Meet this month’s “Sustainability Snapshot,” Wendy Neuman, and learn more about her efforts to live sustainably:
What inspired you to adopt more sustainable practices in your life?
I joined the Evergreen Sustainability Alliance’s board when my daughter was only a few years old – she was my true inspiration. I saw the beautiful and wonderful things we have in this world and I wanted to do everything I could do to ensure that she too would experience a beautiful and wonderful world. The Evergreen Sustainability Alliance was my entry into understanding what I could do as an individual that would have a lasting impact on our environment. Through this knowledge and understanding I have created a little girl who is, at the young age of 8 years, dedicated to cleaning up our environment and recycling all that she can. She knows the value of reusing things, shopping at consignment and thrift stores (actually she prefers clothes from there) and making things from recycled material. This has shaped the world in which she lives!
Can you give some examples of how you practice a sustainable lifestyle at home (either related to zero waste, renewable energy, or conservation)?
I recycle everything that I can at home. I have a trash compacter where I put all my paper / cardboard recyclables. It is so handy! It compresses everything so they don’t take up room in my recycle bin and it’s right in my kitchen so I have no excuse to recycle those products. I compost at home. I use re-usable grocery bags. I am conscious of my water and energy consumption and try to limit as much as I can.
This season I also did a ‘fancy dress’ swap. I exchanged a couple dresses with friends so that none of us would spend time, money or energy going shopping for a dress we would likely wear only once. We had fun trying on ‘new to me’ dresses and it worked out for everyone. I’ll definitely do it again!
What do you think is the biggest roadblock for people trying to practice a sustainable lifestyle?
I think a major roadblock for others to living a sustainable life is that they don’t feel that what they do will truly make an impact. They feel stuck – where to begin? Sustainability is a HUGE word and means so many different things. People need resources and encouragement to take action and to start small. People feel they need to do it all – that’s not possible. Just start with something you CAN do and go from there.
What have you done over the years to support the Evergreen Sustainability Alliance and sustainability in the community?
Being on the board has allowed me to work more closely with the community and schools to help others understand the impact that they can have on our community. EAS+Y has provided opportunities to work Zero Waste events, be a puppeteer for third graders, pick up trash in our neighborhood and get to know a wonderful group of people who inspire me daily to live more sustainably.
What inspires you on a daily basis to continue practicing sustainability?
My daughter Ava! Recycling, composting, working in the garden – living with intention – has slowly become a habit. It is easier now than before – it is actually now more difficult to put paper or compost or recyclables into the trash! I just know so much more about the impact of my actions that I really WANT to do what I can.
What words of wisdom do you have for people just getting started on their journey toward a sustainable lifestyle?
Start small! Get recycling with your trash pickup. Carry a reusable bag with you to the store. Look around the store at how much unneeded plastic is used – be intentional! Use just one less plastic item a week. Talk to neighbors about that they are doing to help the environment. Get creative on ways to reuse things – there is no wrong way to reuse! None of us can do it all but what we can do does make an impact. Do what YOU can do! You’ll be amazed how good you feel when you make steps to bettering our earth!