Becoming a green consumer is easier than you think.
I used to be one of those people who thought very little about the effect I was having on the environment around me in my daily life. I was always passionate about preserving it, but I had never actually thought deeper about my role. I always felt it was one of those concepts that you hear about as a school child, like the ozone layer, or littering. Of course, these are huge issues, but as time went by we started hearing less and less about them.
Then I joined Greenpeace Africa, originally because I thought this would bring me closer to a path that would lead me to the forests, and more importantly, the Rwandan mountain gorillas. But as I started learning about the very hard hitting issues we are facing on this planet, I started to draw connections between what I was doing as a normal individual, and what I was seeing taking place all around me, and my deep-seated passion for protecting the earth was awakened.
I started by walking around my house at the time, looking at the products we were using and doing some research into the ingredients – for example, the harmful toxics contained in my cleaning agents, or the palm oil in my margarine.
It really baffled me that we could worry about climate change, deforestation and energy security on such broad levels but not consider the roles each of us are playing on an individual level on the ground.
Since that realisation I became a tyrant around the home and the office, pointing out and replacing things that should not be there, greening one small step at a time. When I was offered the job as Consumer Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa I was thrilled; it means I could officially start to campaign on something that I truly believed in.
Now that I have launched a new hub on our website which offers South Africans advice on how to make greener decisions on a daily basis, I can start to look at deeper-seated issues that affect us on an environmental level as well as on an individual level.
This site offers solutions to the everyday “Consumer Dilemmas” that we face; what food to buy, the packaging it comes in, recycling, e-waste, oceans and wood products. The more I find out the more I want to delve deeper into this work; finding out what matters most to the South African consumer, I will be able to focus on specific issues in the market world.
Now it’s up to you! Join me in making this planet greener, one step at a time (or one shopping bag at a time).
Visit the consumer hub for more information.