes, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
What are some of the benefits of this way of life for you?
Feeling like I can make a difference. By not overconsuming, making things myself from natural ingredients and materials, refusing plastic, reducing waste, reusing, repairing and repurposing as much as possible, all help me to feel like I am taking action and living a purposeful life.
Feeling more connected to community. By connecting with local growers and makers at markets, choosing handmade and locally grown over mass produced, shopping small and locally, running a small eco-friendly business, “craftism” and volunteering all help me to feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself.
Feeling more connected to self, family, home and hearth. Cooking, gardening, and creating earth me and leave me feeling content like nothing else can. I purposefully put time aside for these things each week. For me living a simple life is living a life that is true to my values.
What simple pleasures bring you joy and help you to slow down?
Are there any podcasts, books, documentaries or websites that you have found helpful?
What is something new that you have done or learnt about in the last year?
We are in the process of doing our first ever home renovation and we are trying to do it sustainably. This has had its challenges but we (and the builders!) are learning as we go. Again, it is not perfect but we are doing the best we can to create a home that has a small environmental foot print.
What would you like to learn about or do in the future?
Permaculture. Because we are renovating, gardening and growing our own food has had to be put on hold. We will have a blank canvas when we are finished and I am excited to start again using Permaculture principles.
If money or time were no option what would you like to do?
Maybe a sustainable living centre where like minded businesses operate as well raise awareness and educate through experiences and workshops. At home, I would start a community garden on the front foot path and set up a neighbourhood food swap. Otherwise, more of the things I love listed above.
If people would like to learn more about you and what you do, how can people follow you online or get in contact with you?
My website is Green Dandelion - https://www.greendandelion.com.au
Facebook – Search greendandeliontwba - https://www.facebook.com/greendandeliontoowoomba
Instagram – Search greendandeliontwba - https://www.instagram.com/greendandeliontwba/
Email – email@example.com