No Impact Week 1: My Eco-Story

Remember my mentioning how I was reading No Impact Man by Colin Beavan? Remember how I said I'd follow up with a review...and then didn't? Well, how about I do one better?

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in Ohio State's Buckeye Book Blog, which coincides with the university's participation in No Impact Week. There's an entire blog set up to share experiences before, during, and after reading No Impact Man. There are lots of folks participating -- students, faculty, community members like myself. How cool is that?! It should be a generator of much conversation. I urge you to give it a peek here over the next few weeks and read about everyone's thoughts and musings.

In addition to sharing them on the Buckeye Blog, I'll be posting them here. I know I'm a bit of a windbag, but it's hard to know where to stop talking when it comes to something I'm so passionate about. Let me know what you think :) It's all about generating a respectful conversation. Comments are encouraged!

{No Impact Week: Blog 1}

I had always considered myself as ecologically-aware. Having grown up very close to my grandparents, who were of the Great Depression era, rationing, reusing, using up, fixing, and repurposing were all done because that was our “norm”. I so vividly remember helping my grandma hang the laundry to dry on the line, remember the basket of soap scraps she saved until she had enough to remelt into soap balls for extended use, remember my grandpa’s work bench – where, if something needed to be fixed, that was our first stop.

Being fully aware of the impact that my grandparents had on me during my formative years helped form and solidify my personal philosophies on saving, spending, reusing, and using up; of course, back then, no one knew it was called being “green”.

Back in the days as an Interior Design student at College of Art & Design, we were assigned a project to design a home for an imaginary couple who suffered from many allergens found in standard building materials. The project was referred to as the “Indoor Air Quality” project. Again, this was before “green” meant anything to us, aside from being a color. I loved that project. The research of alternative materials, like sustainable flooring, recycled glass tiles; organic wool mattresses, low VOC paints, grass paper wallcoverings, and building with careful consideration of solar light were endlessly fascinating to me. It forced me to ask the question: if these options exist for everyone, why would anyone choose anything else? I felt, as a student, that it was our responsibility coming into the Interior Design workforce, to educate potential clients on these alternative finishes, materials, and technologies. It was we who had the means to make those choices. It was our job. I even went so far as to write my thesis on residential energy efficiency, with a tie-in to ecologically-responsible materials. It was the most passionate I ever was about Interior Design.

It wasn’t until later that I changed my career path to that of Graphic Design, which I love, but it lacked something I couldn’t put my finger on.  That thing that I loved – the ability to influence design trending in a way that I felt held a direct impact to what I was truly passionate. Again, I had to ask myself: what can I do to marry my passions in eco-awareness and have a successful career?

Which brought me to right before I was introduced to Colin Beavan’s book No Impact Man. Up to this point, I was surviving at a job I wasn’t passionate about. I wanted to risk it all for something that made me heart-happy. I wanted to at least try to carve a niche for myself in the working world that allowed me to feel like what I was doing was making some kind of difference in the world in which we live, make money, and let my abilities shine. With the help of my ultra-supportive husband, I branched out and started Hello Magpie – an online shop offering a selection of eco-friendly, handmade, vintage, repurposed home goods, d├ęcor, and gifts. I launched on Earth Day 2010 and haven’t looked back.

Every day is a learning experience; a personal challenge to do good things and be a successful entrepreneur. Most of the time, I’m winging it with my fingers crossed, hoping that my Google placement makes me reachable and that my customers are happy and know that the things I make were made with all the love I have to give. Hoping my tweets, Facebook and blog posts and all the other connections I make with folks mean a sale and I can begin to actively contribute to my tiny family’s success. These are my passions and I have to believe that what I’m doing now will mean something at the end of the day. It’s scary to take risks, but without risks, there’s no reward. It’s my personal motto that small ripples cause big waves. Can you imagine the impact we could have collectively, if those small ripples were for the good of our world?


MSM said...

Nicely stated and very well done blog!

Would alos love to hear more about his speech - was Colin B as passionate in person as he is in his book?

maureencracknell said...

Wonderful, wonderful post! I'll be sure to add this book to my list.


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