Author, activist, public speaker and content creator Gittemary Johansen is an advocate for sustainable lifestyle choices. She gave us some tips and tricks on how we can all consume more consciously.
Tell us about your activism work?
I think activism should come from many different places at once, so while I think it’s massively important to take sustainable steps in our own lives, which is also what most content on my platforms is about, I also think we need activism in politics and innovation to push the green agenda further. I think consumers should be curious and seek out knowledge about the systems, structures and products we surround ourselves with, and that is the foundation of my work.
What made you become more conscious in your lifestyle choices?
The very first thing I learned when I started to look into sustainability was that every piece of plastic that has ever been used still exists – because it is a fossil material, so it won’t naturally biodegrade, it may change shape or size, but it won’t be gone. This information sparked by a passion for zero waste and individual green actions and later fuelled me to work as a sustainability educator. I realized the physical trash is not all there is, and that sustainability and environmental impact goes far beyond what we put in our bins, even though we started mass producing plastic 70 years ago which has resulted in 8300 million metric tons of plastic waste, this is only one small part of the problem. I think it is just as vital to look into the impact we cannot see, like emissions, the impact of factory farming, the fast fashion industry and so on and so forth.
Could you recommend one simple lifestyle change for someone who is looking to reduce their waste?
If you want to reduce your waste, look at the 5 Rs of zero waste: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Refuse what you do not have need for – there is a difference between “need” and “want”, what is not essential can often be avoided altogether. The things we cannot completely cut out, we can reduce, which is also great. I love the third R, which is reuse, and this will save you a bunch of trash, because a solution for single-use products can often be found in our bins.
What are some of your favourite ethical/sustainable brands?
Mahla Clothing is an edgy fashion brand from Copenhagen that use post-consumer waste fabric and dead stock to produce amazing and sustainable clothes, so they must be on this list. I also really like Ruby cup, which is a brand of menstrual cups, a product that can also save you from a ton of waste – or about 11,000 disposables at least. A zero-waste shop I love is Life Without Plastic, and Zero Waste Path makes the best shampoo bars.
How do you keep up with the latest trends without over-consuming?
I don’t support trends. Trends are often pushed by big brands and companies because they want to sell more stuff, and as a result lots of trends are born from advertising. The definition of trends is that products like decor, tech, or clothing can quickly go from being over-consumed to becoming irrelevant and “untrendy”. Instead, I always try to stay true to my own style and if I have to invest, I always go for timeless classic pieces.