FOR THE LOVE OF

SUSTAINABLE SELF

THIS IS FOR YOU

If you’ve found your way to this page of resources for the first time, this is a message to you.

The person trying their hardest with the tools they have been given to be a force for good in the world. A person who does things that might seem strange, weird, gross or out of the ordinary in the name of sustainability. You are a lover of people, planet, animals, and living a life that’s streamlined to focus on the things you really care about.

Your efforts to do good for people and the planet are tireless. There are days when you wonder if there’s any point. If anyone really cares. If the things you do matter. You might doubt yourself. Feel tired. At worst- you might get eco-overwhelmed or burnt out.

This message is a reminder.

What you do matters.

That big changes start from paradigm shifts in self. Changing the way you think, feel, or perceive the world around you to act in thoughtful new ways. Sometimes on the surface, mindful reflection can look like in action. We might be fearful that this time we take for our Sustainable Self is accomplishing little. But each time we stop, reflect, and recharge our batteries, we make space for greater insight and understanding.

We reinvigorate our why, take stock of what we are grateful for, and move forward with clarity and purpose.

You are invited to make space for you.

For the love of Sustainable Self.

Now take a moment to pause, breathe deep, and allow your shoulders to drop away from your ears. Feeling better already? 

Let’s get ready for Sustainable Self exploration with love and focus.

Katie

SELF ISN’T STATIC

As we move through, our life change is inevitable. To be responsible citizens of Earth, critical thought, mindful reflection, and self-assessment are essential for change in the right direction. This means continually auditing what you value, what you’re contributing, and how happy you feel as you move through life in Sustainable Style. This post is a blog reflection by our founder Katie Roberts, sharing her thoughts on her Sustainability Journey back in 2015.

She’s added commentary for a 2021 check-in to see what’s changed. This has been shared to show that living sustainably is a lifestyle, and that progression is part of this. We make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward with a sense of enlightenment. deep dive into their psyche to understand better how our past can open doors or create gridlocks.

 

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It has rained for most of the long weekend and the beings of my home are all becoming stir crazy.

We ventured out for a walk that got cut short by rain but hubby managed to capture our moments in these cute photos. Photos that prompted me to reflect back on the ideas of voluntary simplicity, consumption patterns and the meaning behind items and it all started with this famous quote:

While you are alive collect moments not things, earn respect not money and enjoy love not luxuries ~ Aarti Khurana 

Assessing my own consumption patterns throughout my year long Wardrobe Workout shopping ban and month of personal waste stream analysis in the Waste Weight Up challenge made me realise that the things I cherish hold decent back stories. From the mushrooms I buy direct from the grower at the farmers markets to the necklace I purchased on a road tripping holiday with my man and pooch, the back story behind these items gives them a higher value in my mind than mushrooms bought in bulk from ALDI and a necklace from the chain store at the shopping centre. This idea, upon reflection sees absurd because the reality is that mushrooms are mushrooms and a necklace from a chain store is no different from one that I purchased on holidays they are all just stuff. Stuff we eat and stuff we wear.

However there is something more to it than that. We are beings of sentiment and self expression. Much of our identity is wrapped up in the way that we express ourselves in both our dress and surrounds and the cultural connotations of the food that we eat. We are far more complex than we give ourselves credit for.

 

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The quote above, while beautiful in it’s intent, can be a little reductionist of the nature of our identity construct when taken literally. While moments are truthfully the most important things we are limited in our memory capacities. Who doesn’t enjoy listening to the stories of their parents or grandparents treasures. The pearls that were gifted down from generation to generation or the tale of how your grandmother made your mothers wedding dress told over the item itself.  Yes these are tangible things. Yes they were bought or made. But isn’t it nice to have them as a prompt for discussion?

My take on this quote above is that one should not collect things for the sake of collecting things (extreme hoarders style) but one also needs things in order to fit into society. It would be super nice if we could all run naked through the woods and live in tree houses constructed from vines and spend our days drinking coconuts. However, we are required to get dressed, make some kind of living, and pay taxes. All of which require the use of things. So why not make these things memorable? My obsession with thrifting has always been a tricky one to shake because for me thrifted items (I always thrift for vintage and quality so things I buy usually have some years on the clock) have a story behind them. I can’t say that my Wardrobe Workout was in any way successful at breaking my thrifting addiction and the only way to not find awesomeness at the thrift store is to not enter one. However, as much as I love these thrifted finds and imagining their back story many of my favourite items are ones that have a real adventure behind them. Jewellery that was gifted to me from friends and family to mark specific occasions, the shorts that were hunted down online secondhand and purchased with the first (and only to date) money I have received from my published words, my ethically made leggings that were purchased post-shopping-ban that everyone asks me about when I wear them…the list goes on. We humans are storytellers and artists. Dressing is an artistic expression. A sneak peek of how we want to be perceived and what story we want people to take away from meeting us. So these trinkets, while being nothing more than trinkets, are part of our story.

