SLK goes sustainable

I've been meaning to post this for a while. Admittedly, I'm a bit afraid of what happens next. No, not backlash. If I was afraid of that, I'd moderate comments or shy away from writing about subjects like birth control, etc. I mean in terms of partnerships and collaborations. I'm making moves with the likes of Sabina and Valeria. Which means changing business relationships and diving into pools where I've only been standing ankle-deep. 

As a child, my favourite movie {after Beauty and the Beast, though the whole 'domestic abuse' plot convo is probably worth having, aye?} was Fern Gully. Classic. I cried when I found out my uncle worked for a logging company, because as I child I had no real understanding of life outside of my fairytale. 'Those poor white spotted owls,' I'd say. My emotions always ran deep, though perhaps a bit dramatic. That's probably why mistakes I made with the elephants and tigers in Thailand hit me so hard, aye? So, it's no surprise that I made the switch to vegetarianism all those years ago.

I can't really remember a time before I was a vegetarian. I haven't eaten meat in so long, I don't remember what meals were like with it on my plate. I started that journey for health reasons. I not only felt my weight was managed better, but I inevitably found myself making smarter choices with food. When my mentality around food changed, I felt mentally stronger all around, and clearer too. As the years passed, I felt a psychic shift in the reason behind my dietary evolution-- from my welfare to the welfare of animals. I didn't want to eat food that was sourced from the anxious death of an animal, because I felt it cruel. Around that time, I eliminated most dairy. I try my best to pick vegan options when offered. 

That scope, choosing kind food, widened after watching countless documentaries with my college friends {Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and Vegucated to name a few}. It became obvious to me that my being a vegetarian was not a two-part intention. It came with a third-- environmental impact. The food industry has made devastating impacts on the environment. Viewing Before the Flood while living in Laos this past year was the straw that broke the camel's back, and it made me feel more focused than ever on living a more ethically-centered life. 

fresh produce at the Charleston Saturday Farmer's Market

fresh produce at the Charleston Saturday Farmer's Market

It's not just the food industry that bothers me. Fashion is notably the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to oil. When I read about how much water it takes to make a pair of jeans, I felt pretty sick with myself. Because it's no secret to those who know me that I have two closets and a storage unit both filled to their brims with clothing.

I've purged countless times and still end up with more than my share, selling enough to pay for a ticket across an ocean. Still, somehow, wardrobes and storage units remain filled. It's been easier as I grow further into my personal style, knowing that I prefer clothing on the gray-scale/neutral palette. It's also been made simpler knowing what I feel good in and what I don't. All of that eliminates the need to buy clothing frivolously that just happens to be on trend, whether or not it suits my actual preferences and aesthetic tastes. Knowing who I am, what suits me, what fits in with my personal aesthetic sussed most everything out. 

Except the free packages.

While I was no longer buying pieces from questionable sources, I was still in business with companies that make cute af ways I can't stand behind. Offering me free outfits to wear on adventures in exchange for awkward outfit photos. I got really, really lucky. Some days it would feel like Christmas coming back to my apartment with three boxes of goodies laying on my doorstep. And I'd feel really excited to see what they sent. And then I'd feel really guilty because I knew that somewhere {in Bangladesh, probably) were children {like the ones I worked with in Laos} who were being forced to work in a factory to make me high-waisted jeans. 

I get that I live a privileged existence. I have the ability to save so that I may afford clothes from sustainable brands I believe in now, but in college I loved a good bargain without thinking about where my clothing was sourced from. I'm not perfect. I still own a lot of clothes that were most likely manufactured with sub par health and safety standards and under less than fair circumstances. But I have made a point of not purchasing more. The last few years I've made strides to focus on quality over quantity. I've done better to only purchase goods I can stand behind. I've recently made a full switch to natural products {post coming soon!}. I'm better now about using those pieces I've been given or previously purchased in conjunction with articles I not only feel good in, but feel good about. 

I've had the opportunity to work with some fun, generous brands. Getting free clothes and beauty products has been a real perk, especially for a blog that takes up as little space on the internet as this one. I've gotten to make a tiny bit of side cash, had the honor of working with companies and participating in a variety of events, and received floods of packages. But being a vegetarian who loves the planet and acquired a secondary degree focused on the human condition, but promotes businesses that don't treat people, animals, or the environment in an ethical way seems like I'm living my life out of alignment. How could I say I care about the environment while just standing in the doorway, right? 

And that's when I connected with WTS Connect.

One of my favourite blogs, I was super happy to open up an e-mail conversation with Valeria {she's incredible, follow her on Instagram}. We discussed how I needed an extra push into the conscious lifestyle. Reading her e-mail, it became more clear what I had to do. Get off the fence and in the game. So, I made some cuts. I ended partnerships, settling on me finishing up promised commitments with companies, as I've already received items for May. I feel good about being able to keep my word before moving on to greener pastures {pun intended...though is that a pun? I'm never actually sure...}

trying vegan cookies at the Charleston Saturday Farmer's Market

trying vegan cookies at the Charleston Saturday Farmer's Market

Part of me, a big part, is so happy that sustainability is becoming a hot topic. It's important, particularly with government denying the science of climate change, to take part in making the world a better place however we can. Small steps are still movement. The other part of me hopes that it isn't just a trend. That part of me desperately hopes that the conversation that is started creates action. That's what I'm trying to do here, ultimately. I want to contribute in a more committed way-- by bringing the sustainable life I'm attempting to the blog. I've tried this in small doses on SLK, but it's time to do better. I'm constantly learning and applying what I learn. 

My 'Shop' tab will be changing. I'm working on living a more 80/20 diet {eating vegan 80% of the time or more, eating a bit more liberally 20% of the time}, one of my own design, with the hopes to really transition to a vegan lifestyle sometime in the near future. I've already begun a collaboration with a new SLK partner who promotes sustainable travel and eco-tourism {so excited for this!!}. So, ya know, watch this space.

I hope everyone lives a happy life-- one in alignment with their values and beliefs and feelings. A life that feels as good inwardly as it looks outwardly. Whatever that means for each person as an individual. 

And, hey, if that life is a conscious one, kudos to you!