In October 2016, a professional assignment relocated me to India for a year, where I found myself stunned and frightened by waste, pollution, and water scarcity.  It was here I began to realize how much we consume as modern humans, and how much we thoughtlessly throw away.  

I began following zero waste and minimal living blogs in search of inspiration and support for a better way of life for myself.  As I researched, I started to realize that paring down my possessions and seriously curtailing my waste was going to be a challenge that would require constant consciousness.  I would need to slowly retrain my brain to think differently about what I buy and use every day, and how I dispose of it.  

I decided to dedicate a year to making a small change every single day, whether it's an act of conservation, or of simply educating myself.  This is exceptionally challenging living in India, where plastic packaging is ubiquitous (and often seen in abundance discarded on the side of the road).  

I appointed my late great-grandmother Sudie Mae as my muse.  Like many depression era survivors, she couldn't abide wastefulness.  She lived in a tiny house which was beautifully kept and stocked with elegant essentials.  She grew her own vegetables and never allowed food to go to waste.  Her life was simple, elegant, and happy.  

Thanks to her, I know that living less wastefully doesn't have to mean living without style or comfort.  It just means redefining what is necessary.  

So I'm dedicating a year to studying and making a change, one step at a time, with Sudie Mae as my professor in absentia.     

Photo: Alison White

Photo: Alison White

EMMA STREET | contact


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