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Money has always been my toughest relationship. The quote above, when taken literally, is how I have lived my life (aside from the thrifting obsession and stints working in fashion retail). My sister and I were raised on a wholesome diet of love, outdoor adventures,  self sufficient living, and an appreciation for the moments in life not stuff. This deeply ingrained good life living has wreaked havoc with my ability to comprehend that money and stuff are essential components of functioning in society. For someone who has committed a great portion of her life to study there has been very little financial gains to date. It can be easy to view money as ‘the root of all evil’ when you study marketing and fashion then follow it up with a degree in ‘how the world is doomed because of greed’. However the LOVE of money is the root of evil not the money itself. Money is just a thing that we developed to help us trade with others. Money is actually a sign of gratitude and appreciation for others. To pay someone for a product or service is to say ‘I appreciate what you have done’. This is where fast fashion is a sad story. Paying one dollar for a t-shirt at K-Mart is like spitting in the face of the people who did all the hard yards to make it. There is no love and appreciation there. There is also no transparency in the story.

When it comes to luxury there is a time and a place for it and it is definitely an option for me. A luxury in my mind is not a gold leaf facial (I watched The Super Rich and Us and this is an actual thing) it is taking time out to appreciate yourself and spoil others.  For me luxury would be spending the extra money to buy a well made soft luxurious organic cotton fair trade hoodie and wearing it while sipping a cup of fair trade tea and eating organic fair trade chocolate. While this all might sound a little pretentious to some people I would prefer that my limited student wage was used to show appreciation and gratitude to companies who try their hardest to make the world a more equitable and healthy place. If your little bit of luxury doesn’t  come at the cost of another persons wellbeing or the health of the planet and is an act of love towards yourself and others than why not go for it!

The art of living more simplistically really is whatever you want to make of it. Be it moving ‘off the grid’ and spending your days frolicking naked in the woods, or by editing how you spend and what you spend on (both time and money). For me it is about shopping and eating mindfully and wearing love both in the threads I own and by having my heart on my sleeve.

What are you thoughts on the quote above. Do you take something different from it?

Would love to hear your thoughts below.

 

2021 REFLECTIONS

I’ve returned in 2021 to review this post to add to our ‘For the Love of Sustainable Self’ campaign. The reason for returning to older content like this is to share that Sustainable living is a journey of growth, adaptation, discovery, and change. There is no end destination to the journey where we become ‘totally sustainable’, just a series of wins over a lifetime of mindful living. Surprisingly, dredging up older content hasn’t highlighted huge changes for me. I still feel the same about these issues. Upon reflection I may feel even stronger about investing in ‘luxury’ sustainably made things that may have higher price tags than I care to share with many folks I know. Sustainability has moved in leaps and bounds since this post was created. Being part of a teaching Fashion teaching team allows me access to trade journals for fashion and sustainability is key for businesses big and small. However, there is still a lag time for adoption by consumers for the full cost of fashion (AKA higher price points and less stuff). Which means that sharing the details of full cost purchases can still warrant shock and horror responses from friends and family who are accustomed to fast-fashion prices.

Repairing my relationship with money has been a slow process. Until 2019 I was still a student (completing my Masters). Which has meant that progress with turning Sustainability in Style into a business has been slow. However, 2020 (for all it’s drama and trauma) offered me the opportunity to finally invest in my knowledge capital and take a calculated gamble on creating tools and products you can use to support your Sustainably Stylish journey. Only time will tell how well this works. I hope to return here in five years with a business in full bloom providing the tools, workshops, and training you need to take action in Sustainable Style minus the eco-overwhelm.

OUR FREE MAGAZINE

Have you seen our monthly magazine ‘Live Life in Sustainable Style’?

It’s the comprehensive monthly highlight of the suite of tools we have designed to help simplify sustainability so you can take action on the things you care about (minus the eco-overwhelm). The content ties together our ‘Take Action’ focus theme. In a fast-paced media-saturated landscape, we hope that this way of sharing will provide you access to all our useful tools, without feeling lost or overwhelmed. Each month the latest copy of the magazine and our most recent resources are sent to your inbox (you will only receive one email a month from us). You will get reminders via our social media channels of what content we’re championing throughout the month.

We hope that you enjoy getting your Sustainable Style fix in this easy-to-read format and that it gives you a break from the abundance of social media updates and overflowing inboxes we now navigate daily

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WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE SELF?

For real understanding of Sustainable Self feast your eyes on this read

Our macro scale world has social/governance, economic, and environmental sustainability considerations. These larger picture issues may be global climate change, oceanic plastic pollution, civil unrest, global governance, world trade, and measuring economic success (to name a few). These are big picture problems to which there are no easy (yet) solutions. Our Sustainable Self operates in a smaller level of influence.

AVOID BURNOUT

AND ECO-OVERWHELM

STRESS LESS, ACHIEVE MORE

No matter where you’re at in your sustainability journey, it’s challenging to find ways to research, care, reflect, and take continued action (big or small) without some high and low points. For every animal rights petition we sign, community group we found, or piece of litter we remove from the beach, there will be a news story about an endangered species, a member who can’t make it to group meetings and drops out, or another ten pieces of litter on the beach next time we return. These events and stories can cumulate into a sense of eco-overwhelm. A feeling that no matter how hard we try, or how much we care, the problems are too large, we aren’t making an impact, or that nobody really cares what we are doing.

While it can be tempting (especially during these low points) to give up on your sustainability mission, the World really needs each of us to care and act in a self-responsible way!…. KEEP READING 

Use our worksheet to help pick up on stressors and find ways to care for yourself, be your own personal support crew, and ensure you learn from challenges or minstakes. Symptoms of this can appear in multiple ways.

Spirit: When you’ve worn out your spirit, it’s like the cheerleader or coach within has taken a holiday. You’ve lost your faith that what you’re working towards will have a favourable outcome. For some faith can be derived from science, action, or nature. Others may have a set spiritual practice or religions they look to for guidance.

Mental: Stress or burnout can impact our cognitive function. You might find yourself with brain fog, fatigue, or impaired… KEEP READING

Use our worksheet to help pick up on stressors and find ways to care for yourself, be your own personal support crew, and ensure you learn from challenges or minstakes. Symptoms of this can appear in multiple ways.

Spirit: When you’ve worn out your spirit, it’s like the cheerleader or coach within has taken a holiday. You’ve lost your faith that what you’re working towards will have a favourable outcome. For some faith can be derived from science, action, or nature. Others may have a set spiritual practice or religions they look to for guidance.

Mental: Stress or burnout can impact our cognitive function. You might find yourself with brain fog, fatigue, or impaired… KEEP READING

SHORTCUTS

To other content in our ‘For the Love of Sustainable Self’ series. 

LEARN WHAT SUSTAINABLE SELF is

What does Sustainable Self really mean? Is it all about pampering yourself with bubble baths? Is it a marketing buzz term? Or is it a considered and holistic approach to living life in Sustainable Style minus the eco-overwhelm? Sustainable Self is….Keep Reading

PERSONALISE YOUR NOTEBOOK FOR REFLECTION

Many of our tools for living life in Sustainable Style minus the eco-overwhelm involve mindful reflection- which can be helpfully done using a handy notebook! We’ve got a popular Make post that shows you how to personalise your notebook with a fabric cover…. Keep Reading

MAKE YOUR OWN NATURAL BEAUTY CONCOCTIONS

While our Sustainable Self can’t be happy, healthy, and whole from a makeover or a foot-soak, these DIY beauty tricks might be ideas to trial when you experience mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual fatigue, stress or exhaustion...Keep Reading.

CONTEMPLATING SELF-WORTH AND SUSTAINABILITY

This musing from our founder Katie is an open and honest exploration of self-worth and sustainability. This post is shared to help others consider taking a deep dive into their psyche to understand better how our past can open doors or create gridlocks...Keep Reading

30 Ways you Can CHANGE THE WORLD (CHEAPLY)

Does your budget prevent you from taking action in Sustainable Style? Eco-switches can seem expensive or inaccessible. Especially if you’re on a student budget, live in a rented home, or struggle to pay your bills on time, however they can be affordable… Keep Reading

PROGRESSION OF SUSTAINABLE SELF OVER TIME

Sustainable self isn’t static. As we move through, our life change is inevitable. To be responsible citizens of earth, critical thought, mindful reflection, and self-assessment are essential for change in the right direction. This means continually…Keep Reading

LEVEL UP

WITH ONLINE COURSES
Are you keen to level up your Sustainably Stylish learning? We are now offering online work-at-your-own-pace courses based on our popular Sustainability Education workshop events. These workshops have only been available in real life in the past. Still, we’ve listened and know that Sustainably Stylish folks join us from across the globe, which is why we’ve started converting these courses to interactive online delivery format. Benefit from Sustainability in Style founder, Katie Robert’s years of academic learning, research, and teaching in sustainability education, environmental science, fashion, business, and yoga/meditation with these workshops (with e-booklets). Without time or sizeable financial investments.
LEARN MORE

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