Our next interview in the Make Your Life Simpler blog series is with Jen Gale from Sustainable(ish), an author/speaker/podcaster making it easy to go green.
"Taking a sustainable(ish) approach - making more choices that are good for the planet, more of the time - can make life easier by cutting through the overwhelm, the anxiety and to help you work out what you CAN do, AND reassure you that you are making a difference."
1. Jen, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m an ordinary, knackered mum of two whose life changed when I dragged and cajoled the family into a year buying nothing new. That year changed not only what we buy, but also how I see my place in the world. I recognised the power that we all have as individuals to make a difference to the things we care about, simply through getting informed about the impact of our daily choices, and figuring out easy swaps and changes.
The family are still (just about) talking to me and we live in Wiltshire where I write and podcast about all things Sustainable(ish), and I’m the author of The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide.
2. What's your favourite parenting hack?
Oooh, great question!
When the kids are having a paddy in the shop about wanting a tat encrusted magazine, or whatever shiny piece of crap has caught their eye, I take a picture on my phone, and tell them if they still remember it in a week and want it, then we can have a think about buying it.
Nine times out of ten they never mention it again..!
3. How does Sustainable(ish) make parents lives easier?
In all honesty, I’m not convinced that it does. We live in a society where convenience seems to trump all else, so of course, it’s always going to be easier to grab the single use stuff, to buy the cheapest thing etc, because that’s the way our society works.
BUT for many of us, that now comes with a healthy side order of guilt and anxiety about the state of the planet, to add into the guilt and anxiety we probably already have about the plethora of other things there are to feel guilty and anxious about when you’re a parent.
SO, taking a sustainable(ish) approach - making more choices that are good for the planet, more of the time - can make life easier by cutting through the overwhelm, the anxiety and to help you work out what you CAN do, AND reassure you that you are making a difference.
4. What 3 people | movements | organisations inspire you?
Clearly I’m going to say Greta Thunberg here - she gets a lot of stick, but she doesn’t shy away from saying it like it is, and has been instrumental in raising awareness of the climate crisis.
David Attenborough is another cliche, but deservedly so. Surely he’s everyone’s favourite person?
The other one isn’t really a movement, or one particular person - it’s all the people I see every day, who are making different choices, making changes step by step, without fanfare, often without recognition, and at times without a huge amount of support from their families and friends. They really do inspire me to keep going, to keep sharing, to keep believing.
5. What are you working on at the moment?
It’s been such a strange time during lockdown, first of all working out how we’re going to muddle through as a family, and then trying to work out where the environmental message fits in amongst all of this.
Lots of the events I had in the diary to promote The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide have fallen by the wayside, as have some of the in-person corporate talks I had scheduled (although some of these have been able to be delivered virtually!). I got the green light on book number 2 - The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting - literally as we went into lockdown, with an early June deadline, so my weekends have been filled with writing!
At the moment I’ve just finished another round of my “Sustainable(ish) in Six Weeks” online course and am looking forwards to running this again in September, and I’m working on a very exciting project just for parents that will be launching towards the end of 2020..!
6. Jen, what’s something about you that Google doesn’t know?
Oh gosh, I’m fairly indiscreet on social media, so not sure there’s anything Google doesn’t know!
How about this… I represented my county at cross country running when I was a teenager...
7. What message would you put on a billboard?
8. Where can we connect with you?