This month we’re getting up close and personal with the waste we generate, thanks to the Sustainable Duo and the #FuturisticFebruary challenge. We caught up with Carly, one half of the dynamic duo, to find out more about its origins and the philosophies that inspire her eco-conscious lifestyle. What is Futuristic February?
1. What is Futuristic February
The goal for Futuristic February is to keep track of how much you waste in one month. For this challenge, keep every piece of waste you accumulate during the month of February. Don’t hold back – go about your day-to-day life as usual, but don’t recycle or throw out trash throughout the month and save all of your plastics/recyclables/non-perishable items until February 28th. The purpose is to get an accurate visualization of how much waste you accumulate as an individual. The final step is to take a picture of your month’s waste and share via social media to raise awareness!
2. Tell us a little about yourself (sustainable_duo) and the inspiration behind starting Futuristic February?
While spending a month in Nicaragua for an eco-travel trip, I was submersed in a culture of plastic. Nicaragua doesn’t have a proper waste management system so the country burns the majority of its trash – a big concern for human health, animal health, and the environment in general. Most of the world’s trash actually winds up on the Nicaraguan coasts due to the flow of the ocean currents, and I was upset to think that my waste in the US could be contributing to the negative impact on the populations of Nicaragua. Here I was, a self-proclaimed environmentalist trying to save animals, people and the planet… but my day-to-day actions did not reflect my ethics.
After my month spent in Nicaragua, I was able to fit all of my recyclables and non-perishable waste in a small bag that I brought home with me so I could dispose of it properly. I minimized my waste by refusing, reducing, reusing, and eating a vegan diet. I achieved this by simply thinking twice about buying kale chips in packaging, refusing to use a plastic water bottle, refusing fruit wrapped in plastic, not using paper towels, etc. That’s when I was inspired to create this campaign to raise awareness, deciding to collect all of my waste in the US for a month. This helped me realize plastic is our FUTURE if we don’t change our habits. It all starts on an individual level, and that’s why I transitioned to a zero-waste lifestyle, supporting eco-conscious consumerism.
Brenden (the other half of the Duo!) and I met while I was running Futuristic February for the first year. He walked into my apartment for the first time and saw alllll of my trash accumulating around my room. I had kombucha bottles stacked all over my desk, black bean chip bags all in bins, etc. He was very confused to start with, but then I explained the story behind the collection and he basically fell in love (ha!) After this challenge, we decided to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle together. Brenden has a plant-based company that uses plastic wrappers for products, so we really did mentally struggle with this for a long time. However, Brenden found a solution in partnering with Terracycle to turn the wrappers into desks, chairs, and flooring. He also has a protein powder that is in a bamboo bag with a wood scoop! We have had so much fun zero-wasting his business, and it’s only up from here (please, someone invent algae-based wrappers!!!)
3. Has sustainability always been something you were interested in?
YES! I grew up composting, attending school with a reusable lunch box, and making houses for the mice in my backyard. I went to college to study permaculture, ecospirituality, expanding consciousness and environmentalism. My number one passion is nature connection through permaculture/edible landscaping; bringing back the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
Many people aren’t aware how large an impact their environment, diet, and mental health have on their state of being. I find the practice of gardening extremely therapeutic and fundamental. Zero-waste living is simply going back to the basics. And the reason we have moved away from sustainable living is because consumerism has taken over – we’ve lost the understanding of what ‘the basics’ really are in the first place.
Your surroundings and what you fuel your body with directly impact your physical health & psychological health. Your physiological health is the platform of your consciousness. It’s amazing what a holistic life can do, and that’s why I get my feet and hands dirty in the garden and connect with the earth on a daily basis.
4. Why do you think it’s important to live a sustainable life?
I think it’s our duty to live a sustainable lifestyle, it is not just an option (I sound a bit strict here – but this is the truth!) We coexist on this earth; we are not superior to the animals and plants that inhabit this planet. The more I get into zero-waste and sustainable living, the stronger my connection to earth is; the more I feel called to get up early and watch the sunrise, take naps in the grass, walk barefoot in a trail, forage & grow my own food. I eat intuitively with the moon cycles and ask my body what it needs rather than what it craves (or I try my best – I have to admit I go all out on raw, vegan desserts). I practice mindful zero-waste eating every day because eating isn’t just enjoyment for me, it’s a contemplative meditation practice. I feel the plants nourishing my body and healing my cells & mind. My energy is at an all-time high, my consciousness is expanding, I’m waking up. The best part is that every single thing I eat can be bought in bulk at a local grocery store… I love that plant-based life! I had the luxury of working at a raw, vegan juice and smoothie bar for six years so I am a pro at preparing the best meals for myself – like raw pizza, falafel, acai bowls, and juices!
5. Do you have any tips for our readers that you can share with us?
ZERO-WASTE PARTIES! I hosted a zero-waste & plant-based mock wedding at an edible garden last year that was incredible. We made all of the decorations (borrowed, thrifted, and repurposed). The flower crowns, bouquets, & table arrangements came straight from the organic rose garden. The dinner came from the edible garden’s fruits + veggie section!
Also – GROW YOUR OWN FOOD! Whether you live in Chicago, Florida, London, Australia… you can grow your own organic food, which is one of the best ways to decrease carbon emissions. If you live in an indoor place with little light and a long winter, invest in some grow lights. You can even find second-hand grow lights from a local gardening group!
6. Who inspires you? Who are your favourite influencers?
I would have to say my favourite influencers are all the conscious accounts that share quotes on meditation, inspire internal reflection, and spiritual growth. @_Conscious_Community_ is one of my favorites, and @CarlyTaylor269 is one of my great friends who spreads both awareness of environmentalism and beautiful quotes that help me to ground down.
7. What are your low waste essentials?
Our goal is to build food forests in low-income communities and provide Flint, Michigan with filters (Brenden is originally from Flint). We also will be creating zero-waste & vegan festivals in these same food deserts to share our passion for holistic and sustainable living.
Where can we find you? (links to all social medias, hash tags etc)
8. Where can we find you? (links to all social medias, hash tags etc)