Preaching to “the Converted” #7: Beatriz Santos

Preaching to “the Converted” #7: Beatriz Santos

Beatriz Santos is a Spaniard living in Wellington. She moved to New Zealand in January 2018 with her Kiwi partner to start a new life after a long time in the UK. Their journey reducing the impact that both have on the environment started a while ago but became more final when one of their 2018 New Year’s resolutions was to reduce the amount of plastic they consume. Both attended a talk that The Rubbish Trip hosted at Wellington Library in February 2019.

I must say that New Zealand really cares about the environment and that has been a huge inspiration for us and our “conscious journey”. We started this journey a couple of years ago… just with the usual steps of taking reusable bags to the supermarket and recycling everything that we could, but that was mainly it.

Homebaked bread

After leaving the UK we were traveling around South East Asia. The use and disposal of plastic made such impact on us that we decided that we needed to be changing our lifestyles. We understood that all comes with education, but seeing those monstrous piles of plastic on the side of the roads while traveling was a wake-up call to our “sleeping education”.

We took it very seriously and worked hard to stick to it while creating routines in our conscious journey. We made plastic reduction our New Year’s Resolution. And from there… the changed rolled out!

In the workplace – reminding co-workers to take their reusable takeaway coffee cup before they get in the elevator!

So, to the recycling bit and using the reusable shopping bags, we added using reusable water bottles, reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, shopping at the produce markets… and without realising, we hadn’t only reduced on plastic, we’d also reduced the total amount of rubbish and pollution we were creating.

Many Netflixs documentaries ago we decided that we were embarking on the “reducetarians” way of life. Now we only eat vegetables during the week meaning that we are helping to improve the environment. We are more knowledgeable with our foods and we cook our own hummus (and reuse old containers), bake our own bread (no need for plastic wrapping), make our own jams (reusing glass jars) and even have started our own veggie garden.

And when you start adopting these routines, they become your habit and you don’t think about them and look for other ways of doing better things. And yes, I understand that we’re not heroes and we do what a lot of people do, but we haven’t finished our journey and we want to contribute as much as we can to it.

DIY bulk bin bags

Because we started researching ways to do more and more, we ended up at The Rubbish Trip’s talk at Wellington City Library a month ago… and it’s been so inspiring! Since Hannah and Liam’s talk we have adopted some changes and we’re planning to take on more:

  • Giving shampoo bars a go (were ineffective before, so trying other brands)
  • Start looking at doing compost for our veggie garden
  • Make our own bags for bulk foods (we were struggling to find a good option here as most of them seems to have holes in them… and never thought about sewing them!)
  • Buying cleaning products that are more environmentally friendly (we’re not yet at that point of the journey in which we’re creating them ourselves).
  • Will go to an edible weeds and flowers workshop in April.

Those are so far the changes that we’ve done in less than a month, but the talk was very inspiring and introduced us to concepts that we didn’t even know existed, such as Tool Libraries (what a great initiative that we’ll use when we need!).

Before the talk, I thought we were doing so little, but we’re doing more than we thought… and influencing others at work, like making posters reminding people to take their reusable coffee cups! I think it is very important to acknowledge the good things you do for yourself, others and the Earth. So, don’t think that you are just doing so little and keep doing it. By experience, you will want to do more and more and more… and every little helps!

This post is part of our blog series “A Waste of Time?: Preaching to ‘the converted’”. You can read about the origin and kaupapa of this series here.

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