Victoria Klein is a green mover and shaker who knows just about all there is to know about going green – and in her new book 48 Things To Know About Sustainable Living, she proves that.
Written as an open introduction to an audience just ready to start getting greened up, Klein paints the sustainable picture to be a comfortable place where we can all, most certainly improve.
I caught up with her recently on her blog tour where today, EcoSalon was slotted to host.
Here’s what she had to say.
Why 48? If you had to throw out 47, what would be your top tip for sustainable living?
The 48 number of things is arbitrary, it doesn’t have any sort of special eco-meaning. 48 is simply how many things the publisher wanted. If I had to throw out 47 Things from the book, my #1 tip would be the very first tip in the book: learning the difference between a “want” and a “need.” There are so few things that we need, and when given the opportunity to live with littler more than we truly need, our lives are not only more sustainable, but also more enjoyable.
Talk about moving around so much since the age of 9 and how that helped cultivate an appreciation for planet.
Oh wow – all that moving had a major impact! In fact, the moving isn’t over; my husband joined the Marine Corps this year & we’ll be moving around for the next 20 years while he is in the service. If you’ve ever moved even once, you know how much of a huge affair it can be and how quickly you realize just how much junk you have (shocker). Moving every year or two has not only forced me to live with less (both materially and financially), but I’ve come to have a great appreciation for the few things that I do have. Own less, live more.
What do you think is the hardest challenge for most people when it comes to living sustainably?
One word: change. In our culture, change is the ultimate fear. In terms of sustainable living, many people fear that they are going to have to significantly alter their entire lifestyle – which is total bull-honky. Big changes are great, but small changes matter too. Drinking tap water & turning down your thermostat (among the many other simple, small changes) have a noteworthy impact over time. It’s akin to simply living a healthier lifestyle. Some folks try to change their entire diet & work out every day. Instead, start by drinking more water, eating fruit after every meal and taking a walk after dinner. Starting small can help you gain confidence and a new found comfort in not only benefiting your family, but also the entire planet.
Your first book was about yoga and concentrating on self. Do you feel like after a person takes care of themselves emotionally and physically then they can be ready for what real sustainability means in their lives?
Exactly – I couldn’t have said it better myself. When you take control of your own emotional and physical health, you are learning to truly appreciate the amazing experience of being human. This is the body and the soul you have, make the best of it. Many people are often introduced to sustainable living through their food choices, which have not only an overall environmental impact but also a direct impact on your individual health. Could I walk to Washington D.C. and force the government to make 50 MPG the minimum standard for all automobiles? No, but I can do my part as an individual by eating local and organic foods, eating less meat, drinking more tap water – and that’s just the beginning! As you improve your own health (emotionally, physically), you naturally influence others via your conscious actions.
In your book you offer tips for everything from energy efficient appliances to clothing to make people’s lives easier while making the transition but people will still make excuses why this change will be too hard to do. What do you think the tipping point is to make people think differently of themselves and their role on our planet?
It’s financial, money is the tipping point. People have the strongest reaction when they are impacted financially. Why pay more when I can get the “same” product for less money? There has to be a monetary benefit to living a sustainable life, whether it is saving money on utilities, tax breaks, or simply spending less at the grocery store. Of course, since the sustainable “market” is still young (compared to the rest of the industrial-driven world), some things cost more. Convincing people to spend more money for a long-term positive impact (instead of instant benefits/savings) is a tough sell in our culture.