Our sustainability snapshot features our new Refill Station coordinator; Natalee Mahoney. Natalee is originally from Perth Australia. She has been in the US for over 10 years and she has two college aged daughters. Natalee is a true inspiration for anyone on the journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Natalee is knowledgeable about reducing waste and is excited to teach others. We are excited that she has joined the ESA team! Read more about Natalee’s Sustainability journey:

What inspired you to adopt more sustainable practices in your life?

Growing up on the beach in Australia gave me a special connection to the environment. As a child we were always outdoors interacting with the land and water in some way, which has always made me more conscious of my actions and how they impact the world around me. Australia is very concerned with sustainability because we are an island nation with a lack of water and food resources due to the climate. But it wasn’t until I had my first child that I really became conscious of how a healthy and sustainable lifestyle can positively impact one’s health and quality of life. This journey started for me when I made the life altering decisions to purchase a Thermomix. A cooking device that can be used to steam, pulverize, sous vide, and is used all over Europe and the US to make home cooked meals as well as baby food and can also be used to make things such as flour, coffee grounds, yogurt, etc. This machine changed my outlook on life. It allowed me to make food for my family that contained organic ingredients and I knew exactly what was being put into my body as well as it allowed me to create less food waste by helping me begin practicing meal prepping as well as starting my own garden that I could gather food from to use in my cooking.

Can you give some examples of how you practice a sustainable lifestyle (either related to zero waste, renewable energy, conservation, involvement with ESA etc.)?

Every day I try to be conscientious about practicing sustainability as often as I can. And this consciousness of zero waste comes in many forms. There are zero waste and recycling options for daily use items that I consider and implement because I am passionate about sustainability. I have always tried to create a healthy planet by being aware of how the choices I make can impact the environment. During the pandemic, as never before, we saw the importance of creating a sustainable community. The first thing I started doing when we heard the Covid – 19 news was to start sewing washable masks which I would give out to people to use instead of wasteful paper ones. And of course, it is a daily practice in my life to refuse plastic straws whenever I go out and use my own metal one and my own washable silverware pack. I use bamboo toothbrushes as it is better for the environment and shampoo and conditioner bars to reduce packaging. I also try to purchase the most eco-friendly grocery options when I am at the store, buying fruit and vegetables not in packaging and more environmentally friendly from brands such as Boulder Clean and ECOS. And now, working at Evergreen Sustainability Alliance to do my part to help better the environment.

What words of wisdom do you have for someone just getting started on their journey to ‘go green’?

When it comes to ‘going green’ there are so many little changes that you can make to the way you live your life every day that it can seem overwhelming. My advice to anyone planning on ‘going green’ is to just take it one day at a time. Make small changes to your life and gradually add upon those changes. If you try to change everything about the way you live your life, all at once, those changes might last for a few days, but you will never stick to them as it is too big of a change for you brain to cope with. Instead, when you change small things in your life such as switching out buying plastic throwaway straws for a metal washable one instead or, refilling your cleaning products/bath soap instead of buying new bottles, you will find you will easily be able to implement these changes into you daily life and make them stick.