We chat to Sarah about her eco and simple way of life
Born and raised across the ditch in New Zealand, Sarah now calls the Northern Rivers home, where she works as an Events Guru and Green Feet Amabassador (the brewery’s environment program) for Stone & Wood Brewing Co. After years spent travelling AUS in a trusty Troopy with her partner Az and dingo Reg, they were drawn to the region’s laid-back lifestyle, conscious community and natural beauty… it was also the perfect place to bring a little human into the world, and not too long after settling on the North Coast, their daughter Bonnie was born!
Have you always been environmentally conscious? How did it become important to you?
I’d say my family implemented values that have stayed with me, packing your own lunches, cooking our meals from scratch, bike riding as a form of transport, growing your own vege’s, making your own clothes but they also were the generation that embraced the microwaves, washing machines and what they saw the necessities to raising 4 kids and a dog! It has become more and more important to me having my own family and wanting to preserve this beautiful world for future generations ... where we call home being the Northern Rivers has also had a massive influence on me. Sometimes it’s not until you leave here that you realise we are a community so aware of the environmental impacts our everyday habits and lifestyles are having on this earth which is so great to be aware of to try make simple steps to treading more lightly!
Do you think that living simply is an essential part of living lightly?
Yes I do to some degree. A simple life brings life back to its basics - food, water, air, love, sleep.. when you base your life on this it’s pretty uncomplicated - but then you look at some communities around the world that live ‘a more simpler life’ than say the western culture and some of their methods due to lack of education, $$ or infrastructure are not living lightly and are actually detrimental to the earth.. something like lack of sexual health and education in some communities has an influence on increase of population or lack of access to water creates unsustainable methods to extract clean water..So in answer to the question I think then in our western culture we should live more simply in order to living more lightly but this is most affective by a community sharing similar values and practices.
How important is it to you that you work for a company with the same values?
Very important, we are living in a time when we are not driven by just the pay package and the perks of an employment but of social meaning and value. I am constantly inspired by Stone & Wood – and I feel they make us as employees better humans to this earth by leading by example and encouraging us to push boundaries that work toward finding solutions that help environmental and social concerns.
How do Stone and Wood keep things simple and go about their business in a sustainable manner?
Come for a walk in our brewery one day and you are instantly walking slower, wishing to throw your watch away (if you are still wearing one) and have time to smell the flowers growing and chat to people without needing to be anywhere else. It is in everything we do that we take a simpler approach – from brewing our beer to using the best quality ingredients and not making our beers complicated to being able to stop and have a chat to someone in the brewery or out on the road when they see you wearing a Stone & Wood T-shirt. Being a sustainable business means we are here for the long haul and for the better of our communities so I think our approach is evident to this. We also have a green feet program that has specific sustainable initiatives that can be seen stoneadnwood.com.au but also when the guys started this brewery just shy of ten years ago they set out to be a sustainable business from the get go so in this way everything we do we have sustainable practices at the core of our business.
What are some small steps people can take to improve their footprint on our earth?
Bike or walk instead of drive - obviously this is inaccessible in some parts of the world, even in our home town living rural is next to impossible to get to shops sometimes... but ask yourself do you really need to drive?
Purchase second hand when possible, your kids are going to dirty their clothes, your homewares will wear and tear eventually… ask yourself does this item really need to be new.
Support farmers markets, the food is fresher, the farmers aren’t getting pushed around by the middle man and it gets you amongst your community!
Opt out of plastics when you can! Groceries don’t need plastic bags, purchase milk in cardboard boxes, ice cream always in a cone and bamboo toothbrushes are just simple ideas to get started!
What are some examples of sustainable living that you do in your everyday life at home or at work?
- As a camel I would never leave the house without a re-useable drink bottle.
- We are members of a community garden as well as having a herb patch of our own, make use of these and stop a whole stream of consumerism, from driving to the shop, using a bag, and supermarkets not holding the monopoly.
- Take your own shopping bags! We now have a set in the car as well as the house!
- We have a new rule now with purchases for our family whether it a new bag for travelling, an esky, a jacket for the snow - we invest in products with lifetime warranties. The latest was our Salt and Pepper shakers - with a life time warranty! Buy it once and never again!
What would be your three pieces of advice for someone who wants to simplify their life?
- Don't multi task - do one thing, enjoy doing it and the result will be so much better. I’m pretty sure some working mum invented this catch phrase ‘multi tasking’ but I swear it will only result in being too busy and trying to do too much - something will give and it’s probably most likely going to be you!
- Be less materialistic - have you ever written what you want to get out of life, or what you'd want to look back and remember in your old age - I bet that list does not have your purchases.
- Spend more time outdoors, when you get amongst everything that this planet already offers you realise it is the simple things in life that we need. Recently we went to Barrington Tops for a camping trip, there was no reception, no water, no showers, no sounds but nature and it was pure bliss! I actually can’t remember the last time I felt so connected to my family and myself! Even once we got back to wifi I found myself spending less time on my phone!