The Challenge of ‘Eco’ Living

doer of the month zoeLast week I found myself chatting to the wonderful Zoe Morrison, our Eco-thrifty Doer of the Month. Zoe has spent the last year setting herself monthly challenges around living more sustainably. On top of that she’s been encouraging people to get involved by inviting them to make a pledge on The DoNation

We caught up to find out how it had been going…

How did the whole idea come about?

After having children, I realised that I wanted to spend more of my life making our lives as a family better. I believed there had to be better ways of doing things that would make us happier – as well as making the world a slightly better place.

So I started off by setting myself the challenge of ‘A Year of Eco Challenges’.

And how have you found it?

It’s been up and down. Some of the challenges such as buying only local food have been great. I’ve become really friendly with my local grocer and I’ve actually set up a food sharing group in my neighbourhood. We all take it in turns to go the local farm and we bulk buy eggs and vegetables that we then divvy up. It’s been a really fun and social thing to do!

I also found The Rubbish Diet a pretty exciting challenge to do!

Sounds pretty good! What would you say was the best bit?

I think the fact that it’s really pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to do something different. The Shampoo challenge for example (Zoe is now shampoo free) was really challenging at first, and many people didn’t understand why I was doing it, but now I only use olive oil soap to wash my hair and it looks great! I’ve realised I don’t need to buy endless plastic bottles and wash my hair in chemicals – I actually really don’t need it!

I also really enjoyed the Giving Challenge – where I gave away something everyday – that was a really nice thing to do, especially when people were not expecting it.

That does sound pretty rewarding; we might have to nab that one for a new DoAction! What would you say has been the most difficult?

Definitely the Going Plastic Free challenge! Plastic is just in everything – even the most unlikely things you don’t think of! I couldn’t buy any cleaning products, wine bottles, even butter (it’s in the wrappers!), it was really hard!

Why did you decide to raise actions through The DoNation to support your challenge?

I found you last year on Twitter and thought it was a great idea. It seemed to be the perfect way to get a bit of support for what I was doing without having to ask for any money!

And how did people respond?

It was mixed really! Some people were really interested and wanted to copy me! Some people wrote blogs about the DoActions they were taking on and got quite into it. Overall, I would have liked to raise more pledges but didn’t want to pressure people into it – I think these ideas also seep in over time! Hopefully I’ve influenced quite a few people into thinking differently about their lifestyle choices.

We hope so too – why do you think some people do struggle with these lifestyle changes?

I think it’s all about addiction – we’re addicted to a fast paced lifestyle and don’t know when to slow down.  And, there are cultural things we are addicted to (e.g. oil, electricity) that we don’t see as a problem. I think we need to recognise that it is a problem to be reliant upon these things…we just need to take a step back from it all.

We definitely agree with Zoe that we could all do with slowing things down! You could even start right now by making a pledge for Zoe here.

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