I got to spend a day with Shia from the zero waste blog Wasteland Rebel!
Shia writes an amazing zero waste blog in both English and German. She has authored a book, “Zero Waste: Simple life hacks to drastically reduce your trash” which is currently available in German with an English version coming out in April!
She’s queen of the zero waste farmers market haul and a total rockstar. I’m not sure if it’s her sweet haircut or how effortlessly cool she is. She calls herself a nerd, but don’t be fooled. She’s a rockstar 100%.
Here comes our #zerowaste #farmersmarket haul for this week! • It just started to sink in that we will actually leave Vancouver for good in less than 3 weeks! And I’m getting a just a teeny weeny bit emotional 🙈. • Anyway, we’ll travel down the West Coast by coach 🚌 and train 🚞 in February, visiting Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area, and LA. We’ll fly from LAX to Paris on a direct flight, stay in Paris for 3 days before catching the train back to good ol’ Germany. • We chose this route because we wanted to at least reduce the emissions we cause. LAX to Paris was the only DIRECT flight we could still book or afford for this timeframe from anywhere on the West Coast to anywhere close to Germany. Did you know that the take off and landing is the major component of emissions? They are what make short-distance flights so damaging to the environment. • We were also thinking about traveling down the West Coast and back to Vancouver (by coach and train), but decided it would make more sense to make it a one way trip. • We try to fly as little as possible. This will be our second flight since we went zero waste in 2014. The first one was almost a year ago from Frankfurt to Vancouver. We do compensate our flights, but frankly, the damage is done, and the carbon emission compensations will not just filter the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. 💔
Shia and her husband were living in Vancouver for a year. They took a trip down the West Coast before flying back home to Germany. On their trip down the Coast they stopped in San Francisco where we got to meet up for a day.
We met for lunch at Gracias Madre in SF. I wanted to order EVERYTHING. It’s a local, sustainable, organic, and vegan restaurant with the tastiest menu. It’s the perfect restaurant to host a sustainability rockstar.
Both Shia and her husband are vegans, minimalists, and live a zero waste lifestyle. That sounds like a lot of labels, but she’s warm, welcoming, and most importantly non-judgemental. She has the kindest heart and such a passion for the environment.
Her blog is full of helpful hints encouraging you to adopt whatever changes you can. Over lunch we discussed her transition to veganism and zero waste. She explained that it was gradual. She didn’t go vegan or zero waste overnight. It was all about slow intentional changes.
I think a lot of people can feel really overwhelmed with the idea of making a massive lifestyle shift. But, it’s really all about making gradual changes. I always recommend that people focus on how far they’ve come, not how far they have to go. Small changes really do add up to a massive impact.
The story of how Shia started her journey really resonated with me. She words it so beautifully.
“During my studies, Hanno and I always talked a lot about how we would like to live more sustainably, but that is so expensive. ‘Once we make money,’ we said quite often, ‘then we will pay the real price for things, the price that things cost when you produce them without exploitation.’
It did not work that way. Although we had the money when we started our career, we felt overwhelmed by the normal household. Instead of paying for organic food, we spent the money on convenience foods like pre-cut lettuce in plastic bags, other things that supposedly save time, junk food like chips and sweets, and pointless consumer goods. After work we were mentally and physically too flat for anything.
It’s not how I imagined my adult life. Instead of being free and independent I felt smaller than ever. Dependent and constrained by what was presented to me. We wanted so much to live more sustainably, but it all seemed so impossible, as if the world had conspired against us.”
Shia then quit her job, they moved to a new town, and they both started making lifestyle changes. As she puts it, “It's not black magic and you do not need more than curiosity, openness, gusto and forbearance with yourself.”
Any lifestyle change starts very, very slowly. You make one change and then another and before you know it, you’re halfway there. Shia has a wonderful post for beginners if you’re interested in learning more.
Shia’s story is full of so much hope and positivity. It’s truly a testament that one step in the right direction can change your entire life.
Whatever lifestyle change you’re trying to make whether that be plastic-free, zero waste, veganism, it all starts with one simple change.
It doesn’t happen instantly it happens slowly. Have patience with yourself. Give yourself time to find your roots, grow, and then bloom.
Before parting, I had to take Shia to zero waste heaven Rainbow Grocery. It’s the land of all things available package free. We of course couldn’t pass up on some vegan brownies, cupcakes, chocolate chips, and lots of snacks!
Make sure to follow along with Shia